You are here

BM goes crazy and now everyone is in therapy, except her

LuluOnce's picture

This post is really long. I’ve thought about not posting it because it’s so long, because who will even read it? But since I think we are about to enter into a serious custody battle, I’m trying to get out as much information as I can now, so you will have some background as I continue to post. I have not posted about my own step-life in years, though I read here almost daily. 

DH and BM had 50/50 physical and legal custody until about 2-3 weeks ago, after BM’s most recent psychotic break.

BM’s formal diagnosis is bipolar II with psychosis. She was diagnosed went OSD12 was 2 years old. During a psychotic episode, she experiences extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and severe loss of contact with reality. Some milder examples of this include believing she needs to save people and herself from the devil by "killing the devil", thinking the garage door opener is a bomb, needing to "inspect" cars by shaking them and climbing on top of them or trying to push them over to see that they are "safe" before she gets into them... you get the picture.

Often she is able to “come in and out” of reality, where one minute she’s talking to the devil and imaginary people and the next she’s telling you about how she’s going to go to Target to pick up paper towels because she noticed she was out. This is not a “blackout” experience. She is fully aware and remembers everything that happens and is able to communicate what she’s doing and why, even while she’s doing it, but she loses the ability to understand what is “real” and what is paranoia and hallucinations.

Her mental illness is "treatable" in the sense that when she takes her medications, gets proper sleep, avoids binge drinking, and sees a psychiatrist regularly, she is "stable". (This has been why 50/50 custody has been re-established two times in the past.) When medicated, she is a giant paint-in-the-butt, high conflict GUBM and a terrible Disney parent, but she lives in reality (as much as any of the GUBMs can) and is able to function.

She is able to work when receiving proper treatment, and has held a number of part-time jobs. However, she prefers not to work for a number of reasons for all of the typical HC GUBM reasons, including DH pays $5,000/month (combination alimony and child support) and the fact that she stopped paying taxes in… 2013? So when she does work at a legitimate job, her wages are garnished. Often she works as a waitress and gets paid cash uner the table.

During the course of BM and DH's marriage, she had two (maybe three?) psychotic episodes and since DH and I have been together (five years) she has had three, including the one she is experiencing now. Each time (including this one) she has been taken to a behavioral health facility, either willingly or by police and/or paramedics, and she has been held on a 5150 or 5250, which are the California codes that allow for the involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness. She has been held for anywhere from 1-3 weeks. This time she was held for 8 days. She was released last Tuesday. Until this time, she has never had a psychotic episode in front of the kids, OSD12 and YSD7.

So, a few weeks ago…

DH was notified of this episode by two acquaintances who called him around 11AM, both saying they saw BM in the grocery store in BM’s small town, which is really two exclusive, gated communities in the middle of nowhere next to a prestigious equestrian center and the town where they lived when they were married. Both people told DH that BM was yelling and cursing at customers in the store, trying to get groceries for free, and threatening the store clerks by telling them “Satan would come for them” if they didn’t give her what she wanted. She had SD7 with her and both people who called DH were concerned for SD7’s safety given BM’s behavior.

It was a school day and our custody day anyway, so DH went to her house to get SD7. When he drove into her neighborhood, he saw her on the sidewalk on the street about a 15-minute walk from her house. She was drinking a beer, had her dog on a leash, and she was doing karate on the sidewalk with the leash in her hand as SD7 looked on. (BM does not know karate.)

DH told her he had received the phone calls about what happened in the store and she denied anything happened. He asked BM if he needed to call someone to take her to the hospital, or even if he could give her a ride then. BM told him to “eff off” and dropped the leash to the dog, threw off her hat and glasses and began “kick-running” down the street, where she would stop every few feet to do a karate move and aggressively yell “ahhhhh” before running some more. She did this for a minute or so and then stopped. DH got SD7 in the car and drove the short distance down the street to where BM had stopped. The dog came trotting back up to her. He told her he was taking SD7 and would call someone for her. She again told him to eff off and he drove away.

DH called GMB to let her know that BM appeared to be having a psychotic episode. GBM, doesn’t live nearby at all. She also hates DH and thinks BM can do no wrong. GBM says she’ll take a flight to our town as soon as she can and either rent a car or Uber to BM’s house to “talk to her”. After that, DH called for a health and welfare check from the security officer in BM’s housing complex.

When GBM got to BM’s house that night, she texted DH that BM was not there. GBM stayed in a hotel and went back the next day. Still no BM. GBM waited another day or so, filed a missing persons report for BM and broke into BM’s house when it became apparent BM had left her dog and three cats inside.

Nearly two days later, GBM texts DH that BM called her from a mental health facility an hour away from where BM lives (and there are two facilities much closer) and she asked GBM to go get her car, which she left at a mall in our neighborhood, which is two hours away from the facility and an hour from her house. How did she get to the mental health facility? We don’t know.

As all of this was happening, DH filed for and was granted temporary, full legal and psychical custody. Everyone has started therapy (again), including DH and I. LOL. This is what we have learned from the kids since this has happened: 

The night before this started, BM was going through the house testing and retesting the fire alarms. She kept telling the kids she smelled smoke and tested the fire extinguisher in the house. She told the kids they weren’t safe in the house and gave them a “lesson” on how to defend themselves against intruders using household objects. She carried around a knife for “cutting cantaloupe” though OSD12 said there was no cantaloupe. She took off her clothes and curled up in the fetal position in her bathroom and cried for at least an hour. She told OSD12 that she might be going to hell and she (OSD12) needed to accept Jesus so they could be in heaven together. That night, BM turned on every light in the house and would not let the kids turn them off to sleep. She stayed up all night opening drawers and cabinets and “making noises” (per the kids) and told them she “was working”.

In the morning, she drove both kids to school and was driving very erratically, so much so that both skids were scared and begged BM to slow down, to which she replied, “The Lord is in control”. OSD12 told her she needed to take back control and eventually BM did drive a more reasonable speed. At other points during the drive, BM took her hands off the wheel and started shaking them saying Satan was trying to burn her. She “talked” to the car in front of her and told the skids it was throwing pebbles at her and that it was trying to blind her. She dropped OSD12 off, but not YSD7. She called the school and told them not to release the kids to my DH. (They asked if she had a court order and she hung up.) She went back to the school to give OSD12 a toy from YSD7’s bedroom and cried in the hallway while opening up the little cabinets that have fire extinguishers inside them and asking OSD12 to find out if they worked.

GBM told us that BM stopped paying for her insurance in April/May because she “couldn’t afford it” (on the $5,000 per month?) and we aren't sure how long she's actually been off her meds.

DH, BM, OSD12 and YSD7 will have to go to family court tomorrow to meet with a social worker about the case. We already know this is not the "final say" as the judge ordered private mediation to follow this particular meeting and DH’s lawyer said they will most likely grant supervised visitation to BM. Presently, DH wants full custody and some kind of "check" put in place that she's getting regular treatment but he and I don't completely agree on the best way to handle this and he's a little flippy-floppy. 

I know i'm leaving a ton of stuff out, but this is already too long. I’ll respond to reply posts (if there are any!) with additional details. If you read this far, thank you.


notsobad's picture

Please get those kids out of there. Most people kill their families while having a psychotic break. They think they are saving them or that they are the evil.


LuluOnce's picture

This is our greatest fear! We don't understand how we can get the courts to see this. The first time, I think DH was too soft, trying to agree that the kids "need their mother". The second time he went in guns blazing but the court only agreed with him partially and she had to do a number of court-ordered psych evals. When she finally "passed", they re-established 50/50 custody. I'm petrified that this is what we are going to experience this time as well and that there is nothing that can be done. DH's lawyer is not optimistic about permanent full custody, though she thinks we'll be able to hold onto it for a while. 

CLove's picture

And she is, but this is on a whole different level. Obviously she needs help, and obviously the children need to be in a solid stable home. Shes getting 5 grand a month and cannot care for herself. She should have someone appointed to manage her finances and insurance covereage. What is freaking wrong with this society that allows this to continue - shouldnt the system dictate that she should not have any child support and the children should be with their father?

Sorry you and your family are going through this - psychosis being what it is, this BM should NOT be left alone with the children. I dont want to read about another crazy mother killing her chidlren to save them from Satan, or the fire extinguishers, or something. California is a crazy place that allows all KINDS of horrible behavior from BM's who still keep custody of children. Even supervised visitation could go wrong... in so many ways.

Do you have kids of your own, or want them? Are the children acting out in any ways?

LuluOnce's picture

This 5k thing is a huge deal for me. Maybe I am naive (okay, I am) but I feel like it is an obvious red flag when a person cannot manage $5,000 in a way that allows them to keep the insurance they need. Hell, at $5,000 a month, I'd be able to pay for a therapy visit out of pocket and a fair majority of medication (although I know some is really, truly expensive). So many families, entire families of more than 3 people for more than 50% of the time, manage to live successfully on less than that... to me, this shows she is incapable of managing her own health and wellness and therefore should not be allowed to manage the girls' at all.

DH's lawyer said he can go for a reduction in CS once we have a permanent order but last time that took 4 months. So I don't know what to expect this time. Completely separate from this issue of safety (which is the bigger deal here) but it's annoying to me that she gets CS when she does not even have any custody! Who is she supporting?! But... go California!

The skiddos are honestly doing much better than they were when we split the time 50/50. SD12 is like a completely different person. She's more relaxed and she jokes around a lot. She talks about her day at length and is sharing her opinions -- this from a kid who is generally very quiet and even a touch secretive at times. She has all As and one B (though it is year in the year) but last year she started the first week with a 47%! She barely passed classes each semester. Now she's asked for extra chores so she can earn money for an iPhone. She's even doing them. LOL. 

The only real "acting out" I've seen is from SD7 who does what we've started calling a "house check" every now and then. If she walks into a room and only DH is there, she will ask him where I am and where her sister is and then need to come and physically see we are there. Then she'll go back to doing whatever she was doing.

SD12 is pretty peeved with her mom, but she also feels responsible. Her therapist says she keeps trying to develop strategies to "parent BM" in order to get BM well. Obviously, they are working on that, but right now, SD12 is between being mad at her mom for not taking her meds and mad at herself for not doing more to take care of BM. SD7 has not mentioned BM hardly at all. They have a pretty difficult relationship anyway -- BM won't let SD7 sleep in her own bed (they cosleep), BM attends every field trip and stops by the school to check in on SD7 all the time, but they fight like something crazy because BM wants SD7 to be her doll and SD7 is a very opinionated and particular person. 

I don't have kids and I haven't really ever felt a desire to have one. I am not at all opposed to children! I just personally have never felt a desire to become pregnant and have a child of my own. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Has your DH considered speaking with the security force at BM's gated community? My DH and I briefly considered moving into a nearby gated comm (he worked in law enforcement, and lots of his coworkers lived there) and the community cops there knew quite a bit about the residents. The local newspaper even printed their "crime log" which basically consisted of neighbors tattling on each other for the least little thing, so dont assume everyone is protecting BM. There are lots of grandparents in gated comms, and I bet not everyone is pleased with how BM is behaving around those kids.

oneoffour's picture

If she was behaving so erratically why didn't ANY of those well meaning tattle talers call the police? If my own daughter behaved like that in a store the men in white coats would have her medicated in a padded room and my grandchildren would be safe. What is WRONG with your DH that he WAITED until BMs mother flew into town... presumably on a plane and not a broomstick? This craziness needs to be documented and presented to court. And those girls may just be satan during the next episode and she will dispatch satan to save her daughters ....while not realising they oare one in the same.

LuluOnce's picture

Oneoffour, I think I'm missing something. What do you mean he waited until BM's mother flew in? To get the girls? He went straight away to get SD7, left work immedaitely, after he found out she was with BM. He contacted his lawyer to file for emergency custody ASAP, although it did take two days for it to go before the court.

As for the tattle-talers, no. They will do nothing. They are still in the community with BM and attend all the events with her and consider themselves her "friends.". I don't know what kind of friendship that is, because if she were my friend I'd want her to get help ASAP and would not want her to harm herself OR anyone else. But these women won't even write a statement for DH to take to court because they "don't want to be involved". 

Anyway, I apologize if I misunderstood your post or I wasn't clear in mine. 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

The problem with some sort of "check" on her medication compliance and mental health is by the time they figure out something is wrong it is too late.

DH needs full physical/legal custody forever - the end. BM can have supervised visitation when she is able to do so. Even when she is back on her meds and doing ok, visitation needs to be limited in some manner. For the sake of his girls, DH needs to go full force on this. If he doesn't have a good enough lawyer, he needs to find one  who has experience with this kind of case and is willing to go "scorched earth" in order to get DH custody of the girls.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

So many of us on ST are collateral damage associated with other people's mental illness.

I agree with the above poster  - your DH should make a take no prisoners, win at all cost attack for full custody. Yes, it may be expensive, but you can pay now and know peace, or pay later and have no peace. 

notsobad's picture

I'm so sorry you are in this situation. Unless and until BM harms herself or someone else the courts are probably going to keep giving those children back to her.

Sadly, her having the children will most likely be seen as good for her therapy and she will be more likely to stay on her medication if she has the responsibility of the children. What a stupid backwards court system but that's the reality of it.

I hope your DH can find a judge who sees that putting children in harms way is a bad thing to do and that BM isn't stable enough to care for herself let alone her children.