to Family Member Letter about Rages
Bipolar Disorder Consumer
I read, with interest, sadness, and empathy, the letter you
posted from a family member. I am a manic-depressive
alcoholic, and when I was drinking I displayed behaviors that
were, at the very least cruel, and at the most, severely
destructive to both my relationships and my loved ones.
Though I have not had a drink in almost five years, I still
have a sarcastic streak which I aim, at times, at those
nearest and dearest to me, for I know they cannot leave me
forever due to their love for me. However, I am also learning
that the only person I can change is myself, and if I am in a
situation that is a danger to my health, I must remove myself
from that situation, no matter how much I love the person
whose behavior is harmful to me.
Sick people feed on each other, and when I live with someone I
love I know all their weak points, making it easier to release
my stress level by pouring it onto them. They do not
"cause" my anger; that comes from within: my
frustration with myself, my life, my inability to meet my own
very high standards, my fear of the future, my regrets for the
past. When we feed off each others' illnesses, it becomes a
vicious circle, and no one is safe from stress (deserved or
I have been taught that nothing changes if nothing changes,
and though at first I didn't understand that concept, one day
the light went on and I realized if I changed even a small
part of my own behavior, the cycle began to break down,
because I was no longer playing the game. I have learned we
create our own anger, joy and pain, and that is where our
power lies, with or without a chronic illness. I have chosen
to leave people I love when being around them is destructive
to my health. The only thing I can do for them is pray, but
for me, I can move away.
I have learned that many of my problems are self-created and
not fixable by others. I have chosen relationships for the
wrong reasons; I have hung onto relationships that were very
unhealthy for me, because I was afraid of the unknown, and of
being alone. But when the pain of the relationship exceeded
the fear of the unknown, I chose to move on. I have found I AM
a person of worth and value, and I choose to be around people
who openly acknowledge that.
Today I refuse to stay in the company of people who use me as
a whipping post for their own frustration, or even in the
company of people who are so self-centered they don't even
know I'm there. I am choosing healthier relationships these
days, with people who show more compassion than frustration,
people who enjoy life and wish to share that joy with others.
And though at times it is more painful to leave than to stay,
the ultimate reward is a less stressful, happier life.
I believe we are each responsible for our own health and
happiness, first and foremost. Once we have that, we will
attract people who are healthy as well. This is not an easy
path to take, but the rewards are well worth it.
My best wishes to this family member, that she may find some
peace in her daily life, and ultimate joy in being alive.
Permission by Anonymous
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Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All