Mental Illness and Your Durham Divorce

When your spouse is mentally ill, you may find it tough to leave—even if you’re completely miserable. Once you finally do decide to talk to a Durham divorce lawyer, you may feel like you’re at your breaking point.

Divorcing a person who’s mentally ill is particularly stressful. You’ve ridden their emotional roller coaster for a while, and you may experience guilt over leaving them to fend for themselves. If you have children, you might feel like you’re putting them through extra stress by leaving their mom or dad.

Talking to a Durham divorce lawyer who’s experienced in family issues can help strengthen your resolve and help you realize you (and your kids) will be happier and healthier if you leave the marriage.

Common Mental Disorders that Cause Divorce
Three disorders are most commonly associated with divorce according to the National Institute of Health: specific phobias, major depression and alcohol abuse. Following closely behind are bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and anxiety disorders.

Since some mental disorders don’t appear until later in life, or are triggered by a traumatic event, your spouse may seem like a different person than the one you married. Some illnesses even create a co-dependent relationship in which your spouse seems to need you to be well, and you need to feel like you’re caring for your spouse in order to maintain your self-worth.

Most mental disorders are identifiable and treatable, but the onus is on the person suffering from the disorder. Years of trying to get your spouse to get a diagnosis and treatment for his or her disorder can be discouraging and demoralizing—and sometimes it’s best just to let go.

What Your Durham Divorce Lawyer Might Recommend
Your Durham divorce lawyer might suggest that you talk to a local counselor or therapist as you work your way through divorce. A counselor can help you resolve your feelings of guilt over leaving, help you see the big picture and help you realize that the divorce is not your fault.

If part of your spouse’s mental illness includes violence, your Durham divorce lawyer can provide you with valuable resources that will help keep you and your children safe. Be sure to tell your lawyer about any episodes your soon-to-be ex has and whether he or she is undergoing any kind of treatment.


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