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Ex Partner & Psychotic Behavior

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My husband of 18 years left a year ago, with no warning. He had demonstrated some strange behaviour during this time, but he is very secretive and deceitful and can hide things very well. Within a week of leaving his family of five children he lost his job. Prior to this he had been very successful in work. The past five years however he has changed jobs many times, although I don’t think I have been told the real reason. He now doesn’t see his children at all — one of these is a tiny baby and was less than three months when he left. Before this, he was a loving father. Since leaving he has not paid any financial support for his children although he is adamant that he has. He tells so many lies it is difficult to keep track. I believe that he believes his lies as he is so convincing. He tells lies that serve no purpose and are easily proven to be lies, yet he seems convinced they are true. He is also completely paranoid and accuses people of being out to get him. He comes from a family with an alcoholic father, which has never been acknowledged. My problem is that because we have split up, I have no influence over him at all. His family won’t acknowledge that there is a problem, even though his behavior is completely out of character. I risk looking like a bitter ex wife, even though I am extremely worried about him and I know something has happened to trigger this behavior. He has gone from being a well respected father and family man to not seeing any of his children or his old friends. He has tattooed himself which he would never have done and he has run up huge debts. I am worried he will end up arrested. He has had violent out bursts, but only towards me, as far as I know. Does it sound like he has a mental health problem? I truly believe he is delusional.

Ex Partner & Psychotic Behavior

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It could be a mental health problem or it could be drug usage or both. Drug use might explain why his behavior has changed so dramatically. Without more information, those are my best (educated) guesses.

I’m wondering, when you and he were married, were there no signs? Was he truly that different? Looking back, were there behaviors or concerns that were overlooked? Those are just a few questions that could help you better understand what has happened to your ex.

You made the statement that because the two of you have separated, you have “no influence over him at all.” Even when you were together, you likely had very little influence over his behavior.

If his behavior continues, then he might end up being arrested. Realistically, there is very little or nothing that you can do to change the potential eventualities. People are free to make choices that are detrimental to their lives but they can only be forced into treatment against their will under dire life and death circumstances. You can suggest treatment and offer your support but realize that he may not take your advice or want your support. Eventually, he might make better choices or seek professional help but it’s his life and he will do with it what he wants. He will have to pay for the consequences of his choices. This is equally true for the mentally ill. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Ex Partner & Psychotic Behavior

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Ex Partner & Psychotic Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 13 Jun 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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