*Sigh* Family Member with BP

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Ms. Defy
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/24/2010 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello,
 
This is my first time on Healing Well so I hope you will be gentle  :)


My BF has been diagnosed with BP, ever since a few months after I met him.  He has been depressed more than I've ever seen anyone, but I never see the "manic" stages - he seems to be in good spirits, but that's about it. I have stuck my his side to his surprise, and I told him that whie I understand depression, I am not going to abandon him because he has a disease that he can't control.
 
He also claims he's got a problem with anger.  His mom and I have suggested anger management courses - I mean it defintely won't do any harm, right?  However, the psychiatrist that was treating him was a compleat doof, and I made an appointment for him with my psychistrist. This guy is great, very caring, will talk to you well after he's supposed to, and he's a talk therapist to boot.  So, every so often he goes in for a full session to talk. Otherwise it's 15 - 20 minutes just to check up and see whether his meds need to be adjusted.
 
He clims the doctor says he doesn't need anger management, he just need to get his mood swings under control (in my mind, the combination possibilities beteen 2, maybe 3 drugs are astronomical).  But he get SO mad lately, he says therrible thigs to me me and then says he doesn't remember, and occasinally (more often than not)  he'll come home with flowers or a card, becase he knows I"m upset.
 
Recently he started a huge fight with me, I was with his mom so it was a little hard to talk, so he sent me a bunch of texts to thank me for ruining his day!  Not only have I tried to get through to him by telling him that only he can make his day bad, but the things he says lately I would qualify as verbal abuse.  He says tat I just don't understand his bipolar. I do understand it, but that doesn't make his words hurt any less. I've told him that instead of apologizing, just don't do it again. Tha never seems to work since he flies off the handle so quickly.
 
One good thing about us is that, even if we are in a major argument, if I see him hurting I drop everything that I'm amgry at because I don't want him to be in pain (he also suffers from panic disorder).
 
He is rude to his mother and sister, and 5 minutes later they're all fine - it's either them letting walk all over them because they know he has bipolar and they ignore the hurtful thins he says, or it could just be that they're family and that's how families work (I've seen lots of families do this). I'm an only child - I try to tell him that I'm not his mom or his siter, our relationship has a different dynamic and he can't be talking to me like that. He usually winds up comingto me begging for forgiveness because he knows he hurt me, and that' s the end of that argument.  Sometimes though arguments have long-term effects on me, and by the things he threatens to take away, I feel like I have no authority, and one way to a succesful relationship requires feeling stanle.
 
However I do not want to be treated like this for the rest of our lives.  Rhw thought would never go through his mind, no matter how angry is, but I always ask why he can't just lump verbal abuse in there too?  If anything goes wrong he manages to blame it on me, he says I should just ignore what he says, understand that it's not really "him" talking, and if I bring it up I'm starting a fight, which is not my intention.
 
The psychiatrist doesn't think he has anger contol issues - is this true? My BF seems to thing that it comes with the territory of having BP.  What do I do?

tortoise11
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2896
   Posted 1/24/2010 9:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I'd leave.  Honest.  I am BP II (and panic disorder) and was married to an undiagnosed, but clearly BP man.  It was as you describe until it because abusive.  I wasted 5 years of my life, not getting the treatment I needed.
 
I'm with a man now who is wonderful and supportive.  I appreciate it so much.  But I respect him enough to do everything I can to prevent it from affecting him.  We were discussing whether or not I should go off of a med and he commented that he didn't think my mood swings are "that bad."
 
Not that he should hide it from you - but he must respect you.  KWIM?
 
Good luck.  I hope you can find a network of partners/spouses of BP.

tortoise11
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2896
   Posted 1/24/2010 9:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh - the irritability, anger, even rage do come with the territory.  But if it is a problem, then anger management couldn't be a bad thing, right?

Ms. Defy
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/25/2010 1:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Tortoise - Sorry, I don't know what KWIM means?

His mom I should leave for a few days just to "rattle his cage", you know the old daying about noy knowing what's good until it's gone? Even though I don't like to play games (and we haven't spent a night apart from each other since we've been together), we both agreed that staying at someone's house would be detrimental to our relationship, plus it would hurt me as much as it hurt him. He seems to lately to blame everything on being bipolar, and actually suggested that when I brought up anger management, I was the one who should be taking that class to deal with his moodswings!

His mom, sister and I agree that just because you're bipolar doesn't mean you get to treat people that way. He is unbelievably rude to his mom and she is so kind abd caring, but frankly I don't want to grow up like her - I don't want to hear painful things one minute and then the next minute have him be apologetic. Which is why I always ask him if he can't lump verbal abuse into the mindsrt that he would never hit a woman. Frankly (and I told him this) it hurts less to be beaten than verbal or emotional abouse. When he's more lucid he always said I deserve better than him, and thanks me profuselt for putting up with him.

I have read anything I can get my hands on regarding Bipolar disorder, but none address how to deal with someone you love being able to handle it - It's kind on like not knowing how to drive and reading the owner's manual to a car you just bought. He has been diagnosed, but not any spvciific type.

None address the full range of symptoms, either. I am really curious if flyiing off the handle is normal for people with BP, or if he really needs an anger management class. I just really hate the ways he talks to me lately, but he is constany having his meds changed so that he can find the right combo, so it may be coming from the adjustment to the drugs.

I want to stick with him and be there for him, but he can't seem to keep his anger from growing out of control. He doesn't have a bad temper, and he's non-violent thank God, but if anything or anyone or I upset him, that's it.

I'm afraid that he's got an anger issue, but I'm not a doctor and his specialist thinks he doesn't really need it, but he's never seen him pissed off. If it turns out it's part of being BP I'll feel like a real jerk. But in my mind, you can get mad, but that doesn't necissarily have to present itself through anger towards others and the hateful things he says, even if he is sorry 20 minutes latter. It's not as though he has Tourette's. I can take anger, I just don't want it directed towards me, although I am the person he sees more than anyone else because we live together.

Does this occur with everytone?

tortoise11
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2896
   Posted 1/25/2010 4:59 AM (GMT -7)   
No.  Each person is affected differently, and it depends on if he has BP I or BPII. 
 
I have BPII, so my manic is not so high so I rarely make poor decisions or become extremely irritable from being manic or hypomanic.  I strugge with sudden, severe depressions and the panic.  The way I motivate myself to take care of myself is by focusing on it not affecting people around me - my son and SO.
 
I know there are some resources for spouses of BP.  Just google it.  My SO found a good one.  Some of them just say to suck it up and deal with it, which sounds like poor advice for you. 
 
Take care of YOU first.  Get a little distance.  YOU CANNOT "fix" him or make him feel better.  Hopefully he will consider having his meds changed to dea with this?
 
KWIM - know what I mean?

Ms. Defy
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/25/2010 8:43 AM (GMT -7)   
LOL - OK sorry, I still don't know what KWIM is! What does it mean? I'm so curious now :)

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 1/25/2010 11:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ms. Defy --

KWIM means: Know What I Mean (KWIM)

Thanks for joining HealingWell. A couple of things for you to consider:

1. Yes, the anger is definitely a part of bipolar disorder, as is the verbal abuse but that DOES NOT excuse it. Taking responsibility for our actions and getting the help we need, whether that be counseling or medication or both, is important for living a healthy life with this disorder. You do not have to, and should not, take his abuse. Make it clear what you won't stand for, set limits, and stick to it. If you say you're going to leave if he keeps treating you this way, then do it, or he's going to learn he can just keep pushing you. This isn't something limited to people with bipolar disorder, this is how ANYONE deserves to be treated.

2. Multiple medications for bipolar disorder are very common. Many of us are on 3 or more. I'm on 3, I've been on as many as 7. The important thing is that the doctor is responsible and knowledgeable about medications for bipolar disorder. Feel free to "shop around."

3. This board is for people suffering with the disorder, but people in relationships with bipolars often need support too. To that end, there is a list of resources for Family and Friends in the Bipolar Disorder Resources thread.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar and Depression Forums
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER


sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 1/25/2010 6:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks serafena for all the work that you do around here!  You are very much appreciated by me! blush
~sukay~
Anxiety/Panic  
Bipolar - 2004
     Crohns disease - 1995 
Arthritis & Fibromyalgia 
 
Leo Buscaglia


Ms. Defy
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/27/2010 12:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Serafina for your reply. It helped a lot, I really appreciate it!

Ms. Defy
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/27/2010 12:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi again Serafina,

I was checking out the links you sent, I really appreciate you doing that for me. When I clicked on them, they all seemed to be other forums that deal with other issues that are on HW, but they all seem similar to this forum, not anything specifically for loved ones/family members. Should I be posting in those even if I am just a loved one who is not suffering from it? I wanted to ask and make sure - is it OK?

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 1/27/2010 6:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ms. Defy,

The last three links for Friends and Family that I supplied on the Bipolar Disorder Resources page, for NAMI, Pendulum, and Daily Strength, all have forums that are specifically for spouses. To get to the NAMI forums, you have to create a login, but once you do they have a forum called "Spouses of Bipolar" and another called "Mental Illness in my Family." So I know you can find a place there. Also, the Daily Strength forum I've linked to is called "Family and Friends of Bipolar Disorder." They have a separate page for Bipolar Disorder sufferers, the link I've provided is especially for family. You would be welcome to post in any of these places.


You're welcome to post here as well, just know that we aren't specifically focused on spouses, and we ask that you be respectful of the disorder and people suffering from it -- which can be hard when you want to vent. :-)

Thanks,
serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar and Depression Forums
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER

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