26 Feb 2015

A question about : Help advice or just shoulder to cry on.


Posting under a new name as I give advice on other matters under a different user name.

Sorry going to be a long 1st post, but in need of help, advice or just even a shoulder to cry on!

I've tried to give as much information about the situation as possible without writing 3 thousand words.

I'm a working father of 6.5 year old boy and 2.5 year old girl. Mother has suffered M.E (CFS) for around 15 years and depression.

She had a mental break down in Sept 12. She throw daughter on the sofa over and over again, she called me at work and I went home to find her in a wreck under the dinning room table. I called health visitor for help who informed social services. Mental health team came out, prescribe pills and left us to it. Social services came out and said that all I was after “was free child care”, I ended up throwing him out of the house.

My parents are deceased, Father/Mother in law came round to help on the day of the break down, but after doctor, mental health team etc.. left. Mother in law went mad, moaning and picking spots about the house as they have helped us out financially over the years to do the house up. My wife has not spoken to her mother since that day in Sept. MIL had 12 week spell in mental hospital herself back in 2005.

I managed to cope not leaving my wife alone with D by ferrying her to my sisters, starting work late so I could get my lad to school, a friend picked him up. Got D into nursery a few days as my sister works full time and has 3 children of her own. Basically doing all I could to protect D and support my family emotionally and financially.

Things got better over time and the in laws helped by having S for weekends, they struggle to have both kids as they live in a caravan! (Long story).

Back at the beginning of June, my wife lost it again with D, she throw her on the sofa in a rage from about 6ft away. Luckily D not hurt but could have been very serious if she landed badly.

I called health visitor again to get help into place and finally this time social services have helped. Both children put “Child in Need”, funding for nursery and action plan for wife/D to improve their relationship. Wife has done some of the things but not all. It's a right pickle as with her M.E she does get very tired easily so days D in nursery, wife sleeps. But at the same time wife is meant to be doing stuff to improve her mental health.

Yesterday wife at home with S till 12.15pm, when father in law came to drop off D and take S away for the weekend. By 1.00pm my wife was on the phone saying that D wouldn't sleep and that she hated her! Wife normally sleeps 12-2pm to help her M.E.

3.00pm I get another phone call saying that she once again had “lost” it with D. It's the summer holidays and she hasn't even coped 3 days.

We have a mortgage and credit card debt big style, but no arrears at present. I want to do the best I can for my family. But I'm at my wits end, I just want to throw my wife out and tell her to sort herself out!

I don't want to quit work, but can't see any other way around things. If I quit work and wife stays in the house, I don't think she has it in her to get the help she needs or the enthusiasm to get better. Think I'd just enable her to carry on as she has been for the past 6 months.

I do all the cooking, we both put the children to bed, I then walk dog, go out shopping for little bits if needed, milk etc....I only really stop around 9pm. On my days off I hep my wife with what every she needs, taking to doctors, shopping etc....But as usual she collapses into bed late lunchtime leaving me to the rest of the household duties.

I also have 2 other jobs both ad hoc that I do as and when in the evenings, to try and earn some extra pennies. Plus I'm working full time (retail so work w/e) and I'm looking after 3 other people! Wife getting some DLA at lower rate and we are about to lose her ESA in December.

I can't carry on like this, it's killing me, both financially and mentally.

Does anyone have any ideas? I earn over Ј16 grand a year so am not entitled to any benefits, could afford to get D into nursery a little more. Currently she's in 2 days a week 8.30-4pm

If I quit work what benefits will I get? What will happen to the house? Do I have to sell it and give wife 50%?

Please I really need a shoulder!

Best answers:

  • I wonder if packing in your job will just make things ten times worse.
    I have a daughter a little older than yours and it is hard work. We both work (DH and I) and we feel that we spend all our time off doing chores. But it does gradually get better.
    Try joining flylady http://www.flylady.net/ to get some order in the house. I find the website a bit overwhelming but subscribe to the emails and delete the ones you don't have time for.
    Decluttering will help reduce the amount of stuff you have, and therefore the stuff that needs cleaning/tidying. It will really help to create some space.
    Get your wife to text you regularly through the day to keep you up to date rather than ringing and dumping her crap on you. Text her back when you can but you may find that isn't necessary.
    Can you arrange another session with the health visitor? She is there for you as well as your wife and daughter.
    This is a brilliant site http://www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk/index.html as it has shopping lists too. The food is delicious as well as cheap, and easy to get right.
    I think for now (say the next 6 months), you should have fairly low expectations of your wife, ie that she may not be actually well enough to help too much at the moment. But if you can let go of the resentment - it does take a lot of practice - you may find her less of a burden and she may be able to become more of a partner again. I can promise you that she won't want to be feeling like she does, although I know that doesn't help you on a practical level.
    Let gp carry on have DS when they can.
    If you can afford for more time in nursery for DS, then maybe do that. Alternatively if you have space in the house, could you think about getting an au pair for 6 months? Your wife would be there to supervise, and having someone else around may mean your wife makes more of an effort to get out of her depression (although again you need to bear in mind that she is actually ill).
    I personally wouldn't have an au pair for children under 5 if I weren't going to be around most of the time.
  • Thanks for the links whitewing I'll have a good look.
    Spoke to boss today and he's given me a week off, so I can try at work things out. Social already said one more episode then it's "child protection" I'm not losing me kids. They don't know about yesterday!
    May have to try and work part time, maybe 3 days a week and get dd into nursery while I'm at work.
    I'm still bloody confused as what to do! arrrrgggghhhhhhhh
  • I don't know much about SS these days, but I do think they try to keep families together, especially where one parent is fine albeit it under immense pressure.
  • A child protection plan doesn't mean you're going to lose them or have them taken into care.
    It's about keeping the children safe from harm - which tbh if your wife isn't coping and it means you get extra help might turn out to be a good thing. You acknowledge things can't go on as they are at the moment and if social services can find more support for your wife (I have a relative who volunteers with home start who has worked to keep children at home by supporting the mum) that will help you as well.
    It might help if you find out a bit more about child protection and what it involves. These might be worth contacting as a starting point just so you know where you stand if the statutory services do get more involved.
  • But child protection is just one step away from looking at removal!
    It's an official order that things must change, at least if I make the change I'm in semi control of the situation.
  • Thanks for the link elsien. Either way I'm frighten by it.
  • Can you speak to a charity for adults with disabilities, or ME, and see if they have any suggestions as to how she might get more assistance?
    If your wife has ME then part of managing it may be to take breaks for sleeping during the day. She can't "pull herself together". It will likely be too much for her to look after young children all day even during holidays.
    Depending on her ME, it may be a full time job in itself just to scrape by, and she might not have the capability to care for children or do housework, because she is ill. This will no doubt be very hard for you both.
  • Only natural to be scared when the authorities get involved, because you're starting from a standpoint of all the scare stories in the press, not knowing what social services can/can't or will/won't do, what rights you have, how to challenge them etc. I think most of us would be worried sick about it.
    But they can offer help as well, it's not an automatic "you're going to lose your children" scenario. And you do need help for yourself as well, you can't be everything to everyone without it impacting on you.
    The only person who can decide if changing your work hours is going to work or not is you.
    I just think before you make any big life changing decisions you need to know more about the systems and processes, and where you stand within that. Rather than seeing the social workers as a threat at the moment, use them as a source of information. Ask them to explain a bit more about child protection and how it works rather than issuing vague threats.
    Some social workers are as much use as a chocolate teapot, but there are also some good ones out there. And if you need more help tell them that. If you don't ask, you won't get, and they'll assume the family is coping until it all goes pear-shaped.
  • Is there anyone that your wife could go and stay with for this week as you will be at home with the children.
    I think you really need to have a good talk with your health visitor and ask for her to be with you to talk with the social worker.
    You might be able to get some financial help with childcare if you are able to return to work next week. I am not too sure about benefits etc, but I am sure there must be some help for you out there.
    Also use this coming week to focus on the children, as you sound as if you are a great dad.
    I do understand your frustration with your wife and it is obvious that she really needs a lot of help.
    It might be difficult for your wife to take for her responsibility for herself at the moment but I think you need to concentrate on yourself and your children.
    take care
  • Just looking at this from a different angle, does your wife's illness mean that she needs help with her own care or mobility needs? If so she may be entitled to PIP (the successor to DLA). It is not easy to get it *just* for me but it sounds like she has mental health issues as well, which may make a difference.
    The reason for the questions is that if she is entitled to PIP, it might be that you would be entitled to carer's allowance and that also would mean that you would be entitled to income support.
    Please, before anyone slams me for advocating a life in benefits, it might be that the wife and family need the father at home during this period, to care for the wife and keep the children safe.
  • I think what you have suggested Daisy is the road that the OP needs to investigate too.
    No person should have to cope with this amount of stress and also hold down a full time job.
    I also am not a advocate of life on benefits but in this case this is a genuine example of how the state should support this family.
  • Oh well, thought I'd come up with a solution. My plan was to work part time 2 weekdays and 1 day at weekend. DD would be in nursery and either sis or grandparents to have her when I work my 1 day at w/e.
    Wife doesn't want me to and just sat there like a naught school child, yes I was tactful about the whole thing. But she wont even admit there's a problem. She's worry about loss of life style! I said that doesn't matter what matters is the children, families make a home not the stuff that's in it.
    She just doesn't seem to care!
    Good job I have a week off, DD in nursery Monday, so time to pick up the phone to MIND and alike. God this is horrible.
  • Also remember your health visitor and social worker.
    You will probably not be able to get advice/help till Monday.
    In the meantime can you write down all the help you require to help you function as a family and let them know how difficult life is at present.
    I hope things get a bit easier for you and the children.
  • I can see how hard you are finding things. However can I just point out - your wife is ill, both mentally and physically. You promised to stay with her in sickness and in health, yet you say "'I'm at my wits end, I just want to throw my wife out and tell her to sort herself out!".
    Your wife can't cope with looking after the children. You need to accept whatever help social services and any other organisations can offer. You've got a week at home to sort some of this out, best to concentrate on dealing with the situation as it is, rather than resenting your wife for what she can't help.
  • Hi OP,
    I feel very harsh when saying this, but have you looked into getting your partner some in-patient care for her mental health issue, as from what I have read she has assaulted one of your children, and is possibly having delusions about hating one of the children. By this I mean voluntarily, not under a section - I am quite concerned that if it carries on escalating that she may be removed against her will - I have seen it all too many times, and she doesn't seem to be getting much support from the health and social care providers who are supposed to be looking after her.
    It seems like a harsh step, but if she gets the help she needs, then it can only be a good thing for everyone involved, especially you, your OH and the kids.
    If she won't go in voluntarily, or you don't feel like you can do that, then maybe get her to see a mental health specialist - it doesn't sound like classic depression, and it seems like noone is coping; it really doesn't have to be that way at all.
    I do hope you find the strength to keep on fighting, and you won't take my comments too harshly - I am only thinking of your family unit and what may give the best long term outcomes.
  • Bluepen seems like your wife has a hatred towards just one of your children, does she also control you, is this something more, dare I suggest she has some kind of ????pd disorder, only going on what you are telling me, she is abusing her child, you are quite right in saying if you did so, seems like you do everything and get abuse also. I am not diagnosing but looking at what you are telling me there is something badly wrong, does your wife have a community pshychiatric nurse visit regular for support, this should be available and sounds very necessary. I have a medical background but these are only my thoughts on your dilemma. Your child is very vulnerable. Take care and I hope all works out for you.
  • it is difficult to continue job with mounting mental stress. your wife is also going through a serious mental disorder and gives vent to her feeling especially on kids. your wife needs to see a psychiatrist who can help her with her stress. hope you get a solution of all this problem soon