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Spouse Refuses to Admit Mental Illness

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18 months ago my wife had a nervous breakdown at work. She had psychotherapy and is on meds for anxiety/depression, but has never been able to return to work. Since that time, she has been having conversations with herself, sometimes out loud, usually not, that she subsequently believes to have actually occurred. As a result of which, she acts on the false information. She also has become very absent-minded as a result of the conversations, leaving food out to spoil, driving erratically, etc. She is in denial regarding any mental health issues. Currently, she has told me she can no longer live with me as a result of such conversations because of things I was alleged to have done or not done or things I don’t recall since I was not actually part of the conversation.

Spouse Refuses to Admit Mental Illness

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The denial system in people who struggle with the symptoms can be very powerful and frustrating to those closest to them. It seems as if two things would be warranted. First, psychiatric evaluation of the medicine she’s taking to reevaluate its effectiveness might be important. Secondly, couples therapy where some of your concerns can be entered in front of a third party may be very valuable. Without some insight into her condition the long-term prognosis would not be good. I think these two sources of consultation would be important for both of you at this time.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Spouse Refuses to Admit Mental Illness

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Spouse Refuses to Admit Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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