Thursday, 17 Nisan, 5784
  |  April 25, 2024

To the Silent Sufferer, Living With a Mental Tornado

From the COLlive inbox: "At some point, it dawns on us that this is not normal, and we are not actually the problem. We scour Google for a diagnosis until we land on one that sounds too familiar. Then we mistakingly tell our spouse we think we know what's wrong..." Full Story

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I can totally relate
September 10, 2023 10:19 pm

I went through exactly what you are describing and it feels very validating to read this. The worst part was feeling so alone and that I was completely losing my mind from the hot and cold behavior. I’m so sad to hear that this is more common than I would have imagined.

alone or not
Reply to  I can totally relate
September 12, 2023 11:42 am

why would hearing that other people have the same problem make it better instead of worse? it should make it worse because that just means more people are suffering

Never heard?
Reply to  alone or not
September 12, 2023 6:56 pm

Never heard of tzoras rabbim chatzi nechomo? He’s willing to help people also. This person and the article are gold.

I’m not sure where this article is going???
September 10, 2023 10:22 pm

Can you please clarify what the context of this article is? Who are they referring to? What is this about?

Reply to  I’m not sure where this article is going???
September 12, 2023 4:17 am

If this isn’t an issue for you, that’s good. Thank G-d and count it as a blessing

Thank you
September 10, 2023 10:38 pm

For speaking out. I am you! There are good days and better days. Keep at it. Sending so much love…

September 10, 2023 10:40 pm

is there a local (CH) support group for those whose spouses suffer from mental illness

To concerned
Reply to  concerned
September 11, 2023 12:03 am

Good to hear that the community has support for spouses of people with mental illness.
To be clear however, not all abusive spouses are mentally ill. They are just plain old abusive, for any number of reasons- having witnessed an abusive marriage, being raised with absolute entitlement etc. Some mental illnesses can be helped with medication. But when abusiveness stems from warped models and thinking, medication won’t help rid them of their abusive behaviors.

psychology is its own religion
Reply to  To concerned
September 12, 2023 11:41 am

and not all people who have been labeled mentally ill, are.

Help for a family member with mental illness
Reply to  concerned
September 12, 2023 3:41 pm

There is a 12 step group for this that might be a good fit. Please email [email protected] for more information. The inbox is monitored daily.

Mental Health Services and DV Hotline
September 10, 2023 10:56 pm

There are an array of counseling services in Crown Heights both private and clinical. The two main clinics are Interborough on Utica/ E.NYAve., and Jewish Board on Kingston and St. Johns. They both take private and Medicaid insurance. Interborough (IDCC) also has a program called Connect which focuses on wrap-around mental health services such as benifits, housing and vocational. These services all help enhance the total mental help of the person. It’s hard to have optimum Mental health if you don’t have a job, food or stable housing. There is also a private practice run by Elka Pinson. Lastly there… Read more »

Wont work for our community
Reply to  Mental Health Services and DV Hotline
September 11, 2023 2:05 am

Intent is nice, but for this to work in our community you would need need something much more private than a clinic.

The article is good - not this
Reply to  Mental Health Services and DV Hotline
September 12, 2023 7:02 pm

The article advocates for slowly but surely making the situation better. The article does not advocate divorce or leaving the children to chas vsholom fend for themselves with such a parent alone – chas vsholom. Think what you are saying before listing a bunch of names (the only maybe good one being the frum person from our community – who I don’t really know). The author of the article took time, gave caring and didn’t spew a list of organizations to call that would end things. He shows people suffering a true path to hope other than cut and run.

What is the hope?
September 10, 2023 11:05 pm

About time this was raised, thank you for expressing it so well. I too endured living with a borderline wife for more than a decade. It was hell on earth. The gaslighting was the worst. Especially when it’s directed at innocent, easily-influencedyoung children. She wasn’t happy until she broke our family apart, drove each of our children OTD, and alienated several of the most vulnerable ones for me. Yet even all this destruction did not make her any less miserable. This illness is a pit of hell that only destroys what’s in its path. It’s heartbreaking and our family is… Read more »

Sorry you are going through this
Reply to  What is the hope?
September 11, 2023 8:06 am

I hope you are seeking therapy for the children. In addition a support system is very important to the degree that you have your time with them. This could be family, good friends for them, teachers that care. There are great organizations that even OTD kids gravitate to such as Aliya for Boys and Aliya for girls. I hope this person will answer your questions but you can still have positive influences on your children and it is especially important to support the OTD ones. With your love and acceptance they will at least stay close to you and hopefully… Read more »

Reply to  Sorry you are going through this
September 11, 2023 10:36 am

Excellent suggestions and does give me some hope.


Reply to  Sorry you are going through this
September 12, 2023 11:39 am

don’t force kids to go to therapy

Second point
Reply to  What is the hope?
September 11, 2023 1:32 pm

Please send an email to the address mentioned in the article, the answer is very long and not for this forum.

Mental Health needs better attention
September 10, 2023 11:20 pm

Mental health doesn’t need to be severe to be problematic. It affects about 20 percent of adults. That means about 2 out of every 10 people you see have something.

Less stigma and more open conversations should be encouraged.

It also relatively common for people in their 20’s to develop anxiety and depression. This is the same age that young people are supposed to get married, figure out their career, and figure their life/spiritual values.

Parents and teachers need to be better informed about these things.

mental health therapists are not the answer.
Reply to  Mental Health needs better attention
September 12, 2023 11:38 am

the only real cure is complete observance of the halacha, and Hashem

That's misleading
Reply to  mental health therapists are not the answer.
September 12, 2023 4:48 pm

Someone can be following halacha to the tea and be extremely emotionally (one example) unhealthy. From someone who’s been there

Ignorance is bliss?
Reply to  mental health therapists are not the answer.
September 12, 2023 10:09 pm

Friend, one cannot observe the Halacha when they are swinging from the rafters and have completely lost touch with reality.

About time...
September 11, 2023 12:25 am

About time that posts like this talk about the feminine abuse there’s out there.
It’s easy more common that people think and sometimes the damage is bigger for all involved (including the abusive spouse)
More organizations for assisting man navigating these situations with best intention for all involved (specially children) are needed

Yes, spousal abuse against males must stop!
Reply to  About time...
September 11, 2023 10:25 pm

I fully agree. Spousal abuse against males is very real and men must get out of the situation. I have an in-law who is a tall, strong, handsome, very kind man with a heart of gold (who I’ve known since he was little) and his much-smaller wife was extremely physically abusive to him and would throw big, hard, objects at him. Once she was striking him with a hair dryer. Of course, he would never fight back as he was hard-wired to never hurt a woman. Finally, thankfully, he divorced her.

My heart goes out to you!
September 11, 2023 12:45 am

It sounds like your wife (at one point, you did say “she”) is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is a very serious condition and very difficult to live with. Medication is not really effective with BPD but a type of therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is very helpful. Unless your spouse will “wake up and smell the coffee,” things will continue without change. Perhaps a Rav/mentor/close friend can reach out to her. I truly wish you and your family the best in moving forward. **A very useful classic book is “Stop Walking on Eggshells.” It will validate what you… Read more »

What’s the point?
September 11, 2023 2:10 am

You should spell out what you would like to achieve here. Are you just trying to achieve awareness? Starting a support group for Lubavitcher husbands living with wives who have borderline personality disorder (seems like there are many..)? Offering tips and tricks?

spell it out yourself
Reply to  What’s the point?
September 11, 2023 11:24 am

You should spell out what your thoughts and experience with mental health out that are behind your questions of what someone else should be trying to achieve here.

Or are you saying it’s forbidden to lay out a problem, that alone is not an achievement? It must come with a list of practical outcomes? Then we tell you, it’s forbidden to lay out a list of questions without explaining what is underpinning your questions.

Don’t like a merry-go-round, don’t start no merry-go-round.

September 11, 2023 6:25 am

This article sounds like it was written by an abusive husband. In typical gaslighting fashion, he is blaming his spouse for his own reign of terror.

In the article
Reply to  Textbook
September 12, 2023 4:53 pm

He speaks about a problem he is going through in life and sympathizing with others who are as well, as well as offering advice. He is not blaming anyone for it. Your comment on the other hand…

Shame on you
Reply to  Textbook
September 12, 2023 7:07 pm

Right, any man who complains about being vilified and put down is really an abuser. He should be vilified and put down. And you are? A rose by another name?

There's more.......
September 11, 2023 7:08 am

The “people” described can act like perfect “tzaddikim” in shul, at your Shabbos table, in the company of others. However, when they’re at home in privacy, sometimes not even in front of their own children, they can be very mean and even dangerous!
We need Moshiach.

Thank you
September 11, 2023 8:19 am

I hope this helps many people who like me suffer from depression panic attacks and ptsd there is no reason at this time in the world where anyone has to suffer alone

No Longer in the Eye of the Tornado
September 11, 2023 11:53 am

I lived in this tornado for a few years and it has Boruch Hashem passed my family. The OP’s 3 points are all critical (especially #2). From my experience there are 2 others that must be incorporated in order for a family to become healthy. 1: the anonymity is the silent killer. if you put the guy in shul looking at you the wrong way ahead of your family’s wellbeing, there is no hope for healing. If you put shiduchim concerns ahead of your family, your children will most likely perpetuate this secrecy into their own lives and continue the… Read more »

a lot of "mental health" doesn't do anything
Reply to  No Longer in the Eye of the Tornado
September 12, 2023 11:36 am

and a lot of “therapists” don’t help at all. don’t think that all problems can be solved by those humans or medications.

September 11, 2023 12:16 pm


According to this article, urban cities, ESPECIALLY – does it get any more urban than here, in NYC?! – can contribute to serious mental disorders.
People who moved to rural communities report complete or some relief from these problems.

But, living in the Country may present other hardships. So, maybe do like a
“compromise”, and see if living in a more sub-urban environment works for you.

rural communities
September 12, 2023 11:35 am

we need frum rural communities.

Aren't there?
Reply to  rural communities
September 12, 2023 4:29 pm

E.g. Monticello, Fallsburg, Ellenville, Kingston, even suburban Monsey (yes, now, crowded, but still more nature and less industrial pollution.

Medication or the like may be mandatory
September 11, 2023 12:21 pm

If the urban environment is a factor here, but
you are compelled to stay put, then you may
really have to look into medication. Better
to suppress the symptoms if you can’t seem
to get away from the underlying cause or contributor.
This is serious. DO NOT ESCHEW MEDICINE.
To dangerous a matter to play with.

no way
Reply to  Medication or the like may be mandatory
September 12, 2023 11:34 am

don’t force medicine

To the people who said "I don't believe you"
September 11, 2023 12:39 pm

Read this article and the comment titled “There’s more…” I tried to reach out to you when I was still in the marriage with my toxic covert narcissist husband who is also untreated for his mental health diagnosis: a marriage I endured for decades, Hashem yerachem, until I was finally told by a wise rabbi that his cruel, oddball, self-obsessed behavior is “part of his sickness.” But no. Since I am human, you may have heard me take the bait ONE time, and yell back. That “validated” all the brainwashing smear campaigns by my husband, who lied and convinced you… Read more »

My heart goes out to you, beautiful person
Reply to  To the people who said "I don't believe you"
September 12, 2023 2:59 pm

I know EXACTLY to what you are referring. As a child, my very abusive step-father, my oldest brother, my ex-husband, all knew they had diagnosed mental illness and would not medicate as one said, “I don’t want to go through life feeling nothing as I feel when medicated.” My oldest brother was physically violent against us children, and went on to beat his girlfriends and wives, pets, road rage incidents of strangers, etc. My ex-husband’s family knew well, but said nothing before we were married. I was his THIRD wife when he was only 26. He and his family made… Read more »

This article sounds made up!
September 11, 2023 2:01 pm

This article sounds completely made up
A guy can’t do nothing and his whole life just spirals out of control ! Sounds like a joke of an article !!
It’s the women that are 99 percent of the time abused not the men!! I have a friend that was terribly emotionally verbally and physically abused a woman’s strength can never come near a man that beats her!!

Bogus logic
Reply to  This article sounds made up!
September 12, 2023 11:33 am

If you are so ignorant, then go learn more. You are perpetuating the problem!

it's about time
September 11, 2023 2:04 pm

I am glad that it is acknowledged that it can be the woman who is the abuser. Unfortunately even if there is a divorce, and when there are children involved, the abuse never stops, further there is child alienation involved. Support is great but it would be better if there was some sort of way to shut these people down, The victim has a right to go on with their lives. It’s just so sad and frustrating that a person can literally ruin another persons life and get away with it (especially a woman who puts on crocodile tears and… Read more »

The courts are not biased to woman
Reply to  it's about time
September 12, 2023 1:32 pm

There are men who get away with abusive behavior and get away with it and still have all their parenting rights all the time. If anything men have more power in these situations and woman are almost never believed.

An answer to my heart goes out to you
September 11, 2023 4:42 pm

If you read the P.S. it said this article is gender neutral. Take it the way you like, I know MEN suffering from this disorder who need help and are not getting it.
BTW, this condition does not start when the person marries. It is a condition that they had before they married.

Not always
Reply to  An answer to my heart goes out to you
September 12, 2023 3:05 pm

For many people, mental illness appears in their early 20s, but can come earlier or later. Read the book, “An Unquiet Mind,” and see the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” both are water-down about the realities, but it gives one an inkling of mental illness.

My parents
September 11, 2023 6:16 pm

Growing up with a mother who probably has boderline personality disorder, (obviously not diagnosed, since she would never acknowledge that she has a problem,) this sounds so familiar. My mother has anger issues only behind closed doors and it often leaves us at loss of what to do. My father seems to follow the policy of keeping quiet to keep the peace, but its clearly so painful. It would be so helpful for men to have support in how to navigate this, how to set boundaries, and how to recognize that her perception is not the reality. They need to… Read more »

Thank you!
September 11, 2023 9:37 pm

You must call hatzala and have them forcibly admitted to the psych ward. After they are released, they MUST stay on their meds or go back to the psych ward. If they will not take meds and if you cannot get them into the psych ward, do not stay in that situation and definitely, do not allow the children to stay in that situation. It destroys children and adults. (75% of the people I know with severe and abusive mental health problems refuse to take their meds.) I know, it’s complete hell. The one way I (barely) survived dealing with… Read more »

Reply to  Thank you!
September 12, 2023 11:31 am

do not do that.

Get busy living...
September 11, 2023 10:08 pm

My recommendation based on experiencing this on perhaps a smaller scale but often enough to pull me down, is to simply get busy living….. Stay busy learning and stay busy helping others and stay busy attending farbrengens. If you are home all the time trying to walk on eggshells, will not work out well. When you are busy doing your learning and helping out others, you are also not wallowing in the muck of your spouses never ending manipulative mind games. A good farbregen lifts you a tefach off the ground where you are not a victim but a source… Read more »

Shoving things under the rug
September 11, 2023 10:29 pm

AL anon is a gr8 program for getting the help and support you need, but also trusting Hashem and being real, when you trust Hashem you can be real…. get the help you need, if the community can’t understand then go where thry can understand, take care of yourself!

If I could help
September 12, 2023 12:55 pm

While I have seen many instances of husbands being less than ideal to their wives (on occasion, worse), it does not compare to what I have observed in some couples of all ages, where the wife relentlessly abuses her husband, who is the most gentle soul, and listens to whatever she says. The first thing I would do is, to give him the courage to stand up for himself, and to divorce. There are many ways to heaven, and taking abuse is not the only way there. And very importantly (while this is controversial, it must be stated): The law… Read more »

Reply to  If I could help
September 13, 2023 1:46 am

The majority of the comment section is supporting men. Exactly which culture believes and enables abusive woman,quite the contrary.

Males against females in the comment section again
September 12, 2023 4:15 pm

Anyone can be abusive,male or female! And the odds are not against abused men in the court system in 2023. The fact that so many still believe this only shows that men are sympathized woth way more. Woman and men can be abusive,just read the news and you’ll see. All I see is woman being labeled as crazy all the time and men given the benifit of the doubt.

Reply to  Males against females in the comment section again
September 14, 2023 4:10 am

Your comment seams quite contradictory

Reach Out
September 12, 2023 5:43 pm

Whoever is a victim of any type of abuse, The Jewish Board has a specialized initiative called ‘The Lev Initiative,’ where they offer services and support for victims of domestic violence (male and female). They are an incredible organization that help many Frum families.

All is kept confidential: [email protected] or call 646-273-1800.

Take it like a Chosid
September 12, 2023 10:22 pm

Living with a BPD spouse is a living hell that 99.9% will not ever change for the better. Part of the machla is the person never acknowledging that anything is wrong with them so there is little hope for any improvement. At the same time getting a divorce because of your living hell is saying Hashem made a mistake with your Shidduch the same way a male says that Hashem made a mistake with making him a male and therefore “transitioning” to a female. It’s the same K’fira.  Of course Hashem knew that the spouse he was giving you was… Read more »

Reply to  Take it like a Chosid
September 13, 2023 7:48 am

Divorce is an option givin to us by Hashem and you call it kfira? Look in the mirror, maybe your spouse isn’t the only one with issues.

There are plenty of things that can be done
Reply to  Take it like a Chosid
September 13, 2023 8:10 am

Other than divorce, which would only harm the kids. There’s being kind while keeping boundaries. Asking the spouse what to do or how to approach them when they’ve hurt you (asking when things are good may help). Davening does help. Turning to Hashem who loves and accepts you and is doing this to lift you up not only helps but often Hashem causes the spouse to change. Doing nothing but building up frustration isn’t a tool. These are.

Before commenting, live a day as this Chosid
Reply to  Take it like a Chosid
January 1, 2024 7:27 pm

I can’t imagine what it’s like for you every single day. I have a married female friend with BPD and I know her husband too. I wish she treated him better and worked on her challenges.I think of the family every time I light Shabbos candles. The most I can do is be her friend.

May Hashem send a Refuah quick!
September 13, 2023 2:10 am

https://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.org/list-of-recommended-bpd-resources/ This is a silent disease that is very costly – reach out to RELIEF, maybe they have financial aid for therapies as well as referrals for BPD. Go for individual therapy on a weekly basis. Go to couples therapy specializing DBT modality as well as in Gottman and/or EFT. DBT is the most effective for BPD on a weekly basis. Bring your children to weekly therapy. Attend Emotions Anonymous consistently – hopefully your spouse will be inspired to join shortly after. Learn NVC ( https://www.cnvc.org/ ) – the book is great, and they offer free workshops sometimes on their… Read more »

Hating on "Men" or "Women" is ignorance
September 13, 2023 8:24 am

As someone who spent more than a decade helping dozens of couples in such situations, I cam comfortably say that there is no basis to claim that there are more abusive men than women, or more abusive women than men. The percentages of mentally-ill people are roughly equal between the genders, the stigmas associated with seeking help are roughly equal, the amount of people refusing to seek help are roughly equal, and the amounts of marriages falling apart as a result of undiagnosed / untreated mental illness are steadily increasing as suffering spouses have BH more access to information and… Read more »

Shiny Happy Communities
January 1, 2024 7:40 pm

What I’ve learned while growing up in a frum community:

Hashem hands us challenges; physical, mental, emotional, financial.
You don’t know what’s behind close doors
Because we’re all Shiny Happy People