person with bipolar disorder
borderline personality disorder rage
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Replies 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.

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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 not). 

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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