to Family Member Letter about Rages
Person With Bipolar
Dear Family Member:
I can identify with your anxiety and frustration from two
viewpoints: 1)I have watched my bipolar father manipulate my
mother, brother and me for my entire life 2) I am bipolar
First, you must understand that you are not responsible for
the way the bipolar person rages at you. While the person may
become out of control, it in no way means that you have said
or done something unacceptable. I watch my brother and my
mother walk around on egg shells in fear of setting my father
off. I instead have distanced myself from the situation. The
three of them work closely together in a family business. I
have chosen not to be a part of it because I cannot tolerate
the outbursts of anger that my father exhibits.
Here too, when my father is on a positive high, the entire
family is "happy." Daddy has such a wonderful way of
convincing each of us that his plans and dreams are tangible
and that soon all of our financial worries will be over. And,
sometimes Daddy's dreams do materialize--he is a successful
Then, there are the depressed states that Daddy suffers.
During these times my entire family is depressed. We see no
way of winning. Everything is dismal and there is no help to
So, while I have tried to distance myself, I am still affected
by my father's illness whether I want to be or not. I worry
about my mother who receives the full thrust of his illness. I
have wondered for years how she has lived with him for 44
years. Yet, Daddy is a wonderful, loving, tenderhearted human
being who will help anyone in any way that he can. We ride a
roller coaster that never stops!
As for me, I have suffered from depression at least since I
was 15 years old and I may have even earlier in life. I am now
38. Finally, after years of counseling my psychiatrist
diagnosed me as bipolar. I am in my third marriage. I have
worked nine different jobs in 14 years. I have run up credit
card bills at least three times in my life that have taken
years to pay off. I self-medicated with alcohol not realizing
what I was doing. I loved to go dancing and drinking because I
felt such relief as I drank, danced and acted crazy. It is
okay to act crazy under the influence of alcohol. I did not
understand what was going on with me until this diagnosis was
made and I studied and continue to study everything I can
about the illness.
It is not acceptable for bipolar people to treat others
disrespectfully. I have learned that I must think------before
I act, speak or do. Yet, I still lash out at times and
regrettably so. However, it is so difficult to understand when
I should stand up for myself and when I am going too far.
The depression is horrible. It hits out of no where. Suicidal
thoughts come. I just want to be completely alone, yet I
cannot because of my children and my responsibilities.
If your bipolar mate will not work to understand the illness
and he/she will not seek proper medical help and take the
medicine; then, for your sanity you need to leave the
relationship. Being bipolar is an illness just as other
illnesses afflict our bodies--and if we don't do everything in
our control to fight the illness, then it takes control.
You must take care of yourself.
Permission by Anonymous
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Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All