Bipolar Disorder: A Reason Or An Excuse?

We, the nutcases, often struggle to come to terms with the person we are while unwell versus the person that is masked by the mental illness. As we struggle for understanding in ourselves it is very difficult to project the internal struggle to those around us. It’s hard to see that a lot of times we don’t even understand what drove our thought processes. All we can do is sweep up the ashes and hope we don’t lose too much in the process.

That brings me to the topic. A reason? Or an excuse? In my experience- quite a few normals I’ve dealt with see mental illness as an excuse. They have been treated like garbage by someone who was severely unwell or just didn’t give a shit- someone who used their Disorder as an excuse to do so. Since that is their personal experience, they tend to cling to that to ensure they don’t wind up as collateral damage in future interactions with the mentally ill.

In this situation- an excuse to me implies that the person does not want to accept that anything may be wrong or they know something is wrong but milk it for all it’s worth. These people will typically break it out as an excuse to try and seek asylum for any number of their shitty behaviors. “Oh well, I’m Bipolar so I didn’t have control over my actions.” or “Can you loan me money? I can’t hold a job.” And then proceed to do absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.

It is alright to have compassion for people, even manipulative assholes. However; compassion doesn’t mean you allow yourself to be victimized either. You can care about someone and still not put up with their bullshit. “You can stay here, but you either need to be trying to get on Disability or at least trying to work a part-time job.” “What’s the money you’re ‘borrowing’ from me going for? Specifically. If it’s medication, electrical bill, or something like that- fine. If you’re buying liquor or bullshit with it- then we’ll have a problem.”

What constitutes a reason? It’s actually very simple. Can the person take responsibility for their actions even if they don’t understand them? Responsibility means apologizing, trying to pay for the damages if you can, and doing what you need to. Take responsibility for your unwell actions as much as you can. Some people will be able to forgive you- others won’t. That’s just an unfortunate part of our existence.

And I would like to clarify a point. When I suggest an apology- I am not advocating apologizing for being mentally ill. NEVER apologize for being mentally ill. It’s not your fault. You have no control over the hand you were dealt- but you can choose how to play it. What I’m talking about is apologizing for hurting that person you care about. Nuts or not, no one wants to feel as though their feelings are given no consideration. Apologize for the pain, apologize for screwing things up for that person, apologize because you care about whatever you inflicted on that person.

I usually use something to the effect of- “I am sorry for XYZ action. I was unwell when I did it and I really thought I was doing the right/correct thing. If I can make it up to you; please let me know. Unfortunately, I’ll probably end up doing something just as insane in the future. That’s life as a Bipolar sometimes.”

A normal that says it’s only an excuse for shitty behavior has often been hurt badly by someone in their past, so arguing is rarely productive. I use something to the effect of- “I’m sorry for whatever you went through to have caused you to draw that conclusion. But I’m not like that. I take my meds, I fight for my wellness and to understand, and I take responsibility for my bullshit when it erupts. I know I’m Bipolar- and I don’t deny or fight that realization. I do everything I can to manage it. If ever there comes a time I treat you like that- tell me I’m being an insane asshole. There’s a good chance I just haven’t yet realized I’m unwell.”

The important thing is to stay calm. Some scenarios I’ve seen where this is the case is a person who was badly abused by an unmedicated Bipolar parent or someone with an unchecked Bipolar spouse who utterly destroyed their peace of mind and life. In either case, you won’t win an argument with them. You just have to give them the fuel for thought to show that we’re all individuals and can’t be lumped together. Frankly, it’s identical to racial stereotyping. It’s a physical difference that is assumed to bind us all into a stereotype. Black, brown, white, mentally ill- all are physical differences. Ours is just invisible.

So for those of you that are wondering whether it is an excuse or a reason- it all boils down to responsibility- if you take no responsibility for your wellness or trying to find it, walk all over others and think you’re exempt from their anger, or act like a shithead because “you’re mentally ill”. You’re just making excuses as a false victim. You have the power to change your life for the better; even if that means trying med combinations for years, dragging yourself to appointments you don’t want to go to, or taking the first step to acknowledge that you’re broken- just like me and several others in this world. You’re not alone, even if you think you are.

And if you cross paths with one of these people that make it harder on all of us- call them on their bullshit. The normals may not know how to handle a person like that but we do. It is typical to return to a point where we are finally able to feel sorrow and bad about what we did to the people we care about. If you reach that point- own up to it. If you reach that point and say fuck it- then you’re a selfish asshole for making things harder on the people that care about you and those of us who do.

That is something we should all be angry about.

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106 Responses to Bipolar Disorder: A Reason Or An Excuse?

  1. smitty says:

    Very awesome article! I will keep this in mind & let others know who don’t understand 🙂

    • Dennis says:

      Glad you enjoyed the piece, Smitty! Personal responsibility is pretty major if one wants to keep their friend and relationships intact- that I’ve found anyways.

  2. JOHN says:

    I suffer from bipolar II and wasn’t diagnose until 1995 when they finally came up with what it is. I was 35 at that time and knew something was wrong but not knowing it was I was suffering from was the toughest. After finding out BPD, I set out to find out all the studies on it to understand it better, due to I wanted to take personal responsibilities for all my actions. I refuse to use it as an excuse, and will not let others use this as one as well!!!

    • Dennis says:

      That’s awesome to hear, John. Education is really at the core of learning to live with this Mood Disorder and not having it fuck up our lives. It pisses me off when people use it as an excuse too. I very regularly have to help people find the difference in distinction. Some are just ignorant to the difference, others are damaging about it. At the heart of it all is education.

  3. Francesca says:

    This was a rational and direct piece. I have been with a bi-polar man for 10 years and did not realise what I was getting myself into until about 3 years ago. I dearly love him but am so so fed up with the unpredictable behaviours and the fact that I cannot really rely on him for anything solid (I have 3 children, we have one together). I am the strong one and the sensible one and the loyal one.

    He is, of course, the most amazing partner in the world when he can be but we have had some serious issues with infidelity, substance abuses, job losses, friendship losses, etc etc. He is currently taking SSRIs and anti-psychotic meds and has been making huge efforts over the last couple of years but today, after a blissful weekend, he’s gone and fucked it all up again.

    I’m at a loss right now – your words were helpful.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello Francesca. It’s unfortunate to hear about the setback your partner has experienced. It’s not easy for a person such as yourself to deal with that kind of chaos and unpredictability on a regular basis with all the other responsibilities that you need to juggle.

      If he keeps pushing hard at it; he should be able to reach a point of recovery and control. The problem is whether or not we can reach that point before torching our relationship. Everyone has their limits.

      You’re a good woman for standing beside him for as long as you have through the shitstorm. Just take things a day at a time so your mind can work through the current explosion at its own rate.

    • Ben says:

      I had the same issue with my ex. We were only together 9 months though. He abused alcohol every weekend until the last time we saw each other, when he cheated on me with a HIV+ guy. I told him I was open to working through it and having him earn my trust again, but he retreated into his own world of hurt and despair and didn’t want to continue our relationship.

    • Lauren says:

      Oh. My. Goodness. I agree with Angela. What in the world are you talking about when you say, “I am fed up with the unpredictable behaviors”?. It sounds like you don’t really care about him enough to realize that you married him, mental disorders and all, and if you cannot deal with it, that is just selfish on your part. Are you perfect? No. Do you have more stability and sanity than him? Yes, but that is not because you willed yourself to be that way, it is just that by the Grace of God, you were not dealt that card. And, for your information, people with Bipolar Disorders are more often statistically proven to be more intelligent and stronger than those without it. So deal with it, he is your husband, and it is not his fault that he has the disorder, so you need to start caring about the person you married. And chew on this: would you ever say what you just typed to his face? Get over yourself and love your husband for who he is, problems and all.

      • Dennis says:

        Unfortunately, Lauren, it’s not always that simple. There are quite a few horribly abusive Bipolar people that use their Disorder as an excuse to be terrible to their family members. I’ve met many people who ended up with destroyed lives, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and even PTSD from dealing with a severely unstable, toxic Bipolar relative.

        • Pam says:

          Thanks Dennis so much for your article. I often wonder, where does the disease end and the person begin? My mother abused my brothers and me for 18 years! 18 years!!! It was torture! I don’t exaggerate- physical and psychological torture. She would literally rage for hours and hours on end…15,16 hours at a time -screaming at the top of her lungs until her voice ran out, literally foaming at the mouth, slamming doors, phones, accusing my father of all kinds of lies and at my brothers and me. I remember asking her – why do you scream all the time? She said – “because it’s the only thing that makes me feel good.” She just didn’t care about his. She hit us, slapped us, beat us, pulled on our cheeks, etc…but the worst part was the emotional and psychological abuse. She’d make me cry and then say “you don’t have a right to cry…don’t you DARE cry in front of me!” She’d threaten us, threaten suicide constantly (but of course never act on it} – say when I came home from school one day I’d find her “hanging from the rafters.” My best friend’s mom had committed suicide so she’d say she’d do the same thing. I was constantly in a state of fear. She screamed offensive things at the top of her lungs “your father F*CKED me!!!” over and over again. She called him a “butcher.” Mind you…he never laid a hand on her! Hearing these things as a child, her constant threats, her hitting, and controlling, and weirdly manipulative ways (she would say whatever she could to get a reaction from us – try and make us cry and then laugh if we did or call us “babies”) – I don’t know. Was that her? Or was it her illness? We’d beg her to get help – she’d say “I don’t need a psychiatrist – YOU need a psychiatrist! You all just want to lock me away somewhere!”

          Well…after so many years of this…and I could go on and on, I was left broken, damaged, a shell of a human being. I developed severe OCD and major depressive disorder, landed in a psych ward…but I survived. I’ve had therapy for 20 years now, and have had no contact with her since she threw me out of the house at 18. She never cared about us. Not once. I assume she’s bipolar because I know of no other mental illness that gives someone the energy to rage for hours on end without sleeping….and then she’d hit those depressive lows where she couldn’t get out of bed.

          I guess I take issue with folks saying they can’t control it – she could. I’m not lumping everyone into the same basket – I’m sure I work with and know plenty of folks who are bipolar and they’re lovely people – I don’t believe a mental illness defines anyone and after all, who am I to talk? What got to me was she just refused to get help. And hey…maybe she isn’t bipolar – I’d never know for sure because she refused treatment and would still to this day. But she could turn it off when someone came to the door. She’d snap into miss nice lady and act totally calm and cool when an outsider stopped by or called. So she had that level of control. I just think she got off on abusing others. Some people do. Some people are just sociopathic and don’t care about anyone but themselves.

          Anyway I’m rambling…thanks for listening and I appreciate your posts. I wish you all the best. 🙂

          • Dennis says:

            Hello, Pam. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It sounds like you’ve survived an awful lot. I’m glad you’re still here and she’s no longer in your life.

            I see that a lot of this is venting and expressing yourself. I don’t really have much I feel I should contribute on the point. I will point out one thing though. If she could “turn it off” at will, I doubt her abuse was due to Bipolar Disorder. I don’t know of a single person with Bipolar Disorder who can “shut it off” that neatly and cleanly. They may think they are Bipolar, they may be diagnosed Bipolar, but a lot of times they’ve manipulated their professionals or the people around them pretty heavily. And in interacting with them for awhile, it gets easier to see that there is something else or completely different going on.

            Now, if she was a sadist, inflicting pain on other people feels good. It’s easy to lose sight of what reality is in an unwell cycle, but if she was able to turn it off when people were around, and understood that she needed to turn it off around other people, that implies that she was very aware that what she was doing was wrong; so her actions were calculated. She understood that they were wrong but she didn’t care. That also implies that she is unable to experience empathy if she carried on that way for years, knowing exactly what she was doing to the people around her.

            The question of “energy” to do it.

            As a sadist, it feels good to inflict pain on someone else. When I was younger and unstable, I would do that through fighting, picking fights, and fucking with the heads of people. It would get much worse and more pronounced the more unwell I got. Nowadays, I feed the beast through safe BDSM activity with a consensual partner. The thing is, it still doesn’t feel as good as inflicting genuine pain and misery on someone else. Is there anything in your life that makes you feel just wonderful, just great at all? Maybe not with your OCD and Depression. But if there is, imagine if inflicting misery on someone else gave you that feeling. It’d be pretty easy to dive into it on a constant basis, especially if you were unable to care about the person you were doing it to.

            I think you’re right in that she got off on abusing others. I do not believe that all people are inherently good people or want to be good people. There are monsters out there.

            Thank you for taking the time to read my work and comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my posts and I hope things go well for you on your path!

      • RJ says:

        Living with a person who treats you badly is difficult and heartbreaking. Being in the receiving end consistently of someone who acts lovingly then hatefully, disregarding your feelings, is a tough roller coaster to ride. Putting this person down because she feels she can’t take it anymore and is venting, probably to gain some helpful feedback and validation, only frustrates matters more. We choose who to marry, yes, but sometimes the dual personalities are too much to bear.

  4. Angela says:

    I would like to point out that the writer says she is Bipolar II. There are people who have a much more serious form of Bipolar Disorder which is referred to as Bipolar I.
    I think it’s important to be aware that, just as most mentally typical people cannot see what those with mental illness are experiencing, assuming that everyone who is identified as Bipolar has the same symptom intensity, or “controllability” with meds that you have, is a grave error.
    No-one should look at another person, and say,
    “Well, I’M Bipolar, too, and I can do this or that,
    SO YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT, TOO”.
    That is misguided.
    You cannot be inside someone else’s head. You CAN’T possibly judge a person’s abilities without input from them. And a person’s relative abilities can change rapidly and dramatically with this illness. If you have a friend, relative, or partner who behaves one way when they are well (“good” aka appropriate behavior”)
    and another when they are ill (“bad” aka inappropriate behavior) you are probably seeing their range of abilities. Expecting someone who is Bipolar I to be “reliable”
    is almost (but not quite) an oxymoron. Accepting the truth about mental illness can be a great challenge. Under the right circumstances, yes, we can probably do most of what other people can do. But circumstances can be as changeable as the weather in the brain chemistry of someone who is Bipolar. We have to have appropriate expectations and “standards” for people who are mentally ill. Being Bipolar is not a form of selfishness. It is not a character flaw. Generally someone who is Bipolar is going to be somewhat if not significantly disabled with regard to self care, and social interactions. The woman who is so angry that her Bipolar husband is not like she is “the strong one the sensible one and the loyal one” should try to imagine if she was the mentally ill spouse, and not the “healthy one” which is exactly what her description implies. She’s the healthy one! Does she try to imagine the pain that comes from knowing you have hurt someone you love for reasons you really can’t fully understand yourself? Does she live with the pain of not being able to be her true self all the time because of this painful illness? This is the most emotionally PAINFUL of all mental illnesses. A life of Russian Roulette. Fully 20% of Bipolar individuals commit suicide. A figure 100% greater than the next highest demographic.
    Have some compassion. Does she think he never wishes HE was the “good” spouse?
    She should thank her lucky-genetic-lotto-winning-DNA every day that she is the HEALTHY ONE! He suffers every day of his life through NO FAULT OF HIS OWN!
    Is she angry at people with Down’s Syndrome, too? Why not, that makes just as much sense!
    Some people do well with treatment, and other people DON’T. Some people’s symptoms “go away” with the use of Lithium, still the “Gold Standard” of treatment for Bipolar Disorder, and some people’s symptoms aren’t relieved by Lithium AT ALL. The point is we should all learn to be less judgmental.
    When the old saying tells us,
    “Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes”.
    (Think about this clearly now, and you ‘ll realize-) it means NEVER!
    You can NEVER walk a mile in my shoes, Lady, NEVER.

    • Dennis says:

      Well, I would start by saying that I, the writer, am a man. I probably should get a professionalish headshot done at some point to include in my profile.

      Anyway, I agree with about 95% of what you said, Angela. And quite a bit of it I have actually hashed through in other posts and articles. The other miscellaneous points are more a difference of opinions and perspective.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my work and contribute your thoughts, Angela. Be well.

    • Sandi says:

      People with Down Syndrome, on average, aren’t as likely as bipolar people to gaslight, cheat on, manipulate, squeal at, violently attack, or play mindgames with people they claim to love as Bipolar people are.

      Yes, they ARE different.

      I know an individual who has bipolar and his behaviour is ABHORRENT, and I’ve mostly only talked to him on the phone so far. Lying to me (mixing up details, having a “poor memory”, denying having said things, usually negative ones, gaslighting me and shitting on my self esteem, telling me I overanalyze him when I’m just asking a simple question or mistaking what he says for something else (not necessarily anything “deeper” or more psychological like he says I’m doing), using his mother’s sickness as an excuse for not answering valid and gently phrased questions while MY mother was DYING)

      Oh, you know, little things like that.

      Bipolar people absolutely do know the way their behavior effects others because even though a good percentage of them are little glops of horse jizz who have no empathy, empathy is not necessary to be aware of the fact that others are hurt, just to CARE that they are hurting them. And sadly many of them don’t care. But they know.

      And don’t listen to dopes like Natasha Tracy who write Bipolar apology articles, which trick normal humans into dating these (likely to be- not all, but likely to be) uncompassoinate freaks of nature instead of being responsible and warning others that they have higher rates of narcissism and destructive behaviour. Apparently, their “rights” to not be “stereotyped” are more important than keeping the rest of us normies safe.

      I am so sick of apolgizing for mentally ill behavior (some of it is stuff like losing temper and control of one’s body, but other stuff, especially the verbal stuff like the pathological lying and the purposeful confusing of the other person for NO reason even of self defense, is on purpose by default).

      We have become a society that talks too much about psychology and too little of morals, and sometimes there is such thing as a moral illness.

      • Philip b.C says:

        I’m reading so much so fast sorry if I can’t keep up with the names so I won’t even try..Every time I go through it with a bipolar loved one I run to Google & try to find some help..Up until today every combination I’ve searched always left me feeling like they do its me not them because there I’ll & I’m not so I must be this or that or do more or try harder.. But today I feel vindicated.. No! You the bipolar one needs to try just as hard if not harder..You wouldn’t expect the person who came to see you in the ER to jump on the gurney & take the IV in there arm whilst you watch.. This notion that we are supposed to love you the bipolar one more than yourself or yourself is BS..So thanks madam for makin me feel like I’m really the victim instead of the way my many bipolar cohort’s in the past have..Many of these articles seem to be written by the bipolar person we came here to get help from..Yea this works for that one & this don’t for another but like someone said you need to help yourself because just like drug or alcohol abusers I can love the sickness out of you..You have to try..& most won’t they expect you to just take it..Not fair at all..Something needs to be put in place trustworthy where you can call & get so in home hello to get these people on a program to try even when they say they do & they know but they won’t & usually don’t.. I have a daughter who is an adult & needs help but continues procrastinating..I have a cousin who is the reason for today’s visit same thing…Well she different she thinks its everybody else but her..And boy she is an educated mean one..HELP!! I could go all day Lol but tks for letting me vent a tiny lil bit..lol

      • RJ says:

        I like your term “moral illness.” That teally does fit and is what the problem seems to be, at least it has been in my dealings with people who have symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. It seems like the lack of empathy that I’ve observed and felt can be crushing and sincerely feels like there is a moral illness here.

        • Dennis says:

          Except it’s not a moral illness. It’s a physical illness that causes a dramatic and drastic impact to a person’s ability to function. “Moral illness” is an attempt to simplify a complex problem derived from physical defects of a mind affected by Bipolar Disorder. The physical structure is different. The production and consumption of mood balancing chemicals is different. A Bipolar mind simply does not function the same way as a normal mind. There are numerous studies and books that talk about these physical differences that impact functionality. And it is certainly not limited to Bipolar Disorder.

          “Moral illness” is an attempt to simplify a complex problem that only has a complex, difficult solution. Clinging to it is a mistake because addressing a person’s morals doesn’t fix the physical differences of their mind or how it drives us into moments of literal insanity.

          • D says:

            Hi Dennis,
            I have an adult daughter that abuses me in every way. She says she is bipolar but won’t get help. She can’t live on her own but she makes a lot of money. I can’t work right now because she broke my hand. She has never lifted a hand to help or clean. When she has a day off she drinks all day and verbally abuses me. There are dents and wholes in my doors from her. I can’t lock my door because she will break it down. She wakes me up screaming at me all the time. My question is: I have made her leave several times and she is never abusive with anyone else. Are bipolar people only abusive with certain people?
            Thank you

          • Dennis says:

            Your problem isn’t a problem that is related to being Bipolar. You see there are plenty of decent Bipolar people out there, and there are plenty of toxic Bipolar people out there. Just the same as there are plenty of decent regular people out there and plenty of toxic regular people.

            Since your daughter is violent, it would be a good idea for you to talk to a mental health professional about the situation and removing her from your home for good. Toxic, abusive people will be toxic and abusive to anyone that allows them to get away with it. Quite frankly, she needs to suffer for the repercussions of her actions. Definitely talk to a mental health professional. Most likely, your only option that’s going to work is to kick her out and not let her return, period. Even if that means destroying the relationship completely.

            Some people simply cannot function well or right. Some people are just complete assholes. From the sounds of things, the fact that she is really only abusive to you, it’s probably more of her being an asshole than it is her mental illness driving things.

            Talk to a professional about the situation and a safe way to make a clean break from her.

          • D says:

            Thank you Dennis,
            I feel you are right. She came home a week ago promising to give me some money for her expenses. Have not seen a dime yet. She said my nieces dog broke her nose. It looks fine. She is now blaming her negative blood type for her actions.
            Oh well!!!

          • Dennis says:

            Yeah. People like that will do anything they can to shift responsibility away from themselves, no matter how may ridiculous it may actually be.

            You would do very well to speak to a counselor about the situation though. Sooner rather than later.

            And you’re welcome.

        • Kloie says:

          Yes, I agree totally and have used this term in coversations when describing the horrendous behaviors of bipolar people.

  5. Emily says:

    This article is a great perspective and deals very truthfully with an area that is apparently hard for even “normals” to grasp: being honest about one’s actions and taking responsibility for them. It continues to appall me that people can’t tell the difference between excuses and explanations. That’s like telling a paraplegic that it’s all a big excuse and their failure to run marathons is offensive.

    I recently went through this with a friend of mine. I’m the normal and he’s bipolar; his diagnosis is very recent, and in fact “came out” partially as a result of that event. We remain friends because I accept the truth of his challenges, and he takes complete responsibility for his actions and pursues treatment. I haven’t found that sort of integrity in very many people, period, and I’d be crazy to reject a rarity such as he.

    I linked to this page in my blog post, which you can find here:
    http://abarreloflemons.blogspot.com/2014/03/flip-sides-and-b-tracks.html
    Feedback is always welcome. Thank you again; it was very helpful to read this.

    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for your perspective, Emily. I have your page opened in another window and will give it a look once I can devote some undivided attention to it. I’m pleased to hear you’re managing to navigate things with your friend. I used to get pissed off about the differences as well but the reality is that it’s such a complicated thing to process. Some people get it, others don’t or don’t want to. It sucks but hey, that’s life!

      Apologies for the late response. Glad you enjoyed the piece!

  6. Sarah says:

    Just knowing that a bi-polar person wrote this….thank you. My family ha been trying to help TWO of our siblings with bi-polar for over 30 years. Both are over 50 and been living in my father’s home for over 10-15 years. They get worse as they get older. Nearly all of their relationships with ex-spouses, their own children, their friends, myself, and fellow siblings, work, down in flames year after year. They will not get social security disability, or get therapy or stay on/try different combinations of medications. My parents have been their lifeline providing a home and taking care of everything for them, including many rescues from serious trouble. I have completely cut off one sibling after multiple violent episodes towards me an my other sibling. The other one is not hostile to me, so I do have limited communication at this point, but he is frequently manic and does not listen to family pleas to keep his doctor appointments. Both have been coddled by my parents for years, and now that my mother has passed, my father who is nearly 80 years old has spent his retirement with high levels of stress and anxiety dealing with his 50+ year-old adult children all these years. They will not take responsibility for themselves because my father will never bring himself to push them. It has been devastating and frustrating to try and help, but at this point I have given up. I feel like bipolar people have a different reality than the “normals” and it is useless to try and help them if they prefer life in manic or untreated state. What I resent most is that they seem perfectly content and entitled to ruin the lives of their family and loved ones without showing an ounce of remorse from one horrible episode to the next, and not only are they like this, they quite contently demand ultimate and never ending devotion from everyone, regardless of the horrible ways they have treated us all for decades. “Give them love love love” and don’t confront is what I always read all over the internet when bipolar people make comments. This makes me angry. I am not like my parents and will not allow them to manipulate or walk all over me, so I just try to stay away and not interact with them as much as possible. It is insane to give love love love to people who are literally sucking the life and joy out of your life and manipulate, lie and abuse you without any sign of regret or anything. All our family has done for my siblings is care for them and try to get them to the resources and help they need. In return we are lied to our faces, never apologized to for physical and verbal violence, never thanked for anything we have done including saving their lives and their children’s lives, and just constantly demanded to listen to them talk for hours and hours, and “acknowledge” their illness — when that is all we ever do for them day in and day out for decades. It is never enough, until people eventually just cut them off, including their own children. They refuse to take responsibility for getting consistent treatment, or how they act, constantly manipulat and take advantage of my father and now deceased mother. I refuse to have anything to do with either of them and they are not entitled to have any piece of my life. You are the first bipolar person I have ever read who has discussed taking responsibility for ones own care, and also own up to inappropriate actions or behavior. I will never experience that kind of awareness from my siblings, so mainly I just want to thank you for confirming that there are bi-polar people who exist like you. Hopefully you have some family members that see this and appreciate your acknowledgement of what is hardest for “normals” – living with bipolar people who are insufferably difficult to even be around, especially those who are physically abusive and violent, who seem completely oblivious of the horrible pain and exasperation care givers and loved ones choose to deal with by not just cutting them off, and mostly being unable to rationalize or “get through” to someone who is bipolar.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Sarah. Thank you for taking the time to write your comment and for the kind words.

      When I was first diagnosed, I turned to the internet for information. I found a lot of Bipolar people who were using it as a means to cope or try to relate to others, I found a lot of cut and pasted medical information, and a lot of gentleness and apologetics. Very little of it was actually useful. Wellness has to start with the Bipolar person. It just does. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves. Your parents are saints for giving so unconditionally for so long. Was it the “right” thing to do? Not really. And though I know it’s infuriating, it says a lot about their strength of character and love for their children.

      But does that make you wrong or paint you in a bad light? Not at all. You have every right to protect yourself from that toxicity and you could very well end up needing to protect your dad from it as well. If he should ever start declining in health or capability, you should move to secure power of attorney (or your regional equivalent) to protect his finances and health decisions. Or better yet, just get it arranged with him ahead of time so it’s taken care of well before the Bipolars have any opportunities to get their hooks in and tear it apart.

      I suspect Bipolars are toxic for different reasons. It is clear that a very different approach should have been employed for those two long ago. People try to swim with the tides of Bipolar Disorder in the hopes it will make things work or the person will have an epiphany; but I’ve found the opposite. It’s not gentle. It’s not kind or caring. Some people simply cannot respond to that sort of thing at all. Sometimes you have to be the break wall in front of the tides to get through to someone. They will likely experience that after you all lose your father since they’ve burnt all their bridges with everyone else. Honestly? It may be what they need to actually realize there is something seriously wrong they need to address; or it could spur suicide attempts. Either way; it’s not likely to be pleasant.

      When I first set out to launch this site, my intent was to build it to do my best to help get Bipolars to think in a different way about themselves and their illness. What actually happened was- for everyone 1 Bipolar person I talk to, I talk to at least 5 normal people trying to understand or get through to the Bipolar of their own. There is a lot of love and care from these people for their mentally ill loved ones; as I know there is for your siblings from your parents. And I’ve watched many of these people do the same thing that your parents did; pour endless resources into the problem with no real solution and no end.

      That doesn’t help the Bipolars and it sure as hell doesn’t help people like your parents. There has to be a meeting half-way so we’re not destroying the people that love us and are making meaningful gain.

      Anyway, again thank you for taking the time to write. I’m sorry to hear you lost your mother and sympathize with your situation. It’s unfortunate that your folks did not have access to better information on how to provide meaningful help to your siblings. If that’s not likely to change, I encourage you to start taking steps to ensure your father is taken care of when the time comes so they can’t turn him inside out.

      • cris says:

        I am so thankful to read this. I have had to ‘let go’ of my brother. He has been taking meds but abusing them too. He seems to have a drug problem, has told me he likes being high, etc. We have given him so much- our time, our home, our income. He still says we don’t care or love him. We have a toddler, we began to see that he just isn’t going to take personal responsibility the way he needs to. He refuses to get a job citing it will hurt his disability case and he has excuse after excuse after excuse for everything. He is nearly 28 yrs old and has never had a job and supported himself. We just finally told him we are done and he needed to leave for good….this spurred drunkeness and self harm and hospitalization. This is how it is, and if a person sees no reason to live another person cannot convince them to continue living. After pure complete exhaustion I finally told my brother that i cant do anything else for him. He has been this way since his early teens and it has exhausted every person he comes into contact with. I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my worst enemy……sometimes love isnt enough……

        • Dennis says:

          Hello, Cris. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is an unfortunate situation, but you are absolutely right. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves. All you can do is preserve yourself and minimize the amount of damage they can do to your life. Hopefully he survives his fall to rock bottom and can realize that he cannot conduct his life the way he has been.

          Sometimes love isn’t enough – and sometimes love is being a prick. There are many damaged people in the world who can’t use the love and care of others in a healthy way.

          You take care of you and your family. That’s what’s important now. And if you harbor any blame at all for the result, please don’t. He made the choice to abuse substances and self-harm. That is not your responsibility.

      • Philip b.C says:

        Sir you have out a smile on my face..You need to be on TV..Your approach could help so many bipolars see themselves & also the normals feel normal.. The stress of dealing like this starts to make you feel like your the bipolar one..lol They are amazingly convincing.. especially to a third person who has no idea that the bipolar person is bipolar..I went to a custody hearing years ago when my daughter was very young. Her mother was bipolar & had me lookin like the fool.She came in from another state & was able to convince a judge to let her take my daughter out if school from a Halloween party where my baby was dressed like an angle & wisk her off to TX & I had custody from TX who had taken her & given her to me!!So Yea we need help out here..To just think of the possible thousands of good people loosing daily battles because a bipolar can be remarkably articulate & down right surgical with their manipulative convincing tounge smh…Tks again sir please help us.. Lol I cutting it short I don’t want to monopolize all the blog….tks again I feel revitalized…😇

        • Dennis says:

          Hello, Philip. I did see your other, difficult to read post that you were unable to edit. That’s because I have my blog set up so I can go through and manually approve everyone that posts as a means to keep misinformation and trolls from invading. It is approved now, so I think you can go back and edit it if you feel so inclined.

          I appreciate the kind words on my work, Philip. My body of work is purposefully aimed to serve both the mentally ill and people like yourselves who need to deal with difficult or toxic situations, like with your ex.

          I feel it is important to treat the problems and trials of people like yourself with the same respect and urgency that we would like for our problems with the mental illness. I feel it is the way only for healthy relationships to work and for both parties to feel respected in the relationship.

          I hope you’ll subscribe and stick around with me! You can help me reach more people dealing with situations like yours by sharing my work with others. I also have two ebooks available if you’re interested.

          And to address a point in your other message; I have written 99% of the articles on my blog. I also respond to everyone that posts. Admin/Grimm were my old posting handles, now I just go by Dennis for everyone’s ease.

          Thank you, Philip!

    • Kate D. says:

      “‘Give them love love love’ and don’t confront is what I always read all over the internet when bipolar people make comments.” I absolutely agree that this is insane! Talk about a bottomless pit of need, and the basis of an entirely one-way relationship. It is devastating and exhausting. Why would anyone want to be around that? We family members have a right to our own lives and self-preservation.

      • Dennis says:

        It is stupid and unfair advice. There’s a difference between being supportive and being a doormat.

        At the same time, there are plenty of things that people on the other side of the fence do completely wrong too – like expect their mentally ill loved one to always make rational decisions that incorporate their needs. This boggles my mind. As a Bipolar, for many years, I couldn’t even make good decisions for myself, let alone for the people around me. And the people that were closest to me all suffered for it.

        Both sides of the equation need to be accommodated. My basic rule of thumb is “if they’re trying, I’m onboard.” You don’t succeed at anything unless you try. And if they aren’t trying, I see no reason to invest my limited time and energy into anything more than encouraging them to try and find a better path.

        Another thing I’ve noticed over the past few years, I’ve crossed paths with quite a few people who seemed like they should probably talk to a counselor about co-dependency. Codependent people can’t draw healthy boundaries and lines with people. I suspect that a lot of the “love love love” crap comes from people who aren’t able to draw healthy boundaries due to their own mental and emotional problems.

        And frankly, this is the main reason that no one should trust one or two sources of information. Not mine, or anyone else’s. I see these problems through my own eyes, filtered by my own emotions and experiences even though I try to maintain a neutral, fair point-of-view. Everyone else is subject to the same filters of their own prejudices and beliefs based on their perceptions, including doctors and therapists. While it would be fantastic if these people were always neutral, valuable sources of information – they can potentially be just as harmful because they often develop their own opinions and thoughts based off of their limited experiences as opposed to many years of study and practice by the rest of the industry.

        Really got off on a tangent there.

        TL;DR: Everyone has opinions. A lot of them are uninformed or stained by their own problems. Digest as much information as you can, find the path that makes the most sense to you given your specific situation and circumstances.

        • Camille says:

          So when a bipolar person gets disability and is up half the night and sleeps all day while bleeding the life out of everyone around them then when challenged about their habits says that ” you dont understand…talk to my doctor”. and oh,” well of course I messed up but I am not drinking now” like we need to keep our expectations low and in the meantime has been draining the life out of his/her mother financially who now because of a life threatening illness cannot keep paying those bills and now needs this person to help financially just keeps making excuses for not getting up and helping or, here’s another one ” I dont have the right meds ” or my insurance ran out because I cant get a job so I dont have any meds so of course I cant function right now. You mean you cant get up and do the dishes or walk 5 feet to work out or eat the healthy food offered and eat crap instead??? FOR GOD SAKES GET UP AND HELP YOURSELF!!!!!

          • Dennis says:

            That’s pretty much what I was talking about on the excuse side of things. The only way to get someone like that to stop abusing their mental illness as an excuse is to hold them accountable for it. That may mean kicking them out, force them to get section 8 housing, cutting off any funds. You may want to consider, or suggest to the mother assuming she’s well enough, visiting a therapist to develop a course of action to minimize the damage they are doing to the lives of the people around them. Sometimes you have to be an asshole to make gains. That’s just the way it goes, unfortunately.

            Very sorry to hear about your situation, and that of the mother. A local therapist should be able to help formulate a plan to not only curb that behavior, but utilize local resources if the person in question needs to be kicked out. I know that’s how it had to go for me when I was at my shittiest too.

  7. s. says:

    I am a mental health professional, I have Multiple Sclerosis, and I have a husband with untreated Bipolar I. We’ve been together for more than ten years, and at this point, not for much longer. As a disabled person, I know what it is to need patience and help, but I also know that it is possible to ask too much, to bleed someone dry. I’ve been asking my husband to watch me degenerate and support my disabled ass and to be my primary caretaker for the next several decades. I don’t know if that’s too much to ask, he gets to decide that. As a mental health professional, I grok that he didn’t sign up for this any more than I signed up for the MS. But I also get that I can’t get the therapy and take the meds for him. He’s as responsible for struggling to maintain his health as I am. If I choose to leave, and I might, it’s not because I don’t get it or don’t love him. It’s because I refuse to be the wreckage he leaves by the side of the road on his way to the bottom. Anyone who blames me for making that decision is being an asshole. I am under no obligation to martyr myself to his disease.

    • Dennis says:

      I really have nothing to add or comment on with this sentiment. I absolutely understand and agree with your point of view. Thank you for taking the time to contribute it. I appreciate it.

      -Dennis

  8. Rana says:

    I have been dating my boyfriend for 5 yrs now, the first month was great but its never been the same since . 4 mos after dating I found out that he was using crack… 2 yrs and 2 treatments later and not to mention many many relapses he’s mean and selfish. He’s been diagnosed with bipolar depression and anger management disorder now what I don’t understand is why he treats me like shit, and insists that he cant live with out me! we are with each other 24 hours a day LITERALLY !! we work together as well, and if he sees me having a conversation with man he says I’m flirting and that I’m a whore. he has mentally and physically abused me, but now I fight back, and now I’m angry!!!. I don’t understand why he can do the same thing he apologized for the week before and doesn’t understand why I don’t believe he’s sorry, or why I no longer have faith in us. I want to know if a bipolar person KNOWs that they’re hurting the people that love them or if its bullshit and they hate us and don’t care at all . He’s nice to everyone BUT me. I want to know when enough is enough?? I just don’t think I can give anymore.

    • Dennis says:

      There are so many red flags and things wrong in your post; I’m not even sure where to start. So, let’s start at the beginning.

      So you had one great month; and within the first six months you found out he had hidden being a crack addict/abuser. Why didn’t you end the relationship then? Hiding heavy drug addiction/abuse is kind of a big deal. He established that you couldn’t trust him almost immediately in the relationship; it really should be of no surprise that things continued to stay bad or got worse.

      If he’s mean, selfish, unstable, unpredictable; why are you still with him? 5 years invested into someone that started your relationship by lying to you about something of vital importance. I feel like you should explore this with a counselor of your own, someone who can give you a neutral and clear perspective; and real personalized help. I would encourage you to talk to a therapist and tell them this story in-depth.

      As for your question about “if we know we’re hurting people that love them or if its bullshit and they hate us and don’t care at all.” Bipolar Disorder warps the person’s perception when they are in the extremes of it. So when he’s unwell and telling you he hates you, tearing you down, that’s what he believes at that moment. That’s what his brain is telling him is the truth. I’m sure there are points of lucidity when he does feel awful about it. Does feel genuinely sorry.

      The fact that he’s nice to everyone but you is because he’s close to you. When he’s talking to other people, he knows he has to keep on his masks and appearances. He probably is functioning in an off way, but people don’t recognize it because they don’t understand what they are looking at in general. On the other hand, we generally don’t feel like we need to keep up appearances with the people we’re close to, or we just don’t care because we know they will put up with our shit- especially so in his case. So the mask comes off and you get all the worst of it because that’s what the Disorder is making him at that point in time. He’s not concerned with keeping up appearances so much so the loved ones and family typically get the worst of it.

      You want to know when enough is enough? It should have been back when you found out he was hiding crack use from you.

  9. Rene says:

    My husband and I are dealing with a 28 year old son who has been dealing with serious manic episodes for six years now. He is currently in a Maryland detention center (medical unit) awaiting a hearing on a minor “disturbing the peace” offense. This is out-of-state for us and we haven’t been to see him but have not received a call from him either. He always rejects us when manic. We are “not his people” – he changes his last name and leaves home. This was the third time this summer – almost always summer – that he was picked up by cops and taken either to an ER or to jail for similar offenses. Right now we are facing a rather united front by the siblings of our son. They believe that we should let him deal with the chaos and not be “bailed out” either literally or figuratively by us any more. This is the most agonizing moment I have gone through in the past six years. Our son is adopted (at birth), biracial and very gifted in many ways. He’s done with college and nearly made it into professional athletics – baseball. Because he is very tall (6 ft. 5), biracial and very “stacked,” we worry all the time that when he’s manic he will get shot. He does get aggressive in speech and sometimes physically at a lower level, but if taken in hand by police usually just goes limp. He has never been completely non-compliant. He mostly has taken his meds, and seen his therapist and doctor, but there have been failures to be consistent with meds, and these lapses have probably contributed to the yearly chaos. This year he also stopped seeing the therapist he’s had for four years. He was “sick of talking about it all.” His car insurance and registration expire the day before his hearing. Should we renew it so he has a vehicle to return home with? Should we give him a little transition time, so we can get him onto the list for “supported housing”? Or should we just let him get out and have to find his own way? Tell him he can’t return home? Tell him we believe he CAN make it if he only HAS TO DO IT HIMSELF? Agony! You blogsite conversation stream is very interesting. I am interested in what you think. Thank you.

    • Aunt Raven says:

      Rene — I came here to post my own problem with my 50 year old bipolar sister (I I am 67), but then I read your post and notice you don’t seem to have an answer yet. (perhaps the owner of this blog doesn’t check it often)

      I am a firm believer in tough love, if only to save my own sanity. Bipolars like to use their condition to emotionally extort support from their families. I have learned my lesson in years of dealing with my sister (my 90-year old mother has understandibly, given up on her.)

      Don’t bail your son out. Let him flounder around on his own in the real world without family support. Don’t renew his licences etc. Let him struggle with his problems without Mom and Dad “helicopter parenting” him. He’s counting on you to bail him out. He has you well trained !

      But– just because he’s bipolar doesn’t mean he can’t learn to be responsible for his own actions. Don’t let him come back home where he can sponge off you and criticize you. I took this stand with my manipulative little sister and she has actually grown in the 15 years after I refused to let her live with me again, nor to pay her debts.

      She lived on the street for a while “to make me feel guilty” but then realized when winter came she’d have to obey a few rules to live in a homeless shelter, and that unlike family, they weren’t going to bend the rules for her.
      A psychiatrist and a psychologist both told me that of course Bipolars are at risk for suicide, but that if that happened I was not to blame nor is there anything I could have done to prevent it, and to prepare myself for this eventuality. They also said that letting my sister come back to live with me would not prevent suicide — she might even do it in my house as “revenge”.

      Actually she has somewhat improved, though yesterday I had to unfriend her on facebook because I said that while I was sympathetic to her condition and her emotional neediness , I refused to take abuse from her until she apologised.
      This repeats a pattern: I won’t hear from her for 13-18 months, then one day she writes me a sunny letter as if nothing has happened, saying she’s “sorry we’ve had disagreements, and how am I doing?”
      However she has made some progress since my “tough love” : she now keeps a (menial) job about a year before quitting or being fired. In the beginning, she only kept an unskilled labour job for a month to 6 weeks. (This is a woman who has a 190 IQ, and is artistically gifted)
      Hang tough although you are tempted to take your son back and “fix things”. He won’t grow that way.

      • Dennis says:

        I do regularly check my blog and the people that post! Thank you for offering your insight from your personal experience. This is pretty much what I told her when we went to emails.

        Glad you found a means to keep your own sanity in dealing with your sister.

        I would like to offer one soft counterpoint though. I do not believe that it is Bipolar Disorder that makes people act this way. Some people are just shitty, inconsiderate people regardless of mental health. I suspect that a significant number of the people I have interacted with would be similar even if they weren’t mentally ill. After all, we don’t ever stop being Bipolar; so if it was caused by the Disorder itself then people would never be able to change that facet of themselves. But they regularly do. Your sister made some progress. I’m pretty confident Rene’s son would make progress. And I made progress myself, because I’ve done plenty of terrible shit before I understood what I do.

        I realize that may seem like a trite point, but it is important because a lot of people read “Bipolar people are manipulative assholes”, when it may have nothing to do with being Bipolar at all. Maybe the person is just an asshole who also happens to be Bipolar.

        Thanks for taking the time to comment, Raven!

  10. Charlotte says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I was married for 16 years to someone who is schizoaffective (for those not familiar with the term, that means both bipolar and schizophrenic), and I attended a support group for people with mental illness for years. And while many such people due everything they can to manage their illness and take personal responsibility, my ex was one of those who used his illness as an excuse. Before I get into the details, allow me to mention that I myself have depression, anxiety, and OCD, for which I take meds. I was diagnosed with this condition early on in the marriage. Anyway, by the time we divorced, he had no job (I was fully financially supporting us, sometimes working 80 hours a week), he did barely any housework (and I mean BARELY), spent money faster than I could earn it, and would become physically violent towards himself, inanimate objects, and towards me. This was while on medication. Lots of it. He sat around all day playing video games and going bowling, all the while I made his doctors appointments, filled out all his paperwork, did most of the housework, and ran all the errands. When I finally became so exhausted that I realized I needed him to help out because I was starting to break, that’s when he really started having outbursts. It was like he was that mad at me for asking him to do anything. Finally he divorced me and moved back in with his parents. Looking back, I don’t think I would have survived much longer. I’m so glad he divorced me because I felt too guilty to divorce a sick man. Sadly, many of the support groups I went to just became complaining sessions where people with these illnesses would take turns justifying each others’ behavior, almost no matter what. And all the psychiatrists would do was raise their medication levels. So God bless you for talking about personal responsibility. Yes, the illness is very real, and can be extremely difficult. But in the end, if the patient takes responsibility where ever possible, it ultimately makes their life better too, as well as everyone around them.

    • Dennis says:

      Very well said, Charlotte. I sympathize with how much shit you undoubtedly went through with your ex. Hopefully you can press more towards your own happiness and peace of mind in life. Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to share a bit of your story.

      • bryan says:

        i am bi polar. and i completley agree with you dennis about taking accountabilty for your actions. i feel i need to apologize to a large group of people that i went on a retreat with but i am skeptical that even mentioning that i have bi polar disorder is a good idea. there is a stigma about the disorder i feel and i lot of people just dont understand it…hell i dont even understand it. all i know is it alters my perceptions and i dont think the same way. but i know theres different levels of this and maybe it gets worse the further i get from reality. i know that stress and lack of sleep are triggers, and i know that i have to take my medication and if this coctail doesnt work im gonna have to try something else. it sucks. i have destroyed so many relationships and this last thing was a lot of people. i wasnt mean but i rubbed people the wrong way…i talked behind their back and i was emotionally confused. it scared me enough that i will take my medications everyday for the rest of my life. i read that one ladys post and it said something about forget all this new psychological stuff sometimes there is just something called a moral disease. maybe there is some truth to that. i have questioned my own morals before. thats why i am trying to walk with christ….through him all things are possible. all the things ive been exposed to sometimes i say inappropriate things….things that i cant believe i said…..things that i immediatley feel ashamed of and guilty for. i do know one thing though…when a bipolar episode is over with i can look back and realize that either i was severely depressed, manic, or mixed and mixed is usually where the problems come in to play. when you are depressed but firing on all cylinders. when people are depressed they dont think right they have a negative outlook towards the world…..man and if your manic at the same time? look out. i take accountabilty…it is me, but its the disease too.

        • bryan says:

          really none of it is any fun and all of it can lead to relationship problems. ive only been just manic a few times and if left unchecked will turn into a mixed episode or thats how it is for me. ill start thinking i have special powers or something like that….crazy stuff…..delusions of grandeur. this disease is no fun and its dibilitating. i take responsibilty for my actions….it is me…..or some part of me. i can do things to minimize the effects on me and other people. i can take medication daily, get regular sleep, take anxiety medication, get exercise, and watch what you are putting into your soul……if your gonna watch tv try and watch something thats spiritually uplifting….hang around people that are spiritually uplifting…..none of these are the problem but they definatley dont help the disease if you are doing the opposite. You cant relate this disease to down syndrome we are not mentally handicapped we are mentally ill. we did not cause this disease…its a biological chemical imbalance it can be hereditary. i think its closer to someone with dementia to give more of a clearer picture. My grandmother can get really mean and ugly and she has dementia. shes confused and her perception is altered if not less there. most of us dont abandon our grandparents with dementia. its not apples to apples because things like alzheimers are degenerative and dont get any better with medication. we bipolars fortunately dont live with permanent episodes and there is hope that we can take a combination of medicine daily so that we may never have one again……so we can take responsibility and we should. families should be supportive of bipolars that want help and maybe even help them get help. its hard to function when you are bi polar so the 1st steps the hardest. i think its an ongoing process to get it exactly right but getting on something like lithium or divalproex(mood stabilizer) should at least put it in check pretty quick. i am on divalproex right now and it seems to work fairly well although i am still fairly depressed. my doctor prescribed me wellbutrin also but i am so paranoid about getting manic that i have only taken one dose. however the depression isnt real bad and i may try and start taking a half a wellbutrin pretty soon and see how that goes. i can also relate somewhat to the bipolars that dont get help. nobody wants to admit their is something wrong with them. we all want to do it on our own. with me i was hospitalized a couple of times, then i started a landscape business…i was depressed but i coped for 10 years with this disease with just a handful of mild episodes. i felt like maybe i could control it, but i was so depressed that i did seek help a few times and got prescribed lithium. i felt like i didnt have to take it and that i could see it coming, and maybe take one if i needed it. pretty much went like that until this recent episode….i know now i absolutley cant control it and its happened far more times than i even know because sometimes you dont know it if its mild.

          • Dennis says:

            Your post is partially correct.

            Bipolar Disorder is for life. It’s always with you, even when it’s in check. And it does, in fact, cause advanced degeneration in the sections of the brain that it affects when left untreated. This is why it gets worse with age and unwell cycles tend to get more intense, and it is also why medication is so important. Because it can help slow down the degeneration affects.

        • Dennis says:

          Hello, Bryan. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

          It’s not a moral disease. It’s a physical illness that causes our thoughts and emotions to get warped and twisted by our unwell cycles. This is what Bipolar Disorder is. Faith, positive thinking, anything of the sort won’t change that. What will change it is a lot of personal work, adherence to medication and wellness principles, and self-awareness.

          Have you been to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? CBT techniques focus on identifying, controlling, and derailing small unwell thought process and triggers to prevent them from exploding into much bigger, far more severe ones. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone with a mood disorder. The techniques I used in the year and a half I spent in CBT I use on a daily basis and it helps me greatly control the extremes to which my brain rockets out to. Mind you, it will not completely remove or prevent unwell cycles. But it is one additional piece that will help with self-management.

          As for apologizing to the people you were with and disclosing, I wouldn’t do it. Your post sounds like you’re still struggling to find your way. You don’t need the additional stress of dealing with their perceptions and any stigma. If you have close friends you affected, by all means apologize to them and other people in the know. But I wouldn’t reach out until I was in a more stable, state of mind which can be attained! It’s a hard journey and can be difficult and frustration, but it is one that can be made.

          Do your best Bryan. It’s all you can do in life.

  11. Carl says:

    Hi Dennis. Thank you so much for the article. It is well-organized, informative, and readable.

    I am hoping you can shed some light on my past relationship with a bipolar gf. I have been trying to make sense of it for over a year with a great deal of confusion, anger, and pain. I think it’s important to note that she was undiagnosed while we dated.

    I’d like to think she was not emotionally manipulative, but I think she may have been during our relationship. Whenever I expressed unhappiness towards her behavior, she would cry, apologize, and bring up her troubled past/current baggage. I loved her and was quick to comfort her. But after a while, I tired of how my needs took a backseat to hers. She had a habit of making false promises but never delivering due to forgetfulness or perhaps depression.

    I broke up with her after recognizing these cycles. I felt used, manipulated, and sometimes abused. I felt guilty for dumping her because I cared a great deal for her and because she told me that I was her source of happiness and stability. I felt like she was milking me without anything in return until I reached my limit. This was my first serious relationship; she had past relationships.

    Several months later, I name the many ways in which she has hurt me to give her the opportunity to apologize. She apologizes in tears and explains that she started therapy, was diagnosed with bipolar among other things, and began medication soon after I dumped her. I comfort and forgive her.

    Afterwards, I realize I was a sucker once again for her baggage and tears. I called her out for playing the victim and using her past as an excuse once again. She continues to tell me that she never meant to hurt me and that she is tormented by her injustice towards me. She cut off contact with me at the advice of her therapist, and my last message to her was a sincere letter of forgiveness several months later.

    If she were sincerely and actively trying to get better while we dated, her apologies would have been acceptable. But I think she used me as an emotional crutch by playing the victim and milking the relationship as long as possible. Once I dumped her, I think she realized that she had, in fact, used me as a crutch. Guilt from her actions or the simply the absence of my support might have led her to this conclusion; I’ll never know the reason. In any case, she recognized her need to take responsibility and support herself personally.

    What is your take on this? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Assuming everything you related here is as described, including her actions that you have no verification past her own word, this is not consistent with willful, pointed emotional manipulation and abuse.

      Why not?

      People who are active manipulators rarely ever go out of their way to actually get help. The fact that she did actually go get help, and is presumably trying to get her mental illness under control, is not the kind of thing I would expect to see from an actual manipulator. It sounds more like that during your time with her, she was extremely unwell and did not have the tools to control her mental illness.

      Your post also suggests that you may not have a solid understanding of what it means to be Bipolar or mentally ill. We don’t get to turn this off. We are Bipolar 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until the day we die. Untreated Bipolar Disorder causes severe emotions and warping and distortion of reality when a person is in extremes, not counting the average instability that many Bipolar people experience on an every day basis. The reason your problems were steamrolled by hers is because she wasn’t capable of processing and handling her emotions in a healthy way, being undiagnosed and without any sort of support or medication to combat it.

      A lot of people don’t understand the severity of Bipolar Disorder. A lot of people hear “mood disorder” and think it is some minor thing. “Oh, everyone has bad days. Everyone has ups and downs.” Indeed, they do. But when was the last time a television commercial prompted you to almost kill yourself because it reminded you of your child you don’t see much? Or almost had to be hospitalized from the suicidal thoughts that came from watching a child hug a plastic santa at your place of work? Or moved across the country on a whim with no money,no plan, and no job because you were so in love and there is no way this is possibly a bad idea?

      Bipolar Disorder is a serious, severe mental illness that destroys peoples lives. And like any group of people, there are good and bad people within that demographic. Yes, there are terrible people who will take advantage of you and treat you like complete trash. But many of us do not like the fact that we drag other people through our hell. And mental health care and awareness is such crap that many Bipolar people can’t even get a correct diagnosis AFTER being involved with the mental health industry for as many as eight years.

      Yes, your ex-girlfriend probably did use you as a crutch. In much the same way that a person with a broken leg would need to use you as a crutch to walk. Except her break is emotional and mental, not her leg. And it’s one that she will only be able to hopefully manage, never cure.

      You mentioned that if she were sincerely and actively trying to get better while you dated that her apologies would be acceptable. How would she have been able to do that if she was not diagnosed until after?

      Actively manipulative people rarely suffer guilt from their actions. Most of them either don’t care or just view everyone else as a means to an end. And if she was actively manipulating you, she would not have cut off contact with you at the advice of her therapist. A genuine manipulator would have kept right on trying to get their hooks back into you. They wouldn’t have given two shits about how you felt at all or how their actions affected you.

      And it will probably never “make sense” to you, because from the sounds of things you don’t have a chronic mental illness. If you want more perspective, look through the the various comments of my blog posts. You’ll see plenty of examples of malicious manipulation and gaslighting by toxic people. But, based on the very limited information you provided here, it doesn’t sound like your ex was malicious. It sounds like she was an undiagnosed mentally ill woman who finally sought the help that she needed. And for an undiagnosed Bipolar person, that usually means years of chaos, misery, and emotional destruction.

      That’s what makes it a severe mental illness.

      • Carl says:

        Dennis, thank you for spending your personal time to respond. Your words are humbling and have given me greater clarity.

        I admit that I do not have a solid understanding of what it means to be Bipolar. When she told me her diagnosis, I absorbed as much information as I could online, and I have asked many people near me about their knowledge and experiences concerning the disorder. Yesterday, in fact, I had such a conversation. Your writing has increased my understanding, but you are probably correct; it will never fully make sense to me. But I can still do my best to understand.

        I said that her apologies would be acceptable if she were actively trying to get better. Please allow me to clarify. She was letting other aspects of her life besides Bipolar get the best of her. There were things besides Bipolar that she was aware of that took their toll on our relationship, yet it felt as though she was not making an effort to improve upon them. If someone offers an apology and then makes no effort to prevent the same fault from reoccurring, I question the sincerity of such an apology.

        I still care a great deal for her; she likely still exhibits the same characteristics I loved her for in the past. I was happy to support her during our time together. To extend the metaphor, crutches are inherently temporary aids while healing, but my role as her crutch felt permanent. It was only a matter of time before I would break, and at the end of the day, I ended our relationship to pick up the pieces. I think we have to be able to individually love and hold ourselves up for a healthy relationship to exist, but we all fall from time to time. This is why serving others has many different forms and is one of the great blessings of relationships.

        You bring up several good points addressing whether or not she was manipulative. Yet I still have trouble shaking the feeling that she was trying to grab what happiness she could from me. During our relationship, I had asked for things that she never did until after we broke up before she cut contact. This proved to me that she was listening the whole time but decided to deliver only after it was too late. I think these are the hooks you describe.

        • Dennis says:

          You’re welcome. To expand.

          The problem with your thoughts on how apologies and effort works is – what you actually saw out of her with your own eyes is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what was going on in her brain. So while you may see an outburst or a suicide attempt, that’s just one fragment of the past weeks we’ve spent struggling with the thoughts our problems and mental illness causes. So if she was having real life problems that were interfering with the relationship, it can be hard to address those things when you’re spending your waking time struggling against chaotic thoughts created by the Disorder.

          It’s also perfectly possible that she was not able to comprehend the severity of her actions until you finally said, “Hey, I’m breaking up with you.” Because it introduced a hard anchor to reality in her brain that may have actually go through to her. For a lot of people, it doesn’t. It will often just result in a “fuck you too mother fucker” and combativeness. Which is another reason I don’t suspect that your ex was being purposefully shitty to you.

          I should also clarify that I am not saying breaking up with her was wrong or that you were wrong in doing so. Your thoughts and opinions on the subject are perfectly valid. People do need to be able to stand on their own emotionally to have a relationship.

          The primary point I’m driving towards is nothing of what you said suggests that she is a malicious person. So even though it was painful, confusing, and you got hurt as a result of it – nothing you’re saying leads me to believe that she out to purposefully jerk you around. It sounds more like she was an unstable mentally ill woman that needed help and finally sought it.

          Was she trying to grab what happiness from you she could? Probably. I’ve spent 80% of my teenage and adult life in mild to suicidal depression. I’ve experienced happiness exactly once in that time, for the span of a couple hours. It was a perfect storm of my medication working completely correctly before my body readjusted to it. A few hours in over 15 years without depression, without the stain of escalation. So when you find something that can provide some sort of happiness and break through the fog, you do latch on to it. Because who the fuck knows when you’ll feel it again?

          Let me use a metaphor to demonstrate this a bit better. How do you feel mentally when you have a flu or a bad cold? Shitty right? You’re not happy. You’re not sad. You just feel awful. That’s about the closest thing to depression that a mentally healthy person may feel. Now imagine if you felt like that 7 days a week for weeks, even months at a time. You go to bed, it’s there. You wake up, it’s there. You’re at your kid’s birthday party, it’s there. You’re at your parents, it’s there. It’s always fucking there.

          So if something comes along that cracks through the haze, that makes you actually feel happy and alive – wouldn’t you latch onto it too?

          And no, those aren’t the hooks I describe. That’s a person trying to save a relationship. A majority of people will do that when a relationship is coming apart as they try to salvage it. Leaving may have snapped her into realizing that the problem was more severe than she realized. But if she had been wanting to manipulate you maliciously, it would’ve looked more like “oh hey I’m pregnant” – not trying to address or work on the problems in the relationship. Generally speaking, a malicious manipulator would not then address her problems because they are generally incredibly selfish people.

          And while it can be easy to look at how an unstable mentally ill person acts and say “this person is selfish”, the difference is that a mentally ill person who isn’t an asshole will make efforts to change. Which she is, even if it was too late for the relationship. I did a lot of terrible, shitty things while I was undiagnosed because I simply didn’t know any better. My brain would bombard me with delusion and erratic feelings, convince me that everyone else was a stupid piece of shit. And a lot of times I acted accordingly. But then I was diagnosed, worked towards getting well, and am sitting here writing this message to you – something I would never have done ten years ago. Ten years ago I would’ve just laughed at you and called you a bitch for “being weak”, because those are the kinds of shitty thoughts that Bipolar Disorder can feed you.

          I’m not saying that you should jump back into a relationship or reconcile with her. I am saying that it is perfectly valid to feel angry and hurt, but I doubt she meant to do it regardless of how it looks to you. I understand, because I’m Bipolar and I did the same kind of shit to my exes as well. But then I got well, and I don’t do it anymore. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the other person changes, even though she is actively trying to do that. Forgiveness means letting go of a situation and stop letting it hurt you in the process, something that is required when you are confronted with situations and shit that is beyond our scope of understanding.

          • Carl says:

            Your words have given me a great sense of closure. Grief demands an answer, and it’s easy to summarize her actions as selfish and malicious. These are not two adjectives I would have never assigned to her when we began dating, hence my total confusion and hurt at how her behavior towards me became more toxic with time. In your other writings, you described how Bipolar people keep appearances in public, but that mask comes off around family and loved ones. I think her mask slowly came off as our relationship progressed, and outwardly it seemed her respect and care towards me declined simultaneously. Now I know her actions are easily explained when taking her Bipolar into account.

            I have kept the events of our relationship private, but she related to her friends and our mutual boss the reasons I ended our relationship. As a result, only her side is known, and I am the antagonist. Some of her friends have even taken it upon themselves to unfriend me on social media and shame me in person for my “mistreatment” towards her. I doubt she has told those same individuals that she confirmed my accusations both in writing and verbally. While considering only her side of the story is unfair in many ways, at least now I know who my true friends are and the nature of the community they represent. The way I see it, their blind loyalty removes her accountability and will only help her in the short term. Nevertheless, I recognize the social obligation to take up the sword for a childhood friend.

            Despite myself, I still care for her and would like to help. But I know that will only make things worse for both of us. Just the sight of me causes her a great deal of anxiety, and I do not want to trigger her hypomania. As I mentioned, I have already fully forgiven her after our relationship ended, so I’d say the ball is in her court whether or not we reconcile. I hope she reaches out to me when she’s ready, but I know that may never happen. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I hope she sticks with her therapy and medication.

            Dennis, our conversation provided the insight I needed to understand the workings of Bipolar behind her actions. I’m honored that she loved me the best way she knew how. It also gives me peace to now know, with a high degree of confidence, she never meant me harm despite everything that happened between us. I have been mulling our relationship over almost daily for a year trying to figure things out. I didn’t want to just label her as a bad person and dismiss other perspectives; anyone can do that, even towards friends. I’m glad she told me about her diagnosis; otherwise, we wouldn’t have had this conversation, Dennis. The Bipolar approach has finally shown me the truth. Thank you.

            Peace,
            Carl

  12. Cindy says:

    Hello, I want to commend you for your insight. Although some of the comments to your posting infuriated me ( gotta watch that quick to anger and it`s not all about me), what you had to say answered questions I have had for some time. I have suffered all my life with what I called the “bat shit crazies” and couldn`t figure out why I was such an odd shape in a world full of well rounded people and worsened the older I got. I was diagnosed late in life with Bipolar 1, PTSD and what comes along with that;social disorder, dual personality, panic/anxiety disorder, short attention span, memory loss, etc; and all the side affects from the many medications. I am diligent in my pursuit of a mentally healthier life. I take medications, attend psychiatric and therapy sessions, follow the at home instructions given to me and have a very supportive and loving partner. I left home when my children were 15 and 17 with no word or warning. I had done this more than a few times in my life prior to having my boys. 10 years later they are grown with children of their own. I have moved back to the area to be near my children and grandchildren. I am blessed to have a great relationship with my youngest son. We were able to have a heartfelt conversation about the mental illness and pain I caused. Although always cordial, my relationship with my oldest son is strained. I don`t get to see him or the grandchildren except for special occasions. He is not one to just sit and converse about the situation. I still suffer so much pain and guilt over leaving. I cannot begin to imagine the hurt I have caused him. I have been working on a letter of apology for years now. Yours is the first site I have seen to address this issue. I sincerely thank you and hope you will continue to share what you have learned while living with this mental illness. Cindy

    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for the kind words on my work and for taking the time to comment. It is easy to angry about some of the perceptions of those of us with mental illness, but generally there is a good reason for it. Allowing people a chance to voice their pains is an opportunity to help bridge the divide and let them heal their own wounds. That’s what I keep in mind when I want to jump down someone’s throat.

      As is evident, I am a writer. And as a writer, I get a lot of people asking me for writing advice and am very happy to give it. So allow me to give you a bit. Stop spending all that time writing and thinking about what to say to your son. Years is far, far too long and no one is getting any younger. Sit down, spend a couple hours writing, seal it up, and hand it to him. Apologize, talk about your journey towards trying to get well and own your problems.

      The simple truth is – you will never find the perfect words. No one ever finds the “perfect” words. So many people agonize over the details in trying to encapsulate their own feelings or message; forgetting that the reader may interpret it in an entirely different way. If you want to write this letter, then just write it. Don’t think about it. Don’t go read it over and over and over and over and over and look for things to improve on it. Just write it. Let your emotions and journey flow. That’s how you create a meaningful piece of work.

      An hour, two hours tops is all you should spend on it. Don’t bother proof-reading. This isn’t a homework assignment. Just do it, Cindy.

      You’re very welcome. I’m happy you were able to find value in my work.

    • Anonymous4291 says:

      bipolar people dont help themselves all they think about is them selves they destroy every one and every thing around them its either the illness orthey are vile people

      • Dennis says:

        Hey there. I had previously read, approved, and commented on your previous posts. I then removed them after your last one due to what you were talking about. I’ve been considering how exactly I should respond to you based on what you were talking about. I think I know now.

        I’m very sorry, sympathetic, towards the pain and misery that your loved one is unleashing on you. For her to do something that nasty, she must be extremely unwell or a terrible person at her core. That is not limited to Bipolar people. Some are good people who are struggling and do shitty things because of it. Then there are others who would be completely and totally awful even if they weren’t mentally ill. It’s hard to say and honestly, it’s not all that relevant at this point because the damage is already being done.

        I’m assuming that you’ve already put as much distance between the two of you as possible. If you haven’t, of course do so. Do not be silent in defending yourself to family members. If she has a history of instability and being a shitty person, they will hopefully listen to that.

        It was not clear if there is pending legal action against you. If there is, you CANNOT discuss this matter in public places. It is very easy for investigators to follow electronic trail and scoop things up as evidence to be used against you. This is also why I changed your display name, since you left it as the same as your email address – which would make it very easy for someone who was investigating to find and link it to you.

        I highly encourage you to look into local mental health support groups and visit one for some insight and additional help. Many of these support groups have the friends and family members of mentally ill loved ones who attend and try to offer support to one another. They typically also have access to a mental health professional or phone numbers for additional resources that may help you get through this difficult time.

        Again, do NOT use your name or easy to identify information on the internet. Do not discuss legal matters with anyone other than your lawyer. These things can come back to bite you in the ass.

        And again, I am sincerely sorry for the hell you’re being put through.

  13. Ashley says:

    I love this, that you wrote. I have only come to the realization today that I’m bipolar, with my mom. She was diagnosed bipolar with depression, my grandmother was undiagnosed bipolar but she didn’t really think about it, or even knew, and my uncle is bipolar. He is the type to use it as an excuse though, everytime he did something he would always say, “it’s my bipolar moment” and never sorry. But today, while I was talking to my mom, after punching my window and breaking it because of a random yapping chihuahua, she told me that I’m bipolar. It has to be a mild form though, cause when I’m normal, I find it hard to say I’m suffering from something, but when I’m not normal, I’m scared or confused about why I’m crying or why I’m angry. I never know how to explain it. Those moods change so fast I don’t know what’s going on lol. When I was a kid, I always got mad about anything. And before today, all I knew was that I have social anxiety. Everything is starting to make sense. Everything is also intense now though, because I’m pregnant. I’m 21, and my mom said that I’m exactly how she was at my age. There is a lot more to my thoughts and all but I feel weird just typing all this. It’s hard to even think that I have a mental illness. If I’m not randomly crying or getting mad, I feel normal. Maybe because I never really knew about this until recently? Lol I’m like saying all this to you expecting a whole bunch of answers, I’m going to see a psychologist and see what he thinks. Well, I’m done blabbing lol. Take care, and my original statement was just gonna be, my uncle uses it as an excuse and I just found out I’m bipolar lol.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed what I wrote.

      It is very common for women with a mood disorder to suffer even greater instability when pregnant, especially since you typically can’t take balancing meds while pregnant due to how it impacts the baby. You’ll also want to be wary AFTER you give birth, because there is a good chance you’ll suffer from severe depression after.

      It can be hard to see a mental illness in oneself. After all, this state of being is normal for us. So how would we know how abnormal it is? Most people can’t even define what a mental illness is. So it’s not all that unexpected that you wouldn’t know much about it.

      You should definitely see a psych and start learning everything you can about whatever diagnosis you receive. Don’t be like your Uncle. People like your uncle tend to wind up in lives filled with other toxic, shitty people; the kind of people who will put up with the abuse and think it’s “okay” because he’s got a mental illness. It’s not okay. And other more well-adjusted people will not stick around for it.

      It’s not my place to speculate on the symptoms you’re talking about and you should be wary of anyone that isn’t a professional that will. But definitely get in and talk to a psych and starting learning about things. And remember, as you research, not everything you read will apply to you. We all experience mental illness in a slightly different way. If it doesn’t resonate with you, that’s totally fine. Keep reading, keep research, keep working at it.

      And I highly recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for learning how to better control erratic thoughts and emotions. It sounds like you may reap some great benefits from it.

  14. Mary says:

    This is a great post for me. I was diagnosed later in life with BPII, then eventually BBI with psychotic features, ultra rapid cycling, along with PTSD and ADHD. I was floored. And like many, I denied it for a very long time until I finally realized that I was no longer in control anymore. I had to accept that and it was really hard. I had been working at the same place for 12 years and excelling as a marketing executive. Married, small child.

    I was hospitalized 3 times in a short period, the med wheel was making me crazier and I was so drained all of the time.

    Here’s the thing- my husband says the same thing when I cannot handle a task or I wake up with a mixed mood and I’m bitchy. He’ll come home from work and say, “You couldn’t do that one little thing?? You used to be able to manage a staff of forty and now can’t make a phone call?? You’re just lazy or using this as an excuse to get out of doing it!”

    Argh. He’s better about this a little bit now but it’s still there. Part of it is he hasn’t taken enough time to even research it. I MADE him go to a therapist just for him, so he could voice his frustrations and maybe also get some education. He went once. Said he didn’t need her anymore. I can’t explain why sometimes I can’t leave my couch for the day. I apologize over and over to him. I’m not the type to ignore what I do or say. Sometimes, I know when I wake up that I’m in one of my moods and warn him upfront. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m in a mood until the aftermath. But either way, when I come out of the fog, I apologize. I don’t blame it on BP, I own up to it and really do try to recognize earlier that I’m up for a doozy one. But all of the “I’m sorries” don’t always make up for everything.

    But I’m trying. I work closely with my doc and therapist. But those damn mixed states happen so very often and it’s hard to keep up. Yet, I keep walking. Steps at a time….

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      You’re doing the right thing in managing and working at your mental illness the way you are. Your husband is the one dropping the ball here. You keep doing what you’re doing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with a situation with a loved one who chooses to be willfully ignorant – not that I know of anyways.

  15. Rod R. says:

    Hi All, well I have been married for over 40 years, my spouse has had BP2 for most of that time.. Often I have felt abandoned, abused, controlled, trapped and alone in my struggles to support them. I have not been cheated on or anything like that, however, they will not go and have another sort out of medication, even though they are obviously not enjoying being unwell… I have researched everything I can find on this, plus worked in the support field, I DO understand much more than I am credited for, and am SICK of being told that I do not understand…. I do my very best to be supportive, not overpowering or anything like that… I look after them when they can’t get out of bed, needing the covers over the head, endure the flight of ideas which are physically too much for both of us. I mostly endure the controlling bullshit that goes on as well….When down and unwell they seek solace in alcohol which turns them into a prize twat, plus it keeps them in a low place for so long, I know they are in so much pain, so I support when that happens. I have never judged them for it either….. I am not sure if it is the chicken or egg thing, but they drink either way, up or down, on the way, whatever and it IS every day..there is not a pattern to it, I think it has messed with their head to a degree where they can’t do with out it now…(not that they believe that ). So, not only are we struggling with the illness and I feel I am losing them, the alcohol is accelerating the process to becoming more and more unwell… what can I do? if I challenge the behavior, a MAJOR tantrum follows, then a real down time for which I am held responsible by the way… and it is quite manipulative I do understand they want the pain and bad feelings to stop but alcohol is not the answer I am sure,. I can not even discuss when they are well how deeply it affects me, it is as if I am not allowed to voice an opinion that is going to go against anything they are not willing to change.. I have been here for so long, I think I just needed to vent for a change instead of being quiet and keeping the peace…. sorry for being a whinger…

    • Dennis says:

      A Note: I edited your post to remove your full name and make you less identifiable. Don’t use your full name when discussing these things on the internet so search engines will not attach your posts to your name in case someone Google’s you for whatever reason.

      Thanks for taking the time to write. Personally, I’ve moved away from trying to tell people what they understand and what they don’t. It’s just that we have different bodies of knowledge. The one you have from being a supporter of 40 years is different than mine or your wife’s as mentally ill people is different from medical professionals.

      At any rate.

      Being so considerate and nonjudgmental can be a bad thing. Your wife knows you’ll just deal with it and she can manipulate her way out of taking responsibility for herself. The only way I really know of to handle that sort of thing is by enforcing very hard limits and forcing the person onto a more acceptable path; or walking away if they won’t.

      I would highly suggest you seek out a counselor of your own to discuss this with and help you develop an appropriate strategy. It’s a situation where you’re going to need professional help. Your wife isn’t likely to change on her own volition and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better. If it gets better. Some people just get tired of the grind of trying to be well and give up.

      Anyway, seek professional assistance for yourself.

    • Merrie Martin says:

      Hi Rod, I’m glad you posted here. I am in the same situation, except I am on the other side. I,ll not try to make you believe something you don’t. Because if you have never experienced it yourself, you don’t have the capacity for that. And that’s understandable.

      The frustration that you have is very normal. My husband is upset all of the time even though he’s been through it for years. I understand his feelings because I know I’m hard to live with being so moody. I encouraged him to seek therapy for his side of the issue and it helped a great deal. He also goes to a support group for additional help. I would encourage you to just try one. Maybe it helps but it shouldn’t hurt the situation.

      I am not as argumentative or so quick with my temper as you describe. If I am more manic, that happens more. Just because a lot of my mania is just irritability or agitation. Then people can’t move as quickly as my mind is and I get upset about that. Sometimes when I get that way, I realize it and just isolate for a bit until I know I can handle it better.

      I used to have more serious mood swings. That was back before a) I admitted I had an issue and sought treatment, b) I take my meds every day as my doctor prescribes, and c) If I feel I’m headed up or down, I get an appt with my doc right away. He can adjust my meds if needed or whatever to help make feel better. Does your family do that? Do they see their doc regularly? Because changing up meds or dosages is needed sometimes.

      Am I stable? Closer to it but not there yet. This med thing takes awhile. But I’m working hard to get to that place.

      Please get some help for YOU. We are very trying at times and it’s impossible for you to handle all of that by yourself everyday.

      I hope you can find some help to help you cope and maybe you can help them along too by encouraging them to see their doc regularly.

      Through all of this, I hope you can still enjoy your holidays. Peace.

      M

  16. Jessica says:

    This is a great article, and great advice for myself as well. I often get into arguments with my dad when I forget things like parts of my chores. I try to explain to him why and that I didn’t mean to forget. That if I had remembered, I would have done it. But for some reason, I didn’t know why, I just flat out don’t even remember. But he always claims they are just excuses.
    I recently discovered I have dypraxia. One of the symptoms is poor memory, and dyspraxics often forget things like instructions. I want to be able to point to it and go “this is why i forgot. I didn’t forget on purpose. I have dyspraxia” but I’m afraid if I do, I’m just using my disability as an “excuse”.

    • Dennis says:

      Given his previous responses about “using your disability as an excuse,” it is pretty likely that he will just do the same in regards to your dypraxia.

      What about list making? A small notepad and pen so you can just make a list of what you need to do? Plenty of people without memory problems do that to help stay organized and not forget things.

  17. Lana says:

    Hi Dennis,
    I went into a relationship with an amazing guy. I was aware he has bipolar, I thought it could work because (I thought) the trade-off was worth it. (When they are good they are very very good and when they are bad they are horrid) And by good I mean not destructive, rather than the goodie-two-shoes meaning, ok. I’m pretty self-aware, patient and prepared to put in the work. Thing is, these things you discuss (above) I began to conclude without much knowledge about the disease. Just one example, the term gas-lighting. He was doing it, and I was thinking ‘Did I really say that?’ i.e. beginning to question myself. Within a couple of months, according to my family, I was a different person, I was slowly being emptied of my Self. This may sound dramatic, but only, I think, to someone who hasn’t been through it. Anyway, I then discovered that this thing he was doing had a name – gas-lighting – and so it was with the many other aspects you know about. As each ‘symptom’ became apparent I would wonder, Is this something Bip people do? And sure it was. There were lots of other things. It began to truly dawn on me how unwell he was and it broke my heart. I felt awful for him, I cried buckets, I wanted him to be well because I loved him, (and he is on meds already). I still do love him. Or rather, let me qualify that because it’s complicated, isn’t it? And here is the thing I want to add to the discussion (altho I have not read all the above in detail). The thing I want to add is that although he was upfront about his disease etc, there’s something else. And I only really see this with hindsight. As soon as he ‘had me’; as soon as he thought I was hooked (what other word can I use?) , he changed. Woops. He couldn’t hold the illusion for very long – a couple of months, max. This is what threw me. I had been aware what I was getting into, I was prepared to love him unconditionally (altho that is another debate) but then, even the toxic difficult bits I could put down to his disorder ramped up per richter scale. He got exponentially worse. He proceeded to push me away and make out like I wasn’t loving him like I said I would. Ok, it’s a long story and it was crazy, but my point is this: I suspect that I could have loved him till I was blue in the face, he would have sucked me drier and drier. I can’t say where free will and disorder part ways, maybe life is a continuum of disorder, but I can say that I suspect I could have sacrificed my whole self and he still wouldn’t have been satisfied. So the debate is almost moot. The effect is devastating. I don’t even say “I wasn’t strong enough” because that’s also irrelevant. The thing that’s sticking in my craw is, in the beginning he actively disguised himself because no one would put up with that abuse right off the bat, they have to be habituated, like the frog in the warm water. I realise it was essentially a survival tactic – he needs looking after. I get it, but I just couldn’t do it. I would have lost myself. Now that I have left (a whole other heartache) I try to be his friend because he’s alone, he’s alienated everyone. I keep the heartbreak part in a safe-room in my Self, and be there as a friend because I know he’s unwell. But how aware is he really? Maybe he is but just lacks the capacity to care – like a deaf person just has no hearing. Or does he just choose not to care? What am I saying? I’m not sure. It’s just the most painful thing to love someone with this disorder. My heart goes out to anyone on both sides of the battle. xx Peace

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Lana.

      It’s a very complicated situation because without really digging into details, it’s hard to tell if it is an active effort or if it is just the way the Disorder warps his perspective. As an example, memory loss is a pretty common component with Bipolar Disorder. I’ve met numerous people who would simply remember things wrong, rather than trying to be actively deceitful. The early part of your relationship could have been active manipulation; or it could also have just been him not being comfortable enough to let down his guard around you which prevented the damaging behavior from really coming through until later on.

      Unfortunately, being on medication also doesn’t guarantee that it’s actually doing what it’s supposed to either. So it’s also possible that he has been mildly cycling the whole time and just hasn’t realized it either.

      All of that gray area is why it is essential that supporters such as yourself make sure you stay healthy, first and foremost. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to love and be with a person with any mental illness. Try not to feel too bad about taking care of yourself first; you absolutely have to. There’s just no way around it if you want to keep yourself healthy and sane as well.

      • Lana says:

        Thanks Dennis. I’m still figuring it all out. I didn’t even know what cycling was until I saw him go from Jekyll to Hyde (that’s the only way to really describe it) about 5 times in one day at one point and wondered what it was. I don’t fell bad at all about taking care of myself but the only way I could was by removing myself from the relationship in the partner sense, as well as physically moving away. I don’t think I’ll ever really know how conscious he is/was ito being manipulative but I also realise now that he’s been doing it for a very long time (other relationships of all kinds). The bottom line is he is pathologically unable to focus on any desire OR pain than his own – other than in a superficial way which doesn’t hold. At the moment he’s gone back to his interesting, intelligent, engaging persona, I guess to make sure I don’t disappear completely from his life. But I’m not sure it’s good for me. Anyway, thanks for your platform, I’m sure it’s helping a lot of people 🙂 Baby steps!

  18. Dana A. says:

    Loved your original article! I am married to a man who not only has bi-polar but also exhibits narcissistic tendencies! We have been together 18 years and not until the last four years has he been diagnosed and medicated. He has always dealt with severe depression but the death of his mother four years ago sent him into a tail spin that almost cost us our marriage. When I said I do I meant it and I will continue researching how to help him as well as help myself maintain a healthy self esteem as we go forward in our lives together! I appreciate your words that he should be doing everything he can to not use his bi-polar as an excuse, because of your article I can continue making him accountable for his actions without feeling guilty that I do not fight memory loss, racing thoughts, lack of sleep and depression! I love this man tremendously and hope to spend the rest of our lives together, so thank you for your words!

    • Dennis says:

      A note: I edited your display name to remove your last name. Never use your full name when discussing mental illness online so search engines do not associate your name to the posts, in the event your loved one or a potential employer decides to google you for a background check.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Dana. Be certain to take good care of yourself as you work towards that end. Mental illness can easily destroy any relationship if the person let’s it run rampant. Never forget, love is a byproduct of the brain, so mental illness can play hell with love as easily as anything else. You’ve been on this grind for a long time with your husband, so you probably know him well at this point. Make sure you are taking care of yourself though.

  19. Anonymous 2016 says:

    Hi There,
    Just found this article and boy am I happy I did. I entered first as a friend and it was all hugs and giggles, causal hooking up, always at my house. He used to bring small gifts at first because he always expected sex. He used to always say derogatory names and the sex lacked true emotion. We eventually started hanging out more and I was always the “friend”. I was never introduced to any of his friends or family. He never took me out but I’d always hear about fun things he had done the night before with his friends. He eventually told me he was bi-polar and was unmedicated because he didn’t like the way it made him feel. I looked up BP and all symptoms listed for manic were not present or I couldn’t see them at the time.
    One night he came over after not seeing him for months. He confessed wild sexual escapades with other woman just after we’d sleep together. He told me he was paid for sex with an older woman that was customer at his work. She was asian and had lots of money..or so he said. He told me this only happened a handful of times when we weren’t really hanging out but I still kinda devastated. I decided that we’d only use protection and that I told him that he needed to be honest with me about other partners if he was going to continue to sleep with me. He told me he’d never see her again. He told me it was a fun time and that most guys would be so jealous of him. He tells all his buddies and friends and they wish they could be him. He said it’s different if it’s a girl. Then she’s a whore. BIG BIG RED FLAGS!
    I soon started to notice that he’d be gone for weeks at time and then resurface. I began to suspect he had a wife. He had two other female “friends” with whom he told me there was not intimacy.
    We grew closer and I started to notice some strange nights where he was just completely focused on his phone or wanted to have sex within an hour of arriving.

    He’d always wake up and take it with him to the bathroom which would infuriate me. I never knew what he was doing and God forbid i asked who is texting or if I could see his phone. He pegged me into a hole by always having me as a friend and told me that he could no handle a relationship ….yet he’d come over almost every night and I’d pay for takeout, to watch TV and of course sex.

    Once he revealed he was bi-polar the behavior of what borrowing money was a little more frequent. I’d booked a night out of town at a hotel. We had a great time and marathon sex. In the morning out of the blue he started talking about how great the sex was with the woman who had paid him and that he had slept with her over 15 times. I was absolutely devastated. Here I was trying to offer a great experience (for which I paid for completely) and this is the news I get?

    I got mad and went to get STD tested. He told me that the communication with that particular lady was cut off. I couldn’t understand how he could glorify this action. He would brag about how much money he made off her and the sexual experiences to his friends. He said all his male friends were envious.

    He then asked me to pay his cell phone bill and I did. He paid me back about $20 less than what I paid and that began a string of events where he always needed money until he got paid.

    For the next year I paid for the majority of everything and he didn’t bat an eye when I did. In fact he’d request expensive restaurants if it was me paying as if it was a privilege that he was actually going out in public with me and if it was his turn we got a Thai food or a deli.

    I offered expensive Christmas gifts only to receive nothing in return for 3 years. I learned to not expect anything if I gave him something.

    I bought him a trip for his birthday as a surprise. The very next day (2 days before the flight) he told me didn’t want to come with me because he didn’t want to be my boyfriend. This was something that I had already accepted early in the relationship and couldn’t understand why he just couldn’t come. I assured him there would be no expectations, just fun. He ditched me and ignored me. I got on the plane anyways and cried for 3 days in another state, alone. When I came back I told myself I wouldn’t speak to him. 2 weeks after my return, I contacted him and he told me that “he just didn’t love me like that and if he did he’d know it” he then begged to come over ending that same sentence. My heart felt stabbed yet I figured this was a part of the illness and was not real. There would be times where he would say I love you but more often he wouldn’t say anything at at all. If I told him I loved him during a talk that was serious he’d quickly deflect to say that he only loved me as a friend and he couldn’t explain it. For whatever reason I let him back in.

    Fast forward to this past year, there has been countless broken promises to take me on dates, concerts and even help moving that were never honored and left me in the dust.

    More frequent 2 week disappearing acts only to re-surface weeks later with an excuse. Every time he’d disappear it was always at his other female best friends house and I could of course NEVER question that. Every time I’d ask if they were hooking up he’d say no. I never could tell if he was telling the truth.

    More time on the phone, barley paying attention to me.

    Convenience: I was always at his convenience. Whenever he’d want to come over not when I asked. It was always because he needed to use my car, needed to eat, he needed money, he needed pot, he needed to be closer to his work so he could uber. on and on! It was rare for him to say “I can’t wait to see you and hang out”

    Increased ignoring me when he just didn’t feel like talking to me or answering my calls. Him being busy with no explanation was always his excuse.

    Mind games: He’d always compare me to girls that he they were more amazing than me or friends to make me feel like shit. One time he dangled a concert in my face for 2 moths solid. One of his off days where I’d been talking with him all day and then he says I’m no coming over after because I’m taking so an so (his other female bestfriend) to the concert instead. I pretended not to care. Even though it was really hurtful.

    The borrowing money slowly increased to almost every day in Jan. He’d was coming over to hang out almost everyday at my new apt. I started noticing a pattern for the disappearing so I started marking in on my calendar. Like clock work, he’d disappear around the 17th only to resurface around the 27th or 1st. He’s always do the same thing, get paid, pay me off, try to take me to dinner then ghost me immedietly after and give me excuses why he had to stay at the other female friends house to hang out or work related stuff and needed to be up early. The only time he stayed almost the whole month was when I got a very large check. go figure.

    Eventually I felt like all of this rejection and pain was making me depressed and resentful every time he asked for money or my car.

    The sex eventually turned really selfish and I’d never get past a blow job leaving me hanging. He never really cared.

    Everything kinda fell apart in late Feb. After a horrible Valentines day for which he worked and did absolutely nothing for me. He was ruff with me while I initiated a blow job and pulled my hair aggressively leaving a welt. It hurt so bad I had to stop and ended up with a horrible headache all night. When I woke up I told him that was probably the worse holiday ever, he packed up all his stuff and said he was leaving and probably going to his other female bestfriends home to stay that night. I was so mad that I said fine and left it alone.
    2 days later he paid me back money he owed via an app and said he bought tickets to go to Las Vegas because he had a dream that he was going to win. I was floored. He was just borrowing money left and right and now Vegas? I thought he had to be with someone. He ended up trying to call me at 3 am and sent me a photo of him alone in bed. I felt really sad for him and also realized this might be an “episode”. I didn’t do my homework. I had now clue what that looked like. He masked his behavior by smoking pot all day.
    He called before he was going to come back and said he was going to try to come back early and that he won big money. I asked how much and he said $700. I had no clue what the hell he was talking about if he only came back with $700. He came back and never contacted me. I eventually reached out to him and we hung out solid for the first 3 weeks of March. lol Things were fine until teh 15th came around with scattered night of him staying at his other female friend’s house.
    I had a campaign I was working on where he could make money by referring his one of his bestfriends (guy) to work with us. His friend agreed and I told him I’d give him a $500 fee for the referral. This was the first time I was meeting anyone in his life and it was his friend that that he really looks up to. That particular friend has a pretty great gig and a model girilfriend. I”m not sure if his friend’s judgment may have come into play regarding me because I”m not a model but he definitely started acting different twords me. He started running everyday and was obsessed with his body image. He stared commenting that I should eat salads all while asking me to pay for them! I had gained 15 lbs in the past year.
    Here comes March 15th and what do you know… did the same thing. Paid me back, took me out to dinner then ignoring me the very next day by dodging my questions and calls. He was blowing me off. With everything happening in row I knew that this was all just too much and that I was a doormat. After everything that I had done this is what I get.
    In the past year I noticed that I started drinking more every time I knew I might experience his rejection to just go to sleep or not think about what he might be doing while not answering my calls. I knew he was blowing me off on St. Patricks day and my friend Mark was bar tending. My texts were being ignored and now I was getting drunk by myself at a bar and starting to get really angry.
    At some point something clicked and I flipped. I felt like fool. That anger translated into multiple mean text messages saying some pretty awful things to him including that he was a user and manipulator. In the morning I woke up still mad and sent another mean text basically saying he can stay F***ed off.
    I was heart broken and started to analyze what I did wrong. Why was I so angry. What exactly had made me so angry and what exactly is it like to live with someone who has this condition? I thought it was me. I wasn’t good enough, maybe I was experiencing depression, maybe it was my fault for emotionally drinking. I couldn’t believe that he just might not love me. I still question if this is true. Did he actually have any emotion or know what he was doing given he was untreated?
    I sent a nice email after reading Bp support forums only to hear a broken record of my issues with him. I was shocked. It was like veil had been lyfted and I couldn’t stop reading on and on like a trash TV marathon. I shared their same experiences. All their stories of pain and the exhausting energy to make their BP mate happy and meet their needs with zero reciprocation. I felt horrible and starting thinking all this was happening because he was ill…was it?
    The day after I sent the email he sent me text saying he’d respond to my email and that no one has ever said those hurtful things to him before. I couldn’t help but think that’s hard to believe. He told his ex girlfriend tried to run him over in her car!
    He never emailed. He then texted he would call me the next day leaving thinking there is a shred of hope that we can talk this out. He didn’t call so I tried calling him. He never picked up. The next day I was again angry but now maybe a little more after being ignored with my attempts to understand his actions and get some sort of closure. I of course got nothing.
    I emotionally drank that same night and sent more horrible text messages telling him i was reaching out in pain and how could he do this. My calls that were never answered that night. I ended having the horrible idea after 4 glasses of champagne, that I’ll go to his apt (at 12am buzzed) and tell him exactly how I feel.
    I went to his apt and saw a light on. I knocked and knocked and I was down right obnoxious expecting him to answer the door. Instead his roommate finally answered. She told me he was not there and shut the door. My uber cancelled on me and I was stuck below their drive way with no battery. Awesome for me. I thought for some stupid reason that I could go back up and knock and his roommate would at least let me back in to at least plug in my phone (thanks a lot alcohol). STUPID IDEA> Of course she did not. I ended up getting a little juice and requested an uber before it shut down.
    Long story short his roommate had called the police because I was still downstairs waiting for my car. I found myself super embarrassed and really just so sad that I could let someone get me THAT angry …and knowing they are going for that reaction by ignoring me.
    This all happened in a matter of 10 days. I feel bad for going to his apt and disturbing his neighbor but on the other hand I almost feel like he asked for it by continually ignoring me. I’m not excusing my behavior but I know of much worse stories.

    I came home and made a therapy appointment and deleted all his info. I couldn’t ever reach out to him even if I really wanted to.

    My question is given the description of my experience, do you think he was manipulating the situation and he’s just a shitty person with BP or that he may realize what he’s done once he gets off the roller coaster?
    As of now. I”m not holding my breath. I’m heartbroken and keep thinking I could have maybe done things way differently if I had known what I know now. I just don’t want to think that someone would knowingly use me like that and how I should react if he does come back. I’m trying to accept that I may never get closure but it’s hard. It’s been about 2 weeks.
    Your POV and advice would be appreciated.

    • Dennis says:

      He’s an asshole who also happens to be mentally ill. From the sounds of your post, this entire thing has unfolded over the course of years. At least three? I wouldn’t count on him ever “realizing” what he’s done. From your description, he’s perfectly aware of what he’s doing. Yes, he absolutely would knowingly use you, particularly if you’re one of those people who have a lot of faith in people or believe that people are inherently good. They tend to make for easy victims for people that are not good people.

      The differentiating factor is that he’s never felt bad enough about his actions or done anything to try to make it up to you in any real way. Those of us that aren’t awful people can and do feel bad about the pain we cause to the people who get dragged along with us, through our insanity. The big problem with BP Support communities, in general, is that there are very few people with positive results or relationships that frequent them. People with healthy relationships and perspectives tend to not stay in them long because the extended stay in such a negative environment is more than enough to drive another person into a depression or threaten an unwell cycle out of a Bipolar person. So you have to take everything they say with a heavy dose of salt.

      Now, your guy is absolutely responsible for his actions and treating you badly. But, on the other side of the coin, you are responsible for letting anyone else treat you like garbage for years.

      What should you do if he comes back around? Tell him to go fuck himself and hang up the phone. Visit your therapist, work to undo the damage that being in this abusive relationship has done to you. Ask your therapist for resources on how boundary setting and what healthy relationships should look like. Work on getting yourself right. Don’t answer his calls or messages. Don’t give him money, listen to his self-pity, or sleep with him. Don’t give him the time of day. Because if he does come slinking back around, it’s just going to be lie to you, tell you what you want to hear, so he can start using you again.

      Do not fall for it. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like he ever really cared about you, given your description of how he treated you all this time. “Closure” is a luxury that most people don’t get. He’s an asshole and did asshole things to you because of your desire to love, be loved, and be understanding.

      Learn from it, fix yourself up with the help of your therapist, move on to finding someone that will love and care about you how you deserve.

      • Anonymous 2016 says:

        Thank you for you response Dennis, it really gives me some support while I regain control of my life and emotions. I’ve also made the decision to not drink alcohol for the next 60 days since that seems to be the trigger that makes my emotions drive stupid actions 😉
        A new guy asked me out a couple days ago and I’m actually scared to even see him. I had a panic attack just having a call with him and just wanted to get off the phone as soon as possible. Him telling me how pretty I was and how much he wanted to hang out made my stomach sick. I was never that person before. I’m positive that this relationship has caused me more emotional damage than I even now realize and that there will be a very deep nasty scar. I told the new guy that I was really sorry and I just can’t right now. I really don’t want to get close to anyone for a while.
        Hopefully that will change in time. Part of me even writing my experience out and exposing it to a community that can maybe relate to my mistreatment or the havoc this experience has caused in my life, may help them if they are hurting or just looking for answers.
        My therapist confirmed that his behavior of coming in and out of my life without any logical reasons or sometimes with reasons disguised as excuses can NOT be blamed on his illness. She seconded your opinion that he’s just an asshole who is probably too busy to respond to me or take my feelings into consideration because he’s most likely trying to figure out how he will replace all the lifestyle benefits he had with me being his “friend”.
        She also told me that I was being emotionally abused and definitely manipulated with sex. She also said it takes two to tango and and I was an enabler for the very same reasons you suggested, “I’m a nice person and I just wanted to be loved.”
        I was trying to act sane in an insane situation. The most important thing is to focus on what I need to learn and move on as quickly as possible. She also told me I should be happy if I never hear from him again and he really does leave me alone.
        I decided this morning that I will NEVER speak to him again. I plan on changing my number today and getting a new phone. He is the most selfish person I’ve ever known to not take responsibility to treat his diagnosed illness and just expect everyone around him to just have to deal with his mood swings and then help him pick up the pieces of his life once he’s out of his depression phase. And once we’ve cleaned up the mess or paid off their debt, you can hug them and tell them how great they are and make sure that you go grab them some Chinese food or candy to fulfill each and every one of their needs while they shit on you. WTF! I’ve tolerated more bullshit from him than anyone else. I know he manipulated, cheated, lied and probably stole from me the entire time and that I just didn’t want to see it. I wanted to live in my own illusion that this person actually cared for me.
        I now don’t expect any closure to move on, I know that I’ll never get a solid reasonable explanation or confirmation if he ever really cared or not. At this point it really doesn’t matter.
        The one thing I do know is that I was left with lots of pain while he lives on like nothing even happened. I’ve also decided that this will be the last time that I search or read a BP forum. I’ve heard and seen enough. Your advice will be the last advice I seek online regarding this condition. You’re a solid guy and I can’t thank you enough for your response.
        The BP community is lucky to have you. The so called “sane” or “normal” should award you with a gold medal. I have definitely benefit immensely from your works and writings. I’ll be sending your blog to anyone that may have questions regarding this condition.
        In my last text message to him I told him to stay fucked off. Gonna just go with that…for like the rest of my life!
        Onward 🙂

        • Lana says:

          Hi Anonymous 2016. Perhaps you won’t see this, as you say you’re done with all this and I really understand. I’m not going to try convince you otherwise. I have been in a very similar place. The asshole factor was less (maybe) but the destruction was similar. I just want to say one thing, hear me if you can. You absolutely cannot think of getting into another relationship before you’re gone through your own deep healing process. Not only from the damage done, but to address your aforementioned enabling personality. This will in turn uncover more stuff you need to address. This is so you don’t find yourself in a similar situation down the line. The next one might not be ‘as bad’ and you may be tricked into thinking therefore that the dude is ok. The risk is very high that you repeat the past, even if in a more benign form. It doesn’t matter how attracted/attractive you are or how lonely you get. They are ALWAYS charming in the beginning, how do you think they get past our radar? Give yourself two years at least. I wish you all the best for your recovery. x P.S. If you haven’t already,get a diary, write everyday so you can go back and see yourself with hindsight.

          • Anonymous 2016 says:

            Lana and I’m really sorry that you experienced anything at all similar to what I dealt with or if you had your heart broken. I’m hoping that people or partners living with someone who has BP can read my post and get some type of relief of comfort by being able to relate to me or thanking their lucky stars that their partner or “friend” wasn’t as bad as mine was!
            I know reading other peoples stories and scenarios really helped me get a better understanding of the type of person I was dealing with. Your advice is solid and I gladly accept anything helpful at this time. Knowing that there is someone else out there that can understand what I’m going through really helps me too, so thank you for that. I did start writing down a lot of my feelings but have since stopped. You’re comment is encouraging me to continue.
            I met with a friend yesterday that has BP and told her about everything. She said the same thing as Dennis, “you can do what you want as long as you don’t hurt people along the way.” She is responsible about her condition and takes medications. She told me that life without meds and treatment if you have BP is pretty much un-manageable and that I should def. stay away from him. Especially if he’s been unmedicated for a long period. She said he probably doesn’t see that he has done anything wrong or treated me badly and has most likely made this all about me having a problem or drinking instead of looking at the friendship and person he lost. She also told me it’s really typical for unmedicated BP people to use up everything good in someone, knowingly and manipulate situations just to meet their needs at that very moment. No one else matters. Especially me. This story echos in almost every post I’ve read. It’s really just sad.
            It’s been about a month and still no contact from him. The ignoring really made me angry at first. Now I think it’s just pathetic that he can’t hold a conversation or answer a text. I STILL find myself missing him and a small part of me really wants to see him again. I used to want to really have some type of closure conversation because at the end of the day I still have a lot of questions about the whole situation…Did he ever love me? Why did he drag this on for so long if he never cared? Was he seeing other people the whole time? Did he have unprotected sex with other women while he was sleeping with me? Did he steal from me? Did he just lie to me all the time? don’t you miss me? yatta yatta. Dennis’s reply kinda summed it up for me…If he really cared he would have rectified things. He didn’t even try. So I guess my closure is knowing that I was right about everything and that kind of makes me feel better for calling him out on it. He was just using me and never really cared for me at all. I was an idiot for ever thinking he did.
            I wish I could just erase everything about that jerk! I sent him a text last night and regretted it this morning. Of course he didn’t respond. He really was my best friend and at one time the center of my world. When I start to miss him I actually have to tell myself the truth… Do I really want a guy that’s broke and mentally ill? Someone who isn’t capable or doesn’t really love me?
            I have no idea how I ended up getting so out of touch with what’s good for me. I can’t believe that I actually believed that he ever loved me at all. I’m wondering where my own self love is at really. This has been one of the most painful situations that I’ve been in. Not getting into another relationship for a couple years sounds just fine with me. I hate that he broke down my walls and they’ve been built higher than ever before. It feels horrible.

          • Anonymous 2016 says:

            Just an update in case anyone visits my story and wondered how it all turned out.

            I haven’t seen him since March 15th, today is April 19th. Over the past month there were scattered text messages from me to him that were never responded to. I never called him. I actually wasn’t even sure if my text messages were getting through to him. For some time I thought I might have been blocked. For a while I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he may have not gotten any of my desperate text messages but I later found out he got every single one of them (ughh).

            Every time I texted him I’d regret it and immediately erase it from my history. I’d text things like “watching blah blah thinking of you” …no responses. I finally sent a text message after about a week of no contact saying “I know your angry, so am I, I miss you, I’m sure you moved on and don’t care but I’m still really hurt.”

            I remember earlier that day I actually prayed that God bring be closure or just bring him back. I just wanted to know if he loved me. I don’t really pray a whole lot so that was a whole thing in itself. Back to him…He actually called me about 5 minutes after I sent the text.

            I was shocked. My friend was over and I just smoked a joint. I didn’t know what to do. I went outside to talk to him. It was so good to hear his voice again my heart felt full. He was really angry with me. He told me that he was getting kicked out of his apt because I had come by that one night and caused a disturbance. He said that his roommate wanted to get a restraining order and the neighbors had 4 videos of me. (Likely this was his exaggerated twist) He said my actions were really embarrassing for him and he didn’t want to talk to me anymore. I ruined his safe place to live and it was all my fault.

            I was actually shocked and didn’t know how to respond. I all the sudden felt horrible and was also wanted to just keep him on the phone to ask a few more questions, knowing that might be my last opportunity. He got upset and hung up on me.
            I called him back and we talked for 5 minutes. I told him he can’t blame me for getting kicked out of his apartment. I asked him if that was the REAL reason his roommate gave him to move out or was it that night or something else? He responded, “I know it is but she said it’s for a promotion but I know it’s because you told her I was bi-polar and she didn’t know”….(to flashback I’m almost positive that this was a lie. I remember having conversations with him about his roommates friend who has BP that got in an accident and they spoke openly about it. I asked if him then if his roommate knew about his BP and he said yes, I’m not sure which one is the the lie..that she did or didn’t know).

            He then hung up on me again. I of course frantically tried calling him back. I went back inside my apt and told my friend what he had told me. My friend said “I call bullshit”. My friend said text him back and tell him you are not buying his BS. I started to think about it and I was like “you’re totally right” this shit is not my fault! I then texted him “I’m really sorry if my bad behavior impacted you but you can’t blame me for you having to move. If you don’t want to talk to me I get it”. Followed by “I don’t really believe much of what you say. Sound like more BS”. He called me back about 5 minutes after that text pissed off yelling at me and telling me to fuck off.

            He told me that everything was going wrong in his life splashed with “F You’s” in between it’s your fault and don’t ever ever speak to me again. I asked him why don’t’ you ask yourself how this situation even got me to that point…I asked why he ignored me. He stumbled over his words and said he wasn’t about to respond to someone who was so disrespectful to him. I asked him why he didn’t me when he said he would? He said I did and you didn’t pick up. Another lie. He said “I was going to tell you that I wanted to end things cause I needed space cause I wasn’t feeling it anymore.” I told him I never got a call and waited all night and why not leave a message? He said he just didn’t. I asked if he saw any of my texts saying how much pain I was in that night before I went to his apt. He said he saw them all and chose not to respond. I asked why and he couldn’t answer them. He said he was busy at a friend’s house.

            I asked him why he was acting so shady. He responded “that’s a whole different conversation” I responded back saying no it’s not. It’s this conversation if you really plan on not speaking with me again so what happened? He said he just wasn’t happy anymore and “wasn’t feeling it.” That he had grown to like me more as a friend and that he this is just what happens to him with everyone. I asked him if it was me and he said no, then he said yes, I really haven’t been into you for the past couple of months…followed by him saying “no that’s wrong I love you and you’re the most beautiful one I just don’t know what happened. My feelings changed”

            I asked him if there was someone else and he slightly paused and said “no, is that what you thought?” I said yes. He said, “no, there was no one else and I shouldn’t believe all those things in my head that I tell myself.” At that moment I was like “Is he for real right now?” I personally am almost certain there was someone else but whatever. He told me that he was really mad at me and just couldn’t be around me and that maybe after couple months we could hang out again.

            I was thinking to myself …WTF? A couple months? What makes you think I’m just gonna wait around for a couple months to hang out? How about, hell no! He told me after he found he had to leave his apt he had to call his friend to calm him down because he really wanted to hurt me. That honestly had me worried.

            He told me that all this was happening at the worst time because he was going back home (east coast) for a week and that he would be coming back to move his stuff and staying with friends etc. I told him I’d help him find a place and he said he wants nothing for me. He asked about my puppy and my daughter and then he said he was really mad but he really loves me and he doesn’t want to talk to me for now. I told him fine and hung up the phone. That was the last of it. I know as of right now he is on a plane back home today. I’m not even sure if I really believe any of it.

            My real thought on the situation are as follows: I gained ten pounds. He got depressed. He was being a jerk to me and making me unhappy so he went out and cheated and stared some weird online relationship bullshit to have attention. I caught on to what he was doing. He tried to string me along because I providing security and he wanted both until I freaked out on him. Something he knew would happen but wasn’t totally prepared for. He was prepared to lose me. I think he continued to ingnor me hoping/knowing he could instigate more bad behavior on my part to get his attention or a response. I think this is a game he plays with all of the women that get this close. I remember him telling me stories about (while we were together) about women just showing up at his work place confessing there love after a couple months of hooking up. The one thing he forgot to mention is he probably destroyed their lives and THAT’S why they were coming by his work! But I didn’t go there. I stayed away knowing he’d expect that of me and that I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I also had relief in knowing that he’s so paranoid that I really didn’t actually have to do anything at all. I’m sure he was checking if every car that passed his work or apt was mine. Well, this time it wasn’t.

            The truth is, I think he’s using the getting kicked out of his apt story to kill two birds with one stone. This story allows him to break it off with me while making me think that he no longer lives there…thus no disruption ever again. I have to be kind of an idiot to fully believe anything he says.

            I’m happy he is going home. I absolutely think it’s what he needs right now. He won’t have the distraction of his work or friends to take his mind off everything that going on. Hopefully he will be able to reflect on everything that has just happened and see that maybe he really needs help.

            My heart has been completely broken by this relationship and experience. I truly believe that this is something that can really only happen once to an individual. I will never allow him to hurt me like this again. I realize that if he does come back that I’d probably take him back as the type of friend only with boundaries. I think the reason why he liked me is because I never took us too seriously. I never saw a future with him. Now I really know that there will NEVER be a future with him and that my time would be super limited as this will happen over and over again because he remains un-medicated and lacking proper treatment/counseling. And at some point he won’t return. So I’m happy to have him in my life. I really love him and want to be there for him. If loving him from a far is what I do, then fine. If he wants to be in life then I will have to know that I can never really be IN LOVE with him again. I’ve also read so much on the condition my ego wants another shot at a friendship with him because I feel like I have a much better understanding at why he does the things he does.
            There is a part of me that wants to reach out to him and give him a call while he’s home. Another part of me is saying just stop it. Quit wasting time. I’m only worried if I stay away too long I might not ever hear from him again or just not care enough to respond myself.
            In other words, I’m ready to move on either way. I still cry about him. I still love him. I still think he’s an asshole who used me. I still know he really loves me and think that’s all I really needed to know to move on.

  20. Tired of excuses says:

    I have been married to my bipolar husband for 10 years, and together for almost 13. The past 5 years have been probably the worst of our marriage. This is my second marriage (I have three grown children who are now adults) and his first marriage.
    He used to be so sweet and thoughtful …accept when it came to my daughter. The past several years I have not even received a birthday or Christmas gift. Any trinket would do. I have no family holidays anymore “because as he says we don’t have the money to buy food for the meal” etc. But, he can find money for all his junk food, chocolate, pop, McDonald’s etc.
    I should have seen that he was not right years ago. When others could see it, and would say things about his outbursts, not working, and strange behavior I would protect it. In the 13 years we have been together, all total he has probably worked maybe two of those years. There was a time I was working 35 hours a week, and would come home and do other work online just to have MORE income. Since my stroke I have been trying to get my small shop started again and I cannot even get him to help me with it.
    He can always complain about the bills, or we have no money…but he can never get up and do something about it. I went thru about 200,000 in a previous divorce settlement and life insurance from my Dad’s death just supporting him. He had nothing when I met him, and the same is true now.
    In 2010 we bought a home with my older brother. I used my money from a manufactured home I had and my brother contributed. Three weeks after we closed, he “quit” his job (surprise surprise) and for months did nothing. In November 2010, I allowed him to start growing medical marijuana (which is legal in my state) in hopes it would help his ongoing “health problems” and maybe some cash selling it to dispensaries.
    In December 2013 after months of cycling he was admitted into a mental hospital. He stayed there for two weeks, but took himself off all the medications, refused (or made excuses) treatments with therapists etc. I became so bad the 6 months after his hospitalization, that I had a stroke at age 50 (my doctor’s feel his rages contributed to it) and just the day before my stroke he was in a rage over money and how I was not contributing enough (while he was not working at all and the pot garden had been shut down for good because I found out that and bipolar do not mix).
    I have spent the past 20 months learning how to walk again the best I can. I no longer drive. I still have my brother living here…he is 66 years old and retired. But, he is also mildly mentally handicapped. Now, my daughter is living in the basement just to have a roof over her head (she despises him and HE despises her), and to add fuel to the fire I now have my oldest son’s dog while he goes thru some things. Two years ago, I would have never been able to help my kids but now I talk back and tell him family helps family. I will no longer let him make the rules of the house because he doesn’t contribute. His behavior was like this before I developed more of a backbone, but I am still a doormat.
    My family and friends wish I would leave his ass and kick him to the curb. A typical day for him is getting up, having coffee, taking smoke breaks in the garage during the day and playing on computer and reading news headlines. Then after dinner he will head in the bedroom and watch more tv and play video games there. Then tv again.
    He has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees and it is at stage 2. Stage 4 is when they do knee replacements, but the way he walks around or lack of doing anything you would think he was in the last stages. Before the knee diagnosis, he could not work or go out to do things because of his Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He uses his health as an excuse for everything, and that esepically gets to me now that I had a stroke and have limited use of my dominant side of my body. If my mind can try and think of things that are legal to make money, why can’t his mind do the same?
    Everything is an excuse. EVERYTHING. I could think of 25 things he could do at home, and he will make an excuse for each of them. He has no work ethic whatsoever. My house is needs some major and minor repairs and I cannot do them. I am tired of asking my brother to pay for everything on this house and so have told spouse I will no longer. He has borrowed (might as well say taken) 10,000 from my brother to get himself out of credit card debt or start businesses that he never did anything with.
    He is on so many medications now it isn’t funny. He loves the pain pills too. I have asked him to go visit his Mom who lives in another state and he makes excuses on it all. We do not have the money, but I also am at my wits end. I know I am to blame in allowing this behavior and being a doormat. I know that our relationship is not normal and we really no longer have a marriage. It was like this before I had my stroke, so I cannot blame it on that.
    I am afraid of being alone and that is part of the reason I cannot close the door on this relationship, and I keep hoping he will change. He is not going to change. He learned from the best. His Mom has been married more than 15 times and would sober most of them up long enough to get them to provide for her. She loves living off the system and spouse thinks the same. I was not raised that way. We come from totally different backgrounds (low income and I was upper middle class).
    He has been seeing a new therapist. He does not have the rages he did, now it is like living with a zombie. He says yes, ok and maybe he might say a sentence to me or two during the day but that is the just of it.
    I am so grateful to have found your website and read all the stories from others. I had to start a journal two years ago to keep track because after awhile his behavior all blends in to each day. You begin to think it is normal and everyone around you is screaming NO IT ISN’T. I do love and care about him, but it has come down the fact that I will be killing myself (another stroke?) if I stay.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello. Thanks for taking the time to read my work and share your story.

      I feel like a lot of your post is venting out loud. You pretty much come around to what the proper course of action would be in regards to it all, numerous times.

      You’re right. He’s not going to change. He’s always going to have an excuse. He’s not going to do the right things. If he was going to, he certainly would have “snapped out of it” with you having a stroke. But he’s not. Afraid of being alone? I can understand that. But what about the fear of being his mother for the rest of your life? Or up until the next stroke? He’s not going to be there for you when you’re unable. If anything, a peaceful house for your daughter and brother to be around would be optimal; and much lower stress for you.

      No, what you’re going through is not at all normal. It’s manipulative, abusive, and shitty; and you’re going to be dealing with it for the rest of your life unless YOU choose to do something about it. He needs you more than you need him.

      If you haven’t, you may want to speak to a therapist yourself. I’m sure it would help you sort through this things and the damage your husband has inexplicably done to your sense of self and well-being.

  21. Marie says:

    I have someone in my life that has hurt me to the point I don’t know if I will be able to forgive her for the things she said. We believe she is undiagnosed bi-polar and is finally seeking treatment for it now that she’s burned every relationship in her life. But, now she’s saying she’s sorry for what she said but it’s because she’s probably bipolar and it “wasn’t really her” and we should just try to move forward because she didn’t really mean it. However, every time she goes into one of these manic episodes where she’s hurling insults and blaming me for failures in her life it’s always the same things, it only gets more vicious. Every time. So it makes me wonder if she really means them and just has the guts to finally say it while in one of these moods? I don’t know the specifics of manic episodes, but shouldn’t she still be held accountable for the vile things that come out of her mouth and not being able to just blame it on the illness? Instead of acknowledging the fact she’s hurt me and saying I hope I can earn your trust back over time and once I’m receiving treatment, leaving it at that– in the same breath she says “it’s because I’m bi-polar and I have no control when I’m in those moods”. I’m ready to cut her out of my life because she crossed lines that should have never been crossed. Do I even owe her a chance at redemption because of this illness or is she someone who is using it as an excuse to justify horrible behavior?

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Marie.

      The answer to your question is that it’s probably a little of both. After you’ve been through therapy and have a decent knowledge of the way the Disorder works and maintaining relationships with it, you learn that you do need to put in work to ensure that the damage you do to people like yourself during unwell cycles is addressed and attempts are made to mend it. From your description, she sounds like she doesn’t understand the Disorder or the recovery process well enough to know that.

      She may, or may not mean them. A very understated component of Bipolar Disorder is that unwell cycles can cause delusional thinking, which is (loosely) defined as being thoroughly convinced of things that can be proven to not by real. So while she is manic, she could absolutely believe they are true.

      Were I in your position, this is what I would do. I would ask her, “Do you want to keep this friendship? Because the fact that you’re manic does not change the fact that your words have caused a lot of damage and pain to me. If you think this is how you’re going to keep a friendship with anyone, you’re wrong. Ask your therapist or doctor about how information on maintaining relationships with Bipolar Disorder. And if you can’t so much as find an apology for the pain and hurt you’ve caused me, then I’m not going to put up with it anymore.”

      And then stick to that. But, if you feel she’s already crossed your lines that should absolutely not be crossed and the bridge is burned, then it is. You have to do what’s best for your mental and emotional health first. You have to be the one to decide how much you can take, what you’re willing to forgive, and what you’re willing to deal with. If you’re done, then you’re done. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  22. Cameron CC Rig says:

    Look I get you….don’t make excuses for your actions. Own up to them. That’s all good. But what I don’t agree with is how you make the person diagnosed with the disorder to feel like a monster by saying things like, “all you can do is apologize for the wrong done, and try and sweep up the ashes.” But what wrong was done? Give some examples. Do you feel bad about something you did because you were on a high fucking shit up then came down and realized some of the things you said or did did not fit into social norms and now your mind which seems to be back in what you refer to that of a “normal”, you can’t live with yourself knowing you said or did some things you may not have done if you weren’t having an “episode”? I don’t see what there is to apologize for. I don’t know who you may have hurt but what I find is that most people are generally assholes to one another regardless of if they are (diagnosed) bipolar or not. People are generally pretty shitty to you and walk all over you unless you stand up for yourself and most bipolar folks don’t stand up for themselves unless they are manic. At that point they do say fuck it and have a few words for those who have or are mistreating them. So they need to feel bad for that? I think most bipolar diagnoses are brought on to those that have undergone substantial trauma in their lives whether it be by bullying or other things that can stress you the hell out. Either way these people reach their boiling points and finally snap and all those people that had terrorized them suddenly are fearful of that person because they just don’t seem to be scared anymore and are willing to go to any length to have their dignity reinstated or make am mends for those that have wronged them. Sure the Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek but that is a whole nother can of worms I refuse to open. In reality nobody should have to continue to be stepped on their whole lives and the real guilty parties are those that take advantage of the mentally ill, prey on them, and push them to the brink. I hate that I actually used the word mentally ill because I despise the term but I guess it is OK for my purposes and is what is generally understood. Anyway, those diagnosed, need to learn to embrace themselves and do need to get to the point where they say fuck it and not look back with regret because those “normals” you’re talking about don’t. We need people that have been beaten down to stand up and fight and not let society lock them in a box shove meds down their throats and be made to feel inferior because now they’ve been told they have an illness which carries a serious social stigma. Anyway, good day to you sir I just felt compelled to write this when I saw your post and it seemed to me you were insinuating those diagnosed with bipolar need to apologize for their wrongs against “those that care about you” cause as a bipolar junkie myself I’ve never had words in my most “manic” of states for somebody who truly cared and treated me the way I deserve to be treated. Fuck everybody else’s feelings. They’re not the ones standing by me when I’m truly in a gutter.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Cameron. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I understand your perspective and point of view on the matter, I do. Though I have not ever been an addict, I have been homeless, eaten out of a dumpster to survive, and lived in a hood where most of us stole our utilities and wearing the wrong colors would land you in the hospital. With that in mind…

      I do not believe that there will ever be “social acceptance” of mental illness in that many mentally ill people hope for. Fuck, you take the way the US elevates veterans to an almost hallowed status, and society can’t even figure out how to keep them off of the streets and reduce their suicide rates. The rest of us are fucked as it comes to social acceptance.

      So, in regards to the post. I understand your reasoning behind it. But, there are a couple of things that pique my interest in it. First of all, you’ve “never had words in my most manic of states for somebody who truly cared and treated me the way I deserve to be treated.” That makes me wonder what Type of Bipolar Disorder you’ve been diagnosed with. Bipolar Disorder is a category that encompasses several different types of functionalities that fall in the scope of that diagnosis. Some are severe, some are mild. Your statement and general perspective suggests that your escalated (read as manic/hypomanic) cycles are relatively mild. You may experience the Disorder like I do. I have about 10 months of mild to suicidal depression, six weeks or so of escalation into hypomania (not mania), and then like two weeks of “other,” which is usually recovery time.

      The other part of that statement that stands out to me is that you’ve never had words for those people. I would say congratulations on getting missed by one of the worst symptoms of escalation. That is, you know how when you’re thinking about something, considering the way you’re interacting with a person, how you can choose what comes out of your mouth? It is very common for that filter to completely disappear when a person with Bipolar Disorder is escalated. You don’t get to choose what comes out of your mouth. Whatever insane thought pops in your head comes straight out of your face, a lot of times without you even realizing that you said anything. Now couple that with the instability and rage that often comes with escalated and you have scenarios with completely disproportionate responses; such as heaping verbal abuse on a spouse in a relatively good relationship, completely out of the blue, completely out of character.

      That’s what makes Bipolar Disorder and mental illness different. A lot of the actions that result from unwellness are entirely out of character for the person in their natural state. I almost destroyed a refrigerator because the milk was holding the door open. I’ve had suicidal crashes from watching a small child hug a plastic santa and a television commercial. The smell of lavender used to be able to crash me into a suicidal space. And as it relates to other people? Well, rather than examples, I would encourage you to jump over to this post and spend some time reading the comments. There are literally hundreds of examples: http://www.bipolarmanifesto.com/wordpress/2012/01/19/maintaining-friendships-and-relationships-with-bipolar-disorder/ (I will also note that yes, I understand these are the perspectives of the people posting and people could be lying. But the comments I approve are the ones that past my own bullshit meter, because I get tons of bullshitters and trolls. On the other hand, there is way, way too much consistency for the behavior to be an anomaly.)

      This post, and the material I create, is written in a very general way to try and hit the lowest common denominators for those of us with Bipolar Disorder. The problem is that though we are bound by symptoms, we all experience mental illness in different ways. You can take 100 people with Bipolar Disorder and they will all experience it in different ways; but be unified by Escalated and Depressive cycles. This is a major problem with the way that many advocates and people write about and perceive mental illness. They often filter the experience of having Bipolar Disorder as the way that EVERYONE ELSE experiences it. And that’s just not the case. If you are in research mode about Bipolar Disorder on the internet, you need to keep that in mind, because there are a whole lot of people that make assertions about what it is and it is not that has nothing to do with anything other than their perception forged by their own limited experiences.

      The very first book about Bipolar Disorder I read was Dr. David Miklowitz’s “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide.” It almost convinced me that I did not have Bipolar Disorder. Why? Because it was written for people with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder, who experienced full-blown mania, and were struggling with their diagnosis. I didn’t struggle with my diagnosis. I was just relieved to find out there might have been a reason I couldn’t keep my shit together past just being a terrible person. And I’m a Type 2, I don’t experience full-blown mania, which includes psychosis. I couldn’t relate to 95% of that book. But, it’s not a bad book. It’s a great book if you’re a Type 1. It’s just not relevant or meant for me.

      Just as this particular content may not be relevant for you.

      As for the rest of your comment, I simply have to disagree with you. I’m not saying that your experiences are wrong or that you are wrong, though. Because you may very well have only witnessed things that way, particularly if you come from a dysfunctional background, or have spent a majority of your time around other addicts and other people with severe problems. I don’t know you, so I don’t know how your life has forged your opinions and perceptions. Meanwhile, I have thousands of emails and comments, literally thousands, from people who are trying to figure out why their mentally ill loved one hates them, abandoned them or their family, or how they can be so wonderful and loving one moment, and tear them to pieces the next.

      It all depends on your perception of the world, really.

      Also, Bipolar Disorder has genetic roots and usually starts manifesting during puberty, unless yours was brought on by drug use. Diagnosis often comes after a great period of chaos and upheaval with a person. Most of the time (in my experience), the people who are diagnosed later in life have been showing milder symptoms and cycles for years or decades. But untreated Bipolar Disorder only gets worse with age because it causes advanced degeneration in the sections of the brain it affect, so the person has more intense and severe cycles as they get older without medication. It’s why the suicide rate for people with untreated Bipolar Disorder is 25%ish. It’s why so many people can be unwell yet remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for so long.

      I used to hold many of the same opinions and thoughts you’ve expressed in your post, with the same anger. I’m still angry about many things, and it peeks through from time to time. But I have long since realized that pushing that anger out is the quickest way to get normal people to think “omg he’s crazy/unwell!” and immediately stop listening to anything I had to say. That’s not something that is going to be stopped or changed, because the normal people I know now and society in general are soft. They have no perspective on what it means to be mentally ill, so they filter what they think it is through their own perceptions forged by their lives, which are often very narrow.

      If you take nothing else from this exchange, please do keep in mind, you are lumped into the same group of people with Bipolar Disorder who do shit like: spend decades riding erratic cycles, refuse to do anything about their problems, manipulate and abuse the people that loved them; use mental illness as an excuse to lie, cheat, manipulate, steal, and weasel their way out of responsibility for those actions by hiding behind “I can’t help it, you just need to accept my problems”; and engage in toxic behavior because they have no impulse control or empathy when they are escalated.

      Because the true vitriol and anger that many people have towards those with Bipolar Disorder is there because toxic and abusive people who may or may not actually be Bipolar often use it as a shield to minimize any responsibility at all for their actions. The people I’ve dealt with in the course of my advocacy work who had the most anger towards people with Bipolar Disorder were all abuse survivors of people with Bipolar Disorder. I know that because I ask them why they hate us. And most of the time, it’s not people with Bipolar Disorder they hate, it’s the mother or father that abused them, it’s the ex-spouse that turned their life inside out and stole from them, it’s the sibling that the parents didn’t or couldn’t stand up to prevent the toxicity and bullshit that they were doing.

      And you can really only start peeling through those layers when you can approach the situation with a calm mind to ask and explore the question, why? Not giving a fuck is exactly why the social situation is what it is today, from my perspective and opinion, anyway.

      Thank you for taking the time to write. I hope you can find greater peace with yourself, life, and experiences, my friend.

  23. connie says:

    I have felt it, seen it and witnessed a bi-polar family member turn family member against family member with his lies, excuses etc. I was kind, considerate and took care of the man – a stepson, and his when he told his family I had a plot to destroy him – and then he contacted my kids to find the ‘dirt’ about me – I realised that there it was an excuse – not the reason for his behaviour. He pretended he did not know, or forget etc. I watched him two seconds later telling somebody that ‘he really didn’t forget’ but it kept everyone off his back. He proceeded to say that ‘he was pulling this quite a bit’ and got his sofa surfing way, and money – and he did not have to work. With the gov money provided, he could do what he wanted and never had to explain. So – for those guillible people out there who want to side with people like this – I learned the hard way. Better you than me.

    • Dennis says:

      I’m sorry to hear that was your experience. People definitely need to be wary of individuals like that. Bipolar Disorder doesn’t inherently make a toxic person. There are plenty of people in the world who would be similarly destructive and awful, with or without mental illness.

  24. Lost Shadow says:

    I agree with you Dennis but at the same time I dont my experience has shown me that there are those out there that will manipulate you into thinking you’ve said somthing you havent or the familly that refuse to believe they are a trigger or the odd person who knows they are but decides to push that button anyway just to see the fireworks. I spend alot of time worrying about upsetting the ppl i love but when i do i dont do it with intent I quite often cant remember it clearly post orbit without allot of effort and even then some things stay in the realms of fuzzy unclear memories to heavy with emotion to peer at for to long without triggering another run on the coaster. Ive spent time homeless lost relationships familly I no longer speak to due to manipulation and other family I dont want near me as they refused to help when I needed it cos it was all made up or I was milking it or whatever justification they cling to for leaving me to die. Im lucky at the moment my wife is suportive and can usually spot me slipping before I do shit she figured out I was gonna top myself over the phone and I was trying to hide it thats how we ended up together we were freinds first so I suppose that helped a bit but I was low unmedicated no income no way to work I suppose it would be helpfull to say whats up wi me lol Im bipolar with social anxiety dissorder and other odds n sods that could be symptoms of a few things the doctors dont seem to be able to decide they all say somthing different add diagnosis then change there minds when the meds arnt working so well. I dont know what the talking therapies are like in the US but in the UK they are shit I get what theyre trying to do but the way its done is just not effective. I have had a few slips this year been convinced of things that probably arnt true cos my mind screams that its right and other peoples reality is wrong (I cant think of a way to describe exactly what I mean its not words more an idea that wont go away that my mind then expands on) while its happening its real not the way ive interprited things my mind tells me that unfounded suspisions born of my paranoyer are true I know that this is hurtfull and I try not to let it get into how I interact with my nearest n dearest but its a war I never seem to make any progress in. Ive just not long finished12 weeks of therepy sessions they concentrated on me controlling my anger I learnt some usefull stuff what I didnt learn was how to spot it when I flip into wrong interpritation, how can I break for a corner if I cant see the road? I really honestly believe there is no hope for me I will loose the current stability cos I cant stay stable even with meds . I cant face been in the gutter again so if that happens well I aint living through that again ending it would be better. The problem is many of the thoughts I have I cant share the very fact Im paranoind can hurt somebody Ive seen it but I couldnt convince myself that it was just the illness so i have to live with the hurt caused and then there are those that manipulate ppl like me play us like instruments use us to do the things they are to scared to do (angry manics) as Ive gotten older I started to realise some humans were just playing me. In all honesty the only trully toxic ppl Ive met were fakers not actually ill they hang around looking for the vulnrable then when caught out claim whatever they can to get out of facing up to the fact theyre just cunts. Now Id say Im curerently far from stable paranoid about stupid shit been stuck in a mixed episode for what feels like years (no idea how long I cant track time well) depressed but up its horrible at least when im crashing I can sleep in the state Im in im awake for days at a time which just makes it worse and worse till I feel like im going to explode I try to talk to the doctors but they never understand or they assume Im lying (they deal with so many bullshitters I cant blame em) or the interprit what Im saying instead of listning its gotten to the point I cant make myself deal with my support team at all I actually had a CPN (comunity pychiatric nurse) acuse me of making up my college qualifications and childhood growing up on a smallholding cos I must have grown up on a council estate somwhere (dont know US equiv of social housing srry) like to be mentally ill you have to be from a damaged enviroment or somthing or that to be ill must mean intelectual inability and yes I know my spellings off but a spell cheacker aint no use if your dyslexic lol I did art not writing. Needless to say being called a lyer by the ppl who are supposed to be helping you is not helpful in fact her actions triggered one of my worst angry manics for a few years and put up a wall between me and them that I cant see coming down anytime soon. Now not for one second do I think its ok to treat ppl like shit and for those that have been on the recieving end of wankers I really feel for you I really do bieng in a relationship with an arsehole can happen on both sides I have an ex that activly manipulated my illness to the point of hospitalisation then convinced me they hadnt they still try from time to time but I have backup now lol funny thing is until I got togethther with my wife I didnt get help I was just treated like a junkie even tho when im in control I dont do chemicals (I think I did when I was ill I failed a drug test but cant rem taking the drugs) I stopped drinking (it makes the lows worse) the lot but they still pulled the well it must be somthing your doing bullshit. Theres lots of times”normals” (lol like that term) have looked at me and asumed user when its just exhaustion (they should try been up for a few days at a time see how they fkn look) so why should I say sorry when I make a mistake they rarley do in fact they never do if they can get away with it so why should we? Why should I apologise for things I can barely remember. Im actually reminded of a snippet of conversation I had with psychologist I said 95% ppl are bastards and are ultimately selfish her response was that is offensive I asked why she said cos its not how they see themselves. At the end of the day I never set out to upset anyone but eventually I upset everyone so the best thing to do is not engage the best thing to do is hide and if I upset someone well if your not in a very small circle of ppl then I dont care cos not many ever cared about me. No one cared about me when I didnt eat for almost 2 weeks at a time cos I had no money and couldnt bring myself to steal it no one cared when I was living on the street in fact out of all the ppl ive known i can count the good ones on 1 hand. Im socially awkward I think I hide it well now but i didnt when I was younger n fuck me did i take some shit for it now alot of those same ppl like things on social media to “support” the mentally ill but they were the cunts when younger that made me want to die I find that kinda funny I somtimes wonder if its guilt that makes humans play nice then i realise theyre really more scared than I am they just dont recognise the fear for what it is I however have no choice small things can keep me awake for days it 03:30 here day 2 no sleep yay. I can count on 1 hand the ppl worth apologising to the rest can do one on the flipside the ppl Ive recieved actual abuse from Ive lost count of from verbal taunts to threats against me (threatening to pour petrol through my letterbox that kept me awake for almostr a week i think before the wife got me the the shrink and sedated) now if normals can get away with that (police refused to act cos Im a man n the idividual involved was a woman so no credible threat aparently) why should I say sorry for a rant? Saying sorry for been a dick when im a dick cool no problem with that but to say sorry for being ill implies you had a choice the times Ive caused hurt I never knew I was doing it till after then saying sorry dont mean shit trying your best not to repeat the mistake means more than a few uttered sounds but with a head like mine I fuck up again no matter how hard I try n then your back in the doghouse till the relationship unravles n they cant hack it anymore n who can blame them really Im a twat when im ill. What is the point in keeping fighting the pain never stops its there all the time just as I think cool im getting on top of this I slip and bang its all gone to shit again back to sleepless nights or nightmares when I do sleep the meds Im on dont seem to help totally but I cant take lithium i know my paranoyer wont let me so better to try an alternative and hope it at least takes the edge off as for the antipsychotics meh they really kick the shit out of me killed my energy to the point I could barely do anything so what im left with is making do with a little bit so i can still function enough to be sorta usefull instead of totaly useless downside is it means my symptoms arnt totaly controled (dont think any meds do that) if I take evrything Im no use if I dont take evrything the risk of upsetting a loved one is higher but at least they dont have to carry me to the point of exhaustion. Ive just knoticed Ive admitted to paranoyer I hide that normaly esp from shrink they always blame what it isnt.

    sorry if I ranted a bit sorry if ive not been clear not my best method of comunication writing I just dont think its right to say sorry when u dont know what your doing then its just noise to make the loved one feel better or is that the point? and understanding comes later?

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Lost. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      The problem with writing about mental illness and trying to help people with it is that every situation is different with a horde of different details that changes the circumstances. This particular article is largely aimed at people who are trying to maintain healthy relationships with people they should or want in their life. In your case, it sounds like you’ve been around a number of shitty people, and that is unfortunate. Your experience is unfortunately common. There are plenty of assholes in the world, mentally ill or not.

      In a healthier situation, an apology may be warranted if for no other reason than to acknowledge that one’s actions damaged the other person. One of the big hurdles for many people is memory loss. They don’t remember doing something that their loved one was hurt by; but that doesn’t erase the fact that it happened. But again, it all comes down to details. Every situation is different.

      And, if you don’t understand, you can always lead with something like, “I apologize if I hurt you, but I’m still not understanding how.” You know? It can be an acknowledgment that you understand that you inflicted pain on a person you want to keep in your life.

      I’m sure you know this, but hiding your paranoia isn’t a great idea, especially if it’s really oppressive. It may even be a symptom of a different mental illness, which may explain why you’ve had such a poor experience on psych meds, if you’ve been on the wrong ones for the wrong mental illness. (Total theory, take it with a grain of salt.)

      And, in the spirit of how to use I’m sorry as an expression of sympathy, I am sorry that you’ve had to suffer through everything you’ve had to. Not that I did anything wrong to you or pity you, because I don’t. Just that I sympathize with everything you’ve gone through to get to where you are today. I know it’s not easy all too well.

  25. M says:

    I’ve already posted once already on this thread, but I had so many emotions about the comments that I felt I needed to reply to get them out.

    Quite honestly, all of it just makes me sad. There is so much pain coming out from the posters, that it is overwhelming. I’m truly sorry that so many of you have suffered through painful experiences when it comes to bipolar illness. You are exactly right, it is not an excuse for bad behavior.

    Like some other people, I didn’t realize I was sick. I thought I was just a hard working, very social person. That is until one day at work, all hell blew up. I was hospitalized right away for a very bad bout of mania. It took a very long time for me to get the right meds and to the understanding of my situation. When that happened, I looked back and saw the wreckage I had caused for many people in my life. I felt so damaged and grief for those people that I hurt. My guilt is still there and I’m having a hard time getting over that. So much that I have tried 3 times to end my life.

    Because of this, I just became a recluse. I was afraid I would cause harm to others too. I sought help immediately, started medications, and sought therapy. I’m trying hard to be better. My therapist told me that I should “forgive myself” for the harm I caused because I couldn’t help it. I cannot forget. I feel so much grief and pain about the things I said or did. I’ve become pretty agoraphobic now. I rarely go anywhere. Besides my worry about others, I’m afraid of public panic attacks or just saying the wrong thing.

    My mania is ugly. Where many people just get the hypomanic form, I go from 0-60 in minutes. I don’t harm anyone because I just black out. I usually don’t even remember going to the ER. I rarely remember checking into the hospital until I’m there a couple of days or so.

    I get help when I need it. I just spent almost 5 weeks in the hospital, and 2 weeks of intensive outpatient treatment.

    The people you describe are such idiots, I’m at a loss. I fight this thing every day and can’t imagine anyone treating others like you describe. I just hide out at home because I don’t want to cause harm. With meds and a supportive husband, and a young son, it is MY responsibility to be well. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with that.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, M. Do be careful about how much time you’re spending reading through this stuff if you’re still struggling with being balanced. Okay? It’s really easy for folks to get destabilized when they immersed in this kind of thing on a regular basis. I think it is important for more people like yourself, people who care about their mental illness affects others, to at least get a glimpse of the other side of the coin, because this stuff is why there are people that hate Bipolar Disorder. It’s not because of pop culture or media or any of that garbage. It’s because there are a hell of a lot of toxic, shitty people that hide behind mental illness, exploit the compassion of others, and just do nothing but deal damage to the people around them. It’s an unfortunate truth in all of this.

      Sucks to hear about your recent hospitalization. Hopefully things will smooth out a bit more for you in the near future. And don’t forget, don’t spend too much time reading or dwelling on this stuff if you’re in an unstable mental space. Take good care of yourself for your husband, son, and self.

  26. Kelly says:

    Thank you for writing this blog. I can see this is a hugely personal struggle and to write this is to expose your most vulnerable self; I thank you for that.

    I found this blog because I know precious little about bipolar, and I have a friend who has just announced to me that she has bipolar disorder, in response to me calling her out on acting in very inappropriate and damaging (to our friendship) ways. She is not feeling the need to correct her behavior or repair the damage she has caused; she is simply pointing me to articles and asking me to visit her doctor with her. I am not inclined to do so.

    Part of my struggle is the chicken/egg nature of this; someone with Bipolar by definition treats people poorly and acts terribly at times, and wallowing in self-pity to the exclusion of all else– getting diagnosed with Bipolar involves nothing more than answering yes/no questions like, “are you treating people poorly and acting terribly? Are you wallowing in self-pity to the exclusion of all else?” Hooray, you get a Bipolar diagnosis and for some, it seems a Hall Pass to act like an utter ass.

    My latest episode with her involved her calling our home in the middle of the night, waking our children and my husband, to announce she was suicidal and hoping I would like to facilitate her accomplishment of this; then changing her mind, and getting angry with me for suggesting she seek help from her doctor and mocking me for “obsessing” about her state of mind. Courtesy and common sense dictate someone who did such a thing would come to my house and apologize; apologize to my entire family, recognize the sheer nonsense of such behavior, and ask for forgiveness. Instead, she merely offers that she’s in such terrible pain and could I educate myself on bipolar and she and her doctor think the best idea is that I come to therapy with her. Things of similar magnitude have happened previously, and not once has she suggested that she has any responsibility whatsoever; when she is called out on her actions she simply says, “I am bipolar and I am so glad you are processing this, it makes me feel seen.” This angers me to no end; she couldn’t care less about persons she’s wounding being seen. I find the notion that whatever pain a bipolar person is in somehow trumps the pain they cause others to be revolting, and quite certainly the definition of an excuse.

    I certainly am not saying this is the case with you, but I will caution anyone who labels themselves as bipolar to be careful, and sensitive to their actions and what those actions feel like on the receiving end.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Kelly. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      The key to separating people like your friend and the people worth having compassion for is how they act afterwards. The comments and my website, and on many websites for that matter, do offer a biased perspective. A lot of normal people do not understand how to balance having boundaries and compassion for someone who is struggling with a mental illness, thus, they allow toxic people to take far too much from them and disrupt their lives greatly. The other side of the coin is the misery, self-loathing, loneliness, and suicides of those of us who do still have our empathy intact and understand how much damage we deal to people. For example, after my diagnosis, I spent three years single because I didn’t want to drag anyone else I cared about through this shit with me. And it’s the same reason I’m really leery about ever getting married. Because people talk a big game right up until they actually have to deal with real instability.

      So, about your friend. First, I would actually look at your friendship. Does she actually contribute anything to it or is she just feeding off of you and your compassion for her? If she’s not contributing anything, then it’s not a friendship. It’s just her feeding off of your understanding and compassion for her. Chances are pretty good she’s been doing similar shit since before her diagnosis as well. It’s a convenient excuse for mentally ill people.

      Second, do not pity her. Do not pity anyone for that matter. The only people I’ve ever crossed paths with who wanted or reveled in pity were not worth investing emotional and mental energy in. Why? Because they had little to no desire to actually be better. I catch a lot of crap for that sentiment, but it is something I firmly believe in. Love, kindness, and compassion are finite resources. They should not be arbitrarily wasted on toxic people who do not appreciate or will meaningfully use them. Sympathy and respect are fine, but never pity.

      Third, for some reason, a lot of people in your position seem to think that they need to somehow honor mental illness by putting up with terrible behavior. You do not. If the person isn’t making any effort to control their mental illness, minimize the damage they do, or make up for the damage they do; there is absolutely no reason that you need to put up with it. On the one hand, you can’t expect a mentally or emotionally unstable person to always make good or healthy decisions. On the other hand, if they refuse to do it, there’s no reason why you can’t just say, “I’m not dealing with his.” And stepping away. It doesn’t matter what other people think about it. They’re not the ones in your situation.

      Now, in dealing with her behavior.

      The next time she calls up and threatens suicide, ask her, “Are you suicidal yes or no?” Don’t let her wander off in the conversation. Reiterate the question until she answers yes or no. If she answers yes, then inform her, “Alright. Since I’m not a professional, I’ll call 911 and send them over to you.” If she answers no, then inform her, “Then I don’t want to hear about it. I’m not trained to handle that.” Chances a pretty good she will back pedal because people that do shit do not want to suffer the repercussions of the associated bills or an involuntary hold.

      Next point, you should go to a doctor’s appointment with her. Inform her professional of the shit she’s doing and the fact that she isn’t offering so much as an apology after the fact, and then ask, “Why should I deal with this when she doesn’t care about how it affects the people around her?”

      The answer the professional gives you will tell you how good of a professional they are. A good professional will say that it is her responsibility and she can’t just do whatever. A bad professional will excuse terrible behavior and absolve her of responsibility. If it’s the latter, you might as well start considering ending your friendship because that kind of professional relationship just nurtures the bullshit and it will get worse with time.

      As for diagnosis, it’s far more than just asking a few questions. It’s looking at recent behavior, it’s reading body language and demeanor, it’s looking at historical behavior. It’s a far from perfect system but the system assumes that the person isn’t there for fun. Nothing about having Bipolar Disorder is fun and it absolves no one of responsibility for their actions. Now, plenty of people insist that it does. But those people are generally fools and not worth listening to because they either have little to no practical experience or they are just bullshitting.

      People like your friend will push as far as your boundaries allow. Erect hard and fast boundaries, enforce them harshly, and it will keep her from pushing in.

      Use the aforementioned method of dealing with suicide threats.

      Inform her not to call you or show up at your house after X time, period. If she is in crisis, tell her to call 911. You’re not a professional. And if it’s not an emergency, you’ll talk to her in the next day. And if she does, have some repercussion to follow through on regarding it. Warn her once, block her number next time. If she shows up at your house, tell her to either go home or you’ll notify authorities. And follow through.

      Next time she tries to paint you as being too concerned about her mentality, tell her, “It’s not my responsibility. It’s yours.”

      On the other side of the coin, I actually do believe that people like her can meaningfully recover. However, people like that must hit a point where they realize that they cannot conduct their life the way that they are. And that usually requires a great deal of loss or hitting rock bottom for them to realize, “Hey, this isn’t right.” That was the case for me. That is the case for several Bipolar people I know who used to do similar shit until they lost all of their friends, most of their family, or went through similarly awful shit. And that process can take years, decades, or it may never happen. Some people are too sick to understand that they are mentally ill, other people just don’t care.

      So you can’t expect her to act right, but you also don’t have to tolerate it either.

      Now, if you decide to erect and enforce your boundaries with her, don’t be surprised if she drifts off from being your “friend”. Because once toxic people realize they can’t get what they want from you, they drift off to a softer target that they can feed off of. That’s exactly why my comments section on this site isn’t a toxic shitheap and I maintain my sanity in doing advocacy work. I have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior. I do not save or help anyone; I enable people to help or better themselves. And if the person demonstrates to me that they are not trying to help or better themselves, then I cut them out.

      Why? Because I only have a finite amount of patience and understanding. And I’m not going to waste it on people that aren’t going to meaningfully use or appreciate it. I don’t know of a single person like your friend who has recovered from people just being nice or understanding to them because they just feed on the attention. If she won’t make an effort, there’s no reason you should either.

      • Kelly says:

        I truly, deeply respect what you have to say, and I value this wisdom you wrote. I recognize what I need to do and for the first time in about a month, my stomach doesn’t hurt when I think about this situation!! I can see that I have been enabling this mess for way too long… years, in fact. I’ve been managing so many areas of her life that some of my own are out of control and I didn’t even realize it. I need to take a huge step away from her for a while and stop my part in making her illness worse. Thank you for the clarity and the distinction between a reason and an excuse.

  27. ELTX4813 says:

    My husband dx with Bipolar disorder 2 weeks ago and is a 25 year drug addict. I married him 3 years ago and knew him for a year before that. He is aggressive towards me but never hit me. He has been taking lithium for two weeks. He is also, but not wholeheartedly, in NA.
    He is always agitated and I have continued to put boundaries in place such as no yelling at me and slamming doors. He isn’t compliant. He left home in his episode 3 days ago. He calls me but I don’t answer. He doesn’t apologize. I’m sick of the bad tempers and mean attitude. He leaves often and I always let him back for more of the same. He has ruined our finances and I’m pissed at that. Drugs and buying cars.
    What further boundaries should I have? I know he loves me but he sure doesn’t act it and the meds take up to 8 weeks to kick in. Help!!!

    • Dennis says:

      I would very much recommend that you talk to a counselor or look into local NAMI support groups for appropriate help in navigating your situation. Chances are pretty good, that if he won’t respect boundaries at all, you’ll need to cut him out completely before he upends your life any more than he already has.

      The thing with boundaries is that they only really work if they are enforced harshly. And since you keep letting him back in, you’re not enforcing them the way they need to be. That being said, there’s no guarantee that the meds will be working in 8 weeks. Yes, they can be working then. Or, they might not be working and need increased. Or, the side effects might be too bad to manage and deal with. Or, they just flat out don’t work for him and he needs to try someone else. It can take months or even years to find a medication that works. That is also assuming that the person is compliant in taking their medication as directed.

      Given what you’ve expressed here, you’d be far better off discussing the situation with a therapist who can provide appropriate guidance as well as being an emotional outlet for you to manage everything going on with it.

  28. Roses says:

    This forum brings so much peace to me. I thought i was crazy. I couldn’t understand why the person i loved treated me so badly. All these other stories of people who have been in my shoes and comments from those who are bipolar really are helping me put closure on my own situation. I will sum it up for you all.

    I met a guy during a party phase of my life. I was a dancer and he came in often. I live in a place where some bars are open 24hours a day. So one morning me and jay we will call him are at a local bar. He ask me if i want a bump. I say his. We have sex for like 3 hours and from that day on we were together every single day and night for the next two months. We usually would stay up for 3-4 days straight and then sleep 24 hours and the cycle would continue. We were spending about $1000/week on blow. So after two months of this i noticed the toll this was taking on my mind and body. I told jay i wanted to stop partying and get back into Engineering (which is what i was doing before i started dancing). He agreed and said he wanted to the same thing but when it came time to stop he couldn’t. So i broke up witg him only to find out a week later i was pregnant. I gave him another chance. I moved in with him and his crazy alcoholic mother. He would leave me in the middle of the night and ignore me, he was out with other women and doing blow, lying to me about it or somehow blaming me for it. Once i thought i was losing the baby and he left me like that, crying all night for him to come back, that i needed him. He didnt come home until 11am wasted. Anyways that went on for 4 months then i had enough and moved back in witg my dad. He flipped his shit and got arrested that day for swimming in a boat launch dock, damaging random peoples vehicles, and growling and then running away. He had been up for 3 days straight. He threatened my family. He made up stories about me on FB. He accused me of fooling around while i was pregnant and just wanting him to come to his senses and love me. He stopped paying his bills and his employees. He crashed all 3 of his vehicles. He eventually lost his business. Now is facing a felony charge that he so obviously is guilty of but he thinks he is above the law. Me and his family marchman acted him (kind of like baker acting someone but its for drugs instead of mental illness). His own alchoholic mother called the cops on him mutiple times because she thought he was going to die. He showed uo to trial smelling like alcohol and looking like a crackhead. I gave birth to our beautiful daughter and he promised me he would be different but of course it was a lie. Over and over and over again. I cant even nearly explain all he has done, that is just the surface that i explained. He has been court ordered into rehab now. He is there for 30 days. I know he will come out and be exactly the same person. I hold on to no hope of ever seeing him normal. Bipolar runs in his family. He used to never be like this until he started doing blow. I am not sure if that triggered it. But he goes through insane manic episodes. I have had to get a restraining order on him before. There is no talking to him in these states. He talks so fast, his mind races, he thinks he is god and better than everyone else, like nothing can touch him. Then he twist things around and manipulates people, he is great at getting others to feel bad for him and telling them all they want to hear but never actually does the right thing. I loved him so much because deep down i felt there was a sweet good hearted man bit thw drugs and mania were screwing him up. But again like so many others have posted, he is never sorry, or only when he needs to be but its not sincere. And he doesn’t take responsibility. The things he does and says dont make any sense. Its absolutely insane. I finally got away from him. The only way was to completely cut him out of my life. I am raising our daughter on my own. He isnt even on the birth certificate because i was so afraid from his behavior. I know he loves her and me but he is so unstable.

    Thank you everyone for your post. I am not alone. If anyone reads this and your in a similar situation, dont be the enabler. Get strong. Talk to friends and family who love you. You may be broken and ask who you are anymore. Believe me strength comes with time. Things get better. Dont let someone treat you like shit and ruin your life. Mental illness is no excuse if you never even apologize for hurting those who love you.

    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Roses. Drugs and mental illness are a horrible combination that destroys a lot of people. I hope things turn out well for you and your daughter.

  29. A.T says:

    Thank you so much for writing this <3.It's hard to keep putting your fingers between scissors(that's what I feel in the relationship between me and my bipolar brother).For five years I have tried to reach him,to help,but I know he is the only one who can give the next step.He takes no responsibility for anything now,if you give a hand he will take an arm.He got his grandmother(he is the son of my stepmother but we grow together) in huge debts and has no plan to clean her name.He worked for his mother but also hadn't effort to work.He changed university four times with his mother paying it.Has harassed some guys he gets obsessive with,with a high chance to get to jail.(But we talked with those people).He denies the diagnosis,help,therapy and medication and doesn't make an effort to do anything.He is abusive,I had friends(who he texted talking bad things about me) warning me to not get close to him,that they fear for me.I was willing to live with him if in three months I saw him do ONE altruistic decision,but it didn't happen.I have tried for so long and I'm exhausted.I think I will read this everyday or on the days I'm in the same house he is(he has a house all paid by his mom but he doesn't leave her house and I come in some weekends).I want to help,I do.But I need to learn that he doesn't want help

    • Dennis says:

      I don’t really have anything to comment on about your post, other than what you’re describing is a fairly common path. And you’re right, you can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves.

  30. Paul says:

    I wish I’d read this in May!

    My partner at the time had bipolar, he would steal money – lie out his arse – ask to borrow money – gamble and say some of the nastiest things without even realising.

    If I could have shown him This I would, and said this is you it’s how you act, but never face up to it

    Then after a year he left and stole more money, said I was a disgusting person and disgusting to look at.

    That hurts and is a form of mental abuse, I knew it was his bipolar but it still hits when you’ve done nothing wrong and as a normal it’s damn hard to understand. I remember he changed his job and it paid him short because of his start date, which he knew, but I loaned him £500 to see him thru but he spent the lot on clothes.

    i do miss him but I’m glad he’s gone now, is normals have a life too and as much as you can understand a persons behaviour you shouldn’t have to suffer for their fuck ups everyday

    Anyways awesome article

    • Dennis says:

      I’m sorry to hear about you’ve been subjected to in that situation. I hope things are better for you now and moving forward.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my work.

  31. SJB says:

    Enjoyed reading all your comments. Going through some issues of my own right now.

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