I want to caution you against diagnosing your wife with a mental illness. She may have paranoid personality disorder, but she would need a comprehensive evaluation to determine if she has a psychological condition. Mental health professionals receive years of rigorous training to make determinations about mental health diagnoses and thus have the necessary expertise. It’s always best to consult an expert, when possible.
Generally speaking, having a parent with a mental illness increases the probability of their offspring having a mental illness, but there is no easy way to determine the likelihood of that outcome. Both nature and nurture are thought to contribute to the development of mental health disorders but researchers cannot yet pinpoint the exact cause of any one mental health disorder. Your children would benefit from living in a supportive, loving environment which could help to buffer any additional stress.
It’s common for people with psychotic disorders to not recognize that they are ill. The inability to recognize one’s illness is a symptom of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Therefore, it often takes a great deal of effort to convince a family member who is actively psychotic that they need help. The best treatment for psychosis is medication. Medication will reduce the symptoms. The sooner you can get her into treatment, the better her prognosis.
Your first step should be having her evaluated by a mental health professional. That will provide more clarity about what’s wrong and most importantly, how to treat her symptoms. Once her symptoms are under control, they will have less impact on your family.
You might also consider family therapy to help your children deal with her symptoms. Family therapy is the ideal counseling method for family members who may be having difficulties adjusting to a family member suffering from mental health issues. Good luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle