As I journey down this path as a BP spouse, I am coming to understand that not all the issues I am dealing with are BP related. I think I associated it all to his BP, which is wrong, in truth, it is not. That is not to say that whatever the issues are, are not enhanced by the BP - both in intensity and frequency. But perhaps the BP is not fully the root.
What I mean is this, if you took his father's behavior, chauvinism, impatience, ego and control issues (as so much of my H's behavior seems to mirror the stories I've been told about his dad's younger years) as the base, and then intensified it with the BP, and amped up the frequency....that would also explain much. SO...what to do about it becomes the next issue. If the BP doesn't explain it, and it is a personality issue, how do you shift it with what feels like the BP in the way? (Did that make sense?)
I am recognizing that my H's BP compounds those other issues – but may not be the root cause, and if he didn't have BP, these issues would still exist but to a much lesser and less frequent degree. But without the BP in the mix, we may be able to actually deal with some of it. But then again, it also wouldn't be THIS difficult to live with – so it may not be such an issue to begin with…plus, it could be resolvable stuff.
I do love him, but he is wearing out my patience at the moment, and my understanding. I just can't figure out how, together as a couple, we can gain any resolution and improve things of the issues about each other driving us both mad - with the BP swinging as part of it because his agitation, defensiveness, victimhood, blame, finger pointing, low frustration tolerance, morphing the true meaning of anything being said by me, irritability, and hostility, judgment...etc. I am so ready for the attack that I end up becoming automatically defensive too. So any ground gained, is so easily lost again.
So...I would love some input on this. How do you get around the BP to resolve or improve anything? Or does it just cycle back and forth like this the rest of our lives??? (Keep in mind folks, my H is a RR to boot, so we are not talking 6 months on the upswing, and 6 months on the down - we run hot/cold daily/weekly). Plus, if I want to work on stuff that I am doing, which I feel I am contributing to the mix, but can't gain a discussion of any value or consistency to resolve, or work with, and all my efforts are on and off snarled at....how can I tell what is really going on. It gets exhausting to feel so alone trying to figure it all out without blaming anyone.
Thanks in advance for your insight and input. LFW
I here ya! From what you have shared, it sounds to me like your husband needs an ultimatum! In my opinion, you and he need to get into couple’s therapy again. And you both need to be fully honest with each other in therapy. In therapy share exactly what you feel as you stated here that you do not believe everything can be attributed to his bipolar and that it is always a vicious circle since he never stays committed to what he learns. I KNOW YOU BEEN THERE DONE THAT but that is why something different needs to happen this time around.
You need to let him know that you do not want to live the rest of your life out this way with his attitudes and behavior and that he needs to work on that through therapy and possibly needing a medication adjustment.
I understand how you explain that everything is intensified by his bipolar. I feel the same way about myself. I listened to my husband for a long time blaming all my reactions and behaviors to my bipolar. I would get upset and tell him that just because I have bipolar doesn’t mean that I am not justified with my perceptions or reactions. I know what I am feeling and yes it may be magnified/intensified X’s 3 or 4 or 5!
I see my therapist regularly. I always share what is going on in my life with my therapist. She feels that most of the time things shouldn’t be blamed on my bipolar, but that sometimes my reactions or how I handled things weren’t the correct way and that was what I needed to work on.
I know when I start to feel over the top and need some help from a medication adjustment for a time, especially if I am going through a stressful time. Other times it has nothing to do with a medication adjustment but an adjustment in how I react or just a confidence builder to stand up for myself.
I feel you need to be honest with your husband and tell him that whatever the reasons for his behavior or personality traits are, that you feel that you both need to be involved in marriage counseling because it is becoming more difficult for you to handle. To me…bipolar or not, these are issues that he needs to get help with. You said it perfectly, "…without the BP in the mix, we may be able to actually deal with some of it. But then again, it also wouldn't be THIS difficult to live with – so it may not be such an issue to begin with…plus, it could be resolvable stuff."
LFW…I completely understand where you are coming from and all the frustration. Your husband needs to OWN his stuff just as you own Yours. Maybe you should just print this post up for him and let him read it. Maybe he doesn’t fully understand HOW MUCH this is bothering you and that HE NEEDS to make an EFFORT to fix some things on his part. It sounds like he needs to TRY HARDER and stay committed to it. It is not like you are blaming him for everything… it takes two to make things work! You just want a fair deal of him owning his stuff and working on it too!
If he feels that he has walked this path before and doesn’t want to go through it again, and try again, because IT IS NOT WORKING…I guess the next move will have to come from you. You know the story…
Keep us posted.
I've just re-read your reply posts again and I just feel you really need to stress to him know how much this affecting you and that something needs to be worked on because this is wearing you VERY thin. (((Hugs)))
I do so love this board and all the people on it. Where else can you put out your feelings, to either vent or request feedback and actually gain insight and assistance in this way? TO HW and EVERYONE on it I give a big CHEER!I appreciate all the kind feedback and support. That is the hard contradiction I live with. On minute he seems fine, the next, he doesn't like the way I say something to him, so he tells me how in his opinion I should have done it. But if I do the same to him and point out I don't like the way he is talking to me, or behaving, he becomes nastier and dismissive. He's gone through the last week, and the weekend, growling at me a lot, and now for two days he has been nice again. But I don't trust it, and feel I over time AM becoming part of the problem because I am trained to be defensive with him, as I, in some ways, anticipate the mini "attack" at any moment. I hate watching this. I am in therapy, and he says to be clearer with my H, and put up with less. "Stop being so reasonable". And keep in mind on the big stuff – my H is VERY clear on the boundaries from me. So, it is this day to day continual stuff that makes it so miserable, I am now also speaking up even more...only, it is elongating the hostility IMO. So, I don't like living in a battle zone, nor do my kids. And again, I remind you all, this is not screaming and yelling and vicious verbal abuse - but consistent nastiness and growling none the same dripping in a lack of respect, and an aggressive dismissive tone. My therapist thinks it has to do with the way he was raised and the way he saw his dad treat his mom. That when the father did not get his way, or the mother wasn't "little Mary sunshine" all the time he acted like a petulant child. I just know I want my MAN to stick around and stop turning into this child. He storms off like a child not getting his way after acting like an attitude filled argumentative belligerent and rude disrespectful teenager. It IS wearing me thin going back and forth so quickly. But again, it could not be the BP causing it - other than making what is already there worse, and then making it all the more challenging to every get down to it to deal with it consistently enough to change anything for more than a few days or weeks. Augh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And given I anticipate it coming, I immediately go into defense mode whether it is necessary or not much of the time during these periods. Plus, given how much I handle automatically because I have to, when he is in the mood to step up - I'm already doing what there is to be done, and he tells me I am emasculating him, or criticizing the way he does it, because it is not "my way". And I can see his point. But, you can't ask someone to constantly be in charge of something and then tell them to back off as if they are doing something wrong, because suddenly you feel like stepping up.All your feedback has been so appreciated. It is helping me formulate a note I am going to write him to try and open up the discussion about therapy for us again. Or at least try for a reasonable discussion between us that can help improve things a bit, or at least get some honest open dialoging happening. Thank you all...keep it coming! LFW
Post Edited (loving frustrated wife) : 9/9/2008 9:42:17 PM (GMT-6)
And how are you doing? Been thinking about all my friends out here. Have you made any progress with approaching your hubby? Keeping you in my thoughts!