This week's letter sender asks our columnists if her husband's voyeurism is related to depression and anxiety
You have raised a significant number of issues in your account of your situation, including voyeurism, sex mania, child abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, hallucination and/or schizophrenia, the accuracy of psychiatric diagnoses, alternative diagnoses, comorbidity, even religion.
You say that your husband (let’s call him Fritz) was abused as a child, learned no ‘good’ values from his parents and seems to be behaving much as his father did before, at least according to his own mother.
Having been caught with inappropriate pictures of your sister, he is now pleading that he is suffering from anxiety, depression and hallucinatory voices though you suspect that this is merely a ruse to garner sympathy.
Then there are his suicide attempts, motivated in your view by your intention to separate. And, lo and behold, the psychiatrist announces that his love for you is so great that you are the triggering factor for all his mental problems.
This diagnosis beggars belief. This is equivalent to blaming silk for someone’s fetish for silk stockings. It ignores Fritz’s history, fails to explain how his great love for you includes filming his sister in law surreptitiously and rather conveniently lays the blame at your feet. Of course it could provide you with an excellent exit strategy, since presumably removing the trigger (you) would resolve his mental issues!
Whatever the diagnosis and prognosis, there can be little doubt the current situation is unhealthy for both you and your daughter, not to mention your sister, so separation seems the obvious solution. You raise the matter of your church wedding and the resultant desire to make your marriage work. I think that Fritz’s behavior and mental state rather negate any chance of that and the safety of your daughter should be your first consideration but of course as we are dealing with supernatural beliefs perhaps your spiritual adviser is better placed to guide you, rather than an atheist. Suffice it to say that if the god you believe in is truly benevolent, removing your daughter from harm’s way should be an acceptable option.
I shall leave any discussion of Fritz’s mental state to Dr Holmes and simply close by suggesting that you distance yourself and your daughter from Fritz as soon as possible.
Thank you very much for your letter and for sharing all your concerns regarding your husband in a concise and easily understandable way. It shows you possess the ability to think and express yourself clearly, without digressing into incidentals. Thus I have no hesitation sharing information based on methodologically sound research and on my clinical experience.
Yes, voyeurism is considered a psychosexual disorder and yes, it is very possible (though not guaranteed), that there is a connection between anxiety and/or depression.