When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

I’ve written about the fact that sometimes you have to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness for the sake of your own health and sometimes even for the sake of the person with the mental illness. I believe this even though the person is sick and the sickness is not his (or her) fault.

This post has been met with relief by some and anger by others.

Some are relieved that someone is finally talking about their reality while others are appalled that I would suggest leaving someone for an illness that is not his fault.

To Those Appalled By the Notion of Leaving Someone with a Mental Illness

To those appalled I say this: be abused by an individual for years at a time. Have him hit you. Have him steal from you. Have him vandalize your home. Have him refuse treatment. Have him call the cops on you. Have him get addicted to drugs. Have him rage at you when they see you. Have him endanger your children.

Only then can you start to judge the people who have lived this reality daily. Only then can you understand what it’s like to truly need to protect yourself from another human being.

To Those Who Have Left a Person with a Mental Illness

Leaving a Person with a Mental IllnessI think it’s important to remember that you deserve safety, sanity and happiness in this life. It’s important to remember that just because someone insists on dragging his own life to the bottom of the ocean, doesn’t mean that you have to let them drag you there too.

Yes, I said “insists.” That is because when we’re an adult we have to take some responsibility for the choices that we make. Yes, some of those choices are deluded by illness, but we still choices: treatment or not, abuse someone or not, pick up the crack pipe or not. No one lives an entire life without the wherewithal to make a different choice. Ask anyone with a serious mental illness. They did it. Others can too.

And I share with you this sentiment that interventionists have shared with people dealing with drug addicts:

There is nothing I won’t do to help you get better, but there is nothing I will do to help you remain ill.

Yes, that means you still support that person and love that person but that doesn’t mean that you have to sit around and watch them destroy themselves. Any time they want to stop you’ll be there for them, but until that point, you have to choose your own sanity over their destruction.

Enabling a Mental Illness

Because just like with addiction, (a mental illness in its own right) you can enable another person’s mental illness. By always offering a person with a mental illness a place to live, while they destroy their home and steal from you, you are enabling them not to have to take responsibility of their own lives. By allowing the person with the mental illness to abuse you physically or emotionally, you are allowing the person not to have to take responsibility for their own actions.

You are enabling their mental illness. You are part of the problem.

Now exactly when support turns into enabling is a tricky thing, but a large part rests on whether the person with the mental illness is getting help or not. I believe that when a person is trying to get help we need to support them as best we can. When a person chooses not to get help, well, it’s like anyone else with a problem that they refuse to face – sometimes it devours them.

Leaving a Person with a Mental Illness

And to be clear, no one wants to leave another person. No one wants to cut off contact. The people who do this are full of remorse, fear, sadness and pain. But I just want to reiterate that sometimes it is the right choice. You have a right to safety. You have a right to respect. You have a right to happiness. You have a right to a good life.

Images provided by Rocpoc and nasrulekram on Flickr.

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  1. I have been in a relationship with a woman for 9 months and have been with her and stuck by her through all of her bpd symptoms,(she denies having it) addict mentality , and I reached my breaking point finally and I feel so guilty for it. I told her last night I had just reached my limit, I know that was wrong but when you are so beaten down sometimes you do not handle things as appropriately. but feel guilty because I said I love her , but I feel my own mental health suffering. I am over 40, in last year of college, just got hired by a wonderful company for my dream job, and I have tried so hard to stick with her until she gets better but there is always something wrong. Just wanted to vent. I thank you for being here.

    • You are a wonderful person for sticking by her. Sometimes you can love someone so dearly and so much that you feel them in your heart but you know can’t live with them. She isn’t going to get better. You know that. I went through something similar and it wasn’t until after I had left that I realized I was a co-dependent and an enabler. It’s hard to do something for yourself but this a time, when you have to because you can’t keep riding the roller coaster with her without losing a part of yourself in the process. God Bless.

      • Mishelle thank you so much for responding so soon:) She has promised me anytime this happened she would get help and of course and never followed through, she projects her illness onto me and drains me. I am in the hospice field and my job alone is very draining although it is so close to my heart and i know its my calling. There just doesnt seem to “be enough of me” to be able to be in a relationship with her anymore. It is very one sided. The lies, deceit, and I tried to focus on the positive aspects that I fell in love with about her but the chaos and drama just became too overpowering. In the beginning I sensed the codependent thing coming so I set boundaries for self protection and it worked a little but now since she has gone off of her medication and is always wtihdrawing from something…I just feel I have no more of me to give. Also her allowing people in her life that are drug dealers and such and making poor decisions about people is not at all what I am about. I dont even drink lol. So I suppose I am doing the right thing although I have to deal witht he guilt of “abandoning her” after saying I love her and would work through anything. ut how can I when she doesnt acknowledge the BPD? Whew, that was alot and again I thank you so much for your response and lending an “ear”

        • First, understand that you did not “abandon” her. There is nothing wrong in saving your own sense of sanity and getting your bearings back again. You love her and are still in love with her. All of us grow up believing love conquers all but it doesn’t and that’s just the truth. You put up boundaries to try and protect yourself so that you don’t become co-dependent but it still happens. You still lose a sense of yourself in the relationship because you put your partner first and foremost. Walking away is the most painful thing you can do, it’s also the best thing because if you lose yourself then neither of you is well. My girlfriend was bipolar. She said she didn’t like the medication because it made her feel numb and she wanted to feel all of her emotions. I went through a lot with her. She would accuse me of all sorts of things, mostly that I was cheating on her. I have never cheated on her or anyone for that matter and never even thought of the things that she accused me of let alone do them. She would get this picture in her head and that’s the delusion. There is no rationalizing with them, when the delusions come. There is no reasoning with them either. The rage, name calling and broaching physical violence was the worst. She would spend all of her money then demand that I buy her things, that I take care of her financially I did. When she was not in an episode, she would apologize and say that she didn’t want to lose me because of her mental illness. Before I met her, she had done drugs. Had thought the police were trying to kill her during one psychotic break and they had to use a tazer on her. I didn’t find this out until after we were together. She told me about her problem with alcohol. Told me she no longer drank then I came home one day and she had a bottle of Vodka and was busily drinking herself into a rage. I paid all the utilities and have the rent, as I know her monthly check wouldn’t cover everything. I left her but I still felt obligated to help her financially and still do. I pay half the rent directly to the landlord. I pay the utilities online as they are in my name. I have no contact with her, as I feel that is best. I don’t want her hurting financially or ending up on the street but I can’t live with her either. I have peace now. My life is going forward without her. Yours will too. Live. If you had stayed with her, she would have drained you emotionally. She will not get better, but you will heal and move forward. You are reclaiming your life.

          • Yes she is draining me very much. I guess it is best to just cut off all contact completely? I tried talking with her yesterday but you are right about not being able to have a rational conversation about what is going on with her. The irrationality of the things she says blows me away. I have studied so much psychopathology and such but boy when it hits you personally it is so different. I feel like an idiot because I want to work it out with her but rationally I know it is not possible. She says im a heartbreaker and its a tragedy and I have always “left” her but if I dont leave I will go insane. Her view of things is so skewed. Had a conversation with her last night and then woke up to all of these texts on two different platforms(phone texts and facebook) that are saying one thing one hour and the next something different, makes me question my ability to communicate because I am so floored by the inconsistency in her thought process, yet logically I know its the mental illness. So would it be best for me to cut it off completely? Guess I need to keep repeating to myself that I deserve peace again and happiness.

            • Hi again, Laurie, in reply to your comment to Mischelle, you wrote three things I have had experience with:

              “She says im a heartbreaker and its a tragedy and I have always “left” her but if I don’t leave I will go insane. Her view of things is so skewed.”

              I have not personally been called a heartbreaker, but I know someone who is one. She and I have been very close for years, but our communication has gotten worse and worse, and I got so tired of it I broke off with her 2 months ago – for the second time in 10 years, and it’s permanent this time. But that’s besidei the point I/you are discussing. Anyway, she is a heartgbreaker to men. She dresses in all the most beautiful styles. She has impeccable makeup, and is very beautiful, and attracts men like a magnet. She wants a loving partner so much! She has been hurt — a lot!!! But she has terrible judgment. Here are only two examples: She is a ballroom dancer, and meets a lot of men. She also met a guy online who treated her absolutely wonderful. I’ll start with that relationship: After she met him, she threw a “mister wonderful” party for the family and him. Soon after, he proposed marriage, and she said Yes, and he gave her a ring. To make a long story short, she pulled back from him more than once. Either broke up and/or took “time off to think.” Finally, after 3 years, he broke up with her. This devastated her, and she cannot understand why he did.

              The second guy that I remember is one she met at dancing. He was a regular there, as was/is she. Both had recently had a partner break up with them, so they became almost best friends, and “supported” each other. They talked about “everything,” she told me. He told her he was in love with her. She told him she was not in love with him. He sounded to me like a great guy. Anyway, I told her this: “When one person is in love, and the love is not reciprocated by the other, someone is going to get BADLY HURT.” This did not have any impact on her, and she had several men like this. But regarding this one, after 2-3 years of being “friends only,” he came to her house like he often did. They had a few drinks and made out like wild on her couch. He said, “I think we are falling in love.” After the make out session, she told me she felt cold. She told me, “Now I have to figure out a way to tell him, without hurting him.” WHA…..???? She’s already hurt him badly with her terrible judgement and behavior with him. I didn’t stick around to hear the rest of his hearthbreaking story. These poor, poor guys.

              Did I send you the info about the great song, “I love you so much I hate myself'” By Ed Haynes?

              You also wrote, “makes me question my ability to communicate because I am so floored by the inconsistency in her thought process, yet logically I know its the mental illness.”

              I have to wonder if her inconsistency is deliberate. I once had a sister in law who was a marvelous con artist. She conned people out of tens of thousands of dollars. She tried to con me and her brother (my husband) out of the ownership of our house!!!! Luckily my father was a lawyer. I talked to him about it and he said to see an attorney (Daddy was not that kind of attorney. He was a labor lawyer). The lawyer told us she was conning us. She was amazing — any conversation with her sounded fine, but when we left her after the conversation, we wondered what on earth had just happened! It was spooky.

              You also wrote:

              ” So would it be best for me to cut it off completely? Guess I need to keep repeating to myself that I deserve peace again and happiness.”

              Having mental illness does not give free license to run all over someone. Here are some books I recommend, and DON’T LEAVE THEM AROUND WHERE SHE CAN FIND THEM. You MUST keep these books private and for your eyes only. They are your tools to freedom. They were hugely helpful to me. The reason is that she can use the information in it against you. 1. “The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans;” 2. “The No Contact Rule.” 3. Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life” by Ginny NiCarthy. “The No Contact Rule” came out later than I needed it, but I’ve had that inclination and skill for a very long time anyway. The other two were hugely helpful. Patricia Evans wrote a sequel, too, but the one I mention is the one to read first.

            • Cutting off contact is the best thing you can do for yourself and for her too. Her mind is going on a roller coaster ride and you don’t have to go on that ride with her. You are strong. Yes, you love her and would give anything for her to communicate with you rationally but she will never truly be able to do that. There will never be stability. You can have a beautiful conversation one minute and in a few hours it’s like that conversation never happened. The person you are talking to is completely different and irrational. It digs at your soul. I know. I’ve been there. I felt that I was seeing the real version of Doctor Jekyl and Mr Hyde, only in my case it was Ms. Jekyl and Ms. Hyde. I’ve left her before but we had communicated before and I allowed myself to believe with false hope that each time I went back it would be better. It wasn’t. Finally, I left and cut off contact and it’s over. I had to do that for me. I have peace now and I’m moving my life forward. You can do the same. Choose peace and happiness. You deserve it. All of us do, including the ones we love.

            • Mishelle you are exactly right. The moments of rational , amazing, intelligent conversations is what gave me false hope before that there was a chance things would get more stable.

            • Hi Laurie,

              It’s a terrible shame. Without a doubt it must be frustrating and heart-breaking for you. On the other hand, she sends to be having more than her fair share of problems and I imagine this is terribly difficult for her too. I would hate to be in her shoes: having to try to deal with with constantly changing but overwhelmingly strong emotions. It’s hard enough having to deal with the anguish of loving someone with bipolar – I don’t think I could cope on the inside. It’s no wonder some people say that at best all you can be is a friend, in order to protect yourself and be able to maintain a level of calm and consistency in your own life. Good Luck and sorry you’re having to go through this.

    • Yes, it’s sad, but we all have to protect our mental health. Who know what impact she could have on your career?

      In regard to two of my husbands: The first one was studying birds and insects in college. (ornithology and entomology) . I helped him make flashcards to learn them by picture. And helped him use the flashcards. Also went out into the parks to view bird behavior and collect the insects for his class required collection of one species per Order of the insects. We had tons of fun doing these things!!! In contract, when I went to grad school (age nearly 50) he insisted I have all my study materials put away by the time he got home from work.

      • You are exactly right about my career and I start my new career tomorrow. I think that is what my fear was is what impact she would have and I know it would not be good. So thankful I can get some validation here about the hard decision to leave. Thank you:)

        • Before i reply directly to your situation, I must clarify/correct my own response before….The man who didn’t help with my grad school work was a DIFFERENT husband!!! I’m sure the first husband would have treated me well about that! Oops.

          Well, anyway, regarding your reply to my reply. glad my comment was helpful. I’m hoping that, with her out of your life it will be such a relief that your new career will be smooth swimming. (Have you two stopped living together yet — or maybe you weren’t living together anyway). If you are still living together, it might be rough at first since you still have to split up????

          • We weren’t living together yet. We live about 20 minutes apart and that was another issue with us. The only way I could see her is if I drove to her house and the time and money that takes adds up. I have just got to be careful not to fall into the “i promise I will change and get help” that she may say…I have heard that so many times before. Gave chances, and here I am. Starting a new life and praying she would be with me but that wont be the case and I have to come to terms with that. I do know that us not living together yet may make it easier. She wanted to live together quickly but glad I listened to my gut and waited.

            • Hi Laurie, Good on you, listing to your gut and not living together too soon. My b/f, when we were “new” about 4 years ago, saw a cute little house for rent. He wistfully said we could live there. I said I wasn’t ready. Very soon after I said that, I recognized that I can’t live with ANYBODY.

  2. I’m at the point of desperately wanting to leave, and have been for ages. Actually doing it is a whole different ball game though. My husband refuses any help and says he needs a magic wand…. he’s also still drinking a bottle of wine each night, even though his meds say no alcohol. He refuses any treatment and advice or assistance. I’m exhausted. I’ve done this for twenty years, and I’m utterly drained. I think it all became clear when I’d have liked some support or empathy over menopause, and all he said was “I can’t” Can’t do anything but take…,

    • Here’s a song that addresses your dilemma. I’ve “been there” too, with more two husbands. One I stayed with for 9 years (he was a verbally and financially abusive alcoholic). The other was a very, very sexy guy – that was so hard to leave, ha ha. He was a gas lighter, He told me “I don’t get mad — I get even.” I’m learning the following song. The singer/songwriter is Ed Haynes. The song is “I love you so much I hate myself.” You can find it on YouTube under “Ed Haynes I love You so much I hate myself.” The song is a SOOOoooo… funny!!!!, but it’s SOoooo…. TRUE!!! Hope you can figure out a way to leave him. Do have a way to support yourself? And a place to live? That’s the hardest part for a lot of us.

    • Some are. Some aren’t. I don’t think anyone here is stereotyping “all” people with mental illness — or stereotyping people with or in any other condition, medical, cultural, or anything else.

    • Not in the least. You might have read that into it, but I’m sure that wasn’t intended. This is support for those of us wanting and needing an understanding ear…

  3. Boy does this article speak to me. I have a sister who is paranoid schizophrenic. The family has been trying to help her for over a year. What makes this so frustrating is that she can be helped if she takes her medication (Haldol), but she refuses and holds onto her paranoid delusions. She will rant for hours to anybody who will give her an ear. I think I’ve reached this point of looking the other way so to speak. Wondering what her future holds, will she be homeless and clueless about what she’s doing to others and herself; talking to herself and reliving the past. This is all too depressing to think about. She can’t be reasoned with. I guess the one hope the family has is if she threatens herself or others then she might get institutionalized and have the medication forced on her; but until then this is just like a living nightmare. Already I have a half dozen phone calls from her this day. Like you said we have a right to happiness to.

    • Hello, Larry. I’m very sorry to hear about your sister’s condition. I have had to break it off with three friends who were only somewhat paranoid, but had a diagnosis of paranoia (each of them told me this about themselves.) So my former friends were not as majorly paranoid as your sister. There was a woman living int the apartment upstairs from me, who had major paranoia, though. She must’ve been on-again, off-again her medications. Because sometimes she was friendly and sweet. Other times she would write ugly notes to me, accusing me of smoking in my apartment and hiding it. She said she “knew” it was me. One time she even accused me of burning incense to hide the smell of tobacco. Another time she accused me of pestering her by coming up to h er apartment A LOT, which I never did! I’ve never smoked in my life and everyone here know s that. The three milder friend would just be suspicious of me and accuse me of slighting them with something I said or did. I got real tired of that, and one time I told one of them that she’d need to deal with her paranoia and she hung up on me. Which was fine because that ended out friendship. Oh, and by the way, the last woman I just mentioned also went through a phase where she was writing me “love notes” so to speak SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK. This went on for about a month — She’d say we “have so much in common,” and that I was her “best friend.” Geez. Well, another interesting point here — I got an email from a group called Adapt (dot) org Here is part of what they say, and my reply. What do you think?

      Their message: While in Washington DC, ADAPT is working to secure Senate cosponsors of the Disability Integration Act (S.2427) and secure introduction of a House version. This historic civil rights legislation requires states and insurance providers that pay for Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) to provide community-based services first and offer HCBS to people currently in institutions.

      The proposed legislation says “No public entity or LTSS insurance provider shall deny an individual with an LTSS disability who is eligible for institutional placement… community-based long-term services and supports that enable the individual to live in the community and lead an independent life.” It also makes it illegal for a state and insurance providers that pay for LTSS to fail to provide HCBS by using waiting lists, screening people out, capping services, paying workers too little for services, or the other excuses which states have used to keep people from living in freedom. DIA requires each state to offer community-based services and supports to any individual who is eligible to go into an institution. It also requires states to take active steps to make sure that there is enough accordable, accessible, and integrated housing. Finally, the legislation also includes new enforcement mechanisms to assure that states comply with it when it becomes law.

      My reply:
      please take me off your mailing list. I am disabled. I do not agree with your solution.

      Although I agree with this part, “using waiting lists, screening people out, capping services, paying workers too little for services, or the other excuses which states have used to keep people from living in freedom,” I have to wonder if this law would give priority to disabled people, depriving seniors and others of a place to live. In the city where I live, we have one of the highest rates of no-housing the country. A law like what you propose would be disastrous here.

      I also do not agree that all disabled people would benefit from living in “freedom.” A beautiful and well run living place, which you define only as “institution” is wonderful. I loved living in dormitories in college, and at the age of almost 50,, I went to graduate school and lived happily in the dorm for the summer. I also have stayed in two Salvation Army shelters for women. They were wonderful, although I guess that not all Salvation Army shelters are great. But the two I stayed at sure are.

      The YWCA used to provide rental rooms for women, nationwide. It’s a real shame he Y no longer does this. I also don’t know if the YMCA still provides rooms for rent. These are “institutions,” too.

      • I need an opinion on my sister’s current situation. For a year now the family has been trying to help her financially (paying her room and board at a friends house) and helping her find a job and get an apartment (we paid the first month rent and security). Well after less than a year she lost two jobs (we don’t know if fired or quit). As I stated in my earlier post she is now delusional and arrogant. She has run out of money and will have to leave the apartment shortly. She wants the family to supply her with a free room and board. I told her unless she takes her medication (Haldol) I would not help her at all. She refuses and says her doctor is part of a conspiracy to undermine her. I don’t think she has made any plans what so ever when she’s forced to move. She seems obsessed with her persecutory delusions. My question; should she be helped financially? We don’t want to be an enabler.

        • That’s a really good question, “Shall the family help her financially.” I myself was helped financially by my parents. I didn’t want to be, but did accept help when they insisted. Like your sister, I could not keep a job -job. But I was successful in two independent small businesses. I could only manage to work part time. But I brought in enough to support myself, barely. He wold give equal amounts at the same time to my brother and sister, also. But one benefit, at least I think so, is that — because of this support maybe — I was never hospitalized. The family put up with my depressions, over-sensitivity, and rages. But…. that was the way with the whole family, so I guess none of us realized that people did not have to live with all this turmoil. I know I didn’t find out about living in peace, and boundaries, until middle-age. Other than giving you my story, I don’t know what to suggest for you. BUT my parents had A LOT OF MONEY, so their gifts did not affect their livelihood. If your family would suffer financial problems, then you all need to protect your own financial state! Another story about my life — I supported two men (sequentially) who put me into poverty. Both of them, after I divorced each one, ended up with good jobs and good incomes. In my case — which is often true of women who divorce — I remained and remain in poverty, dependent on government benefits.

        • Larry – that’s a tough one: finding the balance between nurturing and tough-love in order to give the right support.

          Personally I believe that any support we give people should be with the intent of helping them to stand on their own two feet. But it sounds like the approaches taken so far aren’t helping your sister to become independent and self-sufficient (in the long-term).

          She’s a big girl now – time she started to behave like it. Don’t give her the option to continue a lifestyle of ‘entitlement’ and handouts.

          It will no-doubt be hard and you will most likely feel guilty and that you are standing by and doing nothing – almost letting her fail – but you can’t keep carrying her. She has to learn to function just like everyone else does.

          I truly believe that a mental disorder doesn’t necessarily make someone lazy or ‘entitled’ or a ‘taker’ but the challenges that the disorder presents can prevent a person being able to see beyond the immediate hurdles. So their field of vision becomes much shorter and they can appear to be selfish but sometimes that’s not a matter of choice – it’s simply as far as they can think while fighting their daily challenges: it’s just survival. I think this is often why we see people continually making bad choices. To extend their thinking beyond that will most likely require drastic intervention to either remove their challenges (so they can focus on the bigger picture) or to force them into dealing with the consequences of their actions / choices.

          That’s just my opinion but I hope it helps.

          • I forgot to mention but hopefully it’s clear and obvious: your sister needs her medication. If you can’t trust her to take her meds and KEEP taking them then it’s time to consider hospitalisation. That might be the intervention that she needs in order to get her to a state where she can now think beyond her paranoia and schizophrenia.

            While her behaviour might seem really destructive, I don’t envy your sister one bit: she’s got one hell of a tough battle ahead of her.

            • Regarding hospital commitment, well, in my state which is in USA, people cannot be committed unless they are “a threat to themselves or someone else.” Here’s more about our laws: For both inpatient and outpatient treatment, a person must meet the following criteria:

              be a danger to self/others;
              be unable to provide for basic personal needs and is not receiving care necessary for health/safety; or
              have chronic mental illness;
              have had two hospitalizations in previous three years;
              have symptoms/behavior substantially similar to those that led to the previous hospitalizations, and
              will continue to physically or mentally deteriorate to either standard (1) or (2) if untreated.

            • I guess that brings up a good question. To what extent can the family hold her accountable for her actions and how much to relegate to her illness. She behaves like a immature adolescent (she’s 46). She’s got to have some responsibility for her actions. We just don’t know where to draw the line. Right now she’s way out in left field so to speak. Totally engrossed in her own world of make believe. Everything else is shut out. I had to disconnect my phone temporarily to stop her from phoning me., Sorry if I sound a little impatient, but this wears on a person.

  4. David, You wrote this, which really speaks to me: ” if a person internalises their thoughts, feelings and concerns then they also often get it wrong and can easily convince themselves that 2+2 really does =5.” I had this with two ex-s. The one I’ve written about in my last several posts used to make light of our fights and turned the story into a laughing matter. He’d even tell friends about it, in my presence, and I didn’t know what to say/do, in front of t hem. The other one was a con artist; name started with M. He “disappeared” some of my most prized possessions, erased some of my favorite tapes, put my favorite vinyl record in the car window on a hot day so it melted. His brother told him, as the ex- reported to me, “Keep ’em guessin’ M. keep ’em guessin.” M certainly did that. He was gas-lighting me. Almost all the time.

  5. Such a great article. I have lived/dealt with my bipolar husband for almost 18 years. I have been physically and verbally abused, cheated on twice, had all household responsibility on myself while he spends all the money and dealt with his drug addictions. I have left him 5 times only to keep blaming bipolar disorder, not him. Making excuses. This time I am leaving for good. Our teenage children have begged me to, told me they just want him to act like a father, and even confessed their “secrect” that they witnessed the cheating at 10. I just hope that the damage I let him do to the kids is reversable. I was always applauded by family and friends for taking on the feat of his bipolar and ptsd. I felt it was all my responsibility.

    Like Bob mentioned in the comments, if the lifeguard realizes the person he is rescuing is actually going to drown him also, that is too much of a risk. I only wish I stopped making excuses for his behavior years ago. His bipolar disorder is not the reason he has done these things. The reason is because he is selfish and childish and I have let him manipulate me.

    • Dear Jenn, You certainly are not alone in your compassion and in remaining and trying to support your husband. I stayed with an abusive — and probably two-timing, or multi-timing husband for nine years. He was so unsupportive of me — rude and mean and called me a Bi**h many times, spend my money on beer, and bourbon, etc. I won’t go into all the unfortunate details, except that he drove away ALL my female friends. He extinguished my natural enthusiasm and cheerful periods in my life. But he was a scientist, and finally I told him, “I’ve tried everything. Now, I will change one more “variable” [scientific language]. Me. I grieved, went into a very irresponsible period, but finally got a life. I have been doing great for years now.

      My sister stayed with her alcoholic, porno TV watching husband for 22 years before she left him.

      Best of wishes for your future, and that of your kids, too, of course.

      • Ugh. The B word is my name. He will drop $100 like its nothing and then wonder why I am not feeding him a fancy dinner the night before payday. I am better than that. My kids are better than that. He puts out such a different face to friends and family. He is helpful and caring…..it has been difficult to leave him for that reason. I know now that I have to change the me variable. So happy to hear you had a positive end result. Ready to focus on myself and kids and stop worrying about the next thing he will do to mess our life up.

        • Hi, Jenn, My ex- was similar to this, but different. You wrote ” He puts out such a different face to friends and family. He is helpful and caring…” That’s how he started out with me, when we first met — yeah, for TWO WEEKS.. He had me hooked! I figured, “That’s his real self!,” and that was what kept me going. I believed he could be h is “real self” again. Not! His real self was to deceive. He was the sexist LOOKING man. But he started denying me! One time I went for a YEAR without “any.” In retrospect, I figure he was having affairs with other women! He had every opportunity, as he was gone at work for 2-3 weeks at a time. Plus he used to talk about and to persuade me to have “open marriage”! How could I trust him!!! I would forgive him, and figure that means everything would be okay from then on. (Some years later, I read a column by a minister. He said, “You can forgive someone, but that does not mean how have to have them in your life. ” What an eye opener that was, and I wished I’d known that years before. Even Al Anon did not tell me that! As for friends we’d meet, and have over to our home, he’d be real nice to them — at first.Charming, intelligent, able to have LIBERAL and humane political discussions if that was the friends’ political persuasion. Gradually, he would drop in cuss words, then get really dirty — filthy , filthy language! Made my friends sick to their stomach, and they never came back. One friend told me after I broke up with him that she just could not understand how I could have put up with him. As for his politics and general beliefs and actions, he’d call women the C word or other things, children were “larvae,” and he had ugly epithets for old people, minority races and cultures, and he would sometimes yell these words out of the car window at someone.

          • That’s awful! I have more of the textbook bipolar husband. He won’t see a therapist other than for meds which is required by the VA. I have seen one most of our marriage and have always been told as long as I can separate the bipolar actions from the actual person I can make it work. That has become true. The past 3 years he has become one with bipolar disorder to me. All I need now is a job to get out. I have no family and friends from when we moved cross country to be with his family. I honestly think they have made our situation worse due to their drama.

            • Hi, Jenn,

              A classic example of what an abusive spouse will do is isolate their partner. Sounds like that is exactly what your bipolar husband — the abuser — has done to you, moving you across the country to be with only HIS family, away from your own familiar environment and support systems. In a very real way, my ex- did the same to me, by driving away all my friends.

            • Synergy, I just realized how that sounded about the move. I was the one that suggested the move. He was in a deep depression due to being forced to retire as a disabled vet. I figured if I could get him around his loved ones and remove him from the area of the military base it could only help his situation. Hindsight is 50/50. I set myself up for failure on that one.

            • Jenn, sorry I put the blame on your husband for your move! You were so sweet to him, and so, so supportive. But although it is sad, I can completely understand how two people just can’t be together. As for me, After decades of arguing with my sister over the phone, then via emails, I have given up. I’m sad, but relieved. A few weeks ago, she said, “We don’t have a communication problem.” Over ten years ago, we both agreed that we had a communication problem. I suggested back then that the two of us go together to see her therapist; then both of us to see my therapist, and we could work out our communication that way. (I said I didn’t care which therapist we went to first….) Her response? “I don’t want to spend my time that way.” She has extremely poor judgment in many things, and am tired listening to the dramas she brings upon herself, often messing up other people’s lives in the process. She also never invites me over to her place, nor comes to mine, although we live less than 20 miles apart, and it’s a quick trip by car or public transit. She sends gorgeous greeting cards on holidays, valentines, etc. saying what a wonderful sister I am, and how much she loves me. But it’s a love I certainly do NOT understand, as it has no substance. Three people told me recently, “You are on-again, off-again with y our sister.” That really woke me up! Yeah, it was every three or four DAYS that we’d have a big misunderstanding over something so insignificant that my therapist was AMAZED that she’d gotten so upset over one teeny tiny thing I’d written to her and our brother, that she took offense about, and we wrote NINE PAGES arguing about. Anyway, these problems would put me in a tailspin for DAYS, then we’d make up and be really fine for a FEW DAYS, till it all started again. There are so many other examples — she blames me for all kinds of little things, for one. 8-10 years ago, I’d cut her out of my life. My brother told me then, after a few months, that my sister was “distraught” with me breaking her off. He wanted us to get back together, so I did. Now, i have cut her out of my life PERMANENTLY. She knows it, and and told her it was a relief! Recently I star ted feeling a little bit of sorrow and sadness about us never seeing each other again, but then I “relive” what it’s really been like, and know I have done the best thing to protect my own mental health. Again, Jenn, I’m very sorry that things didn’t work out for your marriage, and admire your caring, persistence, and now y our decision that it’s time to really take care of YOU.

    • Hi Jenn,
      I do have to admire your tenacity, perseverance and commitment to your relationship. Even though it sounds as if for much of your relationship you were oblivious to the cheating etc.,… it certainly sounds like you just do what you truly feel in your heart is the right thing IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS.

      To be fair, I think one of the problems with us humans is simply that we don’t know exactly what a person is thinking or feeling. We can only go by what they tell us or how they act. And there are so many ways that words or actions can be misinterpreted. And if a person finds it hard to talk then we’re left 2nd-guessing – and that rarely ends well. Add to this that if a person internalises their thoughts, feelings and concerns then they also often get it wrong and can easily convince themselves that 2+2 really does =5. And of course, because it’s internalised, we’re back to square 1: it’s hard for anyone else to even be aware of how the person feels, let alone understand. So then we start to look at the actions – and they can often mislead us because hey, when people are struggling they often don’t behave the way they normally would, or how they would like to or the way that we would like or expect them to.

      So when you add bipolar to the mix (propensity to obsess and over think things internally, inability to communicate if depressed and then act on mislead emotions or simply overwhelming whimsical emotions – possibly even just from a frustrated need to just do something, ANYTHING to try to remove what’s causing them pain or for what they truly believe is in their best interests at the time) – it’s no wonder that so many who have been close to bipolar (whether professionally or personally) say that bipolar people are not capable of life-long relationships. No doubt there are exceptions but there’s plenty of evidence to support the cynicism.

      So it becomes difficult, to say the least.

      You have endured a tough struggle. Sadly it hasn’t given you the outcome you had hoped for. Hard as it is, try not to reflect overly on what you could have done differently to save the relationship. You can only control your own actions. And I doubt that your actions are a defendable excuse for your husband’s cheating or drug abuse.

      Will you ever know whether his actions were due to the bipolar or whether he would have been a cheater and an addict anyway? Probably not. As I get older I become less tolerant of excuses. It comes down to whether or not a person has become the kind of person that is worthy of capable of a relationship. It sounds like your husband has had his chances and has proven that he is falling far below the standard required. It doesn’t matter why. He is insufficient and lacks the qualities required. End of story.

      Take comfort in your children. At least in this sense, love can overcome all and win through. Enjoy the freedom to move on and remove the negative from your life that has no doubt been holding you back for so many years. I wish you all the best as you move forward with your life.

      David

      • Thank you for the kind wishes. Maturity is definitely something that has helped me come to the conclusion that we are simply better apart. My biggest hopes would be that we will be better parents apart and even possibly take a friendship away from it. My husband and I come from extremely different backgrounds. Mine was parents were HS sweethearts and never fought in front of us, which in its own way can be damaging and he came from abusive, drug use, cheating parents/step parents. I hope one day he will see that speaking to someone about his past will help, but after 18 years of pushing it, I have given up. People are hard to understand and those with additional issues are even more difficult.

  6. Thank you so much for your article about the rights of the partner of the mental patient. My ex is in the hospital right now as he goes to it every time he is caught abusing me and also for attention. He left me, cheated on me, cuss me out and verbally abused me, threatened to kill me several times the last time while inside the hospital. The nurse contact the police who informed me to protect myself. When I tried to have a PFA order served to him, the nurse made sure to tell me numerous times how many “rights” he have and his “right” to refused being served. This “control” is what he crave. Once inside the plush “hospital” with a volleyball court, movie theatre, tennis, swimming etc, he can tell any staff to not let me call, to not let me do anything although I spent 15 years wife him living in hell while he abused and cheated on me, abandoned me with 7 children repeatedly and went to jail for years due to his abuse. This time I decide to not let him back and he went “nuts” aka tantrumming like a baby.
    The system is so flawed. Without me having him served, I loose my retainer fee and he can come and follow through on his threats to kill me. And the ex is not telling staff to include me in on his therapy to save our family. I spent many years alone while he went on vacation, AFTER he would abuse me and leave for his vacation in the mental hospital resort. I am the one left with the 7 kids to pick up the pieces. So thank you for reminding me that I do have a right to a normal life. And also that there is nothing wrong with standing up for myself and not enabling the abuser to keep abusing me.

  7. Michelle… you are so brave and centered in your comments and insights. I have no answers for you but I can relate to your musings and insights. Know this – you have been so good an true in this situation. I wish you the best and peace.

  8. I think hope got in the way of me understanding that my bipolar girlfriend would never get better. She has used drugs in the past, before I met her. She was and still is an alcoholic. We had talked about her BP. I went to one counselling session with her and she thought I knew the therapist and that me and her therapist set her up, so she didn’t go back to the therapist. Later on, she told me she was going to get a new therapist. Then the mania set in followed by the accusations of me cheating (I have never cheated and never thought about it) and that I had “someone” else. A year of this and I feel like I’m numb from head to foot. I feel like I lost a part of myself. I felt and still do feel obligated to making sure she’s okay and we have a leased apartment, which I have left three months ago but still pay my half of the rent and all of the utilities. I don’t know what to do anymore. I love her but I can’t live with her, that much I do know. I have to constantly remind myself that she isn’t going to get better no matter how much I love her and much hope I have. It’s hard. Our last fight was triggered by me when I told her that no one was coming into the apartment and messing with her computer. I know better than to try and argue with her because there’s no point. Whatever I say is wrong no matter what in her mind. Finally, I told her I can’t take it anymore and our relationship is over. Your article helped to understand what was going on with me and that others have felt the same and dealt with way more than I have had to deal with, but it’s still hard.

  9. Its not always a him. Iwas with my bipolar partner “she” for 8 years . Second time she assaulted me was with a weapon of which she has no recolection. cant take it anymore and for that reason I have no contact even tho I still care. Pretty fkd up

    • Dear Poverty Valley and all, I just ordered and received a book from Amazon.com titled “When she was bad: How and why women get away with murder.” A lot of radical feminists have a a huge belief that women do not do violence. That is so ridiculous. People do violence, not just men! And by the way, I call myself a feminist. Any woman who benefits from the rights other women have fought for over centuries, is a feminist, whether she knows it or not! There is song by Ed Haynes called “I love you do much I hate myself.” It is about everything you, I and so many people have gone through. You can find it on YouTube.

  10. Thank you for this article. Only if you’ve gone through this, which I have with my daughter, do you understand the importance of what you’ve written here. After 8 years of struggle, pain, weathering abusive behavior, I finally came to understand that I must choose not to support her. She refuses treatment of any kind and although I raised her I am no longer responsible for her. She’s an adult and I have the right to happiness, and freedom from abuse. I was raised by a bipolar parent so it cuts very deeply to see my daughter also develop this disorder, but my lifetime of experience has taught me to take care of myself and understand clearly what is not my responsibility.

    To all those struggling with these issues know that you have the right to a beautiful life, guilt free and peaceful.

    • Excellent comments, Lexicon. You’ve written brief, succinct and so true opinions and your experiences on this important issue.

    • Hi Lexicon. Your comments got me thinking about the example I have used before about a lifeguard needing to leave behind a drowning person if that person is acting in a way which endangers the life of the lifeguard.

      I am pretty sure that most of the time, when a lifeguard swims out to rescue someone, the person is a complete stranger to them. However, if the person turns out to be a friend or even a very close loved one or family member, the same principle of self-preservation applies. Other than making the decision more difficult, it makes no difference who the person is, if their actions are about to destroy you.

      Best wishes to you as you move on with your life. May your life be beautiful, guilt-free, and peaceful indeed. :)

  11. Thank you so much for this article. I have read this many times.
    I recently broke up with my boyfriend. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder ll in June.
    I want to share my story so you guys can take a better view of what it looks like to date someone with BP. Take your own conclusions, I don’t care if someone I love is ill, everyone needs to be loved and understand, but when it gets to a place where you are unhappy and also being abused you better move on for your sanity’s sake.
    I met him couple years ago but we never actually dated or even hung out, he seemed to be a nice guy and we just talked occasionally.
    I moved from our city but we kept in touch, occasionally. I think that because of that I never realized that something was wrong with him. We both live in California and as you all know smoking weed is permitted here.
    He told me last year that he was a smoker, that he used to smoke occasionally just to relax, he told me a bunch of things about himself, like, his mother had problems with alcoholism and his younger sister with heroin.
    I honestly got scared and I ended up moving on and not giving him a chance to visit me (I wasn’t in California and he was planning on going to visit me and see if we could work out).
    I spent almost a year without talking to him, I was developing feelings and I didn’t want to commit myself to a guy that used to smoke weed, oh and also cigarettes.
    we used to talk occasionally just to check in.
    This year, midst of February we decide to see each other, he seemed fine. He went to my city to visit me, it was amazing, my friends loved him and we had a great time together.
    Couple weeks later he called me high, red flags again! I was strong and told him I didn’t accept that and I didn’t want to date a guy like that. He stopped smoking weed (Thank God). He also saw with his eyes that this was a bad habit and that he should stop. Then his sister would text me, which was one of the weirdest things every, she was really concerned about our relationship and MY intentions with HIM. Like what?
    I didn’t understand at the beginning but it all made sense later. She would make a bunch of questions about myself. By that time he was having a trouble sleeping, he would sleep only 2 hours per night and he would say he was fine. Yes, he was getting manic. His family insisted that he would see a psychiatrist because even them notified something awkward about his behavior.
    After a long time he did go, and surprise!!!!!!! Diagnosed as a BP
    He told me very calmly and briefly over the skype (we were in LDR), of course I asked some advices from some friends and also friends that worked with this kind of patients.
    But the thing is that I was ready to move back to California and closer to him because I believed that our relationship was going good or at least he made me believe that.
    So I did move, we had a good time together traveling and having a short vacation together.
    I met his parents in person, and he was pretty good.
    I thought he was.
    He was already off his meds when I came to be with him, he was off like 15 days.
    I would go with him to his appointments and I would encourage him.
    But he was never there for me, he got depressed pretty soon after our vacation and he wouldn’t go to work or even wake up.
    It was hard because he had a crisis with me and he would try to put my mom against me, he would say that my mom was against our relationship and whenever I didn’t agree with him he would get angry and tell me that it was because I was talking to my mom.
    He also used to say that my friend was gay just because he had a picture with a pink shirt on his Facebook and when he met him he was wearing pink.
    He was nice and later he wasn’t
    Whenever I knew more than him in any kind of subject he would tell me to stop talking
    He was constantly telling me how bad he was and how upset he was with his life but he wasn’t doing anything to get better
    He was taking his meds but I feel that they weren’t working
    He spent the last 3 months depressed, I was trying to motive him but he wouldn’t do much.
    He would say that I was into another guys and that we shouldn’t be together but he never actually broke up with me. He would say that to make me feel guilty
    He made a lot of mistakes while he was in a manic state, he bought cars, invested every single penny from his 401k and he used to say that was the main reason why he was depressed but he wouldn’t do anything about it.
    It was always the same thing, complaining and crying. One day he was amazing , the other day he would treat me pretty bad.
    If I was talking about me, he would pretend to listen to me but he never cared. When I was sick he said that it was because I didn’t take care of myself correctly. One day he was sleeping at my place (he was scared of going home) and I got food poisoned, I almost choked with my vomit and he didn’t do anything to help me out.
    When he wasn’t manic or depressed he was the most amazing guy ever, i couldn’t even believe that this disorder changes your moods that much.
    He tried to commit suicide. And twice, his parents had to come and grab him and take him home (they live 4 hours from here) because he would not go to work, eat, take a shower. He used just to lay down in his bed for days. He wouldn’t answer the phone or anything like that.
    He was in a pretty bad shape.
    He lost 3 jobs this year, and he ended up moving in with his parents. The worst thing is that he was such a normal guy when we started to date. I broke up with him but my nightmare didn’t finish. He gave me an iPhone as a birthday gift and after we broke up his parents were paying off all his bills (over $90k) and they asked for the phone back, they were mad at me because I broke up with him. I offered the option of paying off the phone, they didn’t accept it.
    I sent he phone back with his hoodie.
    Couple days later his sister texted me saying that they didn’t get the phone. But they did, they were doing this just to put me into a trouble. So I told her to double check the box and that was all.
    she didn’t say anything else, because she was obviously lying. For a few times she asked me when I would send the phone and she would text me asking how I was. One day she said that her brother was doing much better and that he was happy. Probably she said that to make me feel guilty or to tell me that he was better off without me.
    Dating a BP person can work or not.
    I had a lot of stress with him, and I was constantly crying because it would get to my skin, it is impossible to be with someone and not feel for them or for their problems.
    That was all, there are a bunch of things that happened.
    He did quit smoking weed and he didn’t quit cigarettes, but he lied to me.
    One day he came in to visit me and I smelled and I asked him and he said “yes I am smoking ” and I said, okay why didn’t you tell me?
    And he said “it’s your fault you didn’t ask me because you don’t care about me ”
    It was always like that, anyways. It is hurtful and hard to keep it up!
    Best wishes!

  12. Agreed, bipolar is a biological disorder so not someone’s fault, but the behavior it causes is vastly destructive. Please do not compare bipolar to cancer, it is not remotely the same situation. As someone else has posted elsewhere, “My response is that you wouldn’t leave a bipolar partner because they have an illness, you’d leave them because their behavior had become dangerous or intolerable, and that while the illness might contribute to that behavior, the illness itself isn’t the issue–the behavior is.

    If someone with cancer or diabetes or any other illness refused to comply with their treatment plan and started treating you like you were evil for wanting them to get treatment–would you leave? If they were threatening your safety and your sanity? If they decided to spend you into oblivion because they wouldn’t be there to pay the debt?

    If they were doing the same stuff someone with bipolar might do…would you stay with them just because they have cancer or whatever? Nobody looks into divorce because their spouse has bipolar disorder–that’s not the issue–they consider and follow through with divorce because of all of the terrible behavior that comes with the bipolar.

    Bipolar doesn’t make people do terrible things, it just makes it easier for them to do terrible things and harder for them to see the consequences clearly. They still get to choose. Many people stay with their bipolar partner until death because that partner does his or her best to maintain their stability and avoids doing things that harm the partner. It is always an option. Nobody HAS to go on a violent rampage, threatening everyone in sight for no rational reason. It’s still a choice.

    In sickness and in health doesn’t mean that illness is a “get out of jail free” card. It means that we don’t abandon someone just because they happen to get sick and we might have to carry a bit more than our share of the burden of the relationship. It doesn’t mean that when someone is sick, they don’t have any responsibility in the relationship. At the very least, they have to be able to love us back–otherwise what’s the point? Even an infant or a dog can do that much.”

    Only the ill person can help themselves get better. You cannot take their medicine or go to therapy for them.

  13. You should never abandon a person you love. If they are dangerous they will go to jail. People,who abandon animals are looked at as heartless criminals by some. Learn to practice what you preach and stop being so sensitive. Abandonment is the result of your own Shane and vuilt. Never depend on other people to make the decision to abandon someone. They have no stake in your relationship . We are humans beings,for God’s sake. Scared and alone is the worst feeling in the World for some. And having someone else tell our loved one to cut us out of their life could trigger a truly pay hotic person to do something destructive. How many news,stories do you have to see before you get it. Quit trying to heal mental illness by ignoring it or assuming we are just not trying hard enough. Maybe you are not trying hard enough. Just a note…this,is,written impulsively. I realize it is,a two way,street. I can,empathI’ve and understand why this cutting off approach is popular. That being said I still disagree with the concept. It is dehumanizing.

    • Recovery, I understand where you are coming from, but I’m going to have to disagree with you. Not only are those who suffer from mental illness humans, so are their spouses, friends and family. They don’t deserve to be abused simply because they TRY to love and support their mentally ill loved one. That is the context of Natasha’s article. She isn’t advocating leaving someone who is med compliant and trying to control their disease. She is advocating leaving someone who refuses treatment, lies, steals, destroys her property and is physically abusive. Nobody should have to live in fear that a ‘loved one’ will harm them. You are clearly working on your recovery. That’s fantastic. I know people like you hate being painted with a broad brush and lumped into the same category as those who are as Natasha describes, so don’t lump all of us into one group. Many of us have stood by our bipolar loved ones for many, many years. But there ARE those who are enablers who stay with abusive spouses or family members despite the abuse because they love them. They aren’t doing anyone any favors. All they’re doing is prolonging the misery. If you are actively working on your recovery, then you must realize that NOT being in recovery was a bad way of life that can destroy yourself and everyone around you. Do you really think someone who loves you should stand by and watch that happen? Sometimes the only thing they can do is leave.

    • Excuse me but I had to reply, you said “we are humans” yet you reference how people are viewed if they abandon an “animal”. Because we are humans, we can talk and communicate with other humans. Animals cannot verbally talk to us as another human can. Animals cannot stroke our hair, and hold our hand, and take us out to dinner, and make love with us, and promise to always be there. We form a non-compatible bond with other humans, especially the one’s we co-create with. These bonds are strong, and when this person has a mental illness (diagnosed by a DR per say) and they began to lash out to us and assault us and threaten us and harm us, there needs to be a distance set between us so we can heal ourselves. If and when a victim or/and partner of the labeled “mentally ill” decides to leave, it is not out of harshness or spite. It is to save our lives, LITERALLY. Unlike a cute and cuddly helpless animal, our once “cute and cuddly” partner have turned into a raging, scary, demon only to be “tamed momentarily ” with a few narcotics. Then the cycle began again, usually more harmful. So please do not compare the abandonment of a helpless cute, innocent animal to the “abandonment” of a abusive, threatening, violent adult. This person have the “capacity of choice” unlike an animal and because of their choices, we are punished. Yes, it IS okay to say NO MORE.

  14. What about those with mental illness who make treatment a priority? You’re tarring all of us with one brush and your post quite honestly pisses me off. Let me tell you why.

    I’m diagnosed as having Bipolar type II. I’m also someone who has anxiety issues. I grew up with very abusive people but I chose to seek therapy. I’ve been in therapy for nearly a decade and have been stabilized on medication for almost six years. I am a graduate student finishing my masters, moving on to a doctorate, while being a practicing substance abuse clinician and mental health counselor. I also play music and exercise 6 times a week, eat right, and maintain a tight circle of friends. I make an active effort to keep only positive people in my life and I constantly do more and more to better myself.

    At 22, I had a deadly suicide attempt which led to a miraculous resuscitation and eventual stabilization. You have no idea what had to happen for me to find this. Different meds were tried, and now I take metformin because I cannot function normally in a metabolic sense due to my medication. I spend close to $500 a month on treatment and won’t ever entertain the idea of stopping treatment. I’m a responsible, dedicated individual, and mental illness is a part of me- not who I am.

    Recently, I had an amazing romance. For two months, we were progressing well and beginning to get serious. I then told her I was diagnosed as bipolar and had a suicide attempt six years ago. Four days later, she dumped me- using every excuse in the book. The excuses she used didn’t make sense and contradicted each other. She reached out again to talk and she finally said something so cruel so that I won’t bother contacting her again. Her pride did not allow her to admit she dumped me for a label. Once I confessed my illness to her, she said she was surprised, and that I seem so “normal” and “stable”. You have no idea how heartbreaking this is and it’s taken me a lot of time to get over it.

    The truth is, we who are mentally ill and responsible, decent people who seek and maintain treatment for the safety and sanity of ourselves and others, are STILL grouped in with the caricatured idea of “mentally ill” we see in films. It’s a VERY lonely world out there for us. While your post makes sense, you describe people with CHARACTER PROBLEMS, who just so happen to also be mentally ill. There are plenty of us who are good people, and yet get judged, because of shit like your post.

    Let that sink in, and may you one day understand how painful being stigmatized is.

    • Dear Sam, I feel for your heartbreak. Stigmatizing is real, but I don’t think Natasha is at all referring to that when she wrote this article. She’s talking about leaving abusive people who don’t get treatment. I also have been diagnosed, and in treatment, recovering from Bipolar II. Although stigma has not led to a relationship breakup, it has affected me. One way was when I used to go to a mental health drop in center at a clinic. At that particular clinic, 20 years ago, some of the therapists (not all) treated me like a “case” and not a thinking human being. A musician friend dropped me suddenly when I told him of my dx. I suspected that his wife alienated him because she was very possessive of him and jealous of our musical relationship anyway. A few other less insulting issues with stigma, too, and one with a psychiatrist who was very patronizing. Mostly I’m okay, though. I have a master’s degree, which I earned even before my dx, but I took twice as long to get through the program because of energy problems. I now have a lovely, loving, patient boyfriend who’s the firsit man who has ever treated me decent. I hope you find a woman like that, and soon.

    • Clearly she was not as good a person as you first thought! If she is so prejudiced against your illness, it will probably follow that she is selective about where she will be compassionate, and may be inclined to unfairly discriminate on other things, too. You are probably better off without her.

    • Hello Sam. You sound awesome, doing so much to manage your mental health rather than let it manage you. I’m sorry your relationship didn’t work out but she obviously didn’t give it any kind of a chance and certainly didn’t appreciate the effort and application it takes to look after yourself the way you are. Don’t let it deter you. Hope you find that special someone.

  15. Thanks for taking the trouble to respond, Synergy. I don’t feel that he’s particularly dangerous – he has never hurt anyone physically – but the shouting is hard to bear and has left me shaken at times. He doesn’t realise how abusive he’s being. His mother was very volatile when he was growing up – what is intolerable to me is just ‘being cross’ to him. I’ve rarely raised my voice to him. I used to have a terrible temper but have learned to manage it. I have been firm with him about the verbal abuse, setting what boundaries I can, but he always falls back on, ‘This is nothing, you haven’t seen real temper yet’ and ‘I have a life-threatening mental health condition, what do you expect?’ It’s such a shame. He’s such a loving man in many respects but because he refuses to see it as a problem he is destroying his closest relationships. I don’t think the cannabis use helps and although he takes his meds he doesn’t have any kind of therapy. As to the kind of man I want in my life – I’m open to having a less conventional relationship, living separately, keeping my independence – but if we’re struggling to make that work then it really isn’t looking hopeful. Gutting.

    • Hi Wantingtowalk –

      Someone who throws things around the house and kicks holes in doors is dangerous. Just because he hasn’t ever hurt anyone physically – or so he tells you anyway – but even if he hasn’t – yet – you are taking a big risk by betting he won’t cross the line from throwing things and kicking holes in doors to hurting you physically. Of course you don’t want to believe he would ever do that, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. The news is full of stories of men who “seemed like such a nice guy” before they snapped and did something terrible. There is no need for you to take that risk, and you shouldn’t. You are worth much more than that.

      You are right to say it is “heartbreaking” and “gutting” and “there are no easy solutions and that’s what makes it so tough.” There is just no good answer – that is, if the answer you are looking for is a way to cure him or make things better, or at least tolerable. Of course, that’s what we all want when we love someone who is bipolar, but that’s just not reality. Chances are very high he won’t get better, and he may well get even worse. In the meantime, if you stay with him (whether you are living together or not) you will be putting yourself at serious and unnecessary risk, not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and in other ways as well.

      Your nickname “Wantingtowalk” kind of says it all. You want to walk, you have very good reasons for wanting to walk, and you should walk. Even though it’s hard, even though it’s painful, even though part of you doesn’t want to. You need to do it, and you should. In time it will get easier and you will realize, as Synergy said, that life doesn’t have to be the way it is now for you.

      You should not feel “mean” or like you’ve failed him somehow. You haven’t – not at all. On the contrary, you have done a lot for him in the last two years (the same amount of time I was with my ex-fiancee) and you have done more for him than anyone else (same as my situation.) You need to focus on those truths, accept that you can’t make him better no matter what you do, and reject the false guilt. This is the only way you will be able to move on to something and someone who will be much better for you.

      Make the right decision, and stick with it. Life will get much better if you do this. Good luck!

        • Bob and Wantingtowalk,

          I really love the old saying, “One door closes, another opens.” Maybe, wantingtowalk, if you really hold, hold, hold onto that thought, it will help you move on. Having been in situations very similar to yours, however, I KNOW how HORRIBLE you will feel at first., after you leave. But remember this — you feel horrible NOW. And it’s not going to get better UNTIL you move on, endure the darkness and loneliness for a few months or a year, and then reclaim YOUR life.

  16. It has been helpful to read this article and the comments and know that I’m not alone. I am on the verge of walking. For months and months, it’s what I keep coming back to and both my head and heart are telling me to do it. I have a relationship with someone who is bi-polar. We don’t live together and I wouldn’t even describe us as girlfriend and boyfriend. We’ve had too many challenging times, particularly this year. He has the worst of tempers, even when he is relatively well. He has never been physically abusive but he has certainly been verbally abusive. I had a hellish car journey in the summer with him when we had gone away for the weekend. He was aggressive for seven hours and I couldn’t bear it. I nearly ended the relationship after that and had to have counselling to help me come to terms with it. He is now in the middle of a serious manic episode. He takes his meds – that isn’t an issue, not this time anyway – and is getting some support from the local crisis team but he does have a heavy cannabis addiction which seems to be increasing. I am finding it very hard, especially when he shouts at me. This has happened three days in a row now and it has led to him throwing things around his house and kicking a hole in one of the doors. The trouble is, I have had spells of depression and anxiety from a young age but have learnt to manage myself. Crucial to this is having time to ground myself, to spend time on my own, out walking or doing other things which nurture and sustain me. But his illness makes him so selfish and self-centred, he doesn’t appreciate this. I work with people affected by serious illness and am familiar with the therapeutic idea that rather than getting in the ditch with people, you put a hand in to help them out. Thing is, I feel like he is dragging me in there with him. I understand that he is suffering but I’m not willing to get in the ditch and suffer with him. I am also tired of my own mental wellbeing being poor cousin to his. It’s heartbreaking. He can be so lovely and we’ve had some wonderful times together but I’m not his wife, partner or carer and never signed up to be any of those things. At the same time, I feel so mean for wanting to walk. I feel like I’ve failed him. Then I have to remind myself how much support I’ve given him these last two years. More than anyone else in his life. The posts here show that dealing with mental illness in a loved one like this is terribly difficult and is in no way black and white. It’s extremely complex and draining with it. There are no easy solutions and that’s what makes it so tough.

    • Dear wantingtowalk, You wrote: …” he has certainly been verbally abusive….I am finding it very hard, especially when he shouts at me. This has happened three days in a row now,” Here are my answers, if they might help you make a decision about whether to leave or not. (1) he sounds dangerous. From what I understand from going to abuse survivors’ groups several times, and from a lot of reading about abusive people/men, abuse always, always gets worse, the longer the partner allow him to get away with it — such as by staying with him physically AND/or continuing to provide friendship or let him lean you you. There’s a book called “The No Contact Rule.” That’s how I have learned and intuited to solve my problems with abusive people. (2) Over 15 years ago, I set a goal for myself, of the kind of man I wanted in my life. I made a few mistakes along the way. I just went through all my old art therapy work, a large portfolio of it. I kept the ones I found most insightful and threw away the rest. One showed a description of the man I h ave now had in my life for four years. (3) I don’t “do” yelling. I have been yelled at, and yelled back, in drama-filled relationships for decades. Beginning with my father and siblings, and ending relatively recently — maybe the last 5-6 years. I told my present partner (we do not live together) “if you ever EVER yell at me, I will turn my back, walk away, and NEVER LOOK BACK. He knows I mean it! He loves me a lot. He doesn’t want to, or intend to, lose me. He says he “has a temper,” but that the reason I have never experienced it is because I do not “push his buttons.” This is NOT to imply that you or any abused person is “pushing his/her buttons” or is to blame for the abuse — although that is what an abuser will try to make you believe. In my partner’s case, he’s referring to his former girlfriend of 15 years who deliberately pushed his buttons, and was abusive to him in many ways. He finally broke up with her, found me, and then she wanted him back. He waffled a lot, saying he still wanted to be friends with her. He even made a train trip with her. It was rocky for a while, and I would not have put up with this! But then she died of cancer. He says she was “not ready to die,” but it did make it possible for the two of us to stay together. (4) I’ve written elsewhere on this blog about a woman friend of 3 years ( who I’ll call “A”) who suddenly turned on me, screamed at me, said, “I will NEVER, EVER email you or call you AGAIN!!!” This was because I asked her some small thing which I explained here before, and don’t want to run it all over again. Anyway, when she said that, I stood up, said “Bye, A….” , turned my back, and walked away. Believe it or not, I found a letter from her in my mailbox 3 days later. I had no intention of reading it, so I shredded it. This is “The No Contact” rule, for me, for abusers. (5) It sound like you’ve known this man for 2 years? I lived with one abuser for 9 years, another for 11 years, and the most recent one for 2 1/2 years. So I know what you’re going through. Don’t throw away so many years in your future like I did. At that time, I just thought “that’s the way life is,” because that is how I was brought up — in a verbally and physically abusive home. I have learned over the years that there are a lot of people who do not live this way. Now, I am one who doesn’t.

      • Hello Synergy. I just want you to know that I did reply yesterday to your post to say thank you. But the small ‘reply’ didn’t show at first so it’s as a separate comment.

        • Hi, wantingowalk, Donna Anderson has a fascinating and INFORMATIVE website called “Love Fraud.”

          http://www.lovefraud.com/

          Here’s an article recommended on a recent email I got from her. It’s called “Traits that make you susceptible to a psychopath. ” Nowadays, the words “sociopath” and “psychopath” are used interchangeably. Some people disagree with these two words used as one, but hey, that’s happening anyway. I personally think these articles also apply to people with bipolar WHO RESIST TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES AND GETTING HELP. Even though you are not in a romantic relationship with this guy, I think you might want to read these articles.

          http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/1096279/traits-that-make-you-susceptible-to-a-psychopath

          Here’s another good one: “Why falling for a sociopath doesn’t mean you are stupid.”

          http://www.lovefraud.com/2015/11/16/why-falling-for-a-sociopath-doesnt-mean-youre-stupid/

          • I’m afraid your last reply is too strong for me, Synergy. I think you are oversimplifying and being very unfair to people with bipolar to say they can be psychopaths. The person I have written about is not an abusive man – it’s just that some of his behaviour is. It’s an important difference. It doesn’t make him a bad person – just someone who hasn’t enough insight yet to acknowledge and address the issues he has with anger and aggression and the part that his cannabis habit is likely to play. He has very many lovely qualities, which is what makes it such a shame. If he was simply psychotic as described in the articles, I’d have walked a long time ago. I think we have to be very wary of labelling – everyone with bipolar is unique and the circumstances are individual to them. As it turns out in this particular case, I have walked away. But I’m not dancing around, feeling liberated to be free of the ‘psycho’ at last. I feel very sad – mental health conditions like bipolar can be so devastating for everyone involved.

            • Dear wantingtowallk, Perhaps you misunderstood my post, or my intentions. Or maybe my writing was poorly worded. In any was, I only attempted to posit /ask if a bipolar person COULD be a sociopath. And they could be, after all, because there are dual diagnoses. People can have more than one psychological condition at the same time, such as schizophrenia with paranoia; bipolar with schizophrenia; depression or bipolar with addiction, etc etc. In not way was I attempting to diagnose your friend or anyone. Sorry if there was a misunderstanding, as I meant no accusations.

  17. I am so thankful to be reading this. I had to let my son go… I had no choice. He refused meds after being on and off a few times. Became extremely threatening to my daughters and myself. We had to sleep with locked doors . It was a nightmare. Went in twice involuntary and would rather be on the street than get help.
    I fully understand. When he first got treatments I stood by him. For three years he has been a nightmare and since he refused meds or therapy or anything and he became a different person. Vandalized my house. Lies stole and threatened his sisters. That was when he would come out his room. Pace the halls at night talking and yelling.
    I had no choice and it has been a nightmare for me since I kicked him out. I can’t for one second stop thinking about him.
    I wish we had a better system for the sick and a better support system for the families.

  18. Thank you, your article helped to deal with my emotional pain of making my adult son with schizophrenia leave my home. He is continually mentallly abusive and does not think he needs help or is willing to get the help he needs. I was overwhelmed with grief and guilt your article gave me back some peace and knowing that I am doing the right thing….
    Diretha ~

  19. Can’t believe what I have just read in your 2 articles!

    I have been online searching for answers as my mum at the moment is IN! SHE HAS BI POLAR!

    she is suicidal and your answer is to leave her. Yeah that would be easy, just leave her to not n let her know I’m there when she is ready to sort her life out.n if only it where that easy for her.

    I don’t think you actually have any idea what it is like to have someone who suffers with a mental health condition in your life. Either that or u have no heart!

    Ppl with a mental help condition do not want to feel like they do, they dont want to be alone (although they will try to make u believe just that) it is a vicious cycle. They don’t want to be alone but don’t want ppl to really know what is goin on so they will do anything to lock u out!

    Anyone reasing this, you have prob been scouring the net for answers like me, please please please do not leave them. Not is he last thing they need, as hard as it is stand by them, advocate for them be the strength that your loved one so desperately needs. Obviously, from reading this article, there are enough ignorant ppl out there who don’t understand and will put ppl with mental health issues down. Tell me his would you abandon a relative wth cancer ???……….. bet the answer is no! Bipolar, depression, whatever it may be is no different it is a deciese!!!

    Be strong and seek help!

    God bless

    • Kelly, you clearly have a very compassionate heart and I feel so sorry that you’re having to deal with your bipolar mom. You mentioned two articles that Natasha wrote… clearly one of them was ‘When You Leave Someone With Mental Illness”. I think you sort of missed the whole purpose of the article and did not read most of her articles. Natasha suffers from bipolar, so clearly she is not advocating that we all should leave our bipolar loved ones. She is, however, letting people know that sometimes you have to leave them for your own safety. If you read the article, you’d know that her brother is also bipolar, a drug abuser, and he’s been physically, emotionally and verbally abusive to her. He refused treatment and continued to steal from her and endanger her family. THAT is why she’s saying you sometimes have to leave them. While 99% of her blogs are to help those with bipolar manage the disease, and help others understand the disease, she is honest enough to admit that sometimes the loved ones must walk away. What you may not understand yet, but I’m afraid you will one day, is that there are those who will help themselves if given a little help, and those who will never try to help themselves and just drag everyone else in their lives down with them. I’m married to my bipolar husband. I hope I’m married to him until the day one of us dies. However, we both know that depends on him doing his part – taking his meds and getting therapy. Otherwise our marriage in unsustainable. BTW, my mother was bipolar too. She was also abusive. I didn’t know she was bipolar at the time, but after a lifetime of abuse I finally had to tell her I was going to walk away and never see her again (or let her see my kids) if she didn’t stop abusing alcohol and drugs. While she never really became stable, she got a lot better and I’m happy to say my kids loved her and vice versa. My point is that your mother may not be abusive, so you clearly do not need to leave or abandon her. If she is, think of it the same way as I was taught as a lifeguard. The first thing I learned is that more people are killed trying to rescue others than any other way. The drowning person will often climb all on top of the rescuer in an effort to save themselves, often drowning them both. However, we were taught to let them sink first, once unconscious, we could safely pull them to shore without resistance. If your mother is fighting you every step, then you cannot help her. You can only help her if she’s willing to work with you or at least give up the fight.

      • Interesting about the lifeguard training which tells lifeguards that sometimes they need to let a combative drowning person sink first, then let them become unconscious before rescuing them – so they don’t also drown the lifeguard.

        I’m not saying that would be easy to do, but in some ways that seems much easier than the task faced in trying to rescue a combative bipolar partner. There is nothing (like lack of oxygen to the lungs and brain) to stop them from being combative and destructive to those around them – even those trying to rescue them. Their illness itself prevents them from “passing out” or otherwise becoming rescue-able. I do hope though that in some cases, the bipolar person “comes to their senses” (at least enough to save the relationship and make it tolerable) when their rescuer backs away from them (or threatens to) for reasons of self-preservation.

        However, from my own personal experience, from the many personal accounts I have read here, and from the 90% divorce rate in marriages where one spouse is bipolar, it does not seem very likely that a bipolar person will come to their senses enough to save the relationship. It does happen sometimes (like in Lori’s case – and kudos to her for that) but that seems to be the rare exception rather than the rule. I don’t say this to be negative or a “downer,” but I do think it’s very important that those struggling with the decision about whether to stay in a relationship with a bipolar person understand just how unlikely a positive outcome is, so that they don’t damage themselves in the process, don’t feel unnecessary/false guilt, and don’t spend even more time and other resources trying to rescue someone who is not willing or able to be rescued.

        I believe that each of us who are in (or have been in) a relationship with a bipolar person will recognize when things have finally gotten to the point where we ourselves are drowning, or are about to drown. When that time comes is when the difficult decisions have to be made.

        • I didn’t know that 90% of marriages where at least one person has bipolar, end in divorce!!!! That’s so horrible and sad! I wonder if the same is true of people in an alcoholic marriage. I’ve experienced both, divorced both men. I think it likely that both these men were bipolar, and I am too. In the first man’s case (the alcoholic) a dean at the university where he went advised him to see a psychiatrist. I don’t know the reason, but the husband thought that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. The second man had been hospitalized for extreme mania, once, before we met. He was prescribed lithium. I think he only that that one episode, but I also think he was unipolar manic. The dx of unipolar manic used to be in the DSM, but was taken out in later editions, if I am correctly informed about that.

          My brother has been dx’d with major depression. Bob wrote: ‘I do hope though that in some cases, the bipolar person “comes to their senses” (at least enough to save the relationship and make it tolerable) when their rescuer backs away from them (or threatens to) for reasons of self-preservation. ‘ His wife threatened to leave unless he started taking medication. She’s a strong woman and he knew she meant what she said she’d do. He did start antidepressants, and she did not leave. He told me, “I should have had this medication since I was ten years old!” Interestingly enough though, now he has completely stopped the antidepressants, after many years. He says L. tryptophan has eliminated his depression. I hope he’s right.

  20. I have a few questions… If you give up on your partner having the illness they cannot control. Who will fight for them now? Who else will understand them? Arent you afraid they might end up killing themselves thinking they are worthless and nobody wants them anymore?

    • Rona wrote: “If you give up on your partner having the illness they cannot control….” This is not a simple matter. Another question could be, “Can a person with severe mental illness take control of their health, or not?” I don’t know if there’s a simple answer to that question. Could lit be similar to the question of whether an “active alcoholic” or other addict is capable of helping him/herself become sober. Part of the addiction, or in this case, the mental illness, is that the person living with/having/suffering from addiction and/or severe mental illness is unable or unwilling to acknowledge that they have a problem, and so choose to continue as they are. In such cases, they have no interested in either getting help for themselves, nor acknowledging that their own life and behavior has a devastating effect on those around them. So the question then becomes, not whether the partner or family member “fights for them or understands them,” is whether the mentally ill or addicted person will cause the caregiver to climb into their illness with them, so two or more lives are ruined. Sometimes it becomes necessary to say Goodbye, regardless of the outcome for the mentally ill or addicted person. Perhaps if they lose enough, they will finally be able and willing to ask themselves “What is wrong with this picture? Why do my people keep walking /running away from me?” And perhaps they won’t. Life is not always easy for either party. We cannot always fix things, even if we want to, and it’s not selfish to leave, if it means to protect one’s own mental (or physical, or financial) health. When I was married to an emotionally and financially abusive alcoholic, I was very accepting and forgiving, for 9 years. I would listen to him blaming me for his own failures. I was afraid if I left him, he’d commit suicide. (What he actually did do, was marry again in a year! He also improved his work situation and got a good job.) Subsequently, I not only joined AlAnon, but I read an article by a minister on the religion page one Saturday. The minister wrote, “We can forgive, but this does not necessarily mean we have to have this person in our life!” I sure wished I had seen that article years earlier. I had thought if I forgave, then things would just be better, and so I’d go on as though there was a “new beginning,” but there never was.

    • Rona and all, a couple of more things I forgot to mention in my above response. First of all, there are many other resources, options, agencies, medical establishments, and helpful people. The partner/family member is NOT the only one they can rely on or lean on, even though the mentally ill or addicted person WILL CLAIM they are! That is part of their problem — they hang onto their loved one, who can easily become an enabler (as I learned in AlAnon). An enabler is a person who “goes along” with the illness without setting any personal boundaries of what they, themselves, can and are willing, to put up with. In some way the addict / mentally ill person will make them believe that they (the partner/family member) are the person’s “only hope.” This not the case. Secondly, there IS something the family/partner CAN do — research the options! If you can afford it, hire an independent case manager. That is what my family did when my dad had Alzheimer’s, and again when my mother was dying. These case managers’ job entails comforting the family members and finding resources to help the troubled person AND the family. If the family or partner cannot afford to pay a case manger, then they themselves can become one, in a way. This would mean personally doing the research by looking online or in the telephone book to find resources, not only for the troubled person, but for themselves as well. There may be in your community, as in my own, a directory of services. This is invaluable! Ours is published by our local street paper. Research takes time and personal energy. Ask other people, including those one contacts on the phone or on line, for referrals. Ask questions like “where or who do you recommend I call?” Thirdly, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) may have a chapter near where you live. They offer a “family to family” program for families and partners of those with mental illness.

    • Also, you don’t have to leave! Nobody will force you to leave, and many people are successful at staying with their partner or family member BUT they get help for themselves to keep themselves from being dragged down into depression, mental illness, or co-addiction. Just as there are programs for the addict or mentally ill person, there are lots of programs for family members. Neither or none of the family needs to go it alone. That’s where the trouble is — trying to do it all, with no outside assistance. Many families, including my own, have grown up believing “we have to keep it all in the family.” They believe it’s some form of betrayal to contact people outside the family. (This belief in extreme family loyalty is one that often can cause children and partners of abusers to be abused , like, forever!) Many of us have had to learn that this is not always the best thing to do, for anyone concerned. My dad, when he had Alzheimer’s absolutely would NOT accept Mother’s desire to find a helper around the house to help her care for him. He also resisted having one of her church friends stay with him while Mother went to church on Sundays. But I researched places to find people who work well with families like ours. My sister and I arranged for Mother, her, and myself, to interview several candidates. One stood out as being someone we thought Daddy would eventually relate to. She was gentle, and even looked like his beloved sister!!! It took him months, but finally he did like the woman we hired. She was a life giver and life saver for my mother. Mother did not leave Daddy. She didn’t want to go to an Alzheimer’s support group. She didn’t think she “needed that.” She wanted to go it alone. But Sis and I finally convinced her to go, and she loved it and made friends who had similar family issues. Finally, Daddy became so helpless that he would have fallen down in the house. I caught him in the hall without his walker, helplessly holding onto a bookcase so he would not fall down. He was 85. I told Mother, “We need to get him into a home.” She said, “I will work on it.” I said, NOW, MOTHER! It was then that I convinced her to call an Alzheimer’s care home. I knew if he were to fall, Mother would try to help him not fall, and then the two of them would fall down together. This, of course, would be disastrous for them both. The people came out and convinced my dad to get into their van. It was very, very sad. Daddy died there 3 weeks later.

    • hi Rona – I think that the thing to remember is this: nobody wants to walk away – in fact, we would all rather that there was a miracle cure and we could enjoy the positives of what drew us to that person forever without the negatives that go with mental illness. But the reality is that this is often just not possible.

      There is plenty of evidence here from people’s own first-hand experiences to show where they have tried, often over several years, to help but have eventually exhausted their emotions, energy and finances. The amount of evidence is too overwhelming to ignore or to indulge in romantic fantasies so it really does become a case of ‘damage limitation.’ Of course, it’s up to each individual to decide for themselves as to how far they are willing to go.

      And you have to bear in mind that there’s a common thread where people DO stand by their partner only to have their partner walk away at a later stage, for reasons that their partner is convinced are legitimate and not at all driven by thheir mental illness. But from the outside, the pattern is clear to see.

      So Natasha’s point is that it’s important to not feel guilty if you hit that point of realising that there is nothing more that you can do and that it’s time to walk away. By all means feel sad about it, but don’t feel guilty.

      As for suicide: in fairness, there’s nothing to say that the person wouldn’t have attempted that anyway, regardless of whether or not you walk away.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a crap disorder – all you can do (as the non-bipolar person) is try to be as compassionate as you can, including to yourself.

      Just my 2 cents.

  21. I like this website.
    I met my ex about 2.5 years ago but we just started dating about 7 months ago.
    I lived in another country and he came in to meet my parents and to ask the big question.
    I moved to USA but not to live with him. By the time we were apart he was diagnosed as bipolar disorder, the problem it is that he is really taking his meds but I couldn’t take it anymore.
    I am glad I could see it before it was too late.
    He spent the last 3 months depressed and going over and over again to his parents house which is 4 hours driving from here.
    He left his job, he was passionate about it.
    He made a lot of bills
    He bought cars and spent all his money and his retirement money.
    He wasn’t meeting my needs, it was all about him.
    I tried to help I was there supporting him and also going to the doctor, following up because it was important for him.
    He was diagnosed just 5 months ago. The medications seems to not be working, he is still depressed and he moved in with his parents . For the last month we didn’t see each other anymore because he is there with his parents, they are paying off all the bills and trying to sell the cars.
    I broke up with him 2 weeks ago, I realized that he wouldn’t come back home so soon. I am glad we didn’t move in together.
    He didn’t call or try to do something to stop me breaking up. He tried to call once but I cut it off and said it was over and that I needed someone that would be there for me when I needed and when I didn’t
    Honestly I love this guy but I love myself more
    We had amazing moments together and I still care a lot about him, it’s been really hard.
    I am only 21 years old and I feel that it was too much. Besides him going to live with his parents.
    He is 28.
    Thanks! Think it was the right decision, I will stay in America and live my life, I didn’t come only for him but also to give a better life to myself.

    • Yes
      And he tried to kill himself few weeks ago.
      I honestly was a light in his life and I was the most supportive and patient person that you can possibly imagine. But I am done, I love him but I also need someone to be here for me.
      He did so many things and that is hard to explain and remember
      I keep praying for him because I honestly think that only God and do something in his life.

    • You wrote: ” He tried to call once but I cut it off and said it was over …” This is exactly what I’ve done — but in my later life than you — when I realized that putting up with a bad situation or relationship won’t work. There’s a book called “The No Contact Rule.” Yes, it is SO HARD to break up with someone you love. But as I wrote another person here, the person “is who he is….Not what you thought he was when you first met.” I married a guy I “believed in” “saw the best in him,” and put up with verbal and financial abuse for NINE YEARS. I was 28 at the time. What a waste of my life. I’m glad you have better sense than I did when I was only slightly older than you are now.

      You also wrote: “… and that I needed someone that would be there for me when I needed and when I didn’t
      Honestly I love this guy but I love myself more,” Yes!

      Hope you have a good life here in the USA!

      Best Wishes to you!

  22. I have a few family members who are suffering from a severe mental illness to the point that it has affected my life because they refuse to seek treatment and accept personal responsibility for their actions. For my personal experience it is not worth your health, time or energy on people who may have no hope for change. All you can do is pray that nothing bad happens to them in life and that they get the help they need. But move on with your life and enjoy what you have, because at the end of the day that’s all you have.

    • Yep, I agree, turned every stone I could to help, paranoia and bipolar with denial and without treatment made my young son (4yo now) and I go through the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced. I was clueless as I was never exposed to depression and there’s no history in my family, now I know after 4 years of hell and gave up to only concentrate on my son. It’s destructive to mind blowing proportions.

  23. I have spent the past 6.5 years with a wonderful woman, who always remained wonderful in my mind dispite the destruction she has caused. She hit a spell of depression a few years back after failing her last class in college and began drinking daily. The drinking soon got out of control, damaged household belongings, loud arguments, reckless behaviors. I loved this woman and I fought back against the drinking to get the woman I loved back. She has not returned. I have offered, and she has accepted as well as attended multiple therapy sessions, AA meetings, the like. I have seen where she was headed with her life and tried my best to get her to turn around before the hole she was digging for herself was to deep to pull her from, but she has kept digging and digging. Three months back she stayed at her Dad’s house while out A/C was being repaired. I have confided in her closest relatives about her issues and asked for help, I received responses at first like no one believed me, or she will stop when she reaches bottom. After reading your articles, I understand that some people have no bottom. While she was at her Dad’s I received a call from a stranger with her telephone telling me she has been in a terrible accident in which the car has flipped but that she was talking and seemed OK and that EMS was on the way. When arriving at the ER she was taking to me on a stretcher covered in debri, cuts and scrapes. Not long after arriving a State Tropper arrived charging her with a DUI. She had been drinking at her Dad’s, drove MY car and crashed it less than 100yrds from her Dad’s driveway. During her DUI hearing she was offered court ordered therapy, and during these few sessions we have discovered she has a preliminary diagnosis of PTSD, and Bi-Polar II. I have all along thought there may be something duel going on, from the way she reacts to stress and her self medicating. Even with almost losing her life, possible jail time, she has continued to drink. I feel as though now I am falling apart, my time spent with her in hopes of recovery seem like it may never come, I do feel as though I am aboard the Titanic.

    • Mike, I am saddened, and feel for you and your partner’s tragedy. You wrote “I have spent the past 6.5 years with a wonderful woman, who always remained wonderful in my mind dispite the destruction she has caused.” I married an alcoholic. I had had no idea what that was, what it meant. He was wonderful for maybe 2-3 weeks, when I first met him. After that, “that man” was no more. He knew how to behave — he was wonderful, compassionate, nice, courteous when he’d first meet people who were decent. Gradually he’d transform himself into a foul-mouthed, racist, sexist, roaring monster. Needless to say, he drove away all my friends.

      The only reason I’m telling you this, is that the wonderful person we THINK someone is, who continues to behave in the most EXTREME irresponsible and self-destructive ways, is not who we thought they were. They ARE who they are NOW.

      In my case, I don’t know if the ex- ever turned himself around. When I knew him he had a terrible time holding onto any job, getting any good jobs. He was one of the most intellectually brilliant people I have ever met. He was very talented, too, and could do, build, and fix almost anything. But he was 1000% out of touch with his own feelings. He was physically extremely brave, but emotionally a total coward. He could not be introspective, could not see himself. He was fiscally irresponsible, including bankrupting us, then borrowing against his salary after I managed to pay off our debts. HOWEVER, for the last decades he has been working for the State of Alaska as the captain of an ship. I know that he never drank when he was at sea, so that’s good. He did turn a lot of his life around, but I didn’t want to stay around and watch him deteriorate, and hurt me emotionally anymore.

      I went into a severely hypomanic, strange, and irresponsible episode when the marriage ended. I left him physically — kicked him out of the house I had bought –but he had left me emotionally for years and years. Most of my crying had taken place over a period of 9 years,.

      I hope my rant has not upset you, but maybe you can somehow relate to my past situation.

  24. I came across this page as I was searching on ways to cope. I love my fiancé more than anything in this world. He has had a tough life and despite that he managed to accomplish some things on his own. He is very smart and resourceful. However, it soon became obvious that something just wasn’t right about his personality. Initially I thought he was moody or not a morning person, etc. but it soon became worst than that. I’m even embarrassed to say that he even hit me once and while I have never condoned that something prevented me from leaving him right then and there. It wasn’t soon after through my own research that I discovered that he suffers from what I suspect is undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder. This is compounded with some aspects of PTSD, also untreated, from his past childhood experiences. You ask me what makes me so certain he suffers from Bipolar, well for one he experiences and I have witnessed rapid cycling of his mood swings. Secondly he has terrible money management skills and will over spend money like its going out of style, constantly having to lean on me for assistance with his main obligations (i.e car insurance, groceries, mortgage, medical bills; etc). In fact he is obsessed with money, when he doesn’t have any it’s like the world ends. He can’t function or enjoy life or do anything. Additionally we have had countless arguments that have all stemmed from his various delusions. He has heightened sense to sound. His sleep patterns are all over the place. His affect, at times, can be so inappropriate. He has no empathy or sympathy or compassion regarding anything. I tried to love him and support him through his issues. He acknowledges that he needs some form of help but then everytime we make moves to try and get him some he avoids the topic. Has even raged at me, flipped it and told me I was the bipolar one. He can’t hold down a job for anything because of his bad attitude problems. Over the years we have been together I have lost count on how many jobs he has worked at and more importantly none of them have been long term. He tells me that he doesn’t need to get help, all he needs is me. Moreover, no one wants to be labeled “crazy”. As I think back there were warning signs i overlooked because I was blinded by love. He has threatened me but tried to hide it behind the guise as being a joke, which I have told him I don’t find any of those comments funny especially in light of the fact that he had already hit me once. I’m tired of the constant neglect and abandonment as all he wants to do lately is stay in the house and do nothing. He is very anti-social and his favorite phrase is “F people”. I have finally given up for the sake of my own sanity. I deserve better. While I understand that this is all normal for a bipolar person and I try to tell him he can have a normal life with treatment, I’m just plain tired. I can’t do it anymore. It breaks my heart because I still love him and have been praying continuously for God to heal his mind to the point he is willing to do the right thing, but I love me more. I have tried to leave before and always came back because everytime i would do that his manic symptoms would get out of control. It was my guilt that would bring me back and he would be good and attentive for a short period of time but then go right back to be that insane and insensitive jerk. Like I said I pray for him continuously and will always love him, but this I can no longer being a willing participant in unless he decides to get some help and sticks with it. So thank you for this post because it is definitely what I needed to hear.

    • Hello, Michele, Glad you found this thread and this site. You wrote:

      “I try to tell him he can have a normal life with treatment, I’m just plain tired. I can’t do it anymore. It breaks my heart because I still love him and have been praying continuously for God to heal his mind to the point he is willing to do the right thing, ….

      but I love me more.” Yep. We gotta take care of ourselves, when our loved ones won’t take care of THEMselves.

      Your guy sounds a lot like one of my ex’s. I stayed with 9 terrible years. We had fun sometimes, playing card games and other indoor games. He was an alcoholic, and extremely, extremely verbally abusive. He drove away all my friends and moved me to an isolated place. (Both very typical of abusers.) I was afraid to leave him because I was afraid he’d commit suicide. But he found another woman soon after I left, and married her 6 months later. In my elder years, now. I look at our situation, and am sure he was cheating on me, but I never suspected! There were so many hints/signs/opportunities to cheat, but he covered himself well. He looked very, very sexy, had an amazing body — and never kissed me, one time not giving me any sex for a WHOLE YEAR. When I’d bring it up to him, he’d get very angry!

      Now, I keep a mood chart, which goes on a scale from Minus 10 to Plus 9. My definitions of what each means are that Minus 9 is when a person has a definite suicidal plan and has set a date to do it. Minus 10 is when one is the act of committing suicide, or dead . Of course Minus 8 is a strong desire to die, and a lot of the other Minuses have that desire, as well. With him I lived most of my time at Minus 8 — for 9 years. Oh, well, he’s ancient history now. After two more bad and abusive marriages, I finally got my act together. For one thing, I “do not do” being yelled at. NOBODY is allowed to yell at me. NOT ONCE. Once, and I’m gone, and I never look back. I’m in a very good, companion relationship with a man I met four years ago on match.com. He has never yelled at me, nor I at him. Even my sister has stopped yelling at me on the phone. I told my partner, twice, “NEVER yell at me. If you ever do, I’m gone for good.” He says how sweet I am, quite often. He says he has no reason to yell at me, because I don’t push his buttons. He says his former girlfriend of 15 years (he finally broke up with her) pushed his buttons, and they fought a lot.

  25. Karen hi u obviously a awesome woman , your sister maybe rejecting religion im polar and srry have no faith in it is it possible just saying in case ?take care

  26. It is a relief to read this – that I am not the only one who has had to do this. I do feel bad for my sister, that her personality did a 180, and she no longer wants anything to do with us. I weep for her that she once had a beautiful life, and served God and loved her family more than anything. And that now she will not speak to any of us, except once a year at Christmas time (which is super uncomfortable because she is not herself anymore).
    I weep for her children because they will never have the childhood that their mom had…before she was mentally ill. And that we never get to see them anymore, and that we don’t know what goes on in their house since we are not allowed there. I weep for our lost relationship. For the sister who once was like a mentor, who always was there to make the peace between me and another sibling, or call me at the exact moment I needed comforting. That is all gone. I don’t know who she is now. It’s like that old bodysnatchers movie, where someone else has taken over her. She was ripped out of our lives by mental illness (undiagnosed and untreated – but most likely schizophrenia), and we all feel helpless, not knowing what to do to help.

    But you are right, there comes a time when you have to let go. We did that 6 years ago. It is not so easy, and you will grieve the sibling you lost, as if they have actually died. Which is strange, because they are still alive, but gone at the same time. So many emotions to deal with. And if you are like me, have anxiety and depression, it makes it even harder to stay positive.

    I pray for all the families who have to deal with this, and are grieving, and confused and helpless.

    Blessings,
    Karen

  27. Dear Jesper, I’m reading your through you post now. I am reading the whole post. . Yes, I am also very sad for you. I’ve had ex’s break away from me emotionally, which also hurts and I didn’t know why they did. Eventually I was the one who left, but they’d left me in spirit years before. So I kinda know what you’re going through. To me, though, it sound s like she has her own issues. Do/did you realize that? She pushes your buttons, don’t you think? “Spiteful”? Other things, too. You wrote: that you are now definatly avoiding arguing. I totally agree! I have a man companion — for four years now — who is the only man in my 73 years of life who I get along with. All other men — including my dad and brother — have yelled at me. (My dx is Bipolar 2.) My man claims he “has a temper,” which I have never fully experienced. He gets irrurated at times — something Ihe likes and I don’t, for example. Like maybe I don’t like a movie or book he likes. Very minor. And he gets irrutable if another driver cuts him off. But he stopped angrily honking at them, since I told him I felt endangered by this action since it could cause the other driver to retaliate. I told him my dad, when he was old, honked angrily at another driver. The other driver actually got out of his car, came over to my dad, reached in the window, and started choking my dad!!!! t He says that he doesn’t show his temper because I don’t “push his buttons.” He argued a lot with his previous girlfriend of 15 years. Then he finally broke up with her. He said she was constantly pushing his buttons. I have also twice told him “NEVER yell at me. If you do, I walk away and never look back.”

  28. Natasha,

    Via link-diving I came across this post. At first, I will admit it angered me. I was diagnosed with Dysthymia a couple of years ago, and only recently did I double check and was re-diagnosed with Cyclothemia. – which to some is “Bi-Polar lite” as it features the Hypomania and mood swings, but not severe enough to be diagnosed BP-I or BP-II. I have NEVER lost a job over this, never had financial issues (although I now recognize minor spending sprees that were driven by the Hypomania), I have maintained friendships with people for well over 20 years. My core issue was a heightened sensitivity to rejection, feelings of alienation and inadequacy as well as the over-inflated self-confidence that I now know comes with the Hypomania. The mood swings and what exactly was happening during those periods I was 100% clueless about. I simply felt that I was just fighting life-long low-level depression. Meds didn’t really aid much as I could get through things with time and therapy – once again, clueless of the Hypomania and it’s “hangoever” effects.

    What angered me about your post is this – I just lost a very wonderful girl that I was engaged to for 10 months. We had recently moved in together and the onset of that move-in triggered vastly worsening mood-swings. The yelling increased, the length of arguments over seemingly no reason, feelings of rejection, inadequacy, etc. NEVER any violence however. Ever. We finally had our “breaking point” argument and we were unsure of where to go.

    During that argument she made the comment to me that my temper had gotten worse ever since my therapist of 17 years had retired. While I was hurt by her words, I took them to heart and I talked with my family the next day. I asked them to confirm what my diagnosis was and to share what they thought about my symptoms. Until that day I DID NOT know I was dealing with a mood disorder and the Bi-Polar spectrum of traits (The Cyclothemia). Until then I had thought I was dealing with the Dysthymia and that I had been given the tools I needed to get through moments where I was more depressed and brooding than normal.

    I sat down with my soon-to-be EX and told her what I had learned. I apologized for my actions and that I did not know what I was dealing with. I had never sought out to hurt her, to cause this rift in our relationship and that I was immediately seeking therapy, medication and educating myself on what I was putting her, my friends/family, and others through. I loved her very much.

    She left anyway. She turned my recent diagnoses around on me as if I never cared enough to ask what I actually had (which I then showed her the confirmation from my therapist). She blamed my parents for not keeping me in therapy and curtly asked how could I have ever wanted kids with her if I would pass this on to them? She said she didn’t want to leave if I was going to start trying to get help, but did anyway.

    I have been through break-ups before and one thing I’ve maintained, if someone leaves you it is their choice and you should respect it. You don’t hound them, call them, email/text, blow their phone up. There is hurt and it needs time to heal if you are going to be able to come back and be civil with one another. I responded to texts that were not confrontational. I reminded her that I loved her. I let her know if I went out of town and where I was going. I eventually chose to return to my previous apartment to be around my support group so I could heal myself and seek out help for my diagnosis (support groups and therapy).

    She had stated that she wanted to remain friends, that she enjoyed my company and enjoyed doing things with me. We had season tickets to our local Perming Arts Theater, trips planned to see concerts and shows she and I liked. She said all of this while she was packing her stuff and leaving – saying that she didn’t even know if I would ever want to see her again. I dispelled that, told her of course I still wanted to see her. I made special care to keep a date we’d had set up for months the next day.

    However, a week later, she slowed her contact. Decided to pull away and distance herself. The communication I did receive was curt and confrontational. Which I did not respond to, arguing now is exactly what I was attempting to avoid. She accused me of not wanting to talk, that she “gave me a place to live” (regardless of the fact that I was paying the rent and my name on the lease or that I had left and that she should have the apartment). She is upset if I don’t immediately respond to her, even though I have stated where I am/doing and have apologized that I’m trying to work things through. She is demanding that I do things and “deal with things” while completely disregarding anything that I might be going through.

    Now, did she get to the point where she couldn’t take the bad moments any more? Yes. I acknowledge that my actions were to blame for her deciding to walk away from things. I understand completely that the words, actions, and things that happened in our arguments drove us apart. I’ve taken responsibility for that.

    Yet, here is the issue. During our relationship she refused to be apart of things that made me who I was at a core level. Activities that I tried to include her in she excluded her self from. She wouldn’t take part in family gatherings and would then get upset when she felt like she wasn’t being engaged. She would often get upset at me about taking part in activities that we’d enjoyed but she had stopped to the point where I had to ask permission to do these activities and make sure it wouldn’t upset her. Then there was an incident a year ago where an old suitor came back into the picture. He was honest of his intentions to renew his affections for her and she proceeded to talk to him regularly, text him often and proceed with physical interaction of affectionate nature when he was around (often times while I was present). I stayed anyway as I loved her and just let a lot of this pass. It wasn’t until months later that my mood swings began to worsen and I started snapping.

    So, what disturbed me is that she left because she couldn’t take my condition. But only after I had found out about it. After I had promised to undertake the steps needed to get myself help. She then proceeded to be hurtful and spiteful after the break, which was her choice. That she claimed that she needed to remove herself from an unhealthy situation – meaning me and the arguments.

    What has upset me is that reading through these comments and the article, there are few comments from those that are suffering from this condition and those offering empathy to what they might be going through internally. When I would come out of the labile-irritable portion of the mania, or out of the Dysthymic portion of my Disphoric state, I would be exceedingly apologetic. I had no idea that what I was fighting with was not within my control. The symptoms can be managed, meds, therapy, etc, but they can’t ever be removed. You will slip in to those periods and when the fog clears you have to deal with the hurt that you’ve caused. That is heart-breaking. I do not ever wish harm on anyone and I am mortified when I cause it. I have taken steps to prevent it – I’ve even gone months without what I now know is a relapse but it does happen. Knowing now that this will always prove an obstacle for any type of long-term marital relationship is terrifying. Even communicating with the person you love and want to be with doesn’t mean they’ll understand it. I told my Ex what I was suffering from at the onset of our relationship and then again when it was re-diagnosed. I was open, honest, and straightforward with her. There’s not much else someone with these kinds of conditions can do at that point.

    So while everyone deserves a happy, peaceful, loving life – don’t people that suffer from this do as well? Shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to be granted some understanding and, if are actively seeking aid, is being left going to help? If part of the triggers in these conditions – Borderline Personality Disorder, BPII, Cyclothemia and Dysthymia – is the fear of rejection, inadequacy and failure why reinforce those feelings when the person does begin to do what they can to heal.

    I feel for those that put up with this for years, and I’m not saying stay in a physically/emotionally abusive relationship. It’s just that this article and the stories here seem to be very extreme cases and there’s very little middle ground.

    • Dear Jesper,
      I love the post that Natasha wrote. I have been in only 3 relationships my whole life (that makes me sound old, I’m 34), most girls my age have been in at least 10 by the end of high school. Anyway, my first relationship was 6 years from 16 to 22, second relationship was 4 years from 26 to 30. The 3rd relationship I’m in and it’s been a year and a half so far. I am not BP, or have any mental diseases that you guys suffer from. But my Mother is BP, my first relationship was BP and the current relationship has BP. My Mother and First of 6yrs was BP1. My current partner has BP2. Seeing your comment made me feel for you. I am and have been on the side that seems to have broken your heart BUT those girls weren’t with it! My first relationship lasted so long because I loved them and was predisposed to being able to understand bipolar. They became abusive more and more as time went on, verbally and physically. I refused to give up though until they got on the correct medication and consistently went to their therapist to help. But when they succeeded in doing that…..it only took a year for them to stop medication and therapy and turned my life more upside down and theirs also. After 6 years of being behind my ex 100%, I had to make myself walk away. I walked away with a very broken heart from all the hurt, trust in no one from all the lying, poor credit from crashed cars and maxed out credit cards etc… my Mother is a different story. My current partner I am in love with. The BP doesn’t scare me and won’t. My partner has definitely gone through cycles of hypomanias which don’t seem as bad as manias, but they are trying times. I have been hurt many times already but the difference is my partner is trying, it’s slow going but I know they want to get better and I am here 100% yet again. So, I want to tell you that you just haven’t met the right girl yet! If you really are progressive with your disease then, the girl that comes along and shows her support and understanding will see you for who you really are and Love every part of you! But one thing I do want to say is that even though your forever apologetic after yelling, being unfair etc… it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt the other person, sometimes it can be too hard to deal after a while.

      • Donna, Jesper, and all others who write on this useful and painful thread! And thanks Natasha, for posting this important topic.

        I agree with your comforting words to Jesper, Donna. I can relate to both of you. I myself finally got dx’d as Bipolar 2, at age 53, after a lifetime of mood swings. I remember being severely depressed, at 3 years of age. I have been married 3 1/2 times. (The 1/2 marriage was to a man I knew was dying. I was breaking up with him, for his verbal abuse, but when he got cancer and hospice, I didn’t have the heart to break up at that point. I only married him because I figured I would have more authority to talk to his medical professionals. (Due to my being “out” in those days, about my bipolar dx, it didn’t work out that way at all! I was treated very badly now only by his family members, but they influenced the medical people to all turn against me, saying I was “incompetent” because of being bipolar. That was a huge misrepresentation, as I had been taking care of him, and helping him very, very successfully with his health problems for over 2 years! That’s another story, but the end result is that now, I only tell my closest friends about my dx. I “pass” for “normal” very successfully!) So, Donna is not bipolar, Jesper is. Both of you have been severely impacted and hurt by this illness. I had it both ways at the same time. I think at least two of my husbands were bipolar. Each of them left me first EMOTIONALLY, not physically. For years I supported them, both emotionally, and one even financially! They were both verbally abusive, but so was I. One hit me a number of times. But I set that in motion by hitting him first, when he was being extreme in his verbal abuse. I physically left them both. My grief was overwhelming, for months and years after each divorce. But it has a happy ending anyway! Now, I’ve been in a good “companion” relationship for 4 years. My boyfriend and I are the same age: 73. He is the ONLY man EVER in my life who has not been verbally and emotionally abusive to me. Even my dad and brother have been. My brother only once or twice, but once accused me of “breaking up the family.” I have not fully trusted him, since. He also has an emotionally abusive wife — to my brother’s family members. That sure does not help me trust my brother. I had one or two “bosses” at work who were good to me, that that, too, was unusual. My boyfriend and I have many things in common. He loves music; I’m a musician. He’s a professional artist; I’m an amateur artist. We love well written, interesting history books, and both love to read. We take nature walks, and draw together in the woods. We read aloud to each other sometimes. We have very similar taste in movies, and love videos. We are both political activists, and agree on almost every thing politically. This is extremely important part of our relationship, for both of us. I have told him twice: “NEVER, EVER yell at me. If you do, I will walk away, and never look back!” He never has, and tells me “I see no reason to ever yell at you. You don’t push my buttons.” His former — now deceased — girlfriend pushed his buttons all the time, and they fought. He finally broke up with her after 15 years, most of which time they lived together. I think another reason he and I get along so well is that we don not live together. I need my space, alone time, times when I’m depressed and withdraw from any human contact, and am very territorial about my living space. We see each other for several hours, one or two days a week. We talk for about 30-45 minutes daily,. We catch up on each of our day that day, and discuss politics, the news, and actions we take. We love each other, but it’s not anything like the love addiction I had in the past. It’s comfortable, and we both know that we will never leave each other. I cannot make another “promise for life,” but feel in my heart and mind that this man is very good for me, is a good man, and I love him very much. Probably neither of you will design a relationship in exactly the same way we do. But know that each couple has the freedom to create whatever “format” or type of existence you want and need. Think about it….do you want to live together or not? How about next door, or in the same apartment building, or a few blocks or miles away? Do you like the same foods? (We sorta do…some things. And we like to eat out — mostly Thai and Mexican food, which we both love. He tends to eat frozen TV dinners, and I eat my own healthy food concoctions. Same ones almost every day, although in the past I was a great cook. No more.) Most important of all, what activities can you share, that interest you both? Can you accept less-than-perfect in a partner? If there’s a real thing that bugs you way too much, can the two of you work that out? We had one issue that took us 3 years to resolve, but resolve it, we did. It was very hard for both of us. Best wishes to both of you, Donna and Jesper.

    • I meant to finish that…. I wanted to tell you that, if there isn’t more to the “angry moments” then your GF pushing your buttons or them just being un-supportive bad GF’s…maybe trying to practice mindfulness will help! Many therapists can help with that and there are tons of books also! Sorry about my first comment I wasn’t able to proof read it before accidently sent it. Good luck. I HOPE this helped ?

    • Jesper – I had to double take as I thought my ex fiancé wrote this post as the events, symptoms and reactions are near identical.

      I never wanted to give up on him – but after months of arguing over nothing, I moved out (to give us space). He didn’t call thereafter, despite me reaching out, so believed I’d been dealing with a narcissist borderline personality disorder (as after a couple of general texts), he ceased communication.

      Your post has thrown me… maybe he too had been incorrectly diagnosed (the therapists had said, he wasn’t ‘fully bipolar but maybe GAD and PTSD’)

      The feelings of insecurities/ inadequacy/ anxiety/rejection did surface, whilst feeling superior at other times. His emotional response after an argument was sometimes remorseful, but during an argument there would be no empathy. A vicious cycle created by his own insecurity which ultimately led to us parting – which was the one thing he was extremely insecure about. I could not have been more understanding and supportive together with his support network.

      He finally left a vmail 2 weeks ago (after 8 weeks of no contact) – asking how I was. I hadn’t responded until after reading this but I’ve heard nothing since…. So I’m back to square 1.

      Is there merit in contacting his therapist referencing ‘Cyclothemia’ – as I cannot determine whether it’s GAD, a borderline personality disorder or now cyclothemia!

      Your ex fiancé may have felt like I did confused, hurt, unloved, demoralised, deprioritised, due to the constant arguments over nothing. Although that wouldn’t excuse any ex suitor turning up and you having to put up with that in any relationship.

  29. I find it very sad that a family member could turn their back on a loved one with a mental illness. Establish boundaries, give yourself distance, and never give up.

    • Leeann,

      I am going through this right now. My ex girlfriend is a cluster b. She was very emotionally abusive. She left me, but she doesnt know about her challenges. I have been working to communicate effectively with her for the past many months. She blames and rages at me for everything. I have encouraged counseling WITH ME to work through the issues. She has continued to rage and be mean. I do care a lot about her, but I cannot continue with the abuse. I had to cut off contact. The offer for the counseling with me is still there, however; to move on with my life I cannot hope that she will see the light. It keeps me from moving forward. If I cannot move forward, I hurt myself and my 2 children that still care for her. But they need me to be a healthy father as I have them full time.

      My heart and soul doesnt give up. My body and mind have to.

  30. Natasha, I commend you for writing about if someone is appalled by the idea of leaving someone with mental illness. I can only laugh at some of the enraged comments to you about this! Let them read again your comment: No more martyrs needed.

    “To those appalled I say this: be abused by an individual for years at a time. Have him hit you. Have him steal from you. Have him vandalize your home. Have him refuse treatment. Have him call the cops on you. Have him get addicted to drugs. Have him rage at you when they see you. Have him endanger your children.

    “Only then can you start to judge the people who have lived this reality daily. Only then can you understand what it’s like to truly need to protect yourself from another human being.”

  31. So you just fucking leave them hanging? Each person struggling with mental illness shouldn’t feel as if nobody deserves them. People who block contact or leave relationships with a mentally ill person are weak and usually dominated by fear. They certainly won’t be good enough and EVERYONE has a right for happiness and safety.
    If they’re not in it to support and NEVER give up on the person they know they love and want why in the fuck are they still in that relationship anw?

    • Rather than re-post the comment about this I made on May 13, 2015, I will just refer interested readers to scroll down to it in this same thread.

      It is a mistake, and more so a false accusation, to say that those who leave their Bipolar loved ones are weak, dominated by fear, or somehow are lacking in “enough” love for them. It is also a mistake to underestimate the depth, variety, and severe consequences of different kinds of pain that those with Bipolar can and do inflict on their loved ones on a regular basis – mental, emotional, physical, financial, and more. And we put up with it, try to rationalize it away, and endure it – in many cases for years – because we love them. In retrospect, we see that we put up with it all longer than we should have, before finally coming to the difficult decision that we have no other choice but to end the relationship.

      This is not placing blame on the Bipolar individual, because they may in fact be unable to control their own emotions and words and actions which wreak so much havoc on relationships and cause so much pain to their loved ones. Everyone involved is a victim, and there are no “winners” when these relationships come to an end. It is a sad but in many if not most cases, an unavoidable result of the relationship-destroying effects of Bipolar. There are reasons why 90% of marriages where one spouse is Bipolar end in divorce, and to try to explain away that sobering statistic to a “lack of love”, weakness, or fear reflects a “blame the victim” mentality which is simply wrong and does not acknowledge the love, suffering, and sacrifices made under very difficult circumstances for a very long time before the relationship finally came to an end.

      • Hi Bob, I’m glad you had the courage to directly address the few hate-filled messages that people have posted here. I have a website myself, about an event in my life and many others, that was tragic difficult, and controversial subject I’d rather not identify here. After 2 years of being in the internet, and on search engines, there were no Comments till just today! I received a hate-filled, enraged comment accusing me of being psychotic and calling me a lot of other names. Fortunately for me, that particular blog program –wordpress — allows me to Moderate, and I deleted the comment. I’m notified via email prior to any comment being published on my blog. It never will show up on my site. But it shocked me, because I have my own self-condemnation about my role in the event. However, as I said, literally millions of other people have found themselves in the same situation, and each one had a difficult choice to make.

        • Hi Synergy –

          I am sorry you had to go through such a difficult situation. Sometimes we find ourselves in tough situations, whether because of someone else, ourselves, an accident, random chance, or some combination of all the above. If we have a conscience, it can be all too easy to beat ourselves up too much for any part we may have played – or think we may have played – in whatever happened. Some people do that too much and it becomes counterproductive. If we did contribute to the situation in any way, it is best to learn from the experience and move on. Self-flagellation does nobody any good.

          Personally, I have found it very helpful to not try to please everyone (which is impossible anyway) but to keep the primary focus between me and God. He knows all the details of everything, He knows our motivations, our strengths, our weaknesses. There is no point trying to hide anything from Him, and certainly no point in trying to not be totally honest and open with Him… and that can be very liberating. He loves us more than we can imagine and He is quick to forgive. Quicker than we are even to forgive ourselves!

          You are wise to not pay attention to the haters and the critics. Especially on the Internet! It seems like the anonymity offered brings out the worst in a lot of people.

          • Dear Bob, thank you so much for your new message. Yes, my boyfriend agrees with you about not trying to please everyone. He tells me that, too. I want everyone — everyone — to like me, or at least appreciate me. Most people do, but when somebody is rude or harsh with me, I tend to take it real hard. I was really upset yesterday dafter receiving the hate comment about my blog site. But by now I have forgotten all about it, thank heavens. Bob, you are such a sweetie pie! You’re such a nice person!

  32. I think this is absurd! My family does tell me I need help. They try to label me with BPD. Well I’m a single working Mother having to take care of my child 100% on my own and none of them even live within 6 hours of me! I cannot move because if I do, I might sacrifice time with my daughter. I cannot even say I have BPD because my child’s father will try to take her from me! I am a great Mother and do everything for my child. My family leaving me would be absurd. They tell me I need help but I can’t afford to get help and dont have the time! So you telling families to just leave is flat out absurd. I hope all of your loved ones leave you! Then maybe you might know how it feels!

    • Wow MassConfusion149!! Why are you so angry about this subject?? You obviously only see and UNDERSTAND 1 side of this topic….your side! All the reasons your giving to not get help are actually excuses. Even when you write “I cannot even say I have BPD, because my child’s father will try and take her from me” is an excuse.

      • Hello Donna and MassConfusion, Donna, you are usually so kind and understanding. This time, it seems like you’ve had your buttons pushed, and this current message is a bit harsh, despite MassConfusion’s angry tone. I can understand some of MassConfusions points. That, for example, she cannot afford therapy or probably even a psychiatrist . Wow! This is a BIGGIE. I was like that for many years, until I got Disability, Medicare, and Medicaid. Now I can. But for decades before that, I could not afford help, so didn’t get help. One time I was so desperate that I even tried to check myself into the state hospital! But they wanted to take away my house before I could “qualify” financially to get care there. The other point MassConfusion makes is not wanting to “out” herself with her ex. She’s afraid he’ll take away her child. Very possible, and that would be tragic for her. But MassConfusion, it’s a tough one considering the subject of this thread, whether to leave someone with mental illness. This means, to me, untreated mental illness in which the person with Bipolar Disorder is being verbally or otherwise abusive to family and friends. I myself recently left a friend of three years, behind. I’ll call her “A.” She was calling me way, way too often, and emailing me, too. Finally, I wrote back and asked if we could please take turns calling and emailing. She wrote that she understood. The next time I saw her was at the senior lunch dining room, where I’d invited h er to share a sandwich with mouthed two people in our yoga class who were trying to be friendly with her,.. One of them she’d been friends with, the other was our incredibly great teacher. When she and I got to the dining room, she yelled at me: “I will NEVER, EVER call you or email you again!!!! ” I simply stood up, said, “Bye, A.” and walked away. She followed me around the dining room screaming at me. I almost had to leave the dining room, but I finally found a seat and she left. I say this only to illustrate the sort of abuse I personally would not accept. I never, ever, allow ANYONE to yell at me. Not anymore — I’ve been yelled at my whole life, till the last few years, and putting up with yelling is not something I “do” anymore. So MassConfusion, I understand that you are in a very tough situation.

        • Synergy, thank you a million times for your gentle response! I truly am a very understanding, non- judgemental, sympathetic and empathetic person with a rare ability to put myself in someone else’s shoes and see their side of things (99.9% of The time). When you said that MassConsusion must have “pushed some buttons”, (I know you didn’t mean it badly), I immediately started analyzing what she wrote that made me respond out of character. It actually was some pretty deep stuff I ended up thinking about, things that I thought were already resolved. I’m not going to get into detail, but it was about my mother and her mental illness (BP1), my ex of 6 years (BP1) and my current partner (BP2). My mother and Ex had a lot of excuses and lies, damaging ones. My current partner actually IS going through a nasty custody battle. He is using her mental illness for the ammo ( there is way more to it). I have A LOT of unresolved anger towards her Ex because of it and the unnecessary strain it’s put on the child and us. Anyway, I guess it was a sensitive spot because of all the subjects she touched on that had caused me pain. So thank you Synergy for recognizing my bias comment to MassConfusion……..Cont’d ?

          • Hi again, Donna. You are a very, very sweet person! Your Thanks for my response to you and MassConfusion. I just re-read the four posts,, iher first one, then your own, then mine, and ncluding your one today. She’s in a very tough situation.

  33. last week my husband was admitted to a mental health facility for depression and psychosis. he lost job 3 months ago and sabotaged all the job offers he got by not showing up for interview and even quitting a great job in 3 days after getting hired. He would not go to his PCP and get help for his depression till it spiraled so much out of control we had to call cops twice in 4 hrs. make 2 ER visits and in the second ER visit he was violent so he was transferred to a mental health facility.
    in there also he is faking it and keeps pretending he is getting better and wants to come home because of me and my child. but I can’t have him home and continue to work. fortunately he had a psychotic episode yesterday and I think his stay will be extended.
    my dilemma—–where do I go from here. he has been a brooder for all his life but since he had a job all those times he would shake it off and live a semi normal life. my instinct is to save my daughter and myself—–just do not know how to proceed. I would like to divorce him, but then what about medical coverage. can he be on disability and have Medicaid. please help. I can’t do it anymore , I have lived thru his depression all my life where he just shuts himself and ignores me, but he functioned. now he can’t even function and is becoming a big liability. I am scared to leave him and go to work for the fear what he will do. His family do not want to be involved ( do not blame them) .

    • Mimi, that sounds so difficult, I am sorry for what you are going through.
      One thing I have learned from reading these comments, is that everyone’s situation is different. I can’t even give you an opinion, except to say that none of us can do this alone. You might try to get some counseling yourself, or at the very least, confide fully in a trusted friend.
      It has been extremely difficult for me to be honest with people around me because I don’t want them to judge my partner.
      As the situation becomes worse, though, I can see that I need to save myself, or we will all go down with the ship. That doesn’t necessarily mean ending the relationship, although it could. It means reaching out for the help that I’ve needed all along.
      Good luck to you my friend.

    • mimi wrote, and I reply IN ALL CAPS for distinguishing what I write, since I can’t do bold or underline in this forum, at least I don’t think so.

      ast week my husband was admitted to a mental health facility for depression and psychosis. he lost job 3 months ago and sabotaged all the job offers he got by not showing up for interview and even quitting a great job in 3 days after getting hired. He would not go to his PCP and get help for his depression till it spiraled so much out of control we had to call cops twice in 4 hrs. make 2 ER visits and in the second ER visit he was violent so he was transferred to a mental health facility.
      in there also he is faking it and keeps pretending he is getting better and wants to come home because of me and my child. but I can’t have him home and continue to work. fortunately he had a psychotic episode yesterday and I think his stay will be extended.
      my dilemma—–where do I go from here. he has been a brooder for all his life but since he had a job all those times he would shake it off and live a semi normal life. my instinct is to save my daughter and myself—–just do not know how to proceed. AS I RECOMMENDED SOMEWHERE ON THIS FORUM, THERE IS A GOOD BOOK BY GINNY NiCARTHY CALLED “GETTING FREE.” THIS BOOK HELPED ME SO MUCH, TO BREAK AWAY FROM AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP OVER 20 YEARS AGO. I would like to divorce him, but then what about medical coverage. can he be on disability and have Medicaid. IT’S POSSIBLE HE COULD GET SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY — I’M ASSUMING YOUR LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES? I DON’T KNOW ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES, HOW THEY HANDLE THEIR MEDICAL DISABILITY. ONE THINGS YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND MUST TO IS, KEEP A HUGE PORTFOLIO OF MEDICAL OPINIONS — FROM HIS DOCTORS, PSYCHIATRISTS, THERAPIST/S. ALSO, SEE IF YOU CAN GET HIM INTO VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION. THAT’S A FEDERAL PROGRAM ADMINISTERED BY EACH OF THE STATES — SO CHECK OUT YOUR STATE’S AND LOCAL VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION OFFICE. I HOPE THERE’S ONE WHERE YOU LIVE. I FEEL SURE IF YOU LIVE IN A CITY, NOT A HIGHLY RURAL AREA, THERE WILL BE ONE. VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION GOES BY SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT NAMES IN DIFFERENT STATES. CHECK YOUR LOCAL HELP LINE, OR ASK A THERAPIST OR A DOCTOR HOW TO CALL IT. THERE ARE SEVERAL ADVANTAGED TO GETTING VOCATIONAL REHAB. ONE IS, MAYBE THEY COULD FIND WORK H E CAN DO. THE OTHER IS, IF HE IS ABSOLUTELY NOT ABLE TO WORK (WHICH WAS MY OWN CASE, IN VOC REHAB, NAMELY THEY’D GET ME A JOB AND I WOULD CALL MY WORKER AT NOON IN HYSTERICAL CRYING AND FEARFULNESS) THEN THE VOC REHAB WORKER WOULD, IN ADDITION TO HIS OTHER PROFESSIONALS, BE ABLE TO STATE IN HIS FILE THAT HE’S NOT EMPLOYABLE. I THINK THE TERM IS “UNABLE TO HOLD VALID EMPLOYMENT” OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. IN HIS CONDITION IT’S POSSIBLE HE MIGHT GET DISABILITY FAIRLY SOON. HARD TO SAY, BECAUSE DISABILITY INSURANCE IS GETTING MORE DIFFICULT TO GET. BUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE DRASTIC CIRCUMSTANCES OFTEN GET IT PRETTY FAST. — IN A FEW MONTHS, NOT A FEW YEARS. IT TOOK ME TWO AND HALF YEARS TO GET, BUT MY CASE WAS NOT DRASTIC LIKE YOUR HUSBANDS’ IS. I NEVER WAS PSYCHOTIC, NEVER HOSPITALIZED EITHER VOLUNTARILY OR INVOLUNTARILY. please help. I can’t do it anymore , I have lived thru his depression all my life where he just shuts himself and ignores me, BEING IGNORED IS CALLED “NEGLECT” AND IS A FORM OF ABUSE. IF HE IGNORES YOUR DAUGHTER, TOO, HE’S DOING CHILD ABUSE; AT THE VERY “LEAST” HE’S DOING SPOUSAL ABUSE BY IGNORING YOU. but he functioned. now he can’t even function and is becoming a big liability. I am scared to leave him and go to work for the fear what he will do. YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO TELL HIS DOCTORS ABOUT YOUR FEARS FOR YOUR AND YOUR DAUGHTER’S SAFETY. THIS, TOO, WOULD GO INTO HIS FILE AND H ELP HIM GET DISABILITY. His family do not want to be involved ( do not blame them) . YOU COULD ALSO POINT THIS OUT TO THE DOCTORS.

      • thanks a lot for all the advice and help. I live in US and will follow your advice and see if he can be on disability and that way I do not feel guilty.

        • mimi, also, a few minutes ago, I posted information about a PBS program about how to get the most out of Social Security and Disability Insurance. Did you get it….maybe it’s being moderated for approval still…

    • Hi Mimi, I have been a bi-polar magnet. For whatever reason in my life I attract people with bpd. One relationship when I was in my twenties tried to kill me when he cut my throat. He finally succeeded in committing suicide when I was 33. At the time I had a son and was just living for one year with another bpd relationship that lasted 13 plus years. I had a son with him and during our time together had to commit him no less then 7-8 times. He would sometimes get better with meds but the one thing that helped the most was a semi -vegetarian diet and no coffee or stimulants. He would get severely manic and think all these crazy things were real and I will tell you it is draining emotionally and physically. When we split up it took a good 2 years for him to stop bothering me and I tried to be patient and would still let him see the kids even though I did not have to.He still to this day starts calling me and gets angry as if it is my fault even though I have not spoken to him. 15 calls in one night. And endless messages- then I won’t hear from him for weeks – months. I have even let him stay here after I bought a house for about 6 months or so and also had his cats for 1 1/2 years until I found him an apartment. But through all this he does not appreciate or it is fleeting and then I get the bombardment with angry messages so mostly I avoid him and am now done. I am getting to old to go through this anymore 57 and have had enough. The one thing I wished I had done when he left in 1997 was never to let him back in! I got my life together and raised those 2 boys pretty much by myself . I have no siblings and my parents both died before I was 30. So it can be done- I did get some help from welfare- housing but on the flip side no one would enforce the child support from either dad. I house cleaned then and cooked Macrobiotic food for people . And to this day still house clean – fix stuff – pet sit- landscape whatever to make money. I never got married although I highly recommend if you meet the right person because being a single mother is hard but it is worse with a Bi-polar father whom just brought me down no matter how much I helped him. Oh and my kids have their issues but no substance abuse and the younger one is almost done college as a chemical engineer major. The older one works with me! Good luck with whatever you do – I just wanted to give you some hope and see the other side. Good friends also are helpful!

      • Dear Kathy, I believe I was married, sequentially of course, to two men I believe had bipolar disorder. The first one (second marriage) was an alcoholic with rage tendencies who could not overcome huge spending expenses, and even borrowed against his paycheck. Maybe he wasn’t bipolar, but he did tell me that one time he was complaining to a dean at a university he went to, and the dean suggested he get mental help. Of course, my ex- totally scoffed at t hat, and how ridiculous it was of the dean. The second one (third husband) had been hospitalized before he met me for raving mania. and given lithium. I think he was unipolar manic, a dx that used to be in the DSM but no longer is. Well, that guy was a natural comedian, and very charming and charismatic. He kept calling me after we broke up. But before I agreed to mail off the do-it-yourself-divorce papers, I made him sign before a notary that he’d pay my COBRA (health insurance through his employer) expenses. For two months after the divorce, he did pay. Then, he quit his job, so I had to pay for my own COBRA, to the tune of about $3,000 (total over 3 years). After the divorce, when he’d call me, at first I was glad to hear from him. He’d make me laugh so hard!! Geez, he was funny! Then, he’d be real nice on the phone for a few moments — but every time he’d call, I’d end up in tears! He pushed all my buttons and became verbally abusive in his special ways. I finally figured how to get rid of him for good. One time when he called, I said,” Don’t call me again until you are ready to pay the $3,000 your owe me. Two or three times after that, he’d call, and I’d answer the phone. Since I had Caller ID, I knew it was him. I opened not with “Hello!,,” but with an enthusiastic, “Yay! You’ve tog my $3,000 now!!!” If he didn’t I’d just hang up on him. This occurred three times, and that was the end of him! There’s also a book, which I haven’t read yet, but sounds really good — it’s called “The No Contact Rule.” I am already very good at that myself, but perhaps it would help you.

          • Good idea, mimi! It’s possible to block email, and also do Call Blocking on your phone, so whenever he calls, it will not go through. I told one boyfriend who kept bugging me and scared me: “Do not contact me again. If you call me, I will not answer the phone, if you come to the door, I will not answer, if you write me letters, I will throw them away without reading them. ” Needless to say, he went away with no more fuss. In your case, though, I’d say you don’t need to tell him anything verbally or any other way, at least not at this point. “Just do it,” and he’ll eventually realize that “No message is a message.” If he has threatened you, you can get a Stalking Order from the court. Maybe you can, even if he doesn’t threaten you, if he continues to bug you and try to contact you. I suspect some judges are better at giving stalking orders than others.

            • Thanks a lot for all the advice. have a lot to do to take care of myself, very difficult road ahead, thanks for the support.

  34. Our oldest two sons are schizophrenics. They were both the cute blond boys in footed pj’s. The oldest son has always showed signs of being ill and we sacrificed all we had and all our family focus was spotlighted on him. He is 45 and still expecting the same while doing nothing to help himself . He has found women that enable him to drug, drink and abuse them. He ran away the first time at 15, trafficked drugs, stole from us and our neighbors. We rehabbed until we had no more insurance . His shrinks have told us he is the most manipulative they ever dealt with and put him out on the street as in the 80’s Tough Love idea..we couldn’t keep him home anyway so it was a moot point. I am finally able to quit after reading your article. We will find a small bit of peace and happiness with the shopping days we have left ! Thank-you..The second son? He lives with us on full disability..cannot function on his own or remember to even shower or eat or turn off a stove. He is on handfulls of meds but enjoys the pets, a sunset and the family that loves him.

    • That’s great that this article has helped you “Just Say No.” I’m glad your other son is loved . I have two resources that also may help. One is the book “Getting Free” by Ginny NiCarthy. I forget her first name. It helped me lave an abusive husband, and while it’s about intimate partners primarily, the tactics would work for you, too, no doubt about it. The other one is a movie called “Best Boy.” It’s a documentary made by Ira Wold about his adult cousin who has schizophrenia. The theme of the movie is about Wold’s cousin who, like your son, is loved by and lives with his parents. The movie films the entire process of finding a foster home for the man because, he would not be able to care for himself once the parents die. Very insightful and moving. And, as a result of seeing this movie, my parents went across the country to visit my cousin, Harry, and his father (Mother’s brother). Harry has some form of autism, and like Ira Wold’s cousin, would not have been able to care for himself when my uncle would pass away. My mother worked together with Harry, helped him buy some new clothes and look after he hygiene, and helped him get a volunteer job. Later on, he actually got a paid job at the library shelving books. He LOVES his job. He’s also connected with his maternal aunt in the city where he lives. And he has friends at the library. You may wish to use both resources for help with your two sons’ — and your own — lives.

  35. Here’s my take on whether to leave someone with mental illness of whatever kind — bipolar, schizophrenia, paranoid personality disorder, depression, or anything else. If the person is taking care of themselves in every way possible — medication for sure; patience in determining if the medication is effective and trial and error if it stops working, etc; also regular psychotherapy with a GOOD and EFFECTIVE psychotherapist; learning life management skills and communication skills; nutritious food habits; finding a passion such as doing something creative like art or crafts , needlework of some kind; working jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, calligraphy, dance, engaging in a sport, hiking, orienteering, writing, or whatever one loves to do. It might help to try to remember what really turned you on when you were a small child, and do that! I expect my friends to take care of their own health and needs. I do not expect them to yell at me, accuse me of things I have never done; or tell me how great they are at sewing or something and then NEVER DO whatever it is they claim to be good at. I have several friends who have mental illnesses who do take care of themselves in the ways I mention. I have had friends, for several years, who I have said goodbye to. Those people have not treated me well, despite my patience and caring for them. They exhibit the behaviors I listed that I won’t put up with. Is this cruel? Am I cold-hearted? I don’t’ think so.

  36. I think this article is shocking and disgusting to be honest. I agree with the comments your portraying everyone with mental illness is a darkened light and this is very ignorant and pathetic. I am someone with Bipolar and I am noway the what they is being described and everyone has different levels of bipolar. I think you clearly do not understand Bipolar nor are you a psychologist so i think you should go do some research before you write such negativity about people who have in some circumstances an uncontrollable illness. Many of the more extremely ill sufferers who have psychosis are not aware of their actions that is often why they are hospitalised. You seen very undereducated I am no way angry but more express feelings of pity for people that have time to vent such hatred.

    • There is nothing hateful or ignorant about Natasha or any of these other people. We have feelings, too. I have been around bipolar sufferers all my life. Yes, each is different in many ways, but I have also noticed some behaviors common to each of these bipolar people. These traits can be very, very difficult to endure from day to day over the long term. It can affect one’s mental health to live with a bipolar person who is apt to blow up at any moment for any or no reason. It is like living on a roller coaster that never ends. Bipolar a need understanding and sympathy. But so do we!

  37. Bob wrote: “As one last step before that, I wonder if you moving out for a while would help him realize the seriousness of the situation. He still may not be able to control his anger, etc. but it may be worth a try. And if you do, let him know this is his last chance because his anger etc. is destroying you, and you will need to leave for good in order to protect your own mental and emotional and physical health. ”

    Another possible solution — if you can support yourself? — is to live in SEPARATE HOMES IN SEPARATE NEIGHBORHOODS. That’s what my boyfriend and I do. That’s IF you don’t crave living in the same house with another person/partner. Of course, you probably want to live with your kids. I’ve never satisfactorily lived with a partner, and in fact, not with a college rooommate, either. My husbands and I got on very well untill we started living together, and until we married. Once we did these two things, everything went to h**l

    • Hi Beverly –

      Synergy’s suggestion could be a very good solution. It is “out of the box” thinking, and yes it is unorthodox and unconventional, but Bipolar is also a very unorthodox and unconventional illness.

      As Synergy said, it does require you to be able to somehow afford it financially, and also that you can adapt to living in separate places. Kind of like the days when you were dating each other. Could be a very good thing if you can do it.

      • … and if it leads to him improving his behavior, angry words, etc. to a level that you can deal with. If it doesn’t lead to that, at least you gave him one more chance. Of course this is assuming you can afford two different places to live, which may or may not be realistic. If you can swing that, it’s probably worth a try given how long you two have been together and that he treats you well 75% of the time. If that 75% can be upped to a more acceptable level (and only you can determine what that is) by living in separate places, that could be a very good thing. And btw… if you can’t afford that, or if you try it and it doesn’t work and you do need to leave him, DON’T feel guilty about it… you have put up with so much for so long, there is no reason at all to allow false guilt to add to the pain if you need to end the relationship. Good luck Beverly.

  38. Thank you, Synergy, for your reply. I have literally been sitting here in front of my computer hoping that someone would respond. I appreciate your point of view.

    My husband is on meds but I am not sure if he is taking enough of them. He’s also had TONS of therapy. He takes Lithium but maybe some other meds might help him more? I just don’t know.

    Also, I am terribly afraid that if I leave him, Social Services might take away his son. (He is not abusive towards son at all, in fact treats him like gold) But I’m afraid they might assume his “abusiveness” extends to the son as well.

    I appreciate your kind and thoughtful reply. I will think about contacting NAMI…I’ve heard of them.

    • Dear Beverly! That’s great that your husband has already crossed the first threshold, namely, that he is willing to take meds. Here’ are some basic facts: Lithium over the long term can destroy your kidneys! I have a bipolar friend who that happened to. She’s trying to get a kidney transplant. Has to eat very limited diet and can’t even drink many liquids. I suspect that she will not be able to get a transplant; but anyway, older people — at least I have read this — don’t accept (if that’s the right word) the transplant. It won’t grow there, or whatever I’m trying to say.

      Also! From time to time bipolar meds FAIL. They have to be replaced by some other med,or med combination. I take two bipolar meds. Sometimes a rx is for an antidepressant and a mood leveler at the same time. Some really new meds word great for me. Unfortunately called “antipsychotics” the name can be off-putting. But they can be for any bipolar person regardless if they are NOT psychotic . We need to monitor our moods at all times, and if we feel like we are what’s called “decompensating” that my mean we need a change of med.

      My brother has clinical depression, and has at least some of the symptoms you wrote about. His wife told him years ago that if he didn’t get meds, she would leave him. Well, he loves his wife, so he takes the meds. Said “I should have had these meds when I was ten years old!” He feels so much better!

  39. Thank you so much for this blog. I don’t even know where to start. I have been with my husband for almost 20 years – dated for 4, married for 16. My husband told me he was bipolar before we were married. I didn’t think much of it – after all, I had a bipolar aunt who was sweet and kind. How bad could it be?

    I am now at the point where I can’t take any more. He is a sweet, kind, loving man 75% of the time. It’s the other 25% that is making my life hell. He sometimes flies into rages and throws things (he has never hit me). He screams, yellls, curses, and tells me to get the fff out of the house. All this over some tiny perceived mistake on my part. He is highly intelligent and can talk circles around me. I can’t talk to him when he is like this because he is always right.

    Now he is getting into verbal fights with complete strangers. I am really afraid he might get beaten up or shot someday. His temper expolodes for no reason.

    Here is the sad part: we are both older, he is 62 and in poor health. We have a handicapped son (his from a previous marriage) who lives with us. If I left him, I don’t know if he would be able to care for himself and son. I do all the paperwork for everything…he wouldn’t know how to do it. I have almost no friends or family left to help me.

    Also, in spite of everything, this man truly does love me and is faithful to me, which would make leaving even harder. I am almost 57 years old and have no idea what to do at this point. I can’t take his behavior any more, but I cannot just leave him to be on his own. I’m stuck.

    • Dear Beverly, I truly am sorry to hear about your — and your family’s — terrible pain. I was once married to a guy who would order me out of the house for no reason, when he was manic,. But I was the main problem in my own life. Here’s how I was, like you describe your husband: ” He is a sweet, kind, loving [me] 75% of the time. It’s the other 25% that is making my life hell….sometimes flies into rages and throws things (he has never hit me). He screams, yellls, curses, [and I threw things and broke them. I didn’t throw AT anyone. Once I threw the telephone across the street when it rang too many times, and once I threw my husband’s favorite hand made pottery bowl on the kitchen floor and smashed it. It damaged the vinyl on our brand new floor. etc etc] I don’t think I ordered a husband out of the house, but not sure.] All this over some tiny perceived mistake on my part. “]He is highly intelligent and can talk circles around me. I can’t talk to him when he is like this because he is always right.” I’m highly intelligent, a gifted teacher, BUT when I got upset I am now convinced that I didn’t make any sense at all. My h. used to say, “I can’t understand what you are saying.” I’d say, “I’m very articulate — I’m paid to be clear in what I say!!!!” I figured out I was inarticulate when enraged,t because that’s how my sister gets when we have argued. There is no point at all in talking with her when she’s ranting, because she makes no sense.

      Now he is getting into verbal fights with complete strangers. I am really afraid he might get beaten up or shot someday. His temper explodes for no reason. I sure don’t know what to say about getting away, and the problem of the son. Just to share, though: I was like this before meds and therapy. I wonder if your husband would consider meds/therapy? They sure work for me! My ex said to me, which propelled me into treatment: ” [Synergy] you think of yourself as a loving, kind person, am I right?” And I said, “yes.” He said, “If you knew how your actions impact other people, you might consider medication.” It took me a couple of years, but I finally did get help! Part of my problem was that for decades, I was never able to find competent therapists or psychiatrists. Do you have good mental health services where you live? I hope so. I hope you have insurance — it can be expensive, and very, very long term. Like lifelong. Perhaps you could find a therapist yourself, someone who is familiar with bipolar family issues. Oh — is there a chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, in your area? They have family support groups.

    • Hi Beverly –

      It’s clearly a very, very tough situation to be in. 25% of the time is a lot of hell. I think the key thing you said was you are now at the point where you can’t take it any more. I am sure you have put up with a LOT for LONG time. Only you know when you are truly at the point where you can’t take it any more without the situation inflicting such severe damage on you mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, etc. that you really need to get out for reasons of self-preservation. This is much like the situation a lifeguard faces when they finally decide they need to swim away from someone who will not or cannot allow themselves to be rescued without bringing down the lifeguard with them. It’s a really, really difficult thing to have to do, but sometimes you have to.

      As one last step before that, I wonder if you moving out for a while would help him realize the seriousness of the situation. He still may not be able to control his anger, etc. but it may be worth a try. And if you do, let him know this is his last chance because his anger etc. is destroying you, and you will need to leave for good in order to protect your own mental and emotional and physical health.

      Good luck Beverly.

      • I think this is really very good advice Bob. It’s not even a matter of blaming him…. it’s just a matter of being honest that you can’t take it anymore. Move out and let him know you mean it when you say you can’t take it. He’ll either do what it takes to get better medicated/treated, or he won’t. But separating yourself from him when you know you’re so emotionally battered will only help you (both) get perspective. I’ll add that even if he seeks help and gets better treatment, give yourself time to heal before making any sudden decisions. Good luck.

  40. Thank you Synergy. I pray that things go the way she wants. The question I have is could my wife ever trust me again? Years of emotional abuse was terrible. I let her know that I was back on medication and going to counseling but like she said immediately after the breakup..I can’t trust you will stay on them. I’ve been studying my disease this time to learn for my future and listening to people’s suggestions. I hope that my wife can change her heart. By her leaving though it probably saved us both by her getting out of the abuse and myself realizing I needed help.

    • Llkj, Well, forgiveness does sometimes happen. Sometimes, though, people can forgive and not continue with a relationship. I know how hard it is for a breakup. Even though I have usually (not always) broken up with someone, it was after years of tolerating abuse, and that the man had already emotionally left ME. I just took the final step. Still, the pain of the breakup was INTENSELY HORRIBLE. I cried for months. Wish I could say something to comfort you. As I have said to my very good friend who has bipolar, and another friend whose long time b/f broke up with her due to his own depression, that from my experience, “You’ll just have to weather this storm, and things will get better. You can find another relationship, but you don’t know that right now.” One never knows how long a period of grieving or alone-ness will last. My ex, who I thought might commit suicide if I left him, was remarried in 6 months.

  41. Dear lwren and Llkj

    I sent Llkj’s comment to a very good friend whose boyfriend of 2 years, whom she still loves, broke up with her. He has unipolar depression. Then he kept calling her, telling her he loves her, and wants to be friends. She told him yesterday not to contact her. It was tearing her apart. She wrote that this no-contact call was “VERY, VERY HARD,” and that your post was helpful to her.

    lwren, you wrote:

    “My question having read all of the posts is, what do I now? Stand by him and wait for him to come out of this and resign myself to a life of complete emotionally uncertainty. From the posts, I see people have been in relationships 8/10 years and there partners have upped and left. Should you protect your own sanity and be cruel to be kind? I love him and don’t want to leave him alone but is there really any other choice?”

    Well, it isn’t just the mentally ill partners who leave after many years. It can be the other partner (like me) who left an uncertain or mentally or physically abusive relationship. It took me 11 years once and 9 years another time. It took my sister 22 years. Of course, nobody can make your decision for you. But my advice would be to leave and open up your life for someone who treats you right. These are some books that helped me: “The Verbally Abusive Relationship;” and “Getting Free.”

  42. Five years ago I was diagnosed bipolar 1. I took my pills for a year and and half and quit. 2 months ago the wife left me and is filing for divorce. It was not fair to her that I would not listen to her cries for me to get help while she had to deal with my manic swings emotionally abusing her. I am medicated again and going to counseling. I would love to earn her trust back showing my commitment to change but I think it’s to late. I miss the love of my life. Please people stay on your meds and seek help for the sake of your love ones showing you really do care.

  43. can bipolar lead a happy good life????i was planning to get married with a person who is bipolar,nd nw its over!i was taking him as a complicated and difficult person,as he is divorced,and i got separated from my ex husband,i m too much dishearted,when i diagnosed myself that he is bipolar,and he is not in a denial state,he is saying he wants to get his treatment done ASAP,but when i read about bipolar personality,im feeling like im dying :( i wish that he could live a happy normal life.i ve my exam after 4 days.and im feeling like im dead :((((

    • Do not marry him –you will regret it — My brother-in -law lives in hell with my sister –The whole family moved from Alabama to Washington State to get away — I still live in Bama but I do not have anything to do with her and I felt so guilty — I pray for her every day and I learn that I can love my sister without a relationship.

      • linda you are right !:( :( i m not absorbing the intensity of pain which i have,i diagnosed it myself as im a dental surgeon though is not my field,but i have know how,he told me everything ,i compromised on his mood swings,he insulted me many time,but suddenly he got change and started giving me more love,and i took him like oh he loves me,:( becox i got separated from my ex husband and i thought that i have to live with sm1 finally,so why not he(bipolar),and when i decided ,it got happened :((((((.i cant take 2nd chance,even i cant say him that u r bipolar becox he is ill ,and there is no point to hurt a diseased person :( i m very soft hearted,i went through alot of pain in my life,thats why i dont want to hurt.i did alot of counseling when even i dont knew that he is living with this mental illness,i cant say that u cheated me :( becox its useless to say such things to these kind of persons.im feeling helpless,becox i was emotionally attached with him,i had gud tym with him smtymes very stressful and smtyms a very good time.O GOD !:( :(I M IN TOOOO MUCH DEPRESSION,thanku natasha for making this plat form to disscuss bipolar issues :(

        • Hi minall –

          What you are going through is very difficult. I went through the same kind of pain as a result of breaking up with my bipolar ex-fiancee. But the good news is the pain will get less and less over time. On the other hand, if you don’t break up with him, he will not get better and will probably get worse, and the pain you are feeling will not go away and will also get worse and worse and worse. Much better to bite the bullet now and endure the pain of a breakup then put yourself in a no-win situation with more and more pain guaranteed for many, many years.

          Yes, you had good times with him, and you can at times remember them with fondness even as you move on so that you can live a happy life again. You need to balance those fond memories with also remembering the pain and the hurt and the stress he brought into your life. A life without a partner is much better than a life with a partner which brings you constant pain. But in time you will find someone else who will be able to love and appreciate you as you deserve to be loved and appreciated.

          Good luck!

          – Bob

  44. Natasha, you are so great! Such a wonderful and insightful writer and person! I, too, was glad to read this article. For three years, I was friends with a woman (I’ll call her Barbara) who told me she’s bipolar. Well, that was okay with me, b/c that’s my dx, too; and because I have two other long-time friends with bipolar. I figured that Barbara, like myself and my other two friends, was taking care of herself because she had a psychiatrist, who she’d been seeing for 25 years. She was taking medication, too. To make a long story shorter, she eventually started being “on again-off again” with everyone she knew — except me. She’d complain about people who were offering her kindness, sometimes in the extreme,. Next day these people were so wonderful to her, she claimed. Such as a therapist I recommended to her. He was working way, way, way over time to assist her with a chronic and potentially fatal physical illness. I also offered to help with that illness, too, but set very solid boundaries with what I would and could do. I didn’t figure out that “I’d be next” on her list of people to trash-out. She started calling and emailing me way too often. I figured out that she had nobody else to talk to, no close friends, only me, her therapist and psychiatrist. So for at least a couple of months, I gently suggested and told her that people with mental illness need a huge support group. I told that I had such a group of friends, and that it took a lot of effort and trial and error to meet and become friends with each of them, over the years. I told her when I first moved to our city, I had NO friends, but that I worked it out. I asked her if she’d considered joining a group, like maybe one about her physical illness. She said she had gone to one, but didn’t like it. etc etc etc. Finally, I emailed her and said it was important that we exchange phone calls and emails one by one. One call or email, then wait for the other to get in touch before returning the call/email. She wrote back that she completely understood, and that was fine. Then, the next time I saw her, when we were scheduled to have lunch together, she started yelling and screaming it me. First, she declared, “I will NEVER, EVER call or email you again!!!” I simply stood up, and said simply, “‘Bye, Barbara.,” and walked away, looking for another table to have my lunch on. She followed me around the dining room at the senior center., screaming and yelling, saying “You were honest with me! Now you have to listen to ME be honest with YOU.” She finally quit and left since I made no response. Whew. I was considering leaving and going to a sidewalk bench to eat, even though it was very cold outdoors that day. A few days later, guess what…I got a letter from her! I shredded it without reading. I have experience with letters from people who have verbally abused me. I figured the letter would say one of three things: She’d apologize and want to be friends; or, she’d rave in print the same garbage she’d raved at the senior center; or, she’d write like ever, like nothing bad had ever happened. None of these options were anything I wanted to read, It made no sense to receive a litter, when she had declared she never would contact me again. I’d said “Bye, Barbara,” and I meant it. Of course this was a person I’d only known for three years. Not a family member or long time friend. I know how hard it is to deal with an abusive family member, believe me. I separated my self from my father many times, and from my sister. I felt terrible then. But with Barbara, I did not feel sad or hurt — I was very angry! But she’ll never know that.

  45. I wish I’d read this 15 years ago when my husband’s bipolar surfaced. I dealt with the roller-coaster, the involuntary commitment, the resulting unemployment. The bottom line is this: if your bipolar loved one is not willing to do as much work as you are to save your marriage and family, it’s a lost cause. He took his meds but ignored doctor’s orders to see a therapist and used his diagnosis as an excuse to quit being a husband and father. I felt guilty for resenting his behavior, but when it became apparent that he had no intention of ever trying to face his issues, I quit being the public good wife, filed for divorce and didn’t look back. The prospect of living the rest of my life that way was not an option. Natasha is right: until you live with a person who actively refuses to manage his bipolar and uses it as an excuse to be an asshole 24/7, don’t judge.

  46. I am so thankful to have come across this article! It has confirmed that I am doing the right thing for my situation. My mother (69 yrs old and has good health overall) was just released from the crisis unit of the hospital after 10 days. She was diagnosed with psychosis depression and anxiety. I put her in there because the last straw was when she called me in a panic saying she was being accused of a murder from the tenant upstairs (whom she never met or spoke to). She was “told” to leave or the cops were coming and don’t come back without a lawyer (I have dealt with many bouts of these delusional episodes with her over the years). During these few days of chaos, I spoke to the crisis center hotline several times (prior to her entry into the hospital) because she refused to go back home. They said if not a threat to herself or others they can’t do much. My persistence and the fact that she stayed in her car one night made them take action (because of her age). I told my mom I will have the crisis center come out if she refused one more night in the apartment. She agreed to have them come out and talk to her and then agreed to go to the hospital to be evaluated (shocking! but she was partly frightened of what else I might do). She did and said all the right things in the crisis unit. I had to tell them what was actually going on because she was only giving bits and pieces. She only spoke of depression; didn’t mention anything about the delusions/paranoia. Because of me informing them, they put her on an antidepressant and an antipsychotic and gave her suggestions on how she can live a happier life (ongoing therapy included). When released, she let her true colors show. She became negative, irrational and refused to go back to the apartment and has been sleeping in her car (I even took her to the apartment and went in with her). No matter what evidence I present to her (as well as the landlord) that she is not evicted, not accused of a crime, no charges at the police station, etc. it doesn’t change “her” reality. I cannot tolerate her stubbornness and unreasonableness but I also know she believes her delusions. I only hope the medicines start working soon (only been 9 days) but she will eventually stop taking them as she stated. I will not permit her to stay with us; I am not enabling her. I wake up in the night with guilt but I’ve had enough. What really stood out in this article was: “There is nothing I won’t do to help you get better, but there is nothing I will do to help you remain ill.” Thank you.

  47. I want to thank you so kindly for these posts. My sister is bipolar, borderline and an addict. She has lost her job, her children, been arrested and injured herself in a drunk driving accident. She still refuses to get the help she “really” needs. My parents are raising her 3 beautiful children, and I’ve let my sister stay with me only that someday I can tell her kids that I tried.

    She sees a psychiatrist, but misses more than half of her appointments. She doesn’t take her meds correctly, and refuses to enter the all-day program that has been reccomended for her. I fully agree with you that this is an illness, but refusal as an adult to take care of yourself is a choice. I no longer want to live with her choices that are hurting me. It’s no different than a diabetic that refuses to take insulin and monitor their blood sugar, except the consequences of irresponsibly handling mental illness hurt and destroy entire families.

    I understand completely about the abuse, stress, turmoil, disrespect, and often callous disregard. She has stolen from me, had strangers in my house that have stolen from me, she lies when she doesn’t even need to lie, she’s hostile and verbally abusive at times. I’ve also been physically hit, and her bringing drugs into my home is putting my life, safety and everything I’ve worked for in jeaopardy. She has completely drained me financially, physically and emotionally.

    This article has given me the final strength I needed to finally say goodbye. If I’m free of her, I will have more time and energy to spend on her children that need me.

  48. My ex husband had a mental illness which manifested itself every couple of years and lead to him losing his then job, taking lots of drugs and thinking he worked for a spy agency among other things.
    We had two young children.
    Please, those of you with children in the mix. Do not think for one minute that they are not affected because they are and that is why I left for my husband.if you stay I believe you are doing them a huge disservice by exposing them to the behaviour. I put my children mental well being and physical safety above everything and it was a no brained to leave my husband. Now hat they are adults, they have to deal with his still erratic behaviour but I support them as much as I can. They saw too much when they were growing up and for that I will forever feel guilty.
    Please people, get your children out. They rely on you to make the best decisions for them.

  49. I just get so ripped up inside and my stomach just goes into knots with every thought of what might be happening to my ex gf. I swear it really seems you don’t fully get a good understanding about psychosis until you live or have a relationship with someone suffering from such a illness. :( no decision is simple . Sure outsiders will say leave her and let her family take care, but you find yourself looking back at times before the illness started and wonder if you could of saved that loved one from the endless sufferings which lied ahead . The reality is sometimes there are no happy endings . I only hope she makes contact some day.

  50. My partner of 7 years is getting worse. He has no friends, no family, and very little life outside the home. It’s a roller coaster ride–when he is up, he is the sweetest, funniest person I know. Then something will trigger an episode and he yells, throws things, sometimes breaks things. We have no children but the pets get scared, and I get scared. In between episodes I am trying to prevent them by attempting to organize things in such a way that the triggers don’t occur.

    He is a veteran and has his medical and mental health treatment through the VA. I’ve called his provider(s) repeatedly, especially when he is talking about wanting to die. He shows up for his appointments and takes the meds, and the suicidal talk has lessened quite a bit, but otherwise I would say his condition is worsening. He has not been diagnosed with bipolar, his mother had it though. I think if the VA knew what is really wrong they might not take care of him, because it would not be service-connected. He is completely unable to work.

    I go to therapy myself and while the therapist does not tell me what to do, it’s clear he would like to see me end the relationship. I just can not make myself do it. in some ways it feels like I haven’t “hit bottom” yet. The bottoms I have hit have been hard enough, and I don’t want it to get any worse, but I can’t make myself send a mentally ill, physically disabled man out into the world with no friends or family and no way to even move his stuff by himself. We live in a house that I purchased myself, it’s all in my name. I’d have to kick him out.

    I was in Al-Anon for years and know about enabling, not doing for another adult what he can and should do for himself, but it seems different to me with mental illness, somehow. I find myself trying to arrange his environment to minimize the chance of a meltdown, it’s exhausting and often doesn’t work.

    Finding this website has been great, thank you to Natasha and to all who contribute. Maybe one day I will just wake up and be able to end the relationship. I feel that each of your comments gives me a little nudge in that direction.

  51. This article is ridiculous. Not every mental illness is the same. Some people abuse and use and are violent. Others just need to recognize, get treatment, and improve who they are. My wife is leaving me and I know she’s using this disease as an excuse. Its killing me inside to know there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

  52. There’s a difference between being mentally ill and an abusive a**hole. You make it sound like everyone suffering from a mental illness is a wife beating, stealing, drug addicted bum. Sometimes people are just a**holes and that’s why you have to walk away.

    • I didn’t read it that way, Tas – I took from it that it’s ok to walk away from a relationship that is failing for reasons that completely outside your control and not to feel guilty about it.

      I don’t think that Natasha would make that criticism of mentally ill people given that she’s part of that group. But the anecdotal evidence is too significant to dismiss: there are some common behavioural traits that mentally ill people often display. But I agree with you: everyone is unique and individual so NOT EVERYONE displays the same traits and yes, sometimes people are just a-holes regardless of their mental state.

      The other thing I take from these blogs is that the observations aren’t criticisms: they’re merely offered as insight to help us understand why someone might be behaving in a certain way. When people understand then it’s often easier to provide support. I admire and am thankful for what people share here – I just wish I had found this blog 2 years earlier.

      The reality is, it’s a really complex situation – there’s not enough understanding of the causes – there’s no sure-fix and there are too many variables. It’s just crap. But hopefully through talking we can improve empathy, understanding and support rather than being kept in the dark.

      • I think that some of the meanness that happens with bipolar, if not caused by bipolar or a person’s natural temperament, is caused by psychological problems that result from coping with the illness. Terrible things happen to a person who gets the disease. He often loses his career, his family and his finances. Dishonest people take advantage of his generosity when he’s manic and turn on him whenever he needs paid back the money he loaned. Then comes the anger, the bitterness and out of control temper. My brother was such a wonderful, kind person until this disease wrecked his whole world and now he trusts no one and is prone to getting into fights with everyone, strangers and kin alike. It is impossible to handle on a longterm basis and can ruin your health to live your life on what I call “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

        • Hi Nancy,
          I agree. I was definitely an ass hole after my diagnosis. I was living in the twilight zone on and off for 6 years while taking ssri’s. After a major suicide attempt, followed by a 6 month imprisonment in a “treatment facility” where I put on 70 pounds I was told by a psychiatrist that I was bipolar, it’s hereditary, and I should never have kids. And I needed to be on prescription drugs for the rest of my life. He handed me a pamphlet that explained what my future would be like; constant mood swings, unable to finish school/hold down jobs, relationship problems, alcohol and drug addiction… it was the worst psychic prediction my insurance could buy. And yeah, I kinda turned into an ass hole after that.

  53. I was supposed to get married on August 1st, but my fiance had a breakdown a couple of weeks prior to the wedding. He never had any prior issues in our 2 years together, however, once this problem arose I soon found out about numerous other times where he had a breakdown without seeking treatment. As you can expect, the wedding was put on hold while he was supposed to get help. What I wasn’t expecting was that he was going to blame me for everything, including his breakdown. Unfortunately, he was in denial and not willing to accept his role in the breakdown but also the demise of our wedding. Leaving someone is hard when you know they are ill, and it is not fair to judge someone for doing what they think is best. I give my thanks to the author of this article as it has provided me some comfort in a very guilt ridden and bad situation as well as to bring forward a topic that so few people are willing to discuss for fear of being labeled in a negative light.

  54. Thank you! Leaving is the hardest part. Im so mixed in emotions and fear i let down a man I love. but, i have to protect myself and my children. He refuses to get help amd he too is an addict, bipolar, and knows he needs treatment, but wont because of whatver the excuse is that day. God Bless. Need to read this

    • I am supposed to be married this Saturday to my now ex. We broke up over 2 months ago. HE is acting as if nothing has happened. He now will have nothing to do with me since, i moved on. I was just trying to be his friend. It seems he really was using me for his own serf ice. How can you say you love someone so much then walk way like nothing happened. It hurts to a certain degree. yes, i am glad I am not dealing with that side of him. But for him to not acknowledge nothing has happened. The whole wedding was paid for and my dress. Now i have to deal with all the aftermath. Family is still flying in this weekend, knowing the wedding was called off. But for him to just not have anything to do with me is a shock.

      • i was in your exact situation. He was moving in in september we had marriage plans (i told my family he new we had arrangements) and yet he acts like it isnt reality. We have been broken up two months. (less than) He has moved back in with her. She wrote me not a month ago. My vulnerability wants me to write her and commend her for her patience (she’s written me lots and demanded answers and solidarity which i refused….wisely) I want his happiness. I want peace. I feel your pain. You would not be in this relationship if we weren’t the same. please be like me. be free. focus on you. walk away. if you read this and think i shouldn’t do such a thing anything you’d tell me tell yourself which will def be FOCUS ON YOU. you can message me always anything. jess.n.plummer@gmail.com

    • One thing we all share in common is that these kinds of breakups are very, very painful and difficult in many ways.

      We each have a choice as to whether to focus on that pain and loss, or to focus on the more positive, and frankly also more realistic side of things, which is to say that the breakup will free us, not only from the ongoing pains and troubles of the relationship itself, but also free us to be able to find someone else, someone who will be able to appreciate us and love us as we need to be loved.

      The choice we make on what we will focus on will largely determine our happiness and future success in finding someone better for us.

      Make the right choice. :) It won’t happen overnight, but as time goes by it will get easier to focus on the good things about the breakup happening, and also to remember that if the breakup didn’t happen, we would still be in a world of hurt because of still being in a relationship with someone who is not really able to be in a successful relationship.

      It can be tempting sometimes to fondly remember the good times we had with the person, and then to feel the loss of those good times. But we also need to balance that with remembering the awful, terrible, no good and very painful parts of the relationship – and to be thankful we will no longer be experiencing those, and will now be free to find someone who will be much better for us.

  55. I’ve found this blog really helpful with dealing with my own situation (in which my bipolar ex-fiancee ended our relationship – I THINK while she was having a hypomanic episode). 8 months later I’m still having difficulty dealing with the breakup and I think it’s because of something else that adds to the challenges that Natasha talks about. I thought I would share my thoughts and see if others can relate to this too.

    I’ll give some background info throughout this just to help put things into context but the purpose is not so much to discuss my ex’s bipolar, more to highlight a scenario in which it can be really hard to walk away or move on and also to really emphasise the level of commitment that contributes to that difficulty.

    (I hope I’m not hijacking Natasha’s blog but won’t take offense if this is moved to another spot. I’ll also apologise in advance … this is going to be a long one).

    When you lose someone the most important thing in your life you review everything that you did or could have done to avoid this situation and the pain you’re feeling. So, after 8 months of soul-searching here, at other forums and with various psychotherapists, counsellors etc., … I’ve come to understand that bipolar can be horrendously complex. I’ve also asked quite openly if I have any issues that I need to address. And the feedback has been consistent: I have views on life, I have opinions, I have standards and I have the courage and confidence to voice / act on those. But I’m not the arrogant sociopath that my ex claimed during one of our final arguments. And despite 8 months of research in an effort to find understanding and clarity, I’m not obsessive – I’m just tenacious because she was, after all the most important thing in my life. So apparently I’m just broken-hearted.

    Like I say, I’m not bipolar so can’t speak from first-hand experience – I’m only going by what I have learned from various sources over the past 8 months. So my limited understanding is that bipolar can bring a torrent of overwhelming emotions and that these can cycle quickly or rock-up on your doorstep with little or no warning. But I also understand that while there are some common traits, each person is individual so what happens, how it’s triggered, how regularly and how the person deals with it can all be unique.

    And to some degree, I can relate to that wholeheartedly. Emotions affect non-bipolar people too: I’m not for one moment suggesting that bipolar and non-bipolar life are in the same ballpark. I’m just saying that non-bipolar people can also be overwhelmed by emotions: for example, we fall in love and follow our hearts. We don’t question it or use logic to reason it out. It just happens: WALLOP! You’re in love.

    However, while emotion and the heart will make you fall in love, logic and reasoning will have the final say when you purposefully decide to STAY in the relationship when the going gets tough. Of course, our overwhelming feelings for the person we’re in love with is what drives us to use logic to try to work out how to restore the previous state of euphoria. (We do this even if we’re not aware of extreme contributing elements such as bipolar).

    Now if at some stage you review that decision or a recent turn of events and realise there really is no way forward other than to end the relationship, then that’s where Natasha’s piece helps deal with the turmoil and guilt of ending the relationship.

    But … if you’ve gone through the process of falling in love, then decide to stick it out, invest and do whatever it takes to get the relationship back on track and then the bipolar partner leaves you … then you’re left empty, confused and ultimately (for me anyway) you’re left with a lack of closure:

    – you know that things weren’t ideal but you thought you were both working on the issues together. You had both talked openly, maturely and reasonability about your relationship challenges. So you felt that while you were both working together, your love for each other would hold you together and that together you could surely overcome the issues and that you would grow stronger together;
    – you knew that you weren’t perfect and that this meant some changes on your part too but you were never prepared for the things that were hurled at you in the final moments;
    – you especially can’t understand how, even with the issues, someone who could be so loving and articulate (in a very precise, clear and non-generic manner) about the way she loved you (and the reasons why) could somehow change in the space of 2 weeks and say that she hasn’t felt the same way for a while – even though she was distraught at the loss of her engagement ring just 2 weeks before; and even when you quizzed her after the breakup to see if the loss of the ring had ironically reflected in her mind how the relationship was going she said no, simply that she was upset because of the sentimental value and meaning of the ring and its significance of your future together
    – you can’t understand why this person can acknowledge that their medication hasn’t felt right for the past 6 months but can’t see the correlation to the last 4 months of your relationship issues;
    – you can’t understand why throughout the relationship this person has, after calming down, told you that you’re the one solid thing in their life and yet now suddenly you’re the cause of all of their issues
    – and ultimately you can’t understand why it is that having acknowledged how in love with you they were, why they don’t want to be back in that space

    And if you’re like me, while being opinionated and forthright, you DO go looking internally to see where you screwed things up. And you DO go through months of agonising self-doubt. And you wonder how it is that you weren’t able to take your other life-learnings and overcome the issues. But the reality is that the issues were new ones that you hadn’t faced before with any other relationship and it never occurred to you that bipolar might be playing a part. So while you recognised some of the behaviour – you totally misread the cause and tried to deal with it as if it were something else. In this case, my ex didn’t display any hostility, unfaithful or spending-spree behaviour; but I DO think that the bipolar made her over-analyse things which may have been the cause of her instant doubts as soon as we had an argument. And I think she covered up the fact that she was suffering a heap of depression which would explain her inability to achieve any of the goals that she talked so often about. Or maybe it was her medication that was ‘dumbing her down’ to avoid mania and in the process removed her motivation and get-up-and-go. That said, she admitted that she had the ‘quitting gene’ and rarely saw anything through – I just figured that with time she would learn how to overcome this because, after all, she said she wanted to and believed she could. And I believed in her.
    But she wasn’t outwardly abusive until about the last 4 days of our relationship. Had she been abusive, psychotic, a liar or a cheat then I think it would be easier to say “I don’t want that” and to forget about her.
    But as I say, she wasn’t like that, so all I have are memories of a beautiful person with whom I thought I was working through some relationship issues – together, because we cherished what we had together and the thought of our future together.

    I remember my partner telling me that she can recall to the day when she became bipolar as a teenager: she went to school one day and just suddenly felt so miserable, without reason and couldn’t turn it off. Well here’s the crazy thing: I’m not bipolar but I know that feeling. I’ve had it for just over past 8 months. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a mentally strong person – I’m the guy that people turn to for answers, support and clarity. But right now, I have none to offer myself. The emptiness is indescribable. Literally. And who would have thought that emptiness could bring with it an aching kind of pain that is ALWAYS THERE … just sitting in the background doing its thing?

    I’ve been through depression – it was situational but even so I now know my own indicators, hence 8 months ago I went straight to my doctor and ended up on medication for anxiety. Fortunately that was only necessary for a short while to take the edge off (Doctor approved stopping the treatment). But what I have today is something totally different. It’s not your every-day depression – it’s completely different: I can function every day – there’s just no joy in anything that I do. Just an overwhelming sense of loss and an inability to understand how I got here. Ultimately, everything just seems pointless and not worth the effort. But nobody else can see it because I still turn up to work on time, suited up and functioning as usual. And I have a friend who is suffering depression and I’m still there checking in on her every now and again, taking her out and there at the drop of a hat when she says she needs some help (because I know with this friend that she doesn’t play games and is genuinely fighting to improve her situation). But behind that massive smiling mask is a world of blankness.

    I’ve tried psychotherapy, counselling, medication, yoga, meditation, good solid life-habits (like getting out, doing the things I love) – none of it has helped. And I certainly can’t entertain the thought of going on a date – my heart’s just not in it. I guess that once we make that conscious mental decision to stand by someone through whatever it takes, well, I guess some of us don’t make those decisions lightly so walking away is no easy feat. Even if the other person has made the decision for you.

    As a senior project and programme manager in the corporate world, I’m used to doing the analysis and making both tactical and strategic decisions – no-matter how harsh or cold they may seem at the time. But I don’t seem able to do that with my heart.

    And the more I think about it, the more I realise that this is far too big for my brain to comprehend. But my heart drives me on and tells me not to let the logic / brain side of things govern my heart and kill off emotions. I get that it’s hard dealing with the fear of being hurt again – and I can understand why people run from that fear and end up alone – I just don’t want to be like that. I want to retain the ability to be the hopeful, romantic, flamboyant and generous partner that I am.

    Now for someone like me, having gone through all of this thought-process, learning about bipolar, seeing the similarities with my partner’s behaviour and now understanding my own behaviour and response with a completely new perspective, I can see where my good intentions failed me. I can see what support my partner really needed and I can see how I needed to respond differently to the situations. And when you lose someone who was this important, yeah, you DO find it amazingly easy to make changes: that person is all the incentive you could ever need..

    But her decision is out of my hands and I have to find a way to grieve and deal with the current loss. Which puts me back where this all started: unable to break that emotional connection and still in love with someone who neither wants to be in love with me nor loved by me.

    So for now, I guess I just soldier on dealing with things day-by-day, like with my 8 year old son asking when we can see her again or why is her car still parked in our driveway; politely side-stepping romantic hints and advances from colleagues and friends; trying to keep busy until something magically clicks into place and makes my heart let go or gives me another chance to prove that we can make this work.

    And accepting that while there are some common strategies, we’re all unique and individual – so what works for some, doesn’t work for others. And in this case, all of the advice that I would give to others just isn’t working for me. So I guess I’ll just continue trying to figure it out one day at a time …

    If you’ve made it this far – thanks for so patiently reading my ramblings.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Has anyone else had the same sudden confusing end to the relationship? Is anyone else out there left with this feeling of where to now? How? And where’s the joy in life anymore?

    • David i have read what you wrote twice now and i feel like i could have written it myself as it reflects exactly how i feel.
      It is so hard to explain but you have put it into words beautifully,
      I don’t know that anyone can make this any easier for you as it is a long road and a very painful one but one that each of us needs to travel down at our own pace. I understand the resistance to not date and not being ready to give to someone else when your heart is really with another.
      I also hear the hope that you hold on to as it is written between every line of what you wrote. I held that hope for so many years and it is the hardest thing to let go of and when i finally did let go of it unfortunately i had to go through the grieving process all over again.
      I have educated myself on Bipolar but will never understand it. When i thought i knew how to best deal with it it throws something else from left field that you just couldn’t see coming and will never understand.
      You are not to blame for this it was going to happen no matter what you did. I had 15 years of marriage and not one fight in all that time and was married to my best friend.
      My husband woke up one day and decided that i didn’t love him anymore and therefore he didn’t feel the same way about me or our children. He left that day and never came home again. I can not tell you how many times i tried to tell him that i loved him dearly but he called me a liar and became very cruel to me and the children. The abuse eventually got too much for all of us and after 12 months we eventually let him go. He no longer has any thing to do with any of us.
      What happened with your girlfriend had nothing to do with anything you did, please understand that. Really educate yourself well on Bipolar. Speak to those who have Bipolar and those who have/ had loved ones with Bipolar. Listen to their stories, ask lots of questions, really hear what they tell you. If you decide that you want to hold onto the hope that your girlfriend will change her mind then you will need the support of other people who are in the same boat.
      I wish you the very best, i can tell that you are a lovely guy and you will be fine, you just need to get through a difficult process.

    • Hi David –

      I’ve been thinking about your situation a lot and am having a hard time deciding whether to respond in a more sympathetic way (which is entirely appropriate – as you know, I understand all too well what you are going through since our situations are so similar), or in a more blunt, to-the-point way, as in “She isn’t coming back, my friend!… It’s not your fault! …. You are a great guy!… You need to put her behind you and move on!” And that is all also entirely appropriate.

      You are a great guy, that is easy to see. And you are also very much a romantic, as you said yourself. Maybe too much of a romantic. You love deeply, and you are right, so do I. I am a romantic also, but there is this fuzzy area between romanticism and then taking romanticism too far, perhaps even into the land of obsession. And I don’t mean that in an accusing or derogatory way; it’s easy to become obsessed with someone you love so much. For a time I am sure I qualified for “obsession” with my ex-fiancee also. But when all signs point to your relationship being over (which I think yours is), and the situation affecting you in a very negative way (which it clearly is), then you are getting dangerously close to the land of obsession, if not already in it.

      So for your own good, I think I will lean towards bluntness rather than sympathy, though you do have my sympathy as I am sure you know.

      Be careful what you ask for. I would bet that even if she does come back to you (which I don’t think she will at this point), chances are very high she is going to just put you through hell again. You may have some great times with her again, and think you have recovered from your past problems, but then WHAM it will hit again and you will be left reeling and realizing you just spent another X years or months on trying to revive and fix a broken relationship which is non-fixable. That’s exactly what happened to me. So be careful what you ask for.

      You admit you are trying to understand something (many things) which can”t be understood. That is true. You are trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. Don’t try to do that too much, because in many ways it is just that – incomprehensible.

      I think you also still feel guilty about being the cause of the relationship ending. You weren’t the cause of it, and you need to let that go. It is false guilt, but you are letting it inhabit your heart and your thoughts… don’t do that. It was not your fault at all. It really wasn’t.

      You seem to feel that your putting her behind you and moving on would somehow represent a failure on your part, as if it would be saying that your love for her wasn’t strong enough to… hang on forever waiting for her? Lets say, hypothetically, you did wait for her the rest of your life and she never came back to you…. would that say your love for her was really strong, or would it be saying something else?

      I don’t think waiting for someone who has left you and made it clear she doesn’t want to be with you (and may even be with someone else by now) is showing that your love for her is really strong or somehow superior to the love other people have/had for their ex-partners. There is no doubt you love her deeply, and that is a good thing… to a point. But as a friend, let me say I think you are past the point where you should be hanging on and waiting for her. I could be wrong, perhaps someday it will all work out for you, but all the numbers/stats and everything else I see (as a neutral observer of your situation) point to an unsuccessful outcome for you and her. Even if she was to come back to you, which is highly unlikely.

      One last comment: you seem to feel that if you give up on her and move on, you will never feel love or emotions again, or perhaps not in the same way. That’s simply an incorrect conclusion. You will feel love again (perhaps with one of those great gals you have been turning down!) and to your surprise, it may be even better than what you had with her. That is what happened with me. I have moved on, and have found someone who loves me the way I need to be loved, and it is fantastic. Really, really fantastic. I wasn’t looking for an exact replacement of my ex-fiancee, and didn’t get an exact replacement. It turns out I got one much better… and so will you if you let yourself.

      I really think you need to do whatever it takes to move on, David. Your ex-fiancee is not the only one who can make you as happy as you were (at one time) with her. You need to move on, my friend. Cut the ties, remove all reminders of her, tell your son she won’t be part of your lives any more. You won’t be any less of romantic if you do those things, and you will also be releasing your emotions to love someone else. You need to give yourself permission to do that. Life will be a lot better if you do that, and you will no longer be languishing in the empty places you find yourself in now. You are in a kind of prison in that regard, but the good news is, you hold the key to your cell in your hand. You just have to decide to use it.

      Your Friend,
      Bob

      • Bob and Mia – thank you both for your supportive and understanding words. I’ve been busy landing a new job so haven’t had a chance to get on here and reply. Bob – rest assured, I understand the similarities in our situations and also that you’re a very supportive, compassionate yet brave-enough-to-be-honest chap. And Mia, I’m sorry you had to go through that – you must be an amazingly strong and resilient person to survive that so well and your children are lucky to have you in their lives.

        There’s truth and sense to everything that you both say. And I understand all of that logic. The thing is that whatever within me can’t let go … it runs deep. I fully understand the logic and the stats that point to everything being over, beyond recovery and also the fact that she’s not the person I thought she was and will no doubt only get worse or will break my heart again in the future. I think the difficulty for me comes down to 2 things: 1/ indescribable heart-felt connection on a very unusual (for me) but never-the-less VERY spiritual level and 2/ I truly believe that at heart she is an amazing person – she’s just struggling but most importantly: she’s not the stereotypical screaming nutter, so it’s hard for me to see her in the same light as the statistics portray.

        But I have accepted that there’s nothing more I can do. I have no intentions to spend the rest of my life waiting for her. But at the same time, I’m just not inclined to go do anything with anyone else just yet. Of course a call from Salma Hayek could well change that perspective :)

        It’s just a very odd time, right now. I am the most scientific and logical of people. It’s just that my heart isn’t playing by the rules. And so daily I’m just running like a machine – doing what I need to (and doing it very well) but there’s just no sense of any worth in what I do. It’s not like I’m finding it hard to get up or pay my bills – I’m able to spank it at work, my son has no idea that there’s anything wrong, on top of my job I’m also acting in a movie (all-be-it a short movie but it means 14 hour days at the weekends) and I’m there for everyone else. And it’s not like I’m going through hell and hiding it all behind a smiley face. There’s no sense of doom – but at the same time there’s no sense of joy or point to anything when it comes to ME. I’ve seen a doctor who’s a mental health specialist and she thnks that while my case is odd and unlike normal depression, without a doubt I’m anhedonic when it comes to ME.

        So I’m just taking it one day at a time …

    • Ok this is my first time writing to anyone but I figured I would give it a try. 2 yrs ago I started my first real relationship with a man. In the beginning I saw a few red flags but I didn’t let them stop me. We had lots and lots of fights for reasons that were so small and these fights would last into the wee hrs of the morning. When we fought he would scream at times. Made me swear on rosary beads, held my arms down bc at a point my body would just shut down and I just couldn’t speak. He even broke his own window when we were driving home from a wedding one night. These episodes happened probably a few times a month. After a crazy argument when we went camping I finally had enough. I was done. Please know that I did talk to him and took him back many times. He did get on medicine and went to counseling but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Anyhow I broke up with him last September. During our break I had to block him a few times bc he would call and text non stop and blame me for so many things. Then he would also be the sweetest most apologetic person at times. Telling me that he was put on this earth for me and that he will always love me and never be that person he was again. So after 10 months I decided to give it a try. I loved him, he was my first and only love. But I wanted to take things slow and see how things progressed. It was very hard since my friends and family did not like him. They didn’t like the way he treated me And they know that I’m a person that will do anything for anyone was they are very protective. But that caused a lot of arguments bc I had to hide the fact that I was seeing him. I know that’s my fault but I just wanted to see how he would treat me bf I told Anyone. So We weren’t seeing each other regularly. But we started arguing again and he would have this episodes of crying and blaming me. Telling me I didn’t give an F about him. That he was a joke and it was just an endless cycle then he lost his job and things got worse. I tried making sure he ate. Gave him money when he asked(he paid me back) but there was always something. I started getting panic attacks even when we would have a good night. A few Friday’s ago he wanted to take me to dinner with my niece and I didn’t answer the phone and I called him back a half he later and he threw a fit. So after 6 I left my house bc we were starving and ask him to meet for dinner and he kept yelling and going over the same things. He did end up meeting us around 8 and then I went home after and then he kept yelling again. Then the next day he apologized but I just had enough. My nerves are so bad I couldn’t handle any more. We had very little contact since then. I told him I want to be treated good and want a relationship that doesn’t have more downs then ups. It’s really hard for me. I don’t know if I’m making the right decision or if I’m wrong. I guess I just need some advice?

      • This sounds similar to mine and I want you to know you are doing the right thing. I feel confident in removing this person from my life. I still love him very much and have sympathy for him since he doesn’t know where his disease ends and begins. Im sure you think he deserves love, which does, and that you have the compassion and big heart and understanding that you feel you are abandoning him. You are not. Why would you love this person more than yourself. Why would you compromise your sanity to make failed attempts at easing his loss to his. Take care of yourself. It is okay to love this person and don’t let the people in your life shame you for it, it shows your humanity. But do not stay. Do not burden this or you will drown. I was diagnosed with panic disorder following my relationship with him and it destroyed pretty much every corner of my life, my career, my art, my friendships, my finances, my ability to sleep.

        Focus on you. Find ways to cope and bring yourself peace. You are allowed to have lingering love for him you are not a fool for it but walk away.

      • hi Kay – your story is soooooooo similar to so many others that I’ve read. In fairness, I wish that my ex had been the stereotype that you have described because then I think it would be easy for me to see that this is just farrrrrrr too much hard work, heart-ache and abusive a relationship to stay in.

        I THINK that the challenge for a bipolar person is simply to accept that when they have a negative or destructive feeling, they SOMEHOW need to be able to tell themselves that this is a bipolar moment and that they need to calm down and give their trust 100% over to someone else so that they don’t go making wrong calls. But that’s never going to be easy because while they’re ‘in the moment’ they will no doubt be fully convinced that the other person is the one at fault.

        I can understand why you would want to give your ex another chance. And it’s clear that you did this with caution and some safe-guards. But it still seems like he has a HEAP of challenges ahead of him. If you can honestly say, with hand on heart, that your behaviour was in no way whatsoever sufficient cause for the verbal or mental abuse then it’s time to accept that while he has some beautiful traits, he doesn’t have what you need from a partner. But … if you TRULY beilieve that he wants to chance and that he CAN change, then never give up on what your heart can’t forget. But be very realistic about this.

        Good luck.

    • Oh David, Your observations and thoughts are so familiar to me, yet you articulated them with such wisdom and profound insight I could have never penned. It is so late at night when I found this, I need time and sleep to reflect and comment. I will tell you while we are kindred souls my situation is a bit different in that I’ve not not am not contemplating the end of our relationship..However. I do feel such confusion in this 20 year relationship coupled with the strong feeling of….where to now.? And, in my experiences, the joy of life can easily be robbed from us. Bottom line – your words were so profound and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey…. words to earn y…..M

  56. I have been looking for direction for a long time now. My brother has been thru many manic episodes since the age of about 17. At least the ones I remember. But it was not until adulthood that they really became extreme with each one getting worse and worse. And alcohol playing a bigger role than ever. I get it now because the alcohol cancels the medication even if he is taking it. He has to self medicate in some form so he chooses alcohol to do it.
    And, we are not talking about some low life. My brother and I come from a wonderful home where we were told we were loved every day. We were supported, encouraged and directed in the way of a Catholic faith & upbringing, a wonderful education, and a foundation of love, respect & integrity. We were blessed!
    My brother has the biggest heart of almost anyone I know, helped take care of my aging parents and established such wonderful relationships with them. He was a professional career man, married a wonderful and beautiful Christian woman. Lost a baby to miscarriage and lost the marriage to a lie. His wife deserve to know he had a Dual Diagnosis of Bipolar & Alcoholism. He never told her. They were married for about six months before his next manic episode. The marriage was over.

    THe episodes became worse & worse driving a wedge so far between he and my parents, causing my parents and my own family to constantly fight. I thought I had a handle on what the disease meant, what would help and I tried to talk to my parents…..encourage them but not turn their backs on him. He didn’t ask for the disease. It is all so unfair. They are not dealing with my brother they are dealing with the illness. They were dealing with the illness too! Things I could not comprehend: verbal abuse, drinking, stealing from them, being gone for days, being arrested now a total of about 18 times, my parents going before the Magistrate to have him committed only to be released 72 hours later, walk to a bar, become blindly drunk and either walk the tab and get beat up or go back to jail. A vicious cycle. How can we help him? They let him move in as he lost everything.

    East episode cost more and more financially, friendships, family members, years off of everyone lives due to stress and the anguish I could have never known until this past year. I would hear it is best not to “rock the boat” he’ll come out of it. I continued to encourage support groups, NAMI, counseling for my parents…..I lived so far away and did not seem to be able to help them. We just seemed to fight more and more. My brother played my Dad and I off each other. Then I had my own devastating divorce to go thru after 20 years of marriage. And theonly one that just to make a real difference in these episodes was my former husband. He had this take charge role of what to do when no one else really knew what to do. I hope he never felt taken for granted.

    In this last year I can’t even count the number of episodes. But the difference is they became physically violent towards my parents. My elderly parents who have medical issues but still tried to help while my brother still stole, verbally abused my parents, and feels a sense of entitlement to everything.
    W
    Well my Dad passed away last year after a terrible physical altercation between my brother and parents. My Dad asked him to leave. He hurt them both physically and mentally. My parents dropped him off at a motel where my Dad had to prepay for him to stay. They drove away.

    My dad called me the next day and his heart was literally broken, he was afraid for not only himself but my Mom as she was hurt too. He knew he would never see my brother again and he was right as he passed away only several weeks after that. It was a heart attack but I know also from a broken heart that as a father he could not do anything to help his son.

    I lost three family members that day: my Dad, my brother (not in death but in reality) and I watch my Mom deteriorate each day from Dementia.

    It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do…….say goodbye to so many loved ones and a world that changed in a second.
    not

    • Hi Dawn,

      Sorry to hear your story. With behaviour like your brother’s, it’s certainly easy to understand why people would turn away and disassociate from him.
      But I can understand your parents’ behaviour: Putting aside the fact that bipolar probably wasn’t so openly acknowledged or understood in their generation, they also come from a generation that steadfastly believes that love will win through. I wouldn’t be surprised if at heart they still felt that he was, at his core, the lovely little boy they had raised (up until the final moments).

      But until he realises that he is the one who is different and that he is the one who needs to change, things will never get better for him. From my own personal experience, if he has trouble talking openly, calmly and honestly about accepting that he has issues and needs to change how he manages them then there is nothing you can do to help him. So the best you can do, as heart-wrenching as it is, is to stop enabling him and to let him know that until he changes his attitude and behaviour, you’re cutting all ties.

      It’s crap – once upon a time love could solve anything … not so with bipolar.

      Good luck and don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up.

  57. I too, know how it feels to be with someone who has a bipolar disorder. At my previous job i meet a young lady that worked with me, i found out we similar interest, she was warm, friendly, and thoughtful. We became a couple, then about 6 months into it, she would be fine one day, then the next mad at me , wouldn’t return calls and just avoided me. I being concern felt like maybe i did something wrong. I found myself always trying to accommodate for her to make her smile , happy, just would come and go. She told me about her dreams, she had violent dreams, she dreamed she killed herself and sometimes other people.

    I would hold her all night and make sure she slept well and didn’t try to hurt herself. I found myself becoming depress because of her actions. I finally talked her into going to a hospital to speak to someone about her thoughts her moods, and even her physical pains.

    Well i got the short end of the stick , i became the problem, anytime she was mad i was her target and i couldn’t understand , so finally they gave her some meds. She became the person i knew again and then the mania kicked in. She felt like she didn’t need me , was talking to another man behind my back and now she is pregnant with his child. He doesn’t do much for her from what i could tell. She is suffering through this pregnancy but for some reason i cant get mad at her for what she did to me.

    I feel like i owe her nothing but yet feel obligated to help her since i know that her family doesn’t help her and she is a emotional wreck. But i don’t know how much i can take her lashing on me and im the only one that really tries to help her. She becomes nonchalant when she told me she was pregnant by another man, my feelings didn’t matter she cold and callous .

    So im praying cause i know she doesn’t have a grasp of her illness but now im worry about my mental health if i continue to try to be in her life. I really do love her unconditionally .

    • I have been reading so many of these blogs and even though my ex fiance is the highest level you can be, never was abusive or violent. Is this normal as well. He never disrespected me and over all was a good relationship, other then the depression. When I recently informed he I had met someone, he said good, and I hope he treats you the way you deserve. I will probelly regret letting you go! He did not show any feelings towards me at all.

    • Hi Elliott –

      Your love for her is commendable, but it’s not surprising you are worried about your own mental health given the circumstances. Whatever her reasons for getting pregnant by another man, she did it. In other words, even if her behavior was totally, or partially, caused by Bipolar Disorder, or by something else, she did what she did and you are right to say you have no obligation to help her now. You must realize that if she did this once to you, chances are good she will do it again. And then perhaps again. Do you really want to live that kind of life? Can you really put up with that – emotionally, mentally, spiritually?

      This seems to me like a case of the lifeguard needing to leave a drowning swimmer who is bringing him down with him. Don’t let her bad choices (whatever caused them) destroy your mental health or your life as well as hers. It’s sad what she is doing to herself and the poor choices she is making, but you need to protect yourself first and foremost. Don’t get hung up on the ideal of trying to love her unconditionally, which is a laudable goal, but if it is threatening your mental health, I’d say get away from her now, while you still have your mental health. If you wait, someday it may be too late and you may not be able to recover from it.

      I am all for unconditional love, but I think God is much better at true, absolute unconditional love than we are, especially in the kind of situation you find yourself in. No one would ever question your decision to leave her in such circumstances, and you shouldn’t question it either. Based on what you said about your own mental health being threatened, I think you are in a dangerous situation if you decide to stay with her. Good luck Elliott.

    • Hi Elliot,

      Listen to Bob – he knows a thing or two :)

      I’m going to summarise your take in slightly less diplomatic terms:

      Screwed-Up Girl meets Nice Guy. Nice Guy supports Screwed-Up Girl. Screwed-Up Girl abuses Nice Guy’s patience and generous heart. Screwed-Up Girl doesn’t know when she’s into a good thing so plays around behind Nice Guy’s back. Screwed-Up Girl ditches Nice Guy, shacks up with New Guy and falls pregnant. New Guy turns out to be less than ideal but still Screwed-Up Girl chooses to lash out at Nice Guy.

      Bipolar might explain her behaviour but it does not excuse it – not to those extremities.

      Being a Nice Guy you will naturally want to do everything you can for her – especially when you can see, clear as daylight, that she has no family support of any value to her. But you can’t save her. There is too much here that is screwed up. And she has set her own course with this new guy. Walk away – no, RUN! Chalk this one down to experience and find yourself someone who’s actions leave you with absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they appreciate and adore you for who you are. No-matter what the reason, if she cannot do that then she does not deserve you.

      But don’t take my word for it – listen to Bob – he’s far more intelligible than I am :)

  58. I am hoping that someone that give me some advice on what to do. I got with my fiancee 3.5 years ago. I did not know at first that he was bipolar. And I also did not know that he had a drinking problem. When we first started hanging out we would party together and have lots of fun. Then after a few months, I found out that he was bipolar. He was not taking any medication, he was not even seeing a doctor. First off he is a wonderful man, he is wonderful to me, he is loving and he is the best guy that I have ever been with. And I want to make this relationship work, if I can. Even though it means taking the good with the bad. Well up until the past month that is. After he got with me we went and got him on medications. They would work for a while, and after about 3-4 months he would have an episode. Sometimes we would be arguing when it happened, other times it was when I thought that we were getting along fine. But something would trigger it. He would take off to his brother for 3-4 days. And return like nothing happened. So they would switch his meds on him, and we would be fine for a while, and then another episode. He has had a hard time holding down a job. He has worked about half of the time that we have been together, and the rest of the time I have supported him. I myself am not in the best of health. I have had two heart surgery’s in the past year and a half. So this is not good for me to get stressed out. And the two of us living on my disability is rough making ends meet. Here is the situation. He is behind 4 months on his child support from a previous marriage, he owes over $1,000 for a ticket, part he is able to work off with community service. He has these fits of anger when he leaves. He used to not cuss me or be violent, but now he has gotten to the point that he is. He has never hit me, but he throws furniture and things around and then tears off in his car. And in the last month, he has done this twice. He is not on his meds. And it worries me to death. Each time that he takes off he runs to either his mothers or his brothers. His brother used to just buy him wine and let him hang out over with him. But now his brother has a girlfriend, and he is not allowed over there so now the brothers just throw money at him and hope that he goes away. The first time this month that he left, I was worried I called his brother and he would not answer his phone. I called his mother. I explained to her that he had not been taking his pills and all she said was that he had his pills with him. I asked her to please talk to him. I explained to her how he has been getting worse and I am concerned. I told her that I love him very much. All she said was well maybe we need some time apart.
    Before We got together he told me that he lived with his brother, he did not work, he was severely depressed, his brother bought him wine and cigarettes everyday and he stayed locked up in his bedroom. He did this for over 8 years. His family paid his child support for over 10 years.
    I feel like after reading on your site that they are enabling him. All this time I have been trying to get him to be responsible, encouraging him to keep going, he had been doing good. But here lately it has gotten worse. And his family do not even call him majority of the time. I have held him when he cries wondering why they never call, or include him on anything. Now let me add another thing that I feel is important. His father passed away exactly 1 year ago. And even though he has been going out to stay at his mothers, he is very angry at her. He never got one thing of his fathers when he passed. And if she heard the verbal assaults that he has said, she most likely would not even let him there. Another thing, the last time he was there he found a shotgun in the bedroom closet. He has threatened suicide before.
    It has been 4 days since he left now. And it was very bad this time he left. I tried to talk to him and got in the car. And he called the police on me. I explained to them I was concerned because he was not on his meds but they treated me like I was the bad one. So I have no idea what he told them. I called his mother. I left a message on her machine. I explained on the machine that he had a episode and how violent he was. And he was not on his meds. I begged her to call me so I would know that he was ok . I also wanted to tell her privately to remove the shotgun that was in the closet that he found the time before. But she has not called. I guess that she does not want to get in the middle of it. But isn’t she partly to blame for this? And his brother? Are they not enabling him? How can I ever get him to be responsible for his actions when they cater to him? I feel like that they disrespected me. I am trying to help her son. I am supporting him. I am hurt and angry at them. I want to tell them, you are making him worse. I want them to work with me to help him get better. But it is like they do not care. All they ever did was leave him in a bedroom and let him drink and not do anything for his bipolar. I felt like they should of in that time they could of gotten him on disability. Since he has been with me he has improved so much, he does so well when he is on medication. But now? I just do not know what to do. He has not called or messaged me. I know he is sorry for his temper and everything, like always. I do not blame him. I know that he is sick. Right now I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Vicky – sorry to hear about your situation.

      I wrote a huge reply but have scrapped that. What it really comes down to is this:

      – we know that bipolar causes overwhelming emotions that the bipolar person can’t control – YOU CERTAINLY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS – only you can decide whether you are happy with this level of uncertainty in your life
      – bipolar may explain his behavior but only you can decide whether it EXCUSES his behavior
      – a successful relationship with him will require him to acknowledge and commit to the need for medication, psychotherapy, counseling (for himself and you both as a couple) and ultimately for him to realize that he needs to draw on you for support and strength during his hard times so that you can birth reinforce and strengthen your partnership. But he can always change his mind about this, so you’re back to point 1 above.

      You sound like you are a balanced mix of compassion and reasoning – surely you deserve a partner who appreciates and returns that?

      It takes two to tango: right now he’s not interested in you. In years to come he may realize his mistake. If you’re still available at that point then assess that then. But don’t out your life on hold for something that may never happen. If you’re not available then that’s his loss: don’t feel guilty about having found someone who meets your needs better. And don’t feel guilty for the way his life turned out. Learn to be as selfish as he is (right now) and go in search of what is best for you.

      Bipolar isn’t his fault – but it’s not your fault either so it’s not your responsibility to manage: whether or not he likes it BIPOLAR IS HIS RESPONSIBILITY to manage.

      As for his family: let’s not beat around the bush – they are weak and will be of no help to you whatsoever. They are clearly enabling him and choosing to believe that you guys are just having relationship issues – most likely believing that you’re a big part of the cause of those issues. It’s a convenient, easy and weak approach by them but it is what it is. Remember that while it’s frustrating that they’re not supporting you with your efforts to try to save your relationship, ultimately their lack of character, strength and inability to acknowledge the real issue will fail him the most.

      Do what makes you happy. Remove the causes of turmoil from your life. Focus only on rewarding those positive forces. I truly believe that this will result in you either finding someone who is ready and worthy of your love or … you’ll be happier single than in a miserably unstable relationship.

      This might sound harsh but it’s the view I’ve come to after nearly 9 months of soul searching after my bipolar fiancée left. Choose to pour yourself into people and activities that make you happy RIGHT NOW.

      I hope this helps and I wish you all the best of luck with finding happiness again.

  59. Hello,
    I’m a 42 year old single mom. I’ve been divorced for 6 years. I met a wonderful man whom adores me. Treats me like a princess. I was living in a small apartment with my two children (11, 13), had a new car, a steady job, and I was content and proud of my accomplishments. I have never received child support or help from the kids father… so it has been a rough road, but I’d rather look at it as “We’ve come a long way babies!”. Anyway, this man I met showed us what it was like to live a life of luxury, showed us love, kindness, and swept me off my feet. I thought finally… finally the time has come to just be happy and in love. Early on, there were a few episodes of rage. I mean, horrible fits. Where he says I repulsed him and that I make him sick. We’d be out having a great time and then all of a sudden, I’d see this look on his face. I knew we were in for a long night. His flood of text messages were so mean and degrading to me. And I would never have a clue as to what I did to deserve this. After he cooled off, he would say he has no idea why he did that as well. Not wanting to fail at this relationship, I kept trying. He convinced me to work for him (he has a successful company), although I didn’t give up my regular job but asked for less hours and they agreed. One day he came over to my apartment and never left. He lived about an hour away and we’d go to his homes every other weekend when I didn’t have the kids. But it was very crowded and his work covered our whole couch and living room floor. We managed. He ended up getting us a beautiful apartment home. A huge place, in the best area, near the kids schools. He proposed, I said, “yes”. Blissful, I was loving life! He surprised me by trading in my car (that I was buying, not leasing) for something nicer. He did this all via email even though I told him I was happy with my car. Still, I was appreciative (but sad because that car was “mine”). Well, after moving in to the new place, the rage and fits started again. Every time we’d be with family or friends, he’d cause a scene and it was even worse when we were home alone after the incidents. We’ve lived there 3 months and he’s packed up and left about 12 times. Then the horrible phone calls and texts start. He punches things, puts holes in the walls, yells, and makes me out to some kind of whore. Then he has no idea why he’s acted this way. Says he can’t explain it. And it’s always after we’ve had a great time, day or weekend together. My kids have witnessed this. So now it’s time to go. In a few weeks we will be homeless, he is taking the car, my phone and now I barely have a job. He lies so much as well. I can’t believe anything he says anymore. One minute he is sorry and saying he loves me and two minutes later, he is saying F.U., I can’t believe you’re doing this, and go ahead and be with whomever you’re on your phone with (all i talk to is my mom, kids, friends on the phone). He said he’s been going to a psychiatrist but I found out that’s a lie as well. I was such a fool. I can’t believe I did this to my children. I have 3 weeks before we have to vacate our apartment. I guess what I’m saying is, look for the signs early on and if they aren’t willing to get help, take care of you and yours before it’s too late. I’m scared out of my mind. But it’s better than being ripped apart constantly and afraid enough not to sleep at night. Good luck to all of you.

    • Hi Renee –

      As I read your story, I couldn’t help but notice how it is in many ways a mirror image of my own. It is interesting how it can work both ways. In my case I had a Bipolar fiancee I treated like a princess. I also thought that finally the time had come to be happy and in love. And we were. I did a lot to take care of her and her son, and was happy to do so. I got us a huge home in the best area, near her son’s school. She didn’t have to work at all. She was happy to be a homemaker and that was fine with me. I proposed and she said “Yes” and we were very happy. Like you, I was blissful and loving life… for awhile. Then not so happy… then happy again. Lots of ups and downs, like a rollercoaster. She also falsely accused me of cheating on her. She had fits of anger for no good reason.

      Fast forward… breaking up with her was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It was a very painful and terrible experience to go through. I am sure not just for myself but for her too. Bipolar is an awful disease that robs people of what could otherwise be wonderful and loving relationships. And causes a lot of pain for all involved.

      Despite your current difficulties, I encourage you to focus on the last thing you said, which is so important and so true — “It’s better than being ripped apart constantly and afraid enough not to sleep at night.” It is important we focus not just on what we lost (on the good things we thought we had) but also, and even more, that we remember and focus on the terrible pain and struggles we are NOT experiencing any more because we are no longer with that person. Think of the hell you are avoiding by no longer being with him, and enjoy the peace and beauty of each hell-free day as you move on without him. You can be very, VERY thankful you are no longer in that very unhealthy and destructive relationship.

      Good luck to you as you move on now with your life. Take it one day at a time. Time is on your side in the healing process and you will feel better and better as time goes by.

      • Bob,
        (with tears in my eyes) Thank you for your response. I means so much to me. This is such a painful time. I feel bad for him. I know he really loves us. And even though we had wonderful times, the bad were really bad. I appreciate reading your story and will think of it when I feel like being weak. Things are falling into place. All the friends and family that he complained about are the ones stepping up and wanting to help. He didn’t even have one friend and hated the fact that I did.

        You’ve given me some extra strength to get through this. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

        Renee

        • Hi Renee –

          You are very welcome. I am glad I could encourage you with my story. Heaven knows we all need courage when faced with these kinds of challenges in our lives.

          I am sure you are right when you say that you know he really loves you. That is a big part of what makes this kind of situation so difficult. In my case I asked myself often if she really loved me… as in “if she really does love me, how could she say and do such things, get so angry so often, etc.?” I think part of me wanted to conclude that she really didn’t love me… perhaps because that would make it easier to break up with her if I thought that. Yet when I looked back on our relationship, I could not overlook or deny many very heartfelt, beautiful, and genuine expressions of her love for me. I had to somehow reconcile the fact that she did love me very much with her very unloving words and behavior.

          For quite some time I thought that love alone would allow us to get through the difficulties. But as you said, although we had wonderful times, the bad were really bad. In time I realized these really bad times would probably go on for a very, very long time, perhaps forever, and that the relationship was not going to get better, and had a high likelihood of getting even worse… as if things weren’t bad enough already.

          I am glad you are able to reconcile the fact that he loves you with the fact that it would still be very bad for you (and your children) to stay with him. It’s counter-intuitive in a way and goes against all the Hollywood movies we have seen where “love conquers all,” but I found out, as have many, that in the real world love does not conquer all… especially Bipolar and the havoc it wreaks on relationships.

          I think you are going to do just fine despite your current challenges. Hang in there, day by day, and you will soon start feeling in your heart more and more what you already know in your head… that it was a very good thing for you to get out of that very unhealthy relationship.

  60. My husband of 8 months is back in the pysch ward for being homicial and wanting to choke me death and bury me in the backyard. He has paranoid schizophrenia, schizoeffective, morbid jealousy disorder. He called me from the hospital and said he wanted to leave me and said I love you and hung up. I haven’t heard from him in days. He has “left” me 11 times since January and been in the ward 4 times this year. It’s driving me crazy wondering if he is coming back this time. He is depressed because he cant hold a job. All he has to do is straighten up and video games all day. I work 60 hours a week to support us. He thinks I’m cheating on him, the celing told him when I worked a 16 hour shift I was screwing around. When he is not in bad space he is the most amazing person. I’m frustrated I don’t want to give up on him like his entire family has.

    • Hello frustrated77, I am so sorry you are having to go through this. Personally, I had take a step back from the situation and look at the facts of the matter vs letting my emotions control me and my urge to fix my broken husband. Yes, you love him, you want him to be happy, and you want to have a great marriage, but you cannot fix or change him. Based on the description above, you should be very concerned for your safety and well being. Your husband sounds very unstable. You are going to have to be the one to make a decision to stay with him or not, and take action to protect yourself because it sounds like he will be back, especially if he is not working. There are always going to be wonderful memories that make you want to stay and keep trying, but when the bad far outweighs the good and you are struggling to keep it together on a daily basis…it’s time to take a step back. Only you can decide what’s best for you. Please do not stay for the sake of making him better because you will only end up loosing yourself in the process. Take things one day at a time and pray for direction. You only have one life and you deserve to be happy. Hugs!

  61. My husband of 18 months has Schizophrenia which I found out from his brother about 2 weeks ago when he gets in these cycles and I become very frustrated and am on the end of a lot of emotional abuse. Calls my wonderful 3 kids demon infested and I am going to hell where my mother is. (I had a wonderful Mom who passed away last Sept) My husband takes no meds and never has since I met him. He tells me I need to read books on spiritual warfare and submit more to him and God. He says he is a prophet, that he is being watched and is on the Gov hit list as he knows too much and needs to have a weapon to protect himself.That I am full of demons and a schizophrenic and psychopath/sociopath, He denies the need for medication and understand from his brother that in years past he had been on meds but denies need for as they make his head fuzzy. When the last episode hit I could take no more mentally and moved out for my safety but did not leave the marriage and told him that. He filed for divorce which brakes my heart. I love him dearly and asked that he /we seek help for him and I would be with him every step of the way, he declined and said I was the one that needed help. he has been hospitalized 3 different times for long periods and also had a diagnosis for clinical depression which his brother stated to me he had 20 ECT treatments and that he had attempted suicide twice in the past. I know he needs to seek help but won’t. Feeling guilty for leaving and wonder if I did the right thing by doing so.It’s dang hard when you love someone…this also makes me feel like I have failed in some way.

    • Hi Marsha – It sounds like you did exactly what you needed to do. You are not a failure. You trusted your intuition and it took a lot of courage to leave. I am proud of you. When you have given your marriage 110% and have done everything under the sun to help and love someone and it still isn’t enough…then there isn’t anything else you can do. Also, he is not getting better if he is constantly blaming you for all of his problems. I highly doubt he will ever seek medical treatment if he is forever blaming everyone else. Emotional abuse is very painful and no one should have to live like that. It may not be easy moving forward without him, but it has got to be better than you and your children being tormented by his emotional turmoil. Stay strong, and more importantly, stay strong when you are sad. Hugs!

  62. I have been following your blog, my heart goes out to you and your daughter. Your battling your heart on what to do about all of this.. All I can say is protect that child of yours. You are her advocate and her mother. Its our jobs as mother/parents to protect them regardless who is putting them in harms way. I pray to give you strength though all of this and hoping with in time, you too will see this was the best plan of actions you could of taken.. God Bless you and you daughter,.

  63. I just want to thank all of you for the encouraging words. I sincerely appreciate each reply. Sadly, he had another episode yesterday. This time in front of my daughter and best friend. He said he hated me and was going to kill himself, etc. I decided that leaving him was best for me and the safety of my daughter. I know this cycle will never end unless I put a stop to it. I feel hopeful and, oddly enough, ready to move forward. I know this is not going to be easy. I’m done though, he can find someone else to hate and blame.

    • well done. it’s hard but will get easier over time. Get support to help you through the emotional injuries. God bless

  64. Please understand your slowly killing the one person I had.. The angel in this family .. How do you expect me to feel happy? It kills me to leave her but that’s what she wanted.. I can’t even imagine what she going though scared to ask ..Now I’m enlighten.. But I am still frighten, while feeling the one thing my conscience never wanted, and she is still frighten and fighting.. How is that fair to make her live a hell, that never meant to happen … As she lays there ever so FRIGHTENED Repent to her and let her go heighten, because she is dying ALONE EVER SO FRIGHTEN.. God is talking through me.. Don’t you see that.. (Besides my Dad.) You were listening to rebuttal Instead you should’ve listen to understand … Now back to Dad DO YOU REMEMBER I told you as I got out of the car with the vacuum in my hand, If you didn’t believe in God THIS WOULD MAKE UNDERSTAND. I told YOU it would because he’s calling you back… You did NOTHING WRONG .. DON’T FORGET THAT You just lost faith in people because you thought that’s ALL You had Because you once believed in HE God.. And he remembers that,
    You forget he know’s your heart and that a fact .. Give peace to yourself because deep down in side YOU know that.. Now who pays the price for lack against THAT PLEASE make peace with your selves cause that ALL SHE “EVER” WANTED AND SHE FRIGHTEN as the clock keeps ticking She’s dying ALONE DONT FORGET THAT

  65. Hello, I have been with my husband for 8 years and we have a six year old daughter together. He is currently on 1200mg of lithium and taking Seroquel to help stabilize his mood swings. He is making an effort to get better and goes to counseling, but all too often the meds either stop working, have to be adjusted, or changed entirely. The problem I am facing is figuring out if I should walk away or to try harder. I realize that only I can determine that; however, I feel afraid to leave, and if it makes any sense at all, I feel afraid to stay. I honestly feel paralyzed. Things will be going great, then the “switch will flip” and he will have a psychotic episode (usually around every 4 months). He starts screaming, hollering, hopping around, getting in my face, telling me how much he hates me, my family, my friends and my dog….usually anything to do with who or what I love. I have to sit in silence and listen to him rip me to shreds. It’s quite frightening. The last episode was a couple of weeks ago, he told me if I called the cops on him (because I have before), it would end in a shoot out. Then in the next breath, he was going to burn the house down and after that he would text me the address of where I could find his dead body. He is usually completely out of control when he gets to this state. After the outburst is over, he is extremely saddened and remorseful. He really tries very hard to make it up to me. During the make up attempt, he craves sex and feels that will connect us and make everything better. He has never hit me and usually the threats are more about killing or harming himself. I am so thankful that my daughter has never witnessed his psychotic episodes. It seems he can keep his cool until she goes to bed. I feel that I have become more of an obsession to him and he has made comments that he cannot live without me. I am worried. Any advice or recommendation, would be greatly appreciated. Right now things are great, and will be just fine until the next episode.

    • I can really relate to this. I was with my fiance for about 8 years and she to would be fine until she had an episode. I have a hard time when she could compose herself at certain times but then had to go on a suicidal and hurtful rage. Kudos to the Father of your child for respecting her exposure to his breakdowns. I was pretty paralyzed myself for a long time. We are split up now, it’s not all that much easier. I’m seeing a whole different side to her and as much as I couldn’t stand her family, it’s at least ten times worse now. She had Co dependency issues with me and it’s been hard to be her friend and be there for her (no one else is) but have to put up walls so she doesn’t effect how I feel about myself or our children. Hang in there and know that your not alone and where there is hope, there can be resolve.

    • Hi Amber –

      It makes total sense to me how you are afraid to leave and afraid to stay. And as a result feel paralyzed. When I was trying to decide whether to stay with my ex-fiancee or not, part of me badly wanted to stay and part badly wanted the relationship to be over. I felt like I was in limbo. I struggled with some important questions, one of which was whether things were ever going to get better. Once I realized that was highly unlikely (which took a while to figure out), then I needed to decide if I could (or should) accept her very unhealthy words, attitudes, and behavior.

      I tried telling myself I would not let these things affect me because I knew she loved me very much (which she did) and probably didn’t really mean the things she was saying. Or so I told myself. I still don’t know really how much of it she meant and how much she didn’t mean and said solely as a result of her Bipolar Disorder. I pictured water rolling off a duck’s back, and tried to tell myself I would just let things roll off me like that without letting them affect me. I tried that, but could only do that for awhile.

      Personally, I did not find it possible to not let those things affect me or our relationship. For me, that was just not realistic. Maybe it’s not realistic for you either. Maybe it’s not realistic for anyone. Or maybe only for a few. But I knew I would be in for a very unhappy, hellish, miserable life with her if we stayed together (despite the fact that we both loved each other very much), and when I shared my doubts with her, it led to the end of the relationship. It was very, very difficult, but it was exactly what needed to be done.

      In your case (as with mine), I don’t think you “trying harder” is going to help at all, because the problem is not with you, it is clearly with him. You have reasons to be frightened and worried – his talk about a shootout, about burning down the house, about killing himself – all point to a very unstable and quite frankly I think dangerous individual to be around. You know there is going to be another episode, you say. And of course, then another… and another… and another… etc. You need to decide if that is the right kind of life for you and your daughter. I think you already know the answer to that. You can decide to put off the eventual decision I think you know you will need to make someday, or you can do it now and start getting on with the rest of your life.

      You are right to say only you can make that decision. Good luck in making the right decision and in moving on to a better life, whether you decide that will be with him or without him. If you do decide it will be without him, don’t feel guilty about making the hard, reality-based decision you had to make for the benefit of you and your daughter.

      • Dear Amber
        Bob is right. I disbelieved my daughter when she said she hated me and I ended up being left 70km from home on a rural road while crying and waiting for someone to come along that would take me back to my home. Who does that to their mother who is 60 unless they are very sick. They are not in control of their thinking and what they tell you they will do, you must believe and take protective action. One of my daughters boyfriends did burn himself and his sisters house. The paper often has men who say they will kill or maim a partner and do it. Your safety is prime and urgent. Your welfare must come first. I realize that you will not be wholly sane living with that illness, so trust and believe what Bob says. Keep a spare set of keys outside to grab. If you know of any Al-Anon group, they have protective ideas they use for their dangerous drinking partners. The problem with living with sick people we take mountains as molehills. His behaviour is a mountain to escape from. xx what would you do if your daughter had a partner like him. What would you help her do? See yourself as a person you would help and help her.

    • hi Amber,

      I’m a big believer in never giving up on someone. Especially when that person is someone you can’t imagine spending the rest of your life without. But as Bob and Sally have pointed out: your husband has made some significant threats. And there are far too many reports of neighbours and family saying “but we never thought he really meant it.”

      And you have a daughter to safefuard – both mentally and physically.

      I know it’s hard to walk away and say goodbye to the person we envisaged spending the rest of our lives with. I was just telling a friend the other day: I would rather fail at something I love than succeed at something my heart’s not in. I can understand putting up with and working through ‘challenges’ but a life of 4-monthly threats to your personal safety and suicide … is that what you really want from a marriage? And how long do you think you can hide this behavior from your daughter?

      Be strong for you and your daughter.

  66. I have read your comments and very sad.. My now ex fiance had his depression and bipolar under control I thought. When he proposed to me, he was in remission. then 4 months into our relationship he started to back away. Then slowly stopped coming over as much and no sex for 4 1/2 months. I thought since he had his medication and so forth that he would do the same patterns as what I have seen in the blogs. As nice of a guy he is and good to me and my son, he did it. Strung me along and feel out of love. I am hurt, like never before. I have never loved before truly and I am 41. I protected my heart for many many years. And I indicated i would go through his illness with him and he said no, and I believe he has someone else. He cheated on his ex wife for 14 years why not me. It is the hardest relationship i have ever experienced, and its only been 7 weeks since we have been apart. But, I am glad i cut the wedding off and our relations. I hope you find happiness one day..My heart really goes out to people with this illness, its not like you asked to have this.

  67. The issue of “getting help” is a complex one. Where I live, mental health services are underfunded and in crisis. I have been trying for months to get help for the depression which was worsened since my break up. I am about to make a formal complaint about getting none. It’s horrific. I did have a counselor, who was excellent, but her funding was stopped and I can’t see her any more.

    I have autism – not a mental illness, just a different type of personality – but also very severe depression and anxiety. So I know I can be hard to live with.

    My ex was schizophrenic, I think – at least, very paranoid and angry and delusional from time to time. He left me during one of his crises. I decided at that point to completely end it. He contacted me about minor things a couple of times, but nothing for 8 months.

    I understand what you say about enabling. I did do that. Now he’s gone back to his parents, who also do that. Because of them, he never has to really face up to things – he can always run home. But they are very elderly and ill now.

    Everything seems so clear, at this distance. I was in love with the image I had of him, and was appalled by the rage and paranoia. He didn’t have enough insight (or incentive) to face his illness squarely. There was nothing I could do about the delusions anyway. Nor could he help with my depression.

    I suppose I thought two mentally ill people could make it work if they both had insight and could both compromise. But that was my dream, not the reality.

    I miss him. I am very lonely. But I know there’s no point in contacting him.

    I have accepted this will drag on for ages. Just have to live with it. Some people – they affect you so deeply, and you feel such passion about them. But it’s still hopeless. And what happened leaves this ghost behind, that maybe stays with you forever. I expect it will get easier in time. I hope so.

  68. I agree one has to know the realistics of an relationship with a person with bipolar. Im very frustrated the mother of my children s father knew he had bipolar and did not tell me. But I stayed with him because we have 3 children and wanted to be supportive. His family does not pro-motivate him. Instead they are okay with him not working. At times he is nice and then boom he is so cruel its spiteful. It has caused me stress and challenges in finishing my college degree. I decided to finally put the needs of myself and children as a priority. Still I want the best for him. Yet I have a child with a sensory disorder ans need to put his needs above everything else. I started to hate him and now understand it is because I love my children I wanted him to feel the same and want to take them places.

    • Hi Iris –

      As you work through this very difficult situation, just know you have a lot of people here like myself who have been through similar situations and who understand the pain, stress, challenges, and frustration you have been dealing with (and are still dealing with) and who empathize with you and support you in your efforts to make a better life for your children and yourself.

      You are so right to say it’s important to see the reality of the situation and to act accordingly. I applaud you for doing that and I know it is going to result in a better future for you and your children, even though it will be difficult at times to make the change from your current situation to a much better one.

      Try not to hate him though, since he is also a victim of Bipolar Disorder. That doesn’t mean you should accept his behavior or stay with him, it just means you don’t need to hate him for it. You can move on without hating him, and that will also be much, much better for you, and your children too.

      Keep your focus on moving on to that better future for you and your children. Each day, practice looking forward to that much more than you look back. You are a good mom and I wish you the best.

  69. My story pales greatly in comparison but I am reaching out none the less. My boyfriend was moving in with me and meeting my parents suppose we had become “engaged” as we had planned to get married. After 5 days of being physically apart he used heroin, quit his job and ran back to his ex moving in with her. I cut off contact and wish I had the strength to have just left it there.
    24 hours later he moved back out of his ex’s (I do not know if it was his or hers decision I feel like he constantly lies) got his job back told me he was going to get medicated and clean and hoped that he had not lost me forever, even as a friend.
    He proceeded to contact me often saying that I had influenced him to seek these positive changes and he really wishes that I would speak to him as he wanted to surround himself with positive/people things as he went through these changes.
    We would talk he would be erratic and cruel. Beg me not to leave say all the right things. A continuous cycle.I feel like I’ve walked through a car wash. I feel drained, confused and broken. I love him very much. I feel like he is very alone but I also feel quite used…a constant distraction from his depression that doesn’t quite measure up much like how he uses heroin.
    When he last pulled me back in he got arrested the next day for property damage the day after that he used again.
    I again severed contact saying I feel I enable him that he hasn’t gone to a doctor or done anything to better his mental state its only worsened and I feel like I humor him while it destroys me watching him destroy himself and that until there is some change I feel we shouldn’t talk that it’s destroying me and I’m not doing anything to help him in the meantime.
    (This is all while were in two separate countries mind you)
    He said he understood and didn’t want to hurt me and that he wouldnt contact me until he made some changes.
    Three days later he emails me the following and it tour my heart out it felt so cruel and heartless. I know he is manic and I’m happy he went to the Dr.

    The whole thing was a mistake. I’m just trying to get well, got medication now. I kinda think we should forget everything. I want to forget everything and move on. I know I’m a piece of shit cunt but o have to get well, I’m going to kill myself otherwise.

    He deleted me off social media in the same swoop.

    I am quite hurt. Perhaps he ran back to his ex again. I am not hurt that he wants help I’ve wanted this for him and I think he can best achieve it alone. I’m hurt that he dismissed our whole relationship and me as a human being. I don’t understand. Did I ever matter? Why must he say goodbye so cruelly when I have been compassionate and supportive.

    I simply wrote back:

    I want you to get well. We can go our separate ways.

    I wanted to say more I still do. Is a clean break best? I really love him. I hope he is getting help.

    I mailed him a birthday gift prior to this that will arrive any day…I searched everywhere for this ‘lucky hat’ he lost while we were together and managed to find it. I don’t know what I fear more if he will contact me or that he will not.

    Do I say a loving goodbye or just let it go. Is okay to feel hurt that he was so dismissive? How do you tell whats meant and whats not anymore.

    This whole thing has made me feel unstable and has made me so out of character. I’ve accepted behavior I never normally would allow. I am sad all the time and worried for him and miss him.

    • Hi Nicole –

      If you read the last two paragraphs of what you wrote, I think you answered your own questions.

      Don’t get involved in a “loving goodbye” with someone who is adept at manipulating you and drawing you back in. Just let it (and him) go. And yes it is certainly OK and normal to feel hurt that he was so dismissive. As for telling what’s meant and not meant, it doesn’t really matter. Even if he really means that he loves you, he is clearly not able to follow through on that in any meaningful ways. It also does not matter really WHY he is the way he is, you just need to fully and totally acknowledge who he is now, and that he is not the kind of person you want to be with.

      The fact it is all making you feel unstable, out of character, accepting behavior you normally wouldn’t, and that you are sad all the time, all point and shout loudly for you to get away from him quickly and permanently.

      But you already knew that, didn’t you? Yes it’s painful to leave someone you love, but sometimes it is the only choice you have, unless you want to continue feeling the way you do – unstable, sad all the time, etc. You don’t want that, do you? If you stay involved with him, even a little, that is what you will have. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your love for him will somehow change him or cure him or fix him. It won’t.

      I think it is very helpful to remind yourself that as painful as it is to break up with someone you love, in your case (as it was in mine, and so many others’ you can read about here) it will be far, far more painful to NOT break up with them and to continue the hellish existence you are now experiencing.

      You need to move on, now, toward your future, and leave him in the past. If you don’t, your future will be more of the same hell you are experiencing now. If you do move on, you will have a much happier future than what you are experiencing now. And you do deserve a happy future. You deserve to be loved the way you need to be loved and to be appreciated and valued.

      Moving on will get easier day by day. If you stay strong in your resolve for a better future, that is what you will have. Good luck!

  70. As i read your story, I am some what relieved, but confused a bit about my current situation. I have never been
    in love with anyone in my life because I kept my walls up. This man whom i new from HS, comes along and we were to be married in august of this year. I have never had a man treat me as well as he did. I never told him how I wanted to be treated or loved etc. I am finding that bipolar men are known to sweep ladies off there feet, and then leave them. We got along great, respect, love and admiration. But, as time went on, he had an episode. He is going through a divorce and raising 4 kids. I snapped and called the wedding off because he stopped communicating with and giving me nothing but silence. He loves me very much, however when I asked him
    why he does not want to be with me anymore, he said its nothing you did, I just don’t know why.. Please help me make some sense out of this. Is it another women, as he tells me its not. Is it he feels I deserve better as he has told me this through out our relationship. Why when you have a good women, and you love her, let her go when she did nothing wrong.. PLEASSE SOMEONE help me understand!

    • hi Hope,

      There are many who have gone through similar experiences to yours. Like you, I came searching for answers and found this place.

      Now what I’m about to say may be difficult to hear but please believe me when I say that what I say is driven by compassion because I have been through this myself.
      Personally, I think you always have to be willing to accept the fact that your partner may well have just fallen out of love with you for no reason to do with his bipolar. Just because he’s bipolar, doesn’t mean that everything he does that you don’t understand or agree with is driven by his bipolar.

      That said, what you describe is similar to what I and a LOT of other people have experienced.
      It seems quite common for people with bipolar to feel a lack of desire – for anything and everything. So don’t take that personally. As hard as it is for us to understand, I’m guessing it’s even harder on the bipolar person.

      You might like to read another of Natasha’s blogs:
      http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness/depression/depression-lack-want-desire/

      You might also like to google ‘Anhedonia’

      Another thing to consider is (and this is purely my personal opinion based on what I have read but I’ve never actually had a chance to ask a bipolar person) that bipolar seems to flood a person with overwhelming emotions. So while people tend to focus on the negatives such as depression and anger it’s worth remembering the counter to that: which means that he probably totally meant it with all of his heart when he said that he loved you.

      I know that in some ways this will make things even harder to understand and accept (it certainly did for me). But I think that your first steps to understanding are not to judge or think about right vs wrong: quite simply it is what it is and sadly, it just sucks.

      But read as much as you can here and you’ll learn lots that you’ll probably wish (like me) that you had known long ago. Just remember that while you might read about common traits, every person is individual and unique.

      You will see lots of advice to run to the hills and never look back. You will also see people talk about how bipolar relationships can work.

      Remember it’s your call – it’s your life and you know your partner better than anyone else. With what you’ll learn here you’ll see your partner in a totally different light and will no doubt start to understand him better.

      Arm yourself with knowledge and understanding so that you can be aware of what POTENTIALLY lies ahead and whether or not you are willing to risk going through that. But of course, the potential is both good and bad.
      Personally, I think that I now understand my ex far better as a result of Natasha’s blog – enough that I would happily give it a go again simply because I think I now understand her triggers and also I realise how I totally misinterpreted her behaviour. And I truly believe that with what I’ve learned here, I could be more understanding, accepting and ultimately more supportive as a partner. But sadly, it’s not my decision but at least I can now move on knowing that I still have no negative feelings towards my ex and only love in my heart (tinged with a little sadness). And I hope that you can at least get to that point too.

      Good luck.

      • Thank you David for your thoughts. Yes, It is true,,,I have been told run for the hills. I asked him if he
        fell out of love, He said no. But then he said I can not wrap my head around this all and I don’t know why
        I am walking away.z But he was so sure of himself when he said I do not want to be with you. We never faught, nor called each other names or disrespected each other. We talked about everything. Then when it got closer
        to the wedding which i gave him ample amount of times to bacvk out and he did not want to. He just said i just want to marry you. I did not want a big wedding eloping was fine with me. But he dsaid he wants to see the women he loves more then life its self walking down the isle to him. I have known him since HS..But not on the bipolar side. I strongly feel he fell out of love with me but has love. Two different things. No sex for 4 months etc. He swears there is no one else, but i dont beleive that..

    • Hi Hope –

      You say he is “going through a divorce” which I take to mean he is still legally married to someone else. That alone could be why he suddenly went silent on you. He could be working through things related to that. Even so, if you were planning to marry in August, it is not good that he left you in silence and then did not have an answer as to why he did that. At the very least, this is a big red flag… you may want to lower your expectations, slow things down (in your own mind and heart) and stick to your plan to call the wedding off… at least for now. I’d suggest you need to spend more time on this relationship before deciding whether or not to marry him – it does sound like he “swept you off your feet” and things moved very fast… perhaps way too fast.

      Slow down. You obviously have some concerns here, and it sounds like you should. Giving yourself another 6 or 12 months (or more) before deciding whether or not to marry him will give you a wider base of experience with him on which to base this important decision.

      Your situation is somewhat like mine in that at one point I needed to tell my bipolar ex-fiancee that I was just not as sure anymore about whether we should marry and that we should take more time because of the issues we were having in our relationship. It was a difficult and painful thing to have to do, and then painful to have the relationship end after that, but if we were to have gotten married, I strongly suspect we may have fallen into the 90% of bipolar marriages which end in divorce.

      That was a statistic which at first I tried to avoid thinking about, and thought we could be the exception (the other 10%), but as time went on and the issues remained, I started realizing that these were exactly the kinds of issues which led to that very high divorce rate. I realized that even though I loved her deeply and I knew she loved me very much too, it would be unfair to think that the 90% did not also have love in their marriages, and I also had to wonder about how happy the remaining 10% really were, even though they were able to stay married.

      In my situation, she would never admit to having anything like Bipolar or getting any formal diagnosis about it, which of course meant no treatment either. I had to think the divorce rate must be even higher than 90% for marriages where the Bipolar spouse is in denial (has “lack of insight” as it is called) about their condition. That was a very sobering thing to think about.

      Despite all that, David is right to say it is an individual decision. Each couple and each relationship and each individual are different. There were factors in my relationship you may not have in yours, and vice versa. I completely understand why David or someone else may want to try again with a Bipolar partner, but it’s important to realize (as I know David does) that it would be a very difficult road to take, and may very well not work out as you would like it to.

      I wish you the best. I would just say slow down, and give yourself more time to see what your fiance is really like in a variety of circumstances and over a longer period of time before you decide about marrying him.

      • Hello Bob,

        Yes a divorce after 14 years. He has been legally separated for 2 years now. His divorce was going to be final. We no longer are getting married, because i called it off nor are we together anymore like I stated. Yes a red flag indeed. I think there is someone else. However he swears there is not. I told him not to contact me because I can not handle it. What does he do send an email here and there i will always love you too…Hope your doing well. Our love was and is real, but I think he can not handle what I can provide to him since his soon to be ex wife made him shut out the world because she did not want to hear about how depressed he was etc. He was just diagnosed 3 years ago. Honestly, I feel he took me for a fun ride, and then got board. He told me he did not think he could be with a women like me and i am out of his league.. and I deserve better. The challenge was not there anymore. No one has ever met his children before but me. He is very careful who comes around his kids as he should. But not giving me a reason as to just wanting to walk away knowing i was willing to work it out through his depression, he just shut me down. This is what makes me think there is someone else..It has only been 6 weeks since i called the wedding off and had him move out. I guess I just need to let him go and don’t try and make sence of what he is doing or have done. Good luck on the other women, the same thing will happen to her I am sure.

  71. You are so very “on point” and correct !!!! I have been in the exact situation.. Bless you, you have helped ease the horrible guilt I deal with needing to let go of mentally ill siblings who refuse to help themselves. They have cost numerous thousands of dollars in private hospitals, destroyed homes, committed crimes etc… I can take no more.

  72. Thank you to each of you who responded. He is out of the psych ward and staying at his Mom’s as of yesterday. I got machine gun texted last night…mostly negative things like I am a thief, a liar, a cheat etc. He calls me a thief because he feels I have taken his son from him. I have said repeatedly I am not doing that but his thought is visits will hurt too much; he only wants to live with his son. I feel awful. I know he loves our son as much as I do which is to say more than everything else in our lives combined. I feel so badly for him.
    So, mostly negative texts which I tried to mostly not respond to.
    His last two texts broke further my already shattered heart though:
    Wish I was with my family.
    and
    Wish I had a family that wanted me.

    Oh my God. He has no idea how I had wrestled with this decision…and still wrestle with it. I am torn between knowing our relationship was getting increasingly volatile and hateful and I do not want my son raised in that environment with also really really wishing we could be a peaceful family unit and raise our son in a happy home. I feel like I have failed our son and my significant other. My heart really turns over when I think about how all this is something he couldn’t even control. Makes me feel so extra sad. I also, selfishly, feel very sorry for myself. I wonder why this has become my lot. Just feeling overwhelmed with this I guess.

    • Hi Jill –

      Although I can and have felt your kind of pain…. at least in my own way and in my own situation… please allow me to be blunt for a moment.

      You say you are torn. Very understandable given the circumstances. But honestly, it does not matter – not even a little – how much you wish you could be a peaceful family and raise your son in a happy home. What matters now is that your boyfriend tried to kill himself the other night and you are very lucky he did it while your son was sleeping. Next time you may not be so lucky. What also matters now is all of the “hell” he is putting you through in many different ways, and the fact that he is just not likely to improve. And there’s a very good chance he may get worse. You have a choice to make. An important choice. If you choose to let your “I wish” feelings and emotions influence your decisions, you and your son may pay a very high price for such wishful thinking.

      I myself wish that wishful thinking was enough to change a bipolar partner into someone it would have been possible to have a good relationship with. So many other people who have shared their stories also wished this with all their hearts. But no matter how much you love him and no matter how much you wish, he has a serious disease which has serious consequences – not just for him, but for you and your son too.

      It is normal for you to feel sad and sorry for yourself. I did too. But at some point you need to, despite those feelings, take a hold of reality with both hands and stop avoiding it. In your case, an attempted suicide on his part seems to be a really good time to do that.

      Hope this didn’t come across as too unsympathetic – I would just hate to see you make the wrong decisions at this critical time for you and your son.

    • hi Jill,

      the best you can do is move forward with love in your heart.

      The turmoil you’re going through is normal. It’s probably fair to say we’ve all been there. But the sad thing is that, as you’ve witnessed, your partner is going through things that neither you nor he can control.

      Somehow you have to find a balance of protecting your son while remaining compassionate to your partner and respecting that he is having a horrendous time of things too. And at some stage, he will probably feel terrible about what has happened. He’s still human. But he’s not in a state that is safe to have around you or your son.

      It’s ok to love him but know that right now, he’s not good for you or your son. As partners we’re a mix of lovers and friends. Right now, he needs you to be his friend. Support him from a distance and be strong enough to set those boundaries.

      Don’t take his words to heart. And don’t hold them against him. His anger, his name-calling etc., … are an expected reaction given his current state. Just realise that this thing is beyond the control of you or your partner. He’s not choosing this.

      But he does have to choose to want to control it. And all the anecdotal evidence suggests that starts with understanding the boundaries and consequences. It may take a few years for it to happen, but your partner needs to work on his own health in order to not adversely affect the health of you or your son. And the reality is, he needs his own space to do that.

      I haven’t had to deal with a situation like yours, so I can only imagine what you must be feeling. But I have had my fair share of traumatic experiences and one thing I can say for certain is not to doubt yourself or waste time looking back over history: that will not change a thing. Only look back enough to learn the lessons. But don’t for one moment fool yourself into thinking that you ever had the power to control this. And if it’s not his fault, it sure as hell isn’t yours.

      And yes, you are probably going to be hurting for a long time. You wouldn’t be human otherwise. But your life has to now hinge on other positive elements and not be dependent on your partner. You ALL need that.

      Good luck and don’t hesitate to reach out to people.

  73. Hi Jill,

    be strong. I ‘m sorry for what you and your son are going through. I’m sorry for your man, cause , when I read what he said to you, I remember my father saying same things to my mum, who was a good wife and mother to sister and me for 39 years. But when mania occurred, it was just like you described.

    Since he refuses medication and things got worse, it was our only duty to protect mum. Because after his attacks we had to bring her to emergency, she was loosing herself , panic attacks, and a lot time went by until SHE recovered.

    So,

    I almost lost both of them.

    Now, she is better, they live separately, he has new girlfriend, which is my age , a junkie.

    I don’t see him much, he doesn’t need us anymore, or his grandchildren, but I don’t blame him. I’m often very sorry for things gone that way, but what can we do ?

    It’s our duty to live our lives as best as possible, keep on trying , persevering.

    Be good, look after your child, look after you, I wish you best.

    ljuba

  74. I stumbled onto this site tonight because I am looking for support and community I guess. My live in boyfriend of 15 years is currently in a mental health facility as he tried to commit suicide in front of me three nights ago. This happened after our 5 year old child was in bed so thankfully he didn’t see it. He blames me fully for the attempt; he has been angry and dissatisfied with me for a long time but I think unwilling to leave because he loves our son with all his heart. (And he has always been a great dad.)

    So, with this attempt (and there have been horrific fighting and many suicide threats before this) I have finally decided (after getting the opinions of several people and researching things online) that he cannot come back here to live. My main concern is a recurrence of this even in my home, possibly where my son will see it. (I cleaned up all the blood – and there was a lot- this past Saturday night after he was taken to the ER to be stitched up. I did not want my son to be traumatized.)

    We have had a dysfunctional relationship for some time but, again, he does not want to not live with our son.

    However, I visited him tonight in the hospital and, at the advice of one of the social workers there, I let him know he could not come back home here; he would have to go live with his mother. As you can imagine, it did not go well. (I was told after from a nurse that I never should have dropped a bombshell on him there while he’s recovering from a suicide attempt. But the social worked told me to do it and, honestly, it would have had to be done at some point or he would have come back here. Right?)

    He raged at me for the rest of the hour visitation. He called me every name in the book:
    stupid
    oblivious
    hateful
    petty
    witchy
    fucking whore
    fucking bitch
    etc

    He also said:
    he wished i would get into a car accident on the way home
    he hates me
    I am the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to him
    I never loved him
    I don’t know how to love
    I am a witchy mother to our son (who I am crazy in love with)
    I will not be able to raise our son well; our son will end up hating me too
    He never wants to speak to me again
    He wants to forget I exist
    etc
    etc

    For an hour. Seething hatred from a man who has always loved me (in our dysfunction I never would have thought I would ever hear him tell me he wants me dead or that he hates me.)

    I am destroyed. He has no idea how torn up I was about telling him he can’t come back. I have to think first of my sweet little boy though.
    Think with your head, not your heart, Jill.
    Ugh.
    I have lost my best friend of 15 years tonight. And I never felt physically fearful of him but now…I am scared of what could happen when he’s released.

    I am heartsick, exhausted, spent, sad and constantly (already) thinking of all the things I will miss so much…and there are a lot. I also feel horribly guilty.

    I don’t know how to get through this. I miss him so much already but I miss the man he was before the last several years. I have been missing that guy but hoping this newer version would revert back to the version I fell head over heels in love with.

    And now he despises me. After 15 years.

    I don’t know how to get through this. I am so fearful of everything.

    • Jill – so sorry to hear your story. It’s tough all round and there’s never going to be an easy way out of your situation.

      But, for what it’s worth, I do believe that you have done the right thing by telling him when you did. There was never going to be a good time to do it. So you have to think about what’s best for your son. And you did that.

      Bipolar is hard for anyone to deal with, let alone a child. Attempts at suicide would be even more scarring for your son.

      You have done the right thing to protect him.

      The reality is: sometimes life just sucks. You go into a situation with all the right intent and with an open heart. And you don’t know how it’s going to go. And then one day you realise that it’s not going the way you hoped or saw it going.

      But you can’t change that. You can only control what happens right now in order to protect the future.
      And I truly believe that by setting those boundaries for your partner and preventing your son seeing his father in that light, you’re also doing the right thing for both your partner and your son.

      You’ll see from the numerous posts here that what you are going through with your partner is not uncommon. And you’ll come to realise that his reaction, anger and words are only to be expected.

      It will be hard for you. And in a sadly ironic way, the emotions of sadness and regret will no doubt be overwhelming for you. But it will get easier. Somehow you will have to find the resolve to stick to your decision and let your partner know that you will not enable his behaviour and that you will not expose your son to it.

      Of course, that’s all easier said than done. Just remember that it’s ok to be broken-hearted and to be confused, sad, disappointed and hurt – but also remember that you need to be strong enough to do the right thing for your son. This will not be an easy journey – but it will get easier and you are neither the first nor the last to go through this so don’t be scared to reach out for help.

      Wishing you all the best.

    • Hi Jill –

      I am sorry you are going through all of the pain you have described so clearly. It is a terrible situation to be in, however as David mentioned, I hope you can take some solace and encouragement in knowing you are not alone in having had to deal with this kind of heart-wrenching pain and feelings and emotions.

      You absolutely made the right choice by telling him what you did when he was still in the hospital. I am sure the nurse had no idea really of what you had been through and did not really know your concerns about protecting your son from perhaps seeing another suicide attempt. You do need to protect him from that, so you are right to keep your boyfriend away from your son and you from now on. As terrible as it would be for the boy to know his father committed suicide, it would be so much worse for him to see it – even if the attempt was not successful like this last one.

      You said you feel horribly guilty. You don’t need to, and should not, allow yourself to feel that way. A lot of us have felt guilt because we felt like somehow, some way, there may have been something more we could have done to “fix” our Bipolar partner. Or if we had only loved them more, or said something magical to them, all of their problems would have gone away or been cured. This is all wrong. It is an illness. It is not only probably out of his control, it is most definitely out of your control. So what you are feeling is false guilt. Don’t let that false guilt assault your conscience or heart any longer. Call it out for what it is and don’t give it any power over you any more. I am sure you have put up with a lot and done a lot for him for a long, long time, and now it is time to end the relationship. It hurts, it hurts a lot, it is not fair… but it is what it is… and the very best thing for you to do now for your son and you is to recognize that and stick to your guns in your decision to keep him away from the two of you.

      You may even consider trying to get a protective order since you seem concerned for your own safety and perhaps that of your son. I am not a lawyer, but based on all you said, you may want to look into that. In my case, I was much bigger and stronger than my Bipolar ex-fiancee, but in your case, I could understand why you are scared about what might happen when he is released.

      You are understandably focusing a lot on the fact that you have spent 15 years with him. Although this is very understandable, now that you know what you know about him and who he is today (and is likely to continue to be for a very long time), may I suggest you gradually try to shift from looking back like that, to looking forward to the good things that WILL happen in your life if you now follow the path you have described, which is away from him and all of his hurtful and damaging words and attitudes and actions, and toward a better future. You know you don’t deserve to be treated the way he has been treating you. You deserve to be loved and respected and happy.

      It is going to be difficult to make the changes you need to make, but you CAN and WILL get through this – by taking it one day at a time – looking forward more than you look back – trying not to take his very hurtful words and actions too personally because they are a result of his illness – and being thankful you now have the clarity of understanding of the (sad) reality of the situation so you can take the proper actions you are now taking for you and your son.

      Just take one day at a time Jill, and things WILL get easier and better as time goes by.

  75. I am right now in the process of leaving a painful bipolar/schizophrenia denial girlfriend, it is very difficult especially with a 4 year old angel caught in between. But yeah I’ve had hopes after she ran away with him for more then 2 months when he was just 2. Crazy stuff then after almost a year she came back like nothing happened and I fell for it thinking we could rebuild just to face 5 months later medication stop then she slipped in depression and hear ‘I see you too much’. You can imagine the damage on a young child and seeking help for him is not easy in my country (Belgium), you need both parent’s approval so you go in circles.
    It is true, we can give as much as we can to help but then again, you’ll get pain back and see your child confused.
    I decided to stop my suffering to be there for my son (we share a week each), too much pain, to much sadness, too much lost as seeing her completely flip, if I continue to help her the social services will not notice here’s something seriously wrong, that is how I can help her, by leaving her completely by herself so that society will notice and bring help for my son and her.
    I’ve cut all contacts, no mails, no phones, not text, blocked facebook and skype.
    I see it coming bit by bit already, she’s hyper now so all is good until she’ll get the bailiff come again to her flat, next time might be the start of her going downward.
    I have to hold on away from her for my own sake, my son’s and her own.
    Denial is the worst of the illness.
    Courage to others, Olivier

    • Hi Olivier –

      Just wanted to tell you that you’ve got my sympathy and support as you deal with all you are dealing with. it seems to me you have thought it out pretty well and seem to know what you need to do, and why, in your particular situation. I hope your strategy works for the sake of your son and for you and your girlfriend.

      I agree that Denial is one of the worst parts of this illness. This “lack of insight,” as they call it, makes someone literally unable to see how they are creating a terrible and unsustainable situation for themselves and their loved ones. It helps to try to remember that many with Bipolar (and from the sound of it, your girlfriend too) are simply not able to see their own condition or understand how it is affecting others.

      There is a silver lining to knowing that, however, which is that it helps us understand why they can’t understand, if that makes sense. It also helps, to some degree, to remove the “personal” aspect of it – meaning that it can help you understand that her unreasonable words and behavior are not, in a sense, really against you personally, but she does these things and then continues to do them (despite their harmful effects on herself and others) because of her illness and her lack of ability to see the damage she is causing to herself and others.

      I don’t mean to say she has no responsibility to try to control herself and improve her behavior, but not having Bipolar myself, I think its far better to let God be the judge of whether or not she (my ex-fiancee in my case) was personally culpable at all (and if so, how much) for her extremely damaging words and attitudes and behavior – damaging and painful not only to me, but also having significantly damaging and painful and negative effects for her and her son. I am quite certain that God will be a far, far better judge of all that than I could ever be. :)

      It’s also good to remember that despite your girlfriend’s behavior, she may very much love you and very much want to have a peaceful and good relationship with you, but she is just not able to do it because of her Bipolar, and she may not even be able to be aware of how she is making things so extremely unbearable for you and your son – and yes even for her. It is a tough thing to have to come to grips with, but the fact is, she may not ever be able to be self-aware enough to even admit she has Bipolar, which of course means (in her mind) she would have no reason to seek to get help or treatment. That was the situation with my ex-fiancee, and for many others too.

      Good luck to you Olivier, and be strong through all this – trying not to take her words and behaviors too personally – for the sake of your son as well as for you and your girlfriend.

  76. Wow, this is a very helpful website, thank you for that. Back in March I moved in with someone who asked me to, as my tenancy had expired across town. I got welfare help for the costs of moving and thought I knew enough about the woman I planned to move in with to make it work. She made it clear that her household would be kind, relaxed and warm. From the moment I moved in, she started with constant questioning, it became exhausting. I started to resent her constant intrusions after just two days she blew up at me. Then every two days after that she would blow up at me and then state that she “thinks this sharing was a bad idea” when the only person making trouble or being negative was herself. I began staying in my room to avoid her and she saw this as another reason to attack me “you are such a child”. Nothing I said registered with her, she was attacking, unreasonable, negative, judgemental and I was at my wits end, so I rang the local CAT team for advice. They were neither helpful, nor sympathetic. They asked me to get my housemate to talk to them and then told her everything I had said. She flew into a total rage at me and kicked me out with one hours notice. She locked me out and wouldn’t let me get my stuff while trying to keep charging me rent and bond. I was out on the street, and that mad type woman was sitting pretty with my stuff and I had only just paid rent. That was in March 2015, and now in June i got a lawyer to call her because a ruling was made that she had to give access and not dispose of my property, she was still totally rubbishing me to the lawyer and as I heard her speak to him on the phone, my head started to spin. It was a perfectly horrible, disastrous, soul destroying event that I ever set foot in her door. The worst thing was, that she is highly educated, so she was able to take me apart piece by piece using “psychology talk”. Bottom line, it cost me a lot of money and she is still stuck in her rut, without her business and without any “real” friends, because if it had of been up to me, I was a friend and would have made sure she got the help she needs, everyone else enables her and lets her do what she likes. She would never consider me a friend or respect me, as she doesn’t see me as her equal, this is her greatest failing, as if no-one will stand up to her and expect her to get help, she will just lose every person who cares. I feel sorriest for her family, as her nephew told her to stay away from him and his mother on Facebook. I am left to pick up the pieces of my life and try to get my “happy” back. She has Bipolar and now a carer for a person with dementia, but is only doing it so she can get the flat off the relative when they die. I sincerely hope that person with dementia has their own advocate, as who is going to look out for their welfare while my ex-friend is looking after them. Seriously, I will just glad to be washing my hands of the whole thing, as, likey you say, it is self preservation and I have to put myself first now, to be responsible for myself.

    • As the mother of a beloved 49 year old daughter afflicted with Bipolar, I hurt to read this awful comment. It’s loaded with judgements that display a gross lack of understanding of Bipolar. What a burden such comments place on those afflicted with this terrible illness. To say that she only wants the old woman’s money, is such a common misunderstanding when a BP person cares for another who may well have big assets. I’ve faced such outrageous nonsense from those who’ve perceived my daughter in a similar way. Such perceptions also place dreadful burdens on Bipolar sufferers. Yes. The outward display of this woman’s illness rings very true. And, so do the judgements. Yes. It’s terribly painful to be on the receiving end of Bipolar, but do remember this. Bipolar IS Bipolar and within all people I know who live with it, there is a beautiful person. No one, not the BP sufferer nor their loved ones need such weighty loads of ignorance placed on their backs.

      • Suzanne you raise a good point about the need for people not to generalise or discriminate. And I also agree that (from personal experience) truly beautiful people can be bipolar. Which I guess is part of what makes this condition suck so much.

        In fairness to Undergrad, I don’t see so many judgements, more of a retelling of their own individual experience. I like that, even though it sounds like Undergrad had a crappy time of it all , he / she hasn’t cast any broad-sweeping aspersions or judged all bipolar people.

        But you do raise a good question: is Undergrad’s statement re. the intent to gain the flat based on suspicion or an actual statement that was made at some point?

    • WOW! It sounds like you had a pretty hard time of it.

      The key thing that jumps out here is that when you’re dealing with someone as unreasonable and volatile as she was / is you have to realise that it’s going to be a tough road trying to help them. And you have to realise that you can’t save them. They have to realise that they need help. So with that in mind, you have to be very clear in your own mind as to what is your investment in them and why. In this instance, alarms bells would have been ringing as soon as I felt the need to avoid her by hiding in my room: that doesn’t sound like the kind, relaxed and warm environment you thought you were moving into. Especially when you’re just renting a room from her with no other personal ties.

      Secondly, it sounds like you need to call the SWAT team on that CAT team! ;P
      All joking aside, I think a formal complaint is in order to make management aware of a complete breach of trust and the resulting impact on you of their poor approach to helping you.

      Stories like this are a good reminder of the fact that every person is unique, regardless of mental disorders. I’m lucky that my ex was nothing at all like this ‘stereotype’ crazy. That said, I wonder if this woman you talk about has some other issues going on? And also you have to bear in mind that even without the bipolar, she could just be a nasty piece of work – i.e. is the mental disorder the CAUSE or simply an AMPLIFIER of her nasty streak?

      Good to hear that you are on the path to getting your life back to stable and happy again. Do you think it’s worth passing on your experience to her employers just as a precaution to ensure she doesn’t behave the same way with the person she’s supposed to be caring for?

  77. I’m not exactly sure this is where I should be posting, but I’ll give it a go. I’m new in my diagnosis, about 6 weeks or so, and I feel like I’ve lost a grip on a number of things. My wife of nearly 8 years has been in and out of hospitals with multiple surgeries, but I’ve been there. When I was diagnosed with BP, I noticed a change in her. I feel like I’m under a microscope, and any reaction that I have is, in her opinion, unnecessary. We have 2 small children, and since I was diagnosed, there have been multiple times that she has threatened to leave or stated that she wanted me out. I’m at a loss as to what to do. I haven’t been on my meds very long, so I may need to tweak the levels with my psychiatrist. Has anyone else with bipolar experienced a similar experience? It feels counterproductive to my treatment, and it makes me feel unstable at home. I don’t know what to do at this point, she says that she’s tired of the rollercoaster that we are on. I try to assure her that it may get better with the proper levels of medication, but that I need her to be as patient as I was when she was recovering from surgeries. I even asked if I were in a wheelchair, would she be saying these things, and she said it was a different situation. I think that she sees me as broken somehow, and she keeps telling me she misses the “old” me. Does anybody have advise, or can relate in any way?

    • Hi RT, The issues with a marriage with a bp spouse is not a lot different than every other marriage – just more intense. I would suggest you ask her exactly how you’ve hurt her. This will require an inordinate amount of humility and patience on your part, but it’s what she needs – to be heard, to know you care. More often than not, a spouse of someone with bipolar often feels attacked because one of the common symptoms of bp is paranoia and irrational mood swings. The person closest to you is likely the one to whom you express that irrational paranoia and anger. We all do it, but again, it’s just more extreme with bipolar disorder. That doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person or that you don’t deserve patience and loyalty…. just that she feels overwhelmed. I doubt she perceives you as damaged goods so much as she’s just emotionally exhausted and perhaps feeling like her feelings don’t matter to you. Sometimes it’s even simpler… those with bp go long stretches being hyper active, sleeping little, etc….. it’s exhausting trying to keep up. Also, someone with bp often has such intense emotions, their spouse feels like they must always subjugate their own feelings so their spouse won’t get upset. I can’t tell you what your wife is experiencing, but I do know she’s said she can’t handle the emotional roller coaster. That tells me you’re not completely stable yet. It takes time, and that’s normal, but she’s feeling exhausted. If you try to make her feel guilty for not standing by you, you’re validating her fear that HER feelings don’t matter – only your own. Please don’t view my comments as being critical. They aren’t meant to be. Just trying to provide insight into what she’s going through. If she didn’t love you, she wouldn’t be on the emotional roller coaster with you – she’d have already jumped ship. She just wants both of you to get off that darn coaster and live a more peaceful life. Reassure her you are working to make that happen. That’s just my opinion – the only one that knows for sure is your wife – so ask and be patient. Good luck!

    • RT, I believe Lori has given you great advice. Ask your wife how together u can find a safe comforting solution to your issue…I was diagnosed in 1996 when they new far less than now. I have been married 39 years and my husband has been there through it all. Another thing Lori mentioned is that it does indeed take approx 1to 2weeks for the medicine to even out, or you may find you may need a med change.Answer all your wife’s questions as best u can and u will make it through…Jan

  78. Thank you Tabby, I will look it up.

    I may have sounded very one sided, but I am still in a venting stage. She’s my fiance because I proposed to her. We had a child because we feel in love and wanted to. I have this bad habit of only mentioning what I’m mad about when I’m angry. I’ve learned to not take anything she says personally when she gets manic. I just hit my limit this last week.

    I still love her, I just think I’m not doing her any good. I’m a lousy carer. I make her too comfortable to where she doesn’t have to do anything and can’t say no to her. Last year, when she was put on a hold in the er I brought her home and told her that I was done and I wouldn’t put up with it anymore. By it I don’t mean the bipolar, I mean the deciding that she doesn’t need meds cause things are going well with the meds. She made so many promises to get out of the hospital and has broken every one since. My brain keeps going back to a scenario where she is coming home and we work it out, but honestly, it scares me and I really don’t want to do it.

    She’s an amazing person and three times the parent I am when she is stable, but in the last 3-4 years, I count how many “stable episodes” she’s had on two hands and they never last more than two weeks. I know she can do it. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll come around and be better for herself and our kids, I just don’t think it’s gonna happen with me.

    I really appreciate this forum, my friends don’t understand and her friends are few and far between. Thank you again for creating this forum, it still feels really good to not be the only one.

  79. 589 Comments later….

    I have Bipolar and depending on which psychiatrist or diagnostician I see.. I can have anything from Bipolar NOS to Bipolar I. I’m mentally ill, nonetheless.

    I bang my head, over and over repeatedly, on forums for which the “others” to Bipolar sufferers get on board and 500+ comments or so later… go on and on of how the ones with Bipolar have ruined their lives, destroyed their livelihoods, affected and effected their happiness, etc.

    Now… momma Tabby turns the tables on you but in a loving but frank way.

    YOU are responsible for YOU and any children you have as a product of any relationship you have had or are having with another human being. Okay? So, you and any children you created.. are YOUR only responsibility.

    Reads simple, huh? and really, it is that simple.

    Read up on 2 things, my dears: 1) Personality Disorders and 2) Behavioral Therapy

    You may learn a great deal, just by researching – googling – and inquiring about those 2 main things right there.

    See, Momma Tabby has Bipolar but Momma Tabby is trying to help ya’ll.

    Now… here is where it may get a bit uncomfortable, a little itchy: In your misery, cause most of what I’ve read over 588 comments, is misery… where do YOU contribute to your misery? Cause ya do.

    Now I know… ya don’t. You are innocent, the Bipolar person mowed you down and keeps mowing you down, etc. I get it but you are wrong and you refuse, most of you anyway, to see it.

    Where or more importantly, in what way do YOU contribute to your own misery in your situation?

    Again… lets’ go back to the simple. You are responsible only for you and any children you create.

    Now… again, where or more importantly, in what way do YOU contribute to your own misery? Think about it. Stop and think about it. Don’t take blame or guilt… just try to see where you play your part.

    I can think of one possibility, failure to set boundaries and follow through with them. Or, in other words – failure to set ground rules, name consequences for the breaking of rules and then following through with those consequences when the rules are broken.

    For example: You don’t approve of cheating. So, in the beginning of your relationship you told the other that you didn’t do it, you don’t approve of it, you don’t deal with it, etc. and if ever, you’d leave in a 2 finger snap and a swish… or something like that (trying to add some levity).

    and then say, your Bipolar other…. bounces all over town….

    uhm, did you finger snap, swish and let the door hit your rear as you exited? Most likely not and so, learned behavior ensued. I can cheat and my spouse, partner, so, etc. will take me back over and over.

    In the early stages of the disorder (cause sometimes, the disorder comes later)… did you give an ultimatum of “either take the pills or I’m out of here.”

    and when the Bipolar other didn’t follow through on treatment… did you “out of here?”? Again, most likely not.

    Learned behavior again…. I can go off my treatment at any time and so and so will stand right with me and not leave.

    Don’t put your own lives behind or that of your kid’s lives… yes, we are sick and we are in need of help from loved ones and there are many of us who have personality disorders and learned behaviors that make us most difficult to deal with much less live with…. but we are human and we are worthy of love and attention, just as you are..

    but don’t set aside your lives and your self-worth to solely save and rescue…

    • Nicely put. But don’t forget there are some with BP who will not behave “reasonably” because their illness takes away some of their capacity to reason. *However*, IMO, that is no reason for a carer to, as you put it so well, “set aside your lives and your self-worth to solely save and rescue.” (And I’m saying that as one with BP, not as a carer.)

  80. Hi everyone,

    Thank you for this site. I’ve been looking for help on this for a long time.

    I have a fiancé who has Bi-polar, is manic depressive and has ptsd.

    She is abusive when manic and when she;s not manic, she;s severely depressed. I’ve had to call PERT (Psychological emergency response team) twice in the last two years of our 8 year relationship. The kids and I are miserable since she does nothing but sit on her tablet and complains about whatever physical or psychological ailment she is feeling that week (or sometimes day). It’s something different depending on the day or situation, but always something.

    I don’t talk to my friends anymore, I’m physically disabled (four slipped discs two years ago that my doctor believes has pinched nerves in my neck) and abruptly stopped seeking medical attention due to her overwhelming need for me to handle everything in the house. I have one child with her, my youngest is 4, and my daughter, who is 9. They are both slowly changing and becoming moody, I see it in my daughter the most who is showing signs of low self esteem. She’s been through a lot with her last mom and my fiancé was exactly what she needed when I met her, but now it’s not looking so good. I am so tired and my back is always killing me, my arms and legs are going numb at random and my blood pressure is getting higher with each year that passes.

    We lost our apartment that we shared with my mom last year. Granted, that’s a hard situation to be in no matter what disorder you have or don’t have, but it was really bad. At the end of the year she was stuck in the bedroom and wasn’t going out of the house except to do laundry at her mom’s. She went in and out of a pain pill addiction and the only way I was able to stop it was to not have them in the house (meaning I couldn’t take what was perscribed to me) and I had to give her the ultimatum of the pills or her family. Her mom takes a bunch of different medications for pain and several medical issues and used to be a nurse. She often diagnoses My fiancé and has raised her on medications treating any and all discomforts she has had for most of her life. This still happens now.

    After I called Pert, she went to a hospital for two days. She was talking to me everyday telling me that they weren’t feeding her and that she was just sitting and staring at the wall. I was concerned for her and after several phone calls of her crying and begging, I let her come home. She promised to get better and seek help (as she always done when I threaten to leave her), and things in our life (outside of our relationship) got worse. After losing my job is when I found out about my medical problems, I tried to go to school (and failed because I was cleaning, feeding and nurturing her and our two kids by myself.) I have to be careful about how I look (or don’t look) at her. She’s constantly telling me I don’t love her or I’m ignoring her. Any look I give her has these underlying meanings that sometimes I just can’t fathom. She requires that I tickle her back (sometimes for hours) before she can go to sleep. I can’t play video games in front of her and I have finally (in the last year) started persuing a new career, but while I need to be spending a good work week’s worth of hours on it, she can’t handle more than a few days of me being busy.

    So we had to move into my grandpa’s house and live in the living room. It’s tight quarters, but everyone is family and they all love us and we all get along.

    The problem is, like everyother place we have lived, including our own house where it was just us and the kids, she slowly falls into this depressive and lethargic state where she is sad and nothing can make her happy. We are there now. Last month she decided to stop taking her meds and got crazy happy for two weeks. I was immediately scared and warned her that it was not a good idea and that there was going to be a crash. She insisted that her pysch doctor was ruining her life and this was the only way for her to get it back. I let her know that respected her not wanting to be over medicated, but that quitting everything cold turkey was not the right way to go about it. For almost three weeks now she has been so depressed that she doesn’t talk, doesn’t care and repeatedly goes from “I should commit myself”, to “I just want to die”. In the last three weeks or so, she has repeatedly expressed that she feels death is the only way out and that she doesn’t even know if the kids are worth not doing it anymore. It got so bad that last week, all I did was sit next to her touching her and not talking because that was the only thing to do to keep her from crying or lashing out.

    Three days ago, we (her mom and I) had a heart to heart with her about the last month and she admitted that I only thought she was getting better because she was not telling me everything. She agreed to do a walk in appointment only because she is now getting Ritalin from her mom and says that helps. This is after taking them for a few days in a row after all the meds she went off of last month. I tried to tell her it’s really hard to tell if something works that fast and that this may just be another desperate attempt to fix everything with a pill.

    I couldn’t get a walk in appointment and everyone I talked to (at least 12 adifferent clinics in our area) said that she needed to be admitted or see a doctor in the er. It took a while of convincing her that going didn’t mean being admitted, but she seemed to be coming around. Her ultimate andswer was no and by this point I was so tired and sick of this all, I told her I was going to call pert and have her escorted there. She stuck to her guns, begged me not to call, but I did since she wasn’t budging. The cops came and completely changed her attitude and was fine. She wasn’t being mean or ridiculous, she talked to them civilly (which she was unable to do with me once she found out that I was determined for her to go get help that day) and told them she would come with us and they agreed not to take her. So of course, when they left she snapped out of it (or back into it?) and refused to go, it took about two hours before she finally got into the car. She bashed me the whole way there calling me names and attacking me with low blows that only someone who knows me could really hit deep with plenty of salt. We got there and started talking to the liason in the er and with me sitting there, she started giving half truths. I tried to make sure that the doctor knew she was painting a picture and my fiancé gave me the dagger eyes (that anyone with a female partner knows well). The doctor was plite and understanding and empathetic to her feelings. They asked us to leave so they could talk in private and we gave them twenty minutes. We get back and they are all done and she has her discharge papers in hand. Appaerantly they talked and the liason said (my fiances description) that she would have admitted her, but since she was willing to do the walk in (which they gave her) that she was ok to go.

    During the day, she had called me a bunch of names, attacked my self esteem,insulted my daughter, broke our phone,ripped papers out of her moms hands while telling her to shut up, greatly insulted my whole family, one member in particular calling him my weird retard uncle and only apologized when I told her I was taking the kids home and asked her to give me a few days. I just let her know that I was angry and didn’t want to do or say anything stupid. The day after tomorrow I am supposed to meet her down at her moms house to attend her appointment. I told her I would try to be there, but my daughter has school and I cant just leave her here (since everyone in the house has a job to do and someone to look after) and wouldn’t want to pull her from school to have to go through any of this. Like I said, she;s been through enough after her real mom suffered from drug addiction and spiraled out of control leaving me no choice but to gain custody for her safety.

    Of course I love her, it’s been 8 years. It would be really hard to live with and care for someone for 8 years and not love them. But I don’t like her. I resent her. She is able to switch off her moods long enough to get out of public eye and then be a basket case to me and the kids. Right now, her mom is increasingly trying to convince me that she is really coming to some realizations right now and changing before her eyes and that finding help doesn’t happen over night and that its only been 8 years. This is the first forum I’ve found that actually makes me feel like what I want (or don’t want) is justified. It’s only been about two days and already I love my life without her so much more. It’s going to be harder sure, all of our cash aid and medical and food stamps are in her name. I work at home and have to make an appointment for an mri, ct scan and an ekg (or something) to see if there is a tumor in my head or not. The last mri was more than a year ago and my doctor wants to be sure based on my symptoms.

    So here I am, in all of this and I’m still just worried about how its going to affect her. I already know what I need to do, I’ve know for most of our relationship that its not going to work. Not based on her illness, but more so her inability to make smart decisions for herself that effect everyone around her.

    Sorry my post is so long, I’ve only ever talked about this with two different counselors (my own) who both immediately told me to get out. I feel so guilty because of the fact that she can turn around and cry and beg for me to stay and snap out of it when I threaten to leave. In 8 years she has done this several times and it just makes me think if she is able to do it when at rock bottom, or when a cop shows up, why can’t she just go scream into a pillow or something and put on that charade of wellness for the kids?

    I feel like she’s playing me for an idiot, thinks I’m not worth the trouble or just plain cant control her mouth and/or body. Either way, it’s killing me. I feel like I’m dying and I;m only 32. Yes I have some medical problems, but since we moved in with my grandpa and she started spending about 4 days a week at her moms with me here, I dread when it’s time for her to come home. I don’t want to look at her, talk to her, much less kiss her and pet her. I feel like everyone around me (apart from my mother, father and brother who I can talk to about it) feels like I haven’t given it enough time and that I need to be patient and keep trying. They are all saying that it is not her fault and losing my support is worse than if I had made a face and left when she first had the slightest episode. She’s not even the type of person to appreciate what I have tried to do for her, so it has literally all been my own brain fighting the currents here.

    On a side note, some of the posts here are really angry or (bible-pushingly) aggressive. I have a friend of 20+ years that has some serious social issues. Like, he’s a grown man and will take off in a random direction if you say that he made you mad. I still talk to him and love him like my own blood brother. The bottom line here is that if your not happy with your life, you gottado something about it and don’t be like me and wait forever cause believe me, I waited way to long and it is so much harder now than it would have been even a few months ago when I might have decided to split in the midst of the chaos.

    Thanks for reading, I can’t say I feel better since I haven’t done anything about it yet, but I appreciate that I’m not alone in dealing with this and I look forward to a better life from here on no matter what happens.

    • Look up Borderline Personality Disorder. Many with Bipolar also have Borderline Personality Disorder. When one has both; it’s not good. Guess what… the Personality Disorder is the thing steering the ship and the Personality Disorder cannot be fixed with pills.

      As ugly as this is going to read: You set this whole scenario up for yourself because you didn’t set boundaries in the beginning and you didn’t follow through. She ran through them and you retreated.

      What folks seemingly do not seem to understand is their part, their contribution, to their misery. This entire situation is NOT all on her shoulders.

      She has her mom, who seemingly feels right to medicate her at whim… she is not even your legal wedded spouse (unless you are “common law”, but, you call her your fiance) and though she a mother to your child (why?)… and depending upon your state’s laws, you may not even have legal obligations to her.

      I have Bipolar I. Not ALL with Bipolar do, act, react, respond, or behave as all others with Bipolar.

      Look at where you contributed to the misery you are in… create boundaries and hold them, follow through with them. Put yourself front and center; she has her mom and herself. Put your kids; front and center as well.

      Look at where you contributed to the situation, you are in… and then decide to change it.

  81. I have recently left the love of my life. we have been together for over two years. I moved into his home after his house burnt down. Him and I cleaned everything, worked for months day and night. When the work stopped toward winter he changed. I was the love of his life.. from what he had said. It began with I had gained weight. Then went to I needed a job which I had been insulating the house and working on it while he worked. I got a job and then it was my 12 yr old took $12 off his table. The value didn’t make the difference and althogh it was not ok in my mind the consequence was that he built me my own bedroom and was sent to it. Thereafter each time I misbehaved I was sent here. I never spoke back. We lived walking on eggshells. His 21 yr old daughter hated me but would have hated anyone in her fathers life. It got to the point of being threatened the locks would be changed. I could or could not bring my boys home. They are 12 and 14. They lived in their room quietly. I found a bug in my car a few months ago and recordings on his computer. The phone was tapped as well. He accused me of lieing all the time. I never lied. He tried to convince me that I was a pathological liar and a narcissist. I am neither. I had to get a restraining order and leave. He put my things outside under a tarp, ironically a year after the fire where his things were while I tried to clean them. I have been gone for over two weeks I got my things. His daughter is feeding off his anger and of course his behavior is my fault. She has no idea how ill he is. He takes lithium and klonipon. I fear for him as he has seemed to have snapped. This is not the man I fell in love with. I don’t understand how he can justify his hatred and turning me evil in his mind. I have done nothjng but try and help him. I am so hurt, its destroying me. More so because I’ve done nothing wrong but love him. I’ve not spoken to him. Do you think he will comeback in his mind and realize what he has done to me?

    • This is very sad. I was listening to a lady who’s husband got sick with a serious addiction and she tried to help him. To them it appears like interference, it is best to Let Go and Let God. She said she received a message about a person trapped under a rock from an earthquake. The person had to cut their arm off to release themselves. This analogy was that our partners feel like part of us and it’s hard to let go and leave them. It is not good for us to hang on, we need to find our sanity and keep ourselves safe. Will he ever get better, mine never did, but I did. I am the one God wanted to rescue. Keep true to you. They will blame you as it is a smokescreen for their illness. Keep away from it and people will see it is not you. Just pray they will find the knowledge of God’s will for their life. In the meantime, it is you that needs rescuing. You are not abandoning him as our Higher Power brings others who are stronger than us and more detached into their lives. You step aside and love yourself. Bless you.

      • thank you Sally. I am just having a very hard time with this. I kniw I have done the right thing in leaving but it hurts so much. I’ve never had to leave someone I love And I can not find anger… just hurt. I pray it gets easier. It feels as though he has died.

        • Dear Michelle
          What you feel is right. He has died. The sickness has taken hold. The grief is immeasurably painful. My heart is feeling your pain. I have felt it myself and never want to feel it again. Make a list up of ten things that will make you happy right now. You may have to do the whole ten things before your mind feels better. Your body will also feel deep grief as well as your mind. I experienced this and was shocked. My mind was healing but my body was another entity entirely. This will pass so keep yourself safe. Wrap yourself up in a duvet, play good fun music, not country and western. Eat chocolate, watch comedies, read spiritual material. Enjoy your single girlfriends, go dancing. Have a list of phone numbers you can call by your phone that will listen to you at any time. Send back those ugly feelings to him. sometimes we are feeling their feelings. I had an amazing experience when he came to visit and when he left I got immense grief and I went to pray and cry by my bed. The still small voice said ‘These are his feelings, send them back.’ I did and a miracle happened, the horrible deep pain left me. I have experienced this many times. I have my own pain, I don’t need to carry theirs. God Bless.

          • It is so true that it is as if they have died – especially if the relationship did not end because you were no-longer in love with them. Which is why I think Bereavement Counselling was helpful. And, as with bereavement, you have to accept that the grief will take a long time to subside. There is nothing you can do to speed that up, other than to focus on finding new positives in your life. This doesn’t mean looking for someone else but just enjoying the simple basic pleasures of life and taking one step at a time.

            Don’t doubt yourself. Life can just be hard sometimes and things don’t always go the way we want them to. It just sucks.

            But it DOES get getter. Slowly but surely. Hang in there – sALLY has given some great advice for getting through this.

            • David is correct. I think there are several stages to grief recovery. You are in the early stages, anger will come as well. Remember these are only strong feelings, do not act on them. I learnt a good word in my days of grief, I wanted to run him over – I didn’t try. Then I thought about taking out the feelings on myself. At railway crossings etc. I put the handbrake on and the car in park. These feelings can be very severe. Remember the word INACTION. Do nothing and cuddle up in a duvet. Ensure you don’t get Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Don’t get into the booze. This will take its course. I remember Isaiah 43: 1-6. You will not be drowned. You have been caught in a bad situation and are getting to put your feet on solid ground again. You will still be in the metaphorical swamp, so be careful with yourself like a new born babe. God bless. We care for you.

    • Hi Michelle –

      To answer your question, sorry, but I really do not think he will come back in his mind and realize what he has done to you, or to your boys or anyone else for that matter. I believe that if you keep hoping he will, or try to “fix” him, you are in for a long and losing battle and a lot more pain and disappointment and difficulty for you and your boys. It’s not a good idea to try to push a big heavy boulder uphill, and in my opinion that is what you would be doing.

      He is not seeing or recognizing or appreciating your love for him. Don’t think your love for him is going to change him or make him “wake up” one day and appreciate you and your love. I thought that way and tried that – it didn’t work – and so have many others you can read about here. You need to move on to someone who will be able to see and appreciate the beauty of you and your love and who can love you back in the way you need to be loved.

      In my opinion you need to get yourself and your boys out of that very unhealthy situation ASAP. Look forward, not back, to that someone who will appreciate and love you, and you will find them, probably sooner than you think. Give it time though, don’t rush it, and do take one day at a time. Time really is on your side, and time is a very powerful ally. Good luck to you.

      • Dear Michelle
        Bob is so right. Besides that, he understands a sick man’s brain. Women don’t always understand a man’s thinking.
        I went through the same false hope. It’s like hanging onto a straw in a wild ocean. Michelle needs to refocus and understand her husband needs a woman to blame, until he finally ruins the new one emotionally as well.

        Listen to Bob Michelle. I know. I went through that awful, destructive pain. Find yourself a support group that helps you work through this massive mud puddle. You won’t be able to do it alone. Your husband sees you as a hanger on and doesn’t want to deal with your emotional slop (in his eyes). You get well and make him jealous. If he did get well, we don’t want you left behind, now do we!

  82. Thank you for your posts on this topic and for sharing your experiences. They really helped me in a moment of need.

  83. I have been through hell for the last 6 months. My wife has been diagnosed for a couple of years. I never made her work because of the stress until 6 months ago. After she started work it wasn’t a month she started having an affair telling me that she didn’t love me anymore and that we wanted different things out of life. She started drinking a lot too. Then after almost 2 months the young boy left her for his old girlfriend and she came back in like a depression telling me she made a mistake and she really loved me and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. It went ok for about 3 months except she never stopped drinking. Then she did it again with another young boy. It is still going on now for about 4 weeks. she will call me every once and a while and tell me how she has made a mess of things then I might not hear from her for another week. I have just quit trying to contact her at all. Its just hard to see someone you have been with for 18 years do this to their self. I love her so much. I just wonder if she will ever wake up and realize what she is doing. We have 2 kids. I just want to help her so much.

    • Eric – sorry to hear about your plight. The reality is: you’re not alone. Which although sad is a great help because you have the benefit of people’s past experiences. And the reality is, most of those who have shared your torment have come to the same conclusion: you can not help her. She has to come to the realisation that she wants to help herself. Anything that you try to do to help her see that will most likely be interpreted as you simply trying to control her. And she will probably be stubborn as hell about it! (Hands up anyone else who has noticed this about their bipolar partners?! :P )

      It’s not about who’s right or wrong. It’s simply about the fact that she only seems to want you while she has no better options – until her mood changes and then will happily turn her back on you and your family in a most destructive way. Of course, things are never that black and white but you have to look at the basic outcomes / behaviour. I know that sounds harsh – I’m just trying to be cruel to be kind.

      You can not allow that to continue. You can not reward it. And you can not let your children copy the example that she sets (even though you may THINK that you are teaching them that this is wrong, the reality is, deep down, they will see that this behaviour is acceptable to you). You need to do what is right for all 4 of you. It’s best for her to have good rules set as to what is / is not acceptable behaviour in your relationship. It’s good for you to not have to deal with such hurtful actions. And it’s good for your children not to have to witness her behaviour or have the insecurity of ‘where’s Mummy’ or ‘why isn’t she here’ or ‘is it something that we did’ etc., …

      Good luck and be strong, Eric.

      • I know this is true. I am trying to just distance my self from her but I am having to make myself do this. It is so hard to see her like this but I know until she wants help or hits bottom she will not do nothing but hurt me more. David thanks for the reply it helps to get peoples opinion and just to have someone to relate to about this. Thanks to everyone that has posted things on here.

    • Hi Eric –

      I don’t need to tell you this, but you are in a really tough spot. It’s really, really tough to love someone so much and to want to help them so much, but at the same time to know you can’t make them change, or even want to change, or even admit they have a problem… whether it’s Bipolar or alcoholism or anything else. And then to see them repeat the same kinds of destructive behavior is simply heart-breaking. As you probably know, addictions (such as alcohol) and sexual affairs are both hallmarks of Bipolar Disorder. Of course not all Bipolar people engage in these risky and destructive behaviors, but enough do that they are always listed as typical Bipolar behaviors.

      Chances are quite high she will continue to repeat these behaviors, perhaps for a very long time, so you need to decide if you can put up with those things (and whatever other difficulties there are) or not. As Dave said, you also have the added complication of two children to think about. I wish there was some magic pill or advice I could give you to make it all go away and to cure her, but of course there just isn’t. Perhaps the best thing you can do now is figure out how to minimize the damage she can do to 1) your kids, 2) you, and 3) herself, in that order, both short-term and long-term. For legal reasons you may want to document any evidence of her destructive behavior so that can be taken into consideration by any judges or outside decision-makers that may need to get involved.

      I sympathize with you, buddy. Many of us have been through similar challenges with our Bipolar partners.

      Don’t blame yourself for these problems you and your children and your wife are facing. It’s not your fault. You need to take stock of the entire situation in as non-emotional a manner as you can, being as realistic as you can about everything.

      I will echo what Dave said… good luck, and be strong. You need to be, for your sake and your children’s.

    • Dear Eric
      You might profit from reading Toby Rice Drews books on Getting them Sober. They were a life saver to me. Alcoholics don’t love anybody, they are in too much addiction pain. You can’t help. What you can do is attend Al-Anon. Talk to long term recovering AA men. Their wisdom is eye opening. God bless.

  84. Not sure if you read these comments as there are so many but you are completely right. As someone in this exact situation right now your words provide comfort and some relief in knowing that I am doing the right thing. It is never easy but we deserve happiness too.

    • Hi Kat –

      Many of us here understand very well what you are going through. It is indeed never easy to end a relationship with someone you love, but sometimes it is necessary, not only to be happy in life (which is a good enough reason by itself), but even for reasons of self-preservation.

      Try to remember that as difficult and painful as it is to end the relationship, there is a high likelihood that it will be far, far more difficult and painful to stay in the relationship. This is because, most unfortunately, there is no known cure for Bipolar (at least not yet) and, especially if the person is not admitting they need help and not getting treatment or taking their medication, the relationship struggles you have been going through are just not very likely to get better, and in many cases (as shared in this very long thread by many people) the pain and struggles get even worse over time. “Over time” can mean a very long time… many posting here have been in relationships like this (usually marital) for decades.

      Reading these stories, I count myself fortunate to only have been in a relationship with my Bipolar ex-fiancee for two years, but it was a very difficult and painful two years because I loved her very much and she loved me very much. Eventually though I had to face the harsh reality of the situation, as you are doing, and I had to make the same kind of difficult choice you do. Now I am very glad I did. You are right to say you are doing the right thing, and you are right to say it is never easy but you do deserve happiness too.

      Of course the only way for you to move on with your life and find someone who will be able to love you as you need to be loved, is to end the relationship you are now in. It is difficult, yes, but time is on your side. And time is a very powerful ally. It WILL get easier as time goes by. Take one day at a time and look ahead, not back, keeping your focus on the better future and better relationship which will be yours one day, and before you know it, that will be exactly what you have.

      Good luck!

      • Bob you are so right. The anguish and turmoil is immense. Even though it was my bipolar partner who ended the relationship, it took me a long time to stop asking myself “what could I have done to avoid the breakup” or “what could I have done better.” Even now I still sometimes wonder. But I know that I’m just indulging in a self-delusional ‘what if.’

        I now know that the vast majority of our issues were common bipolar relationship issues. And I now know a lot more that I could have done to alleviate and better support my partner through her bipolar.

        But the facts remain: it takes two to make it work; there is no cure; there is no crystal ball. Life is a gamble and luck has a lot to do with it. And eventually you have to weigh up the chances of a happy life with the risk of your own personal pain, not to mention that of any children.

        But I say all of this with a sense of empty acceptance of things that are out of my control. In my ideal world, things would have gone very differently. But the reality is the sun still rises, bills come in, life goes on, new opportunities come along every day and life DOES get better – in fact, when you’re ready and let it, life gets back to being bloody good :)

        • Hi David –

          Our situations with our Bipolar ex-partners (both then and now) seem to be very similar. And our feelings for them too. I have also at times had those thoughts of “what if…” which I think is natural when you loved someone so much and had such high hopes for a future together with them.

          Just be sure to not blame yourself simply because you have since learned some new things about Bipolar which could have helped you in your relationship with her. This is because as you say, it takes two to make it work, and the unfortunate reality is that if one partner is not willing OR able to make it work (whether through any fault of theirs or not, even if it was totally outside their control due to a condition such as Bipolar), then the relationship is simply not going to make it. no matter what you do.

          I found out the hard way, as you did, that no matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you show them you love them, no matter how much you have compassion for them, no matter how much you learn about Bipolar (even if you were to become the “World Expert of All Things Bipolar”), none of that can at all guarantee or even necessarily help at all when it comes to making the relationship work.

          In that respect it is kind of like the situation of a cancer specialist, even a world-renowned surgeon, who himself becomes afflicted with terminal cancer. All his knowledge and expertise cannot stop the disease and its destructive effects.

          I don’t think you are self-delusional, I think you are just a good man with a good heart who loved her very much. There is something beautiful in that, even though the relationship did not work out. And because you loved her so much, you naturally at times think about how things “could have” been, as you say, in an “ideal world.” But of course, despite all the very good things in this world, it is still not an ideal world in many ways, so we do the best we can to learn from and deal with the pains and disappointments this life brings, and to move on from them as best we can to something (and someone) much better.

          I am glad that we both are finding that life can indeed become “bloody good” again as we do move on, even while wishing and praying the best for our ex-partners as they move on with their lives too.

          • Dear Bob. So true. You have sanity in your thinking. I found out as well that it takes two to make a marriage or any relationship to work. I was taking it all on board and thinking I was so powerful in trying to change myself to suit their illness. I even took Valium to be quiet, the person got worse. It wasn’t until I did a program I discovered I can’t change them and their illness is cunning, baffling and controlling. I was forced to let go and it has done me the world of good. I can now live my own life and enjoy the lovely friends I had unbeknowingly made. I have given myself some worthwhile hobbies, read some good books, got a degree. Involving myself in their disease destroyed a lot of my projects as I couldn’t think straight and was nervous a lot. Bob speaks good sense. God bless him for sharing.

          • hi Bob,

            you have an amazingly eloquent and accurate way of putting things, yet in a very gentle way. The way in which you clearly understand how I felt about my ex fiancee can only come from someone who has experienced that same love themselves. After the break-up, I spoke with a psycho-therapist who specialises in bipolar and similar mental conditions (in an effort to try to understand what my ex might have been going through) – one of the things that she commented about me was that I love deeply. Although I think I’ve always known this, I had never had anyone else point this out to me before. And it sounds like you do too.

            As with all relationships, it’s terribly sad when the good parts cannot win over the less-than-ideal parts.

            At the end of our relationship, she said a number of nasty things in anger and made some criticisms of me that really rocked my self-confidence and I’ve spent most of the past 6 months questioning if I’m really not such a nice person underneath it all. But the reality is that I am none of the things that she claimed, that she said those things in hypo-manic anger and that any failings I had were simply because I dealt poorly with something that I did not know that I was up against, let alone understand.

            I suspect that I’m not alone in having gone through that process of self-analysis, self-doubt, soul-searching and final realisation that ‘hey, I can’t be blamed for reacting poorly to her bipolar.”

            Life does get better – and I’m lucky to have good people in my life. Each day gets easier to accept the sad reality. Whether or not I’ll ever find anyone else who will steal my heart in the same way, who knows? But for now, it’s just one day at a time and enjoy those who I’m fortunate enough to be able to call my friends.

            Thank you for taking the time to share your words of support and encouragement and I hope that each day gets easier for you too.

            • Hi David –

              You are not alone in having had a bipolar ex-partner who said nasty things in anger to you. Mine did the same, not only at the end of our relationship, but at times during it too. I knew her comments and accusations were not true, but still, it is normal to go through some amount of self-analysis, soul-searching, and even some self-doubt as you think about what they said and whether it has any merit or not.

              I found it helpful to step back, take a look at the entire situation, look into my own heart and words and actions (and hers) and compare all that to what she was saying or accusing me of. I knew her comments and accusations were not true, but of course it is normal to think about them and go through that self-analysis process.

              This is normal for most people to do when confronted with such comments or accusations. However, I think one of the biggest causes of relationship problems (and failures) with bipolar partners (it certainly was for mine) is that many of them do not or cannot go through this normal process themselves – this process of self-analysis and self-awareness.

              The research that I’ve read about says that 40-50% of bipolar people will never even admit or become self-aware enough to acknowledge they even have Bipolar Disorder. There is even a medical term for this, “Anosognosia” which literally means “to not know a disease.” It is also called “lack of awareness” or “lack of insight.” It also is a big reason people who have Bipolar and are on medication stop taking their medication. Multiple studies (15 out of 18 studies according to one article I saw) have shown a correlation between having this condition and anatomical damage to the parts of the brain which enable self-awareness.

              So you can at least be thankful you are normal enough to be able to go through the self-analysis process you went through and to be as self-aware as you obviously are. But at the same time it’s important to not blame yourself for the failure of the relationship if the relationship actually ended because of the issues caused by her Bipolar, which I am sure is what happened in your case.

              I am very glad you have been able to get to the point where you realized you can’t be blamed for the end of the relationship. I am also glad you do not harbor bitterness or anger towards her because you realize she is really a victim of Bipolar Disorder and was just not able to engage in a successful relationship with you because of her Bipolar Disorder.

            • Hi Bob. You have explained why my family members with the disease never get well. My parent is 84 and only just have I heard her mention some awareness. My daughter is incapable and people say it will change but I know my family and they don’t. I don’t hold out hope I just get on with my life and leave them to the consequences that may help them eventually become aware as I cannot do it. An acquaintance of hers say never thinks she is wrong. She is totally unaware of how she affects the people who love her, or used to. Thanks for that knowledge. It’s no wonder I have sought many people to understand myself. I guess the one thing that bi-polar do is send the people who love them to find help for themselves. I am much more reassured these days from the impact of two close family members with the disease. Apparently, one of my mother’s cousins would tip hot water over herself. My parent was outward blaming and tried to permanently put her disease, like my daughter on those around her. Both couldn’t see what they were doing. What an ugly disease. Thank you.

  85. OMG are you for real… Yes you have to get help and continue to seek help if you are mentally able. But telling someone with schizophrenia that they are choosing to drag there life to the bottom of the ocean is absurd. I would imagine you do not suffer from mental illness.. Now the same could be said about heart disease. Just because a person has a illness does not mean they are there illness.

    • Sevenths Stone, You are wrong, Natasha does suffer from bipolar disorder. The thing is, not all those affected with mental illness have all the same symptoms – or degrees of illness. Some may self-medicate which exacerbates the disease, some become abusive, some are suicidal. We are all individuals and each of us are unique. Some people with bipolar NEED to hear that they are ruining their lives by self medicating or not following the doctors’ treatment plan. Some just need to have their hope restored that the next protocol will work. Nobody, least of all Natasha, intends to lump everyone with mental illness into one stereotype. She’s just being honest that some sufferers need tough love. BTW, I also agree with another comment that says sometimes the problem is the non-bipolar partner. I freely admit that I responded very badly to my husband’s bp in the beginning. I’ve no doubt I made it worse rather than better. That’s exactly why I love reading Natasha’s blogs. She educates me and gives me insight that helps me be a better spouse.

  86. 562 comments.. most, from what i have read so far is from “others” not from those with a mental illness

    so much anger, bitterness and perhaps justifiably so… so many people with mentally ill people in their lives to which have left their lives allegedly in chaos, strife, destruction, etc.

    but this is what, still, i cannot seem to fathom… it is still ALL with Bipolar and not just the one for whom these people have specifically dealt with in their lives

    not ALL with Bipolar are similar to the ones mentioned, repeatedly, in the responses… many praise Natasha for her topic post which has prompted this many replies/responses BUT I think many who generalize folks with Bipolar to be all alike… have forgotten that Natasha has Bipolar… and if ALL are alike, then she is like all those reported here

    yes, there are times when walking away from the one who is mentally ill is what is needed to save yourselves

    same as for some of us with mental illness, who in turn must walk away from those not diagnosed with any mental illness who are negatively influencing and triggering to us, destructive and chaos creating in our lives

    • Well said!

      And “…same as for some of us with mental illness, who in turn must walk away from those not diagnosed with any mental illness who are negatively influencing and triggering to us, destructive and chaos creating in our lives..” damned good point!

    • Tabby – re. your last comment: I think I was one of those partners who unintentionally triggered some bad traits in my bipolar ex.

      From my own personal experience, I would say that if the non-bipolar partner is not aware of what they’re dealing with, then it’s very easy for what would otherwise be considered reasonable and fair requests to become too much pressure for the person with bipolar and to trigger mania.

      For example, it’s very easy for lack of energy, motivation, objectivity, inability to follow through or complete things etc., … to be taken as a reflection of the person’s investment in the relationship. That’s what I did and I became frustrated. The reality is, she was very much in love with me but just didn’t have the capability to do the things you would normally expect from a partner.

      So without good clear communication and open honesty about the condition and how it impacts BOTH partners, 2 very good people who are very much in love with each other can still be bad for each other. Had we both been on the same page, I have no doubt things would have been very different.

      • Sally, I do know how you feel, think. I’ve done this, too. But, with the six times I’ve stood with my daughter during her cyclonic trips, I’ve learnt a great deal about BP and also myself, how to react to stop escalating the crisis. I’m now seeing how I can remain calm during her irrational terribly difficult to understand behaviour and get beyond viscious attacks. After reading stories on the Black Dog site yesterday, I felt terrible, so sad to realise my ingorance of the condition and my responses have fuelled her rage. I no longer blame myself, search her childhood to find what I’ve done wrong and that has taken years. With every trip I learn, become more aware, as she does. This time, right now, I have realised how she inadvertently sets me and others up to try to stop her or offer advice she doesn’t want, can’t really hear in when on her trip. With that small recognition, I keep my mouth shut, say very little other than to affirm and hold her. Actually, for one who loves her dearly, that’s no small recognition. It’s huge.

  87. I agree with Pamela. I might add they don’t get well. The behaviours they indulge in to avoid responsibility for their behaviors will hurt family whatever way they can do it. These days the legal system has a tendency to believe their violence accusations. Another family member is 84 and is only now accepting some responsibility for people outside the family but not for the eldest child she put her illness on. The daughter has developed terrible accusations and imaginings for her violent tendencies and I might add a lot of these are covert or when no one else is around to see. Her latest accusation has caused herself to stay away from me and I am so pleased to be in my quiet home without her accusing very bad things about her father and mother. When she is confronted by older mothers about her behaviour, she makes up massive stories to ruin her mother’s reputation. Her violence to her children has gone ignored by the law. Nothing the grandmother can say will cause the law to believe the sick nature of daughter. She has a tendency to can I say – evil intentions and cannot do good. She will never get well and I am not shifting for her because of her massive exaggerative lies. She can do the avoiding. She has a tremendous amount of guilt like an addict does and can’t take ownership of her ugliness from the disease.

    • I might add, if I had known earlier of her bi-polar and been able to resist her visits and damaging invites I would be far better off. She needs to find someone to bear her guilt and blame. She throws her intentions onto someone else and will make situations to create then blame the other. It is so safe to leave these people. They are dangerous to family’s safety. I had mine leave me in rural Highway on the side of the road, she thought I had sworn at her. I was nearly run over by a truck and there were no houses around. 20 mins later a kind couple picked me up (I was terrified and crying) and took me the 70km back home. This is how a sick person can cause manslaughter without getting any blame back to them. If I had died, someone else would have taken the blame and I would be either damaged or dead. They are clever in their violence.

  88. Dana, I get it. And Sarah, your lack of compassion and understanding speaks cutting volumes. Right now my daughter is going through a bipolar spin-out. It breaks my heart, breaks me. I understand perfectly well, how her sister had to leave my place last week after a short stay. She also needed her mum but hey, bipolar is a bastard, a dangerous consuming destructive bastard. I came home expecting ,after two days away, to find my house the way I left it. No. I won’t go into that here but, I asked her to put things back where they belonged, her stuff in the main area—all of which tells me how unwell she is. I quietly asked her to put them back in her room, put stuff back in my cupboards. Result? A furious outburst. I was interrupting her ‘process’, had deeply distressed her, so she stormed out after saying she was going to a hotel. This kind of thing has gone on for about 30 years, 6 hugely cyclonic trips, so much damage to herself, me, her siblings and others, so much loss. Employment. Friends. Perhaps if she’d honoured her agreement to seek ongoing counselling and support the last time, this might not have happened. She’s taken small steps this time, connected with a lovely psychologist who also lives with this condition, is taking sleeping pills to thwart broken sleep, but it’s not enough to stop this one. At moments like this, I wish she’d leave and never come back. It’s not because I don’t love her dearly, it’s because I know only too well the damage to her and me, especially me because she lives with me. Dana, I perfectly understand why you’ve chosen to separate from your chap. I sincerely hope you will now be able to live the life you deserve.

  89. Absolutely appalling. Horrible read, In my opinion. I sympathize that you have had a bad experience with your brother who is mentally ill (and which I might add who’s mental illness you haven’t specified, doesn’t matter much anyway) but you are creating a blog post and not saying things IN YOUR PERSONAL OPINION. You are encouraging those who are affected by their loved ones who are suffering from a mental illness to abandon them on their absolute time of need. For you to so so far as to write a blog post,basically shining light on the stigma that mental health advocates have been trying to erase for years. Your brother is an addict (again in which you didn’t specify what type of drugs he was addicted to). And just because your brother was hesitating and refusing the help that was being offered, doesn’t mean there is absolutely no help for people suffering from a mental illness and that they are absolutely alone and hopeless in this. By this post I am disgusted. Utterly, and truthfully disgusted.

    • Are you suggesting that one should sacrifice their own health for the sake of someone else, especially one who is refusing treatment for their mental illness? It seems that you are.

    • So you think that people who are in a relationship with a bipolar person, whether that is a romantic or marital or friend or family relationship, should allow the bipolar person to pick up a gun and shoot them? Or if someone pointed a gun at you (regardless of their reasons for doing so, and regardless of whether it was something in their control or not), would you stand there and let them pull the trigger, or would you seek to protect yourself from the consequences of them pulling the trigger? Even if you are willing to say you would stand there and let them shoot you (which I highly doubt you would), you have no right to suggest others should make that same choice.

      I put that example in stark and simple terms because you really don’t seem to grasp the gravity or seriousness of the consequences of staying in a relationship with a bipolar person when that person continually and repeatedly engages in destructive behavior… life-destroying behavior… vicious and destructive words.. attitudes… actions… all of which can lead to extremely serious consequences not only for themselves but also for those they love and who love them.

      You have a right to feel disgusted by whatever you want to, but Natasha has done and is doing a great work here by providing an honest and open forum for many people to share their experiences on this important topic (and others), which by the way I don’t think you have taken the time to read or understand. Before lashing out at Natasha or others, take some time to read the many heart-wrenching real-life stories in this thread. Try to grasp, if you can, the depths of pain involved, the depths of destruction involved, and the depths of love, patience, and compassion involved despite the ongoing continual and unreasonable mistreatment by those suffering from Bipolar Disorder, then go tell everyone again that you would be disgusted if they don’t just continue to stand there while their bipolar partner or friend or family member picks up a gun, aims it at them, and then pulls the trigger.

    • Sarah, I was absolutely appalled by your comment. I was married to my husband for 24 years, probably 10 before he was properly diagnosed with Bi Polar disease. I encouraged him in every endeavor he chose to pursue. I made countless psychiatric appointments, had him committed more than once. I made sure MY salary would cover all the family’s needs because I never new when he would go manic and quit his job. And through it all, I was raged at, cursed at, watched my children be mentally abused. He abused drugs and alcohol, destroyed many cars and appliances and was so jealous I had to account for every second of my day. Until one day, I had enough. It is the biggest regret I have in my heart that I let my children grow up and didn’t get them out sooner. So IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, the life I LIVED was absolutely ruined my his mental illness. I’ll say it again he had BI Polar disease and was dangerous to himself and everyone around him. By your post I can tell you have never been subjected to the abuse that can be heaped on one person by another due to mental illness. At some point your back will break, you will no longer have the ability to express emotions, because whatever you feel, he is going to take that mood to catastrophic levels. I see no need for myself or the author to disclose to you what drugs he was abusing as it is not relevant. What is relevant is I got myself and my children out of an abusive situation (caused by mental illness) before he killed us along with himself. So when all my efforts to help him were refused and he reached a point where he would not accept help, I LEFT HIM BEFORE HE WAS IN HIS ABSOLUTE TIME OF NEED! You should take a step back and don’t tell me how disgusted you are. I am utterly and truthfully disgusted at your lack of sympathy for people who have tried desperately and repeatedly to keep their family together to no avail.

    • Looking for advice and support for an 18 year old bi[ploar daughter who is moving out after graduation with no plans for job or college. Says she hates me and wants to move in with a high school drop out boyfriend. At my end. Been through years of counseling, police activity, probation, etc. Just feel it is about to take turn. Wish us the best please. Thank you all and good luck.

      • hi Sue,

        I guess that all children go through the phase of spreading their wings and leaving the nest :) It’s not so bad: you’ll have some of your freedom back :) But I get your concerns around your daughter.

        The reality is, she’s 18 so this day was always going to come regardless of the bipolar or her personality so you can’t stop her. If you try to, guess what – she’ll just resent you even more.

        She has to learn from her mistakes, just like the rest of us.
        So I think all you can do is encourage her, support her, let her know that you respect her decision and that you acknowledge it’s her life to do with as she pleases. And it wouldn’t do any harm to laugh at the fact that you’re both going through the same Mother / daughter cat-fights that the rest of the world goes through. And that while you hate the fights, you certainly don’t hate her.
        Let her know that you love her, will miss having her around and will be there for her if she needs any help.

        If it were me, I’d offer to help her move in (so you know where she’s living) and then just catchup with her every week or two – sometimes at a mall for coffee in case she wants to get out of the flat but also sometimes at the flat so you can check the state of her living space (it’s a good reflection of her state of mind).

        Sometimes it’s just about HOW you say it rather than WHAT you say – i.e. “when I left home I remember blah-blah-blah – that sucked but what helped was …” rather than telling her directly what to do / not do. Of course, at this point I wish I could take some of my own advice!!! :)

        The only other thing I can suggest is to make sure that you are not the only one she can turn to for advice. This will help to remove the possibility for her to associate all angst solely with you. If you can, get other family members to help check in on her. It’s not spying – it’s caring enough to check that everything’s ok.

        But of course, if you have good reason (backed by evidence) to fear for her safety and think she’s about to move in with a bunch of drug-dealers who will use her for their ‘entertainment’ then yes, worry like hell. Otherwise, breath and count to 10 … :)

        She’s 18 and is just spreading her wings. You can’t stop that, no-matter what you try.

        Good Luck and try not to stress too much about it: life has a funny way of working itself out :)

  90. me, again…

    My father came to our place to eat the other day. He was very hungry. After he expelled mum from their flat, last year in January , he hangs out with a group of hyenas, drug addicts and alcoholics. He is in love with a young girl, a prostitute, junkie, who takes everything she can from him. all the money, things from house, the other day neighbors reported to us that she took spare tires and gas bottle from the basement and so on.

    When he came to eat, I was happy to see him, although he didn t want to speak much or anything at all to us. Just ate and asked for some money. We asked him that, he brings us his pension money the next time he gets it, or what is left of it, becouse, he has bank credits to pay, so we could pay his bills and so mum could prepare him meals everyday . ( at least to have one cooked meal)

    He said yes and left, and of course, today , he got his pension money, didnt come to us and will spend all of it with his friends in a few day, then starve again…

    There is no help

    • here in the states we have something, i think if i remember – dang meds – that you legally apply and go to court to get and if you get then you could have your Mum (if live in states or something similar in the country you live in) be his Guardian over his pension…

      or you could be… that way, the pension would come directly to you, or Mum, or a designated account that you, or Mum, could draft from and pay bills.. etc.

      hopefully you wouldn’t be like so many and just wildly spend and spend his pension on your wants and desires or squirrel it away for your benefits later… you would not believe the many who take advantage of their mentally ill relatives or relatives with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia…

      but if you are truly concerned about where and how the money is spent and that he has legal financial responsibilities (to which you are not actually responsible for, btw)… then applying to be the guardian or designate, etc. of his pension/accounts may be a idea

      • Thank you , Tabby , for you answer.

        Yes, I applied to be the guardian, and here in Serbia it ‘s a very slow process. We applied in August, and it isn’t over yet. Dad’s psychiatrist suggested that we do that.

        And yes, some people accused us of trying to take his freedom and money. But when those people met him and found out how serious the situation is , they understood. ( Sorry for my English).

        But, through all this painful process, our thoughts about whether we should do it come back an forth , because, there is no influence on his behavior, I don’t want to pressure him to do anything, I can’t make him take medications, I can’t make him go to his doctor for check ups, I can’t make him not spending time with those people, and finally, I don’t want him to be mad at me for not having money for reckless spending. I don’t want him to be angry at me, after all that’s happened…

        since he took two bank credits that tided him up totally, leaving him with just a third of his pension for the next five years, it s not even enough to pay his electricity and to have mom cooking for him. She is with no incomes, so that’ s leaving me with two parents in lot of money problems.

        The next hearing on court for being guardian is in June.

        Thank you again, I’m sorry if I bore you guys.

        Love, Ljuba

        • No need for apologies here Ljuba. It breaks my heart that even though we live many miles away from each other we have similar experiences and heartbreaks. Finding this page and reading through the comments shows me that I made the right idea in leaving my loved one with mental illness. Hope one day you can find peace and happiness. Kat

  91. OMG. When I read the effects my daughter has done to me, it’s so right. I spent years thinking I was mentally ill with a parent having the disease of manic depression and now my daughter has it. they both have bullied me into thinking that it Is my fault. The daughter has done some terrible things to my life and my reputation in the community has suffered. Her gloating of things she has stolen and accusations about her parents have been massive. People believe it. I have now got medical proof I am not what these family member try to put on me and I’ve had an MRI to prove my brain is not damaged as well. What we go through to keep ourselves believing that we are the normal ones. I spent years searching medical to see if they were correct about me. I’m not the one on medication, they are. After speaking to my parent, I suddenly realized that living as a child with a mentally ill parent and the other an alcoholic I had been severely affected in my perceptions about myself which was them reflecting their problems. I rarely have alcohol and no mind changing drugs, only diabetes meds. Thanks for the sharing.

  92. I had occasional depression for about 10 years. Then I suffered a traumatic brain injury. Then my wife eventually kicked me out of the bedroom. No, I am not violent, have anger issues, blah, blah. People often tell me I am very empathetic even. After a wife, my wife moved out, and eventually she became my ex-wife. The saddest part is that somehow, even though we had joint custody (he is 23 now), he spent 80% of the time with the exwife. So, in addition to losing short term memory, some organizational skills, my marriage, and any real relationship with my son, now I am shortly going to lose half my income (the private disability), as private disability insurance stops at the age SS retirement starts.
    I. really. don’t. care. about. anything. any. more.
    Being alone is so painful, but after my modest IRA runs out (since I obviously missed out on saving anything for almost 15 years of my peak earning years), I really don’t have anything to look forward to.
    So why did I take such good care of myself all those years? I am grateful for the health I do have, but I want more than mere survival ….. I have not been a type to be self indulgent, but one who is willing to work for what I have. Only now, I don’t have the option of realistically earning much at all, so what’s the point?

  93. Hey everyone well my ex or i dont know the title is in mary k because he snapped on me called my sister threatens to kill her my whole family kill himself and burn the house down so my dad called the police.I didnt know what was going on because i wS on my way home.my sister callede crying tellung me what happened i was devastated. They did not have anythung to do with whats going on.He called me tellin meiyts my fault that the police came to his house and handcuffed him.He immediately startted blaming everything on me.I told him i dont lnow why he_called my parents houSE.His mom text me dont ever call or see him again i try to tell her he called my parents house threatining to kill everyone she didn’t want to hear it.Later i called the jail they said he wasnt their so i called the mary k and he waa their.His nurse answers and was like yes.She told me he is ok but stressed out.He had the nerve to tell her i wont let him move on.He tries but i wont let him.wtf i told her im not holding a gun to his head and thar i dont even live with him.I told her he invited me over and told me getva babysitter for the kids.i brought our baby to his house.She then says o he just wanted to see the baby i said no he wanted her to stay with my sister but i brought her.I said why is he saying that whan he invited me over and all the times we break up and he yells hes bever texting or calling again he alwats doea.Why is he lying..im not stalking him.or anything.Why do you guys think he told the nurse that.You cant force someone to stay where they dont….so wtf.Im nervous he gets out the 23hold tonight i hope he just never calls me.One minute hes in love wirh me then the next he never loved me.When you move on from someone you dont stay with them.and invite them.over your house…help….He also told me he hatea my guts all types of things is this the illness…..He says hes done one minute then call.like we never broke up…help me….

    • Just my opinion, but you need to be the one to set the boundaries in the relationship, not rely on him which is what you seem to be doing. If you really want to end this (and I would if he doesn’t get serious help for his bipolar or y’all can’t figure out how to stop the dysfunctional pattern) you need to not accept his calls, invitations, etc. You don’t have to be cruel or angry – in fact, you should try to put those emotions aside and understand he’s really a victim of a horrible disease that causes these emotional swings. You can/should let him know you believe y’all aren’t good for each other and as much as you care about him you’d rather walk away than keep hurting each other. Of course if he gets properly medicated, then maybe y’all can revisit the relationship, but you would still need to learn about the disease and learn better coping techniques. The worst thing you can do is ‘engage’ in his emotional upheaval. Walk away and only talk about issues when he’s calm and not in the midst of an episode. Be calm, be consistent and be kind (even if he’s being cruel). Good luck.

      • I do not want to end my marriage, but often I have trouble handling my husband’s violent outbursts.
        I know he is victim of a disease, and my heart breaks for him, but I am pretty much the only person he fixates on with his delusions, and the only one he blames for his unhappiness.
        I am considering leaving him for my own good, and also for his emotional stability.
        Do you think he will just transfer his anger and unhappiness to somebody else?
        A little background:
        Married since 2010. Together since 2007. He was diagnosed in 2008, but only took lamictal for a few months. I did not realize the seriousness of bipolar disporder until 2013, when his symptoms began getting out of control.
        I looked back in my diary to earlier on, and realized some of his disordered thinking had been there all along. Basically he thought I was trying to “con” him somehow, or I was “hiding something”.
        Since 2013, it has developed into a pattern that usually involves these things (all untrue of course):
        He thinks I am an escort/prostitute/cheating wife
        He thinks I am in league with other people to somehow hurt him either financially, or as a joke on him
        He thinks I am poisoning him
        He thinks I am manipulating him somehow
        Now, usually when he tells me these things, it means he will usually start shouting and screaming horrible things at me, tearing the house apart, throwing out my belongings, breaking my stuff, and since last year, has pushed me over too many times to count, slapped me in the face a few times, choked me at least three times, fractured my thumb by pilling it back, punched me hard in the kidney, punched me hard in the diaphragm, punched and kicked me when I was huddled on the ground. And so on.
        I’m not sure what to do.
        Last year during an episode he ended up being charged with a couple smaller things, which he pleaded guilty to. However, he really blames me for calling 911 despite the fact he told me if I didn’t that he would kill me.
        Today, he is going to see a Dr. again. Hopefully he will get medication and stay on it.
        I am wondering how soon I should see any improvement from medication, because i am scared to be around him sometimes, and he senses it, which makes him a bit disdainful of me.
        I really want to be as good a wife i can be, and I am wondering whether it is my duty to accept this abusive behaviour, and just accept it? For how long? To what extent?
        I really love my husband and can’t bear the thought of leaving him to be sick and alone. Not that I am really the end all and be all to him, but he sure is to me. Does that make sense?

        • KG,

          I would have drawn the line long before he started hurting you. Breaking your things is enough of a problem. He’s hurt you multiple times. That is a behavior he’s unlikely to change. Even if he takes medication and is able to control his mood better, he won’t be able to control it fully. Even if he could, stressful events in regular lives will make “normative” people very angry. He expresses that anger by hurting you. That isn’t a psychiatric problem, it’s a psychological one, and it’s very unlikely to change.

          At some time in the future, he might learn to be different. But, unfortunately, it’s almost certainly not going to be with you. You’ve already established a pattern of violence in your relationship. Both of you would need to want to change. He doesn’t have any reason to. In fact, being violent allows him to avoid thinking about you, negotiating, and being introspective. It serves a purpose, in the way any addiction does. Being violent is easier than negotiation.

          I’m sorry about that. I would think about how you’re going to make the rest of your life positive as opposed to how you’re going to get your current one back to mediocre.

          As you know, violent people can become very dangerous if people try to leave them. This is very much a problem if he is prone to psychosis. So, you need to make a plan to leave and might want to contact a program which hides women who suffer from abuse when they leave. You can get in touch with a program if you see a doctor.

        • NO!!! It is not your duty to accept his abusive behavior. If it were me, I would insist on going to the doctor with him and being included on his medical treatment. If he’s as paranoid and violent as you claim, his perception is off and it will be nearly impossible for him to properly communicate with his doctor how he’s doing. Being a good wife may very well mean you need to let him go if he won’t get/stay on proper medication. Yes, if you aren’t around his paranoid thoughts and violent behavior will eventually turn to someone else. My family and friends didn’t believe how bad my husband was for at least 10 years after the onset of his disease because they were never on the receiving end. Now they all think he’s gotten so much worse. HA! They were just able to be in denial until he turned on them.

    • If it were me, my sole concern would be my baby. Your ex-boyfriend is out of your control. From what I read I think you still have an emotional attachment to him and a desire to make that family work. In the short term, that family probably isn’t going to work. Your emotional needs are probably not going to be met.

      Whatever has or is screwing with your life, a lot of that you can’t fix. You can’t do your childhood over, and when people get old enough, most of us don’t change. We are what we are.

      A baby isn’t like that. For a baby, every minute is a brand new exciting minute. People get all anxious about making them perfect. But, most kids will turn out fine watching TV, playing computer games, and eating junk food. But kids do not turn out fine when people around them are stressed, when there is shouting, when their lives are unstable.

      Honestly, if you just feed a kid something for dinner and put them to bed in the same place at the same time, and they wake up the next morning and they slept all night and nothing happened – that’s a win. If you make 95% of days like that, you win as a parent. Everything else is either out of your control or extra stuff you do if you have the energy.

      So, I’d make my decisions on that basis. Say “If I do this, is my baby going to get dinner and get to bed at the right time?” If you suspect that might not happen, it’s a bad decision. If anyone doesn’t like that decision, all you say is “I want to make sure my baby eats dinner and gets to bed at the right time. That is what is most important to me.” No one will argue with you.

      Plus, if you sit in the room, or outside the door, you can watch over your baby and it will be quiet for you, too.

  94. Having just in January separated from my husband of 4 years partner of 7 and friend of 15years, with two children, I can say I took the latter advice and I have left after years of abuse and torment and believing that somehow it would be ok as he SAID he would get help and try and stay well what has happened is that for the most part I have been a single parent. There have been short periods of a beautiful loving relationship and then it all goes back to him being unwell.

    I left once before because he violently attacked me in front of out children. He promised he would get help and did. That lasted two months. Then it was hell again I have been basically a prisoner in my home for the last few years, not able to go out and leave him in charge of the children etc always having to be the main earner and the one that did everything while he basically watched. He expected me to be at his beck and call in the bedroom and would become verbally aggressive and sometimes physically so when I didn’t want to. This recent separation has come from him locking me in the house after me calling his psychiatric nurse, I had asked him to leave and he was refusing which meant me uprooting the children again. He locked us all in the house and I stupidly drank a bottle of wine, repeatedly asking him to let me out or to leave and he refused took my phone, then I started trying to smash a window to get some help, get someone’s attention and he rang the police and made up a big story. Telling them I always behaved that way! I was terrified and wanted him to let me out of the house. Me and the children ended up homeless! We are now in a flat and I have to go to court (which is likely to be acquitted) and he was then like oh it will all be ok we can sort this out!

    When I told him we couldn’t he started making false allegations to social services and the police. All of which have been found to be false. And now he is back to thinking we will sort it out. I have started proceedings for an interdict and may need to move again.
    As far as I am concerned I don’t believe he is fit to have our son on his own. Our daughter is older and wants nothing to do with him.

    My advice is never get involved with someone who lies and makes promises continually to get help then continually tries to belittle and humiliate you and make out that its you that’s the problem.

    I’m getting my life back and im glad to be out of the madness.

  95. What about if you have children with them?
    There’s GOT to be a way for healthy resolution…
    broken seperated families and children doomed to perpetuate a cycle of broken seperated families HAS GOT TO HAVE SOME FORM OF VIABLE CURE…

    Leaving perpetuates the cycle.
    Are you insinuating then that there are no better viable options for treatment/bbetter healthy outcome than simply giving up and calling it quits?

    (Because in MY opinion we have FAR too many broken seperated families, and a HUGE problem of a cycle of broken, seperated families, and cycle of perpetuation of broken seperated families. I want to be a BETTER example for my children of how to have a nice, decent, happy, healthy family that treats each other well, and strives gor a better future… a future TOGETHER.)

    • Ethan, I’ll just say this… being a child of a very dysfunctional marriage (bipolar, alcoholic mom) can be every bit as damaging as a broken home – more so in many cases. I learned very, very poor relationship skills. I learned to be co-dependent and an enabler. I repeated the pattern and married someone with bipolar. No surprise since both my siblings did as well. There are bad cycles that can be repeated no matter which way you go. I have stayed with my bipolar partner and we’ve raised two beautiful kids. However, I had to learn how to set boundaries, stop enabling and stop all the many dysfunctional behaviors that I learned growing up and he had to take responsibility for his disease and get proper treatment and coping strategies. Don’t stay married for the sake of the kids unless you are REALLY breaking the cycles that need to be broken. Having divorced parents is far better than having two miserable parents who are teaching the kids how NOT to behave.

  96. Hi I’ve never commented on one of these but I really hope I can get some feedback.
    I’m going to cut to the chase and leave out some portions of my relationship but the key facts will be mentioned.
    I’ve dated my ex girlfriend for almost 4 years. After our first year of dating she became very jealous and had trust issues after learning that I was a huge flirt in high school. These problems never changed and continued to get worse. Although after confronting me about her issues, I did my best to not flirt and even tried not talking to another woman for about a year, besides in classes and at work. I am 20 and she is 21. We met in high school, she is my first real relationship, where as she believes she was in love as well in her relationship before mine. Back to the story, April 2014 after our 3 year anniversary she blew up on me about a text in my phone, one of her big problems was that she’d always got through my phone looking for something. She woke me up at 3am yelling about whatever it was on my phone, without even giving me a chance to speak I just gathered my stuff and went home. I gathered my thoughts over the next few days and decided to break up with her. I was tired of the jealousy especially after trying so hard not to flirt, or talk to the opposite sex and I always put her first. I’ve done a lot with this girl, meaning multiple Disneyland trips, trips to santa cruz, dinners, SF trips, LA trips, snowboarding. And she just expects more and more. One flaw I admit about myself is that in trying to make her happy I’d do things she’d ask for without wanting or truly understanding the consequences. For instance buying her a promise ring. I honestly had never heard of it, she wanted it, I bought it and gave it to her. Definitely a mistake after learning the emotional value of such an item. Anyways we got back together and continued to work on our relationship.

    The months to come were hard, I had been really distant emotionally as I had just felt really pushed away and turned off by her jealousy and trust issues. During this time I also began to realize other things that I didn’t like, for instance I am very goal oriented, I am in school pursuing nursing while also playing sports and working PT, where as she had no idea what she wanted to do, wasn’t in school, and was working FT. Although I didn’t like it I knew I loved her and wanted the best for her. So i tried motivating her to research different careers and just tried to get her going in the right direction. Keep in mind I had tried this before and she just really didn’t want to talk about it and I figured one day she’d go back to school. long story short she didn’t want to try. I also explained to her that I missed having friends, in high school we had good friends, but after high school she and her friends stopped communicating and she hated my friends because of her trust/jealousy issues, and if I ever did hang out she wanted to come along which just wasn’t always necessary. This lead to our next break up, I explained that I wanted to be with someone a little more similar to me who had ambition and the want to do something, but I also let her know that what she was doing wasn’t wrong but it wasn’t what I wanted in a partner.

    This is when the problems picked up. I went on vacation after that break up with my family. She threatened suicide. Keep in mind she doesn’t have any close friends, I’m her real only support. Her closest family member being her sister lives out of the country and her mom is depressed. Because she lived with her mom i had to contact her, and everything was fine. I returned home and met up with my ex after she asked to talk and she explained how she got her life together and was ready to go back to school. Of course this was music to my ears because I wanted the best for her and I care about her, so we got back together AGAIN. We pushed the suicide threats out of mind but this is important… The following months were really tough, for me at least I didn’t feel the spark I once did and everything i did felt very forced. She started school and actually was doing very well and still is.. Things got bad between us once again and we broke up, this time it was different this time I truly felt done. I felt as though I just didn’t and couldn’t love her like I did. This time was also different for her, after a week of seperation and lots of arguing and her trying to get me back she sent a very odd text, very calm wording, with almost no emotion in the way it was written and just stated goodbye at the end. I just went to bed, she has always been extreme but this felt different but I still just went to sleep. The next day she texts me, “you better thank you god”. Immediately I know she did something, I get her to tell me what she did and she had attemtped suicide. Scared out of my mind i meet up with her and we talk and talk and she just explains how she doesn’t care anymore and all she wants is me so hysterically crying I tell her i want her back. She gets back with me and things don’t get better.

    At this point I realize that there is truly something wrong with her. I’d never dealt with depression and she doesn’t open up to me about her feelings often but she was finally telling me how she doesn’t feel anything anymore and doesn’t care, and the fact she had attempted already sounds the alarm, she was and is severely depressed. I thought I could help her, I thought I could just flip my emotions and mentality of her and be the hero that she thought I was. I tried getting her to seek help, to reach out to her sister just so she had someone to talk about this with besides me but she wouldn’t do anything. The issues we already had got worse and she just kept pushing my buttons mentally and emotionally and she ended up breaking up with me.. But in hopes I’d come right back and fight for her. This time was different, I didn’t, I couldn’t, I couldn’t find it in me to bull shit anymore, I had no love and no emotion to give as her boy friend but I tried to be there as her friend. She started talking suicide again but I was able to get her to call the hotline, see a psychologist and get some type of help. Also her sister was in town for the month so seeing her also boosted her spirits. Although it got to the point where she didn’t want me as her friend, she wanted me as her lover like i had been. I knew i couldn’t lie to her anymore and I began to believe in order for her to get better she’d need to learn to love herself first, but I didn’t know how to convince of this nor did she allow me to convince of this. she began threatening suicide again, speaking of how she’d do it, telling em to take care of her dog, and she told me she’d do it when her family left for vacation, meaning she’d be home all alone. At this point I couldn’t take it anymore, it was a lose-lose situation. Either i lose my first love/best friend as a person, or everyone loses her in death so I called the authorities. Right now she is in the hospital, her family knows what’s going on, I’ve explained all of what i said here to her sister but what do I do now….

    My question is this.. Knowing that my ex has no friends, no one to reach out to, and no one close to her besides myself.. How do I help in this situation.. She has been calling me non-stop from the hospital and we’ve spoken once and it kills me to know what I’m doing to her but I feel this is the only way I can help? Should I keep talking to her when she calls or just ignore the calls? I just don’t know what to do when I know she has no one else besides me and her sister. And even though she has cousins her age she will not reach out to them because of embarrassment. She is very depressed, in a lot of pain, and scared. I may not love her like I did but I do care about her and wish she could get better. Any advice helps, and please be brutally honest in how I’ve dealt with this because I need to know. Thank You..
    – Devon

    • You are an adult so your life is *your* responsibility. Your happiness and life-contentment is in *your* hands. She is an adult so her life is *her* responsibility. If she attempts suicide, *she* does it, not you – her choice, not yours. So, don’t let yourself be emotionally blackmailed. (This is a Red Button for me because I *did* give in to emotional blackmail at a time when I was most vulnerable, when I was in the middle of a breakdown and my wife threatened suicide if I couldn’t find the money to pay for IVF or ICS because *she* wanted a baby. I’ve not only come to regret it, but also resent her, especially now after 17 years I found out for sure she was play acting and never meant what she threatened. For various reasons, I can’t leave her and start over again.) If you let your ex- suck you in, the harder it will become to get out because, as the Chinese philosophers say, when you save someone’s life you become responsible for them for the rest of their lives! There are plenty of fish in the sea – if I had my life over again, I’d go catch myself a girl who will not screw around with my mind. I strongly suggest you consider doing the same before you run out of time. Best of luck.

    • Hi Devon –

      I’d like to focus on your key question/concern about leaving her when she has no one else besides you and her sister. I agree this makes the decision harder to make. I was in a somewhat similar situation myself, but at least my ex-fiancee had her family (in another country) to go to, and they did want her to be with them. So that was good, very good even, but in some ways still not an optimal solution for her and her son. This is why I felt in some ways like you do and it weighed heavily on me.

      One analogy I found myself thinking of often is the case of a lifeguard who has swum out to save someone in the ocean. Imagine yourself as that lifeguard. You want to save them. You want very badly to save them. You are doing everything you can to save them, but then the person begins to struggle and fight you. It does not matter at that point WHY they are doing what they are doing – it could be fear, panic, or whatever. It could be completely out of their control as to WHY they are fighting you. But at a certain point you realize that not only are they making it difficult for you to save them, things are getting to the point where they are starting to drag you down with them. This is when you find yourself facing the decision to keep trying to save them, and risk drowning yourself, or to swim away and leave them… as much as everything within you doesn’t want to do that.

      In this scenario, there is no one else there to try to save the swimmer. You know this, yet still at a certain point you may need to decide to leave them because if you don’t, you are going to drown also.

      This may be how you need to think about your situation. In many cases with bipolar partners, things can become so difficult that it comes down to self-preservation – in various ways – emotionally, financially, physically, etc. That is the cold, harsh truth. That is the reality many of us have had to face. It is not fun, it is not pleasant, it is not what we wanted… not at all. Yet if someone will not allow you to help them, and they continue to speak and act in ways which are destructive not only to themselves, but also to you, at some point you may need to decide you need to leave them.

      Would a lifeguard in such a situation feel bad about leaving the person? I am sure they would. They may even feel guilty about it and think they could have done more. But they shouldn’t of course feel that way. They did all they could.

      Don’t beat yourself up with that kind of false guilt. You will know when you are about to drown. You need to take care of yourself if you need to make that kind of choice. I think you will know when you have done all you can to save her… to help her… and I think you will know when you need to swim away so that you don’t drown too.

      • Spot on. It’s a good analogy. (Must be – I’ve used it myself in the past!)

        We all have a right to live a full like, no one has a right to deprive us of that, to expect us to sacrifice themselves just for us.

      • That is absolutely the best analogy I’ve ever heard on this subject. I had to leave a situation also. I am nearly 65 years old. I literally believe that I would have died if I had not left the situation, because I coughed continuously, caught every virus that came my way, got pneumonia, had various infections. I was in the doctor’s office about every 2-3 months. Now I rarely catch anything and rarely cough.
        My depressed brother moved into my home with one good old housebroken dog. About a year later he got manic and pretty much stayed that way much of the time for several years. He acquired two more dogs which were not housebroken. So much for my new rug. He broke or lost thousands of dollars worth of my things, and left several items vulnerable to thieves. Then he got furious any time I expressed any displeasure.
        I literally moved out of my own home just to save myself, yet give him a place to stay. I eventually had to sell what was left of the home for much less than it had originally been worth.

        • Hi Nancy –

          Some may think the lifeguard example might be too dramatic. That the decision to stay with or to leave a bipolar partner or relative is not a life-or-death decision. Anyone who thinks this way has probably not been in such a relationship. As your situation illustrates, it can in fact even come down to a literal physical life-or-death type of decision.

          And if not literally physical life or death, certainly emotional life or death, or financial life or death, or mental (health) life or death. Any one of which, as if not bad enough on their own, can also lead to severe physical health problems, including even death. We are talking about very serious stuff here, very serious consequences that can result from staying with someone whose words, behaviors, attitudes, etc., can be enormously painful and enormously destructive to themselves and to others, even those they love and who love them.

          Even when we make the very difficult decision to “swim away” from such a person, we do so with great sadness and regret that they would not or could not allow themselves to be helped or saved despite all our efforts. We do so with great compassion and love in our hearts for them, wishing with all our hearts they would have let us help them, but finally we recognize and accept the cold, hard truth that some people cannot be helped or saved.

          It is important we recognize this truth for two reasons: 1) to help us realize we may not be able to save them, and certainly not if they are not cooperative and even fighting against us, and 2) so that we don’t then fall victim to the false guilt that can easily afflict us after we decide we need to leave such a relationship.

          I am glad you got out of that relationship while you still could, before it was too late, and are enjoying the benefits (such as your recovered health) of making that very difficult, but very good decision.

      • Hi Bob, thank you for your reply. Recently I have been in some contact her and there with my Ex. She is out of the hospital and was put on medication due to her depression. I attempted being there as her friend but of course as the days pass she continues to push me to be her boy friend again and that things are different. I am staying strong in my position and know that if I did get with her this cycle wouldn’t change, and I am trying to convince her that she needs to learn to love herself before she can love me or anyone else. I also keep trying to re-focus her on taking care of herself and that I’ll be there as a “Friend”. Today she told me I can’t be her friend and because I don’t want her as a girlfriend I have no right to “care” about her. I fear the inevitable in that one of these days she will commit suicide due to the fact I will not get back with her. She hasn’t made any threats but just based off the past I feel as soon as I do stop talking to her it is just a matter of time. Basically I am just asking of your opinion, or anyone else reading, what should be done in a situation like this. I feel terrible but I know that I do want to move on. It’s just I never thought moving on would mean her killing herself. I just wish there was something else I could do..

        • Hi Devon –

          I am by no means an expert on suicide or suicide prevention, but I do know there are hotlines you can call about that kind of situation and I am sure they can give you better advice than I could.

          What I would say though is that you can’t let her threats of suicide (or your thinking she might do it) hold you hostage in a situation that you know you don’t want to be in. That would be no way to live your life and is not a good basis (to say the least) for a relationship.

          If I was you I’d call one of those hotlines and/or ask this question on one of Natasha’s other threads here which are more focused on suicide and bipolar. Learn what you can from those kinds of resources, then when you do leave the relationship (taking into account the advice you get on how to best do that) you should in no way feel guilty about any actions SHE decides to take, including even suicide, as awful as that would be if she in fact did that. The only alternative to leaving her is for you to give in to her threats and stay with her just because of those threats or fears, and I think you would agree that would be no way to live your life and a terrible basis for being in a relationship with anyone.

  97. So, what if someone is seeking help, but it is not helping, they still call you fat, they still drink too much and embarrass you in social settings? What to do, I just want to live my life, but I can’t put someone out on the street. Sometimes it seems it would be easier to save up some money and just dissappear.

    • hi Seth – yeah that’s a bit of a hard one when the person’s intent is genuinely to get better but their behaviour is still unacceptable.

      My thoughts are that whenever you come across something in life that you don’t like you have 3 options:

      1/ Accept it – in which case you HAVE to let it go and stop complaining about it (verbally / externally to others AND ESPECIALLY even to yourself)

      2/ Change it – sometimes you’re in a position to control and change the negative element. In this instance this is not the case: the only one with the power to change it is the person with the mental illness. You can SUPPORT them in making their changes and sticking to making their changes but at the end of the day it’s THEIR responsibility and the power is in their hands (IF anybody’s). Don’t for one second fool yourself into thinking that you hold that power.

      3/ Walk away and remove it from your life. Sometimes this the only way to remove the negative element.

      But only you can decide which is the right way forward for you. Certainly what you have described sounds toxic but the question I would ask you mull over in your own mind is this:

      When your partner abuses you in public, do your friends / onlookers think “gee, Seth’s a saint and I really admire him for not letting it get to him and for sticking with her” or do you think they’re left questioning why you put up with that and whether you have any self-respect?

      And also ask yourself this: if they displayed these personality traits when you first met them, would you have wanted to be dating them?

      Hope that helps. Good Luck and take care of yourself first and foremost.

    • I’ll pass on some very wise advice I received from two different people. The first was my father in law (father to my bipolar husband). He asked me why I felt it was my job to ‘fix’ him – and how did I think I could fix someone who clearly didn’t want fixing. The second person is a very successful career coach to the uber elite (who I happen to have the pleasure of calling a friend because I could NEVER afford his advice otherwise, lol!). In discussing my tendency to be an enabler he asked me… ‘if he were here and I asked him to help me move this table, would he?’. I said yes, he would. He then said, ‘if we took a few steps and then I dropped my end of the table, would he keep carrying it?’ I told him I didn’t know. He replied, ‘well he shouldn’t. You should never be willing to do more to help someone than they are willing to do for themselves.’ If he wont’ stop drinking, he’s not really trying to get help He has to know that’s NOT compatible with his meds. He must be willing to do for himself. Why can’t you say so to him? You’d rather ‘disappear’ than be honest with him and set boundaries. You need to go to an Al-anon meeting. Promise. It’ll help. Been there, done that.

  98. I was and have been, diagnosed with Bipolar I – off and on – since 2006. I say, off and on, because depending on which psychiatrist I see or which therapist does the evaluation that the psychiatrist then reads.. I may get a different diagnosis or a different # on the Bipolar scale. I primarily receive either Bipolar I or Bipolar II Mixed.

    I am one odd duck, in the Bipolar sufferer world, I am beginning to seriously think. I also get exasperated.

    I do not steal, never have. I never once cheated on my husband (he is now a ex), but, he cheated on me repeatedly throughout our marriage. I may blow the meager budget, from time to time because for poor folks – $300 in 2 days when you really didn’t have $300 to spend.. or more… can throw things in a tailspin but I’ve never blown $1000s, gambled, started businesses, committed crimes knowingly or unknowingly, ran away (well, 1 night cause my husband was off with one of his assorted women friends).

    I have destroyed property in fits of rage. I have flipped rooms of furniture, again in fits of pent up rage. I’ve even come so mighty close to braining my ex husband (while he was husband) with a tire iron but stopped myself — just —- as —- I — picked —- up —- the —- tire —- iron. Really, it was a frightening few seconds, even for me.

    I have contemplated suicide, I’ve attempted suicide… I’ve also, obviously, CHOSE to not go through with the attempt to suicide, time and again.

    I’ve committed myself to all 5 of my psych inpatient stays. I sought out the appropriate people, said that I was afraid of myself and agreed time and again, to be hospitalized. The longest lasted 28 days (insurance cut it off at day 29).

    I also work, full-time. I pay bills (somewhat, always playing catch up, low income). I raised my daughter, who is now a adult. I kept a house, with husband and baby, while working FT..

    because I didn’t know that I couldn’t.. and everyone around me said I wasn’t allowed

    I also have taken everything, psych med wise; anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics and benzodiazepines. I have taken these and combos of these, off and on for nearly 40 years. I do not take meds, as my choice, at this time.

    The last time I took a combo, I could not get off the bed nor could I stay awake. I also could not put a sentence together neither in my head or out of my mouth, that actually sorta made sense. I’ve lost jobs due to meds and I’ve resigned from jobs due to meds.

    I was not the best wife to my husband. I was young, had horrendous suicidal depressions followed by high strung and agitated manias (not all manias are fun-loving, good times. Many, in fact, have horrendous manias filled with agitation and anger and exasperation and well, suicidal desire – the mixers – that is).

    Having said that, about my wifely attribute… he cheated on me for years, he stole money from me at near every turn, he gambled, he lied, he snuck about, he forced himself upon me while I said “no”, he left our daughter alone – in our home – to go make calls to women escorts and co-workers while I worked at night (oh, yes) and here is the thing… HE WASN”T MENTALLY ILL!

    He has a nasty personality disorder, but, not a mental illness.

    What I’ve learned of Bipolar, over the near 10 years of having it labelled to me is: each person’s Bipolar is different than the next person’s Bipolar who sits beside them, greets them and interacts with them. You throw in a nasty personality disorder, into the mix and whoa momma.

    The pills help the Bipolar, they do literally nothing with the personality disorder.

    There are so many of us out there, out here, who have medication intolerance. Not medication non-compliance, mind you; medication intolerance.

    This means that I have to take a much lower dose, to get the highest return, than the norm and being physiologically sensitive to chemicals… sometimes what is so baby low to you, can be quite moderately high for me.

    Most docs and nurses don’t want to take the time it takes to figure all that out. So many have literally sighed and/or rolled their eyes, at me, over the years. Time and again “well, we’ve run out of new things to try…” and I’ve been in emergency services, time and again, for meds that went completely bonkers on me.

    I also seek “alone” time, quite often for I am a introvert. I get so overwhelmed, at times and I will have auditory hallucinations of roaring or buzzing, so horrendously loud at times.. when overwhelmed with having to be forced into being a “extrovert”.. I will actually shut down and close off and isolate myself, for a day or 2.

    I am cognitive of my mood swings, for the most part. I can, usually (though not always), know if I am in a mixer or simple depressive (as if anything bipolar depressive is simple), or if something is so horribly wrong in whoville that I am spinning madly upon a whirling hamster wheel screeching internally to MAKE IT STOP!

    Again, not all manias are awesomely wonderful and gloriously blissful to each person struggling with Bipolar. Many of us, like me, have the Dysphoric Manias… not anywhere near good feeling… no… no.

    So, why all this am I typing? Because apparently I am, even amongst my mentally ill peers/brethern and/or sisterhood… i am odd.

    Yet, I am also worthy of companionship and love and care by another human being. I am worthy of this… regardless of my mental illnesses (also have GAD, SAD and PTSD, just for some extra kicks, I guess).

    I am worthy and deserving..

    because I am alive

  99. I don’t agree. An adult without the mental illness has an ability to set boundaries and limits. In fact, this shows that they do care. I have bipolar, and I have friends with it. I have had difficulty with them, but I set boundaries even if time and time again. A spouse can sit the other down and say, “This ___ behavior concerns me because I don’t want our children to be frightened. If you do this again, I may have to take them away as much as I don’t want to do that to you.” My spouse is great at setting boundaries, as is my young adult son already. I tend to see their view then and this is a relief because I get to see through another set of eyes who love me.

    • Hi Annette, I’m happy that when your husband sets boundaries with you that you are rational enough to be able to see his (or your kids’) perspective. However, that’s certainly not the case with many bipolar sufferors. Despite the boundaries I’ve set over the years (mostly with regard to taking his meds) my husband repeatedly crosses them. Usually it’s because his meds get ‘off’ or lose their efficacy so he will go completely off his meds and go into a full blown mania. He is bipolar I so when this happens he immediately goes full blown manic and believes he can do no wrong and only sees others as hindering his greatness. He becomes scary and I’ve had to kick him out of the house for months at a time for the safety and well being of myself and my children. So, yeah, boundary setting is essentially with those who suffer from bipolar, but it’s no guarantee they won’t cross those boundaries. However, I DO like your illustration as to how your hubby sets boundaries with you which causes you to empathize with them. He’s clearly a good guy and good communicator and you both sound like you’re making it work. Congratulations.

  100. I’m not even sure if anyone will see this. I’ve been crying for hours now. My bipolar husband of 6 months is asleep after days of a manic episode…again.
    I didn’t know he was bipolar when we met, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have cared. I love him.
    However, things keep getting worse. He is a patient of mhmr, but the medicine is not working. I suffer from generalized anxiety and his verbal abuse and paranoia has made me feel broken. I feel lost and alone. He tells me that I’m “the crazy one”. He it’s telling our friends to”stop encouraging me because I’m sick”. He embarrasses me and humiliated me more and more. That is only part of the day. The remainder of the day is filled with sweet words and love, but only if he is abusing cough medicine. I’m starting to think that he only loves me when he’s on cough medicine.
    My friends are telling me to leave, but I do love him. It just scares me, because 90% of marriages where one spouse is bipolar fails. I don’t believe in divorce, so I guess what I’m asking is, “Does it get any better? Are there any good stories out there?”

    • Jackie, I guess it depends on what you consider a “good story”. I’ve been married to my bipolar spouse for more than 30 years. It’s never been easy – I won’t lie to you. The struggle to get the right meds and get them to take them correctly (and NOT abuse other drugs/alcohol, etc) seems like it’s never ending. On the other hand, we’ve successfully raised two beautiful kids and we are pretty loving and healthy in many respects. The struggles of being with someone with bipolar are not all that different than being with someone without it – just more intense. You need to be realistic about the situation. If he’s abusing cough syrup, then he’s exacerbating his bipolar disorder. He may feel good in the moment, but the crash will be more severe. His doctor would not be OK with it (I assume he gets it from a different doctor than his bipolar doc). Also, if you are not able to talk to him about the abuse of the cough syrup, that doesn’t bode well for a healthy marriage. You need to be able to communicate with him – however, you have to be realistic about when he’s in a mood where he can’t hear what you’re saying. In a calm moment, try to get him to understand you’re concerned about the effect it has on his disease and that you believe he needs his meds need adjusting so he won’t feel the need for the cough syrup to calm him down. Ask him to allow you to go with him so you can offer your input and learn more about the disease. Tell him if y’all are to be partners in life, that includes his (and your) healthcare. Make him sign the waiver that allows his physician to discuss the situation with you. This is a deal breaker in my household. I will not stay married to him without him being properly medicated and complying with treatment.. For the most part, I’d say I am happily married. We’ve learned decent coping techniques to not exacerbate the disease. When an argument gets ugly or heated, we go to our separate corners and let feelings subside and wait to resolve conflict when he (and I) aren’t so wound up. It takes a person who can be very independent to be married to someone with bipolar. There will be times when you have to go to weddings by yourself or be able to take over the finances if he’s going through a difficult time. You will need to be able to separate the bipolar ‘stuff’ from who he really is and what he really stands for. You will have to have a steely spine to take no abuse, but give him some room to be ‘in a mood’ without having to always feel guilty for it. I love my husband. He still makes me laugh and shows me he loves me nearly every day. I promised God I would take him for better or worse and I have. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t leave him if he got off the meds or became abusive and he knows that. Even the bible allows for divorce when one partner leaves (I see that as both physically and emotionally) or when there’s abuse.

    • Jackie I feel for you and I read your story. I think Lori is the best counselor here, on top of that she seems to have not only knowledge but also huge experience on the topic.
      I personally believe that the correct limit for you would be to love yourself enough and to take some time off your love when you need it. Being a ”healthy egoist” is the only correct advice for you. You cannot help, love him or do anything with your life if you are not okay.
      My personal story with BP is not a win yet. My sister, my best friend was diagnosed with BP 7 years ago and as for today she hasn’t succeeded in more than few months on medication. As much as it hurts my guts to admit it, she hasn’t even considered medication for the past 1 year.
      I tried to do the job for her many times, she had doctors, she had therapists and I paid for all of it. I even did the research but my success has been temporary. It took me many years and losses to realize I lead her fights, I paid her debts, I picked her from bad situations and I have been there for her on her worst moments. But then …she keeps on refusing treatment. So I told her today I can no longer be there for her, not if she does not want to reach out for help.
      It took me many years to even get support from my family, at least what is left of it- my mom died of cancer 3 years ago, my father is an alcoholic who still refuses to admit he has a problem after 30 years of drinking.
      So my point is to take care of yourself because it is your responsibility as an adult to do that.
      You are in my thoughts

  101. Hello, I my situation is definitely not as intense as most here, but I was hoping for some reassurance for my decision. I recently broke up with my girlfriend of a year and a half. At first things were great, she was the best part of my life and I was so happy. About a few months into the relationship I realized that she was unstable. I had been warned by her that she was emotional and so I was prepared for it. I was supporting and tried everything in my power to make her life easier. I did not want her to deal with problems that I could fix. However, as time went on she gradually became more dependent on me to solve her problems and motivate her. It came to the point where she would not get out of bed unless I was there for her. We argued a lot, usually started as something small, me taking too long to reply to a message, or not dropping whatever I was doing to come and help her. Even if I was not to blame for the issue I always ended up apologizing. BPD runs in her family so we both assumed she has it. She wanted to seek help for it and I encouraged her to, but she never did. The arguing transformed, mutated if you will, into her blaming me for everything and name calling me. Tearing me apart from the inside with constant, “You’re an idiotic jackass who just messes with me.” or “You’re such an idiot, I hate you, you’re awful. You don’t care about me.” This pattern happened at least twice a week. She constantly needed me beside her, I alienated my closest friends and family for her. I was constantly dropping plans to be with her in fear that if I was not there, she would get mad and assault me with words again. I told her that I could not stand this treatment, she said she was sorry and that she hated herself for making me feel bad. I believe her, I love and care for her, but it was too much. I broke up with her the first time. She told me that my father manipulated me into doing it and that I did not think for myself. She guilt tripped me back into the relationship to try again. I thought it would be different. It was not, it was worse. So finally after another 2 months of it, I had enough. I was back at my house after having dinner with my family. I had spent the previous 30 hours with her straight, then went to dinner. I left on a sour note with her but told her we would work it out the next day. She kept calling me at 11 pm saying that we needed to solve it now. I told her I did not want to talk and we would talk tomorrow. She drove over to my house after I told her not to. I ended up breaking it off right then. I told her I was done with our relationship. She told me that my dad manipulated me again into thinking that. She told me she was going to go kill herself after we finished talking. I told her not to, I said you can hate me all you want but you have so much to live for, please do not hurt yourself. She kept saying that I did not care about her and that she hoped I died, my family died, etc. I ended up standing in the freezing night for 2 and a half hours trying to talk to her. She would not listen. She took my phone when I tried to dial for help. So I told her to please just go home and talk to her step-mom, who I knew could deal with her well. As soon as she left, I called 911 and told them what had happened. I had to use my land-line. I then called her step-mom to inform her what had happened and there might be an officer coming to her door. My family tells me I did the right thing for myself, as do my friends, but I cannot shake the feeling that I failed her somehow. I was not strong enough to help her. I did not want to leave her, but I had to if I wanted to live a truly happy life.

    • Anthony – it sounds like you’ve been patiently trying to do the right thing for your ex for the past 1 1/2 years but it’s time for you to accept that there are some things that are beyond your power.

      The reality is this: your ex girlfriend is very VERY ill and has a condition that is totally outside of your control.
      You can only support her IF she decides to take ownership of working on her issues.

      It’s the age-old challenge: finding someone who is ready for a relationship and who is ready for what we have to offer. She clearly is neither of those things.

      Your ex has a hard road ahead of her. If you are happy to receive that kind of abuse and behaviour from your partner then by all means join her on that journey. But go into it with your eyes wide open.

      Similarly, if you decide not to be a part of that, leave the relationship with your eyes wide open and STOP FEELING GUILTY.

      And tell the Police that you consider her actions of coming over to your house and taking your phone as harassment, assault and theft / aggravated robbery. Get your phone back. Get your life back. Move on buddy.

    • I’ve been seeing a girl with bpd for the last 18 months or so, early on the relationship she proved she was pretty mental she stole from me, chucked me out of her house at midnight several times, accused me of some of the worst things you can imagine etc etc then would always apologize so sincerely, I forgave her everytime because if I didn’t she would get to the point where she would threaten suicide or worse, I did and still do care for her,these actions weren’t her fault she couldn’t help it. I had enough last week after she threatened to get people around to beat me up if I didn’t deliver her key back immediately after she started going ballistic about something, she called me some disgusting names and told me my life was going nowhere and I deserved unhappiness, so when she tried to apologize 2 days later I initially accepted her apologies and she thought everything was back to normal. But whether she could help what she was doing or not, I had to take my own happiness into account she had destroyed my happiness and increased my anxiety. I told her no 3 Nights ago after she invited me over and after some brief name calling I stopped messaging her and haven’t heard back since, I know that’s great but I actually feel guilty like I’ve let her down, I think I also have mental illness now, she says she was just always having outbursts because of me, it was my fault I set her off because I wouldn’t fully commit to her, I would say how do I fully commit to someone who tells me they want me dead, they hate me, they treat me like shit and then say not my fault I warned you its my bpd!! It’s so confusing. I have my own issues and hurt from previous relationships and she could never give a shit, would you commit to someone who has stolen off you? I actually feel guilty now and think of her all sad lazing around. It sucks, I guess what I’m saying is bpd girls make BAD girlfriends!!!!! Sorry for my off topic rant, been bottled up a long time it’s good to write it down. Cheers

      • Ben, to be fair it sounds as if neither of you are ready for a relationship:

        – Your ex clearly has problems and has proven a number of times that she can be nasty and has no issues with threatening your personal safety.
        – You have admitted that you have issues from past relationships. I’m taking a huge leap here but I suspect these are what have driven you to allow her to treat you so poorly so repetitively.

        And please bear in mind, you can’t tar all people with Borderline Personality Disorder with the same brush. I have a mate who’s girlfriend has BPD and her issues are simply those of insecurity in their relationship – but to her credit she’s very honest about accepting that she needs to work through the issues and is trying her hardest to change herself for the better. I respect her immensely for that.

        So stop being a numpty for thinking you should have put up with more of her abuse. Work on your own issues – make yourself a better person and then you’ll be ready for someone else who’s also ready :)

        • Thanks David, you are right about my insecurities being the reason I let myself get treated badly over and over, I know I was extremely worried and sad about what might happen if I left her, she also has a lovely side which I liked a lot but learned can change in a heartbeat, you were also right we were both not ready for a relationship although I feel If it wasn’t for the outbursts and there was stability I could’ve handled it, in her case putting anyone through abuse and threats Is unfair and I feel if I did that to people I wouldn’t try and force someone into commitment knowing that was part of the package, I’m extremely sorry for saying all girls with BPD make terrible girlfriends, I’ve only met one which makes me very ignorant to everyone else living with it and I’m positive most people are able to control their treatment of others better than she could, I apologize to anyone with BPD who read that, I guess my main issue has been feeling guilty for turning my back on someone who has a condition they can’t help, if I had a friend with ANy psychological disorder I wouldn’t dream of abandoning them yet when it’s romantic you have to cut contact completely, no help, no staying friends as that just gets hopes up then crushes them again, life is so complex sometimes. Thanks for reading my posts. All the best to everyone

          • Hi Ben – mate it’s admirable that you want to help alleviate someone else’s misery and suffering. Really, it is. And we all know that the world needs more compassion asked good will. But sometimes you just have to know your own limitations. Your ex is going to have to come to terms with her condition and how it makes her behave. She will start to change only when she realises that it really is not acceptable. Until then you’re pushing it uphill.

            Sometimes the best thing you can do for her as her partner it’s to NOT be her partner. You might be better able to support her as a friend. That easy she can’t take you for granted or abuse you.

            And definitely put your own health, safety and happiness ahead of hers.

            I hope that helps. Stay positive :)

    • Hi Anthony –

      Your story sounds like mine in many ways, including how at first it was great with her, she was the best part of your life and you were very happy. I understand how all that can be hard to let go of, even when you realize that she has some serious issues. I also got back together with my ex-fiancee again after breaking up once. She also said similarly insulting things to me. Then of course she would change and be wonderful… for awhile. Then more insults, false accusations, etc. Reality can only be ignored or suppressed for so long before you realize you cannot do anything to help her, no matter how much you want to, how much you try to, or how much you show her you love her.

      It’s not about you failing her somehow. You didn’t. Let me repeat that: you didn’t fail her. It’s not about you not being strong enough to help her either. It’s just not. I felt that way too. Perhaps we have all seen too many movies where “love conquers all” but in real life, especially in a relationship with a bipolar person, love does not conquer all. It has nothing at all to do with you failing her or not being strong enough, so put those false thoughts and that false guilt out of your head… and out of your heart.

      You need to move ahead with your life. If you don’t, she will continue in her destructive ways and it won’t get better, and may even get worse. I don’t think you want to live that way any longer. You do deserve a happy life, and the reality is you are not going to have one if you stay with her and keep trying to “fix” her.

      On the bright side, you will someday find someone you can love and who can love you like you need to be loved, and life will get much, much better. Look forward to that, focus on that, move toward that, and someday that will be exactly what you have.

    • Hi Anthony –

      Your story sounds like mine in many ways, including how at first it was great with her, she was the best part of your life and you were very happy. I understand how all that can be hard to let go of, even when you realize that she has some serious issues. I also got back together with my ex-fiancee again after breaking up once. She also said similarly insulting things to me. Then of course she would change and be wonderful… for awhile. Then more insults, false accusations, etc. Reality can only be ignored or suppressed for so long before you realize you cannot do anything to help her, no matter how much you want to, how much you try to, or how much you show her you love her.

      It’s not about you failing her somehow. You didn’t. Let me repeat that: you didn’t fail her. It’s not about you not being strong enough to help her either. It’s just not. I felt that way too. Perhaps we have all seen too many movies where “love conquers all” but in real life, especially in a relationship with a bipolar person, love does not conquer all. It has nothing at all to do with you failing her or not being strong enough, so put those false thoughts and that false guilt out of your head… and out of your heart.

      You need to move ahead with your life. If you don’t, she will continue in her destructive ways and it won’t get better, and may even get worse. I don’t think you want to live that way any longer. You do deserve a happy life, and the reality is you are not going to have one if you stay with her and keep trying to “fix” her.

      On the bright side, you will someday find someone you can love and who can love you like you need to be loved, and life will get much, much better. Look forward to that, focus on that, move toward that, and someday that will be exactly what you have.

    • Hi Natasha – I just figured out that Anthony’s and Ben’s threads got tangled up with each other… which is why I posted the same response twice to Anthony’s comments because it first wound up under Ben’s. Feel free to correct it if you can! Thanks.

  102. Hi everyone I’ve been reading this forum and it has good info. I have no one that understands me. I was married to a last that was normal at first and everything was going great we were happy. Well recently she went extremely down hill andstarted hearing voices and saw things. At firsr t I didn’t take it seriously and thought nothing of it til it affected my daughter who at the time was only one. While Iwas at work ssometimes working 16 hour shifts my kid wasn’t being fed only milk. And when I found out her family stepped in to help watch my wife and kid while I worked. But all of this stress and pain I endured I gained 145 lbs. I got bell palsy and had extreme high blood pressure. I stuck around for almost two years but decided to leave because I couldn’thandle tthe stress and not taking careof myself. Not to mention as time on the mmother in law over stepped her boundaries and sort a turned my ex against me. I still love her but I don’tthink iIcan go back to that situation. I finally lost 146 lbs and iI’mfeeling great iI’m finally taking care of myself. She has bipolar and schizo affective disorder. Any advice of what you guys can share. I feel guilty of leaving and that I’m a bad person. I’m hurting and I am trying to let her go but its been very hard. Feels good to get out my frustrations and sadness. Thanks everyone.

    • So sorry to hear about your situation.
      These events are a good reminder of our humility and our place in the cosmos: we simply don’t have the power to control all things and people can change over the slightest of chemical imbalances. Sometimes the imbalance can be rectified – sometimes it triggers a life-long change.

      You mention that your daughter is just 1 so I wonder if perhaps this is related to something that happened during / post your daughter’s birth?

      A common theme seems to be that in this sort of situation, the best you can do is protect your own interests and those of your daughter. Look after your own health (physically, mentally and fitness-wise). And try to get your ex to seek help to manage her own health.

      As for her Mum, all you can do is TRY to educate her – but do that by NOT TELLING HER your opinion – simply provide her with links to relevant web-sites and SPECIFIC topics so that she can come to the realisation herself. Sites that help to identify patterns of behaviour associated with certain mental disorders help to make it inarguable for people to ignore or simply blame on “he’s an ex who can’t get over it” or “I never liked him anyway”.

      I would be most concerned about your daughter right now. It sounds like you need to take her into protective custody. Do what’s right for her and yourself. Pour yourself into solidifying your life for you and your daughter: steady job, steady routine, stability for both you and your daughter. That will create a positive for you in this difficult time.

      As for your broken heart: accept that it is what it is. You can’t change what has happened. And you most likely have no control over “fixing” your ex. So learn to accept that what you had thought might be for the rest of your life is most likely now over. It’s ok to be broken-hearted. It’s your emotion so don’t deny it. Let it run its course (as long as it doesn’t prevent daily function or risk your livelihood) and accept that things WILL get better for you.

      Good luck.

    • Hi utahman –

      I’d like to focus on the last part of what you said “I feel guilty of leaving and that I’m a bad person. I’m hurting and I am trying to let her go but its been very hard. Feels good to get out my frustrations and sadness.”

      First, it is unfortunate but true that many times, being in a relationship with a bipolar person (and in your case schizophrenic as well) eventually comes down to self-preservation (emotionally, physically, financially, and in other ways). Protecting yourself, and in your case your daughter too, is nothing to feel guilty about. And it certainly doesn’t mean you are bad person. I understand the feeling of guilt – I felt it, and many people in these kinds of situations feel it, but it is not true and it is not even being fair to yourself. In other words it is false guilt. You need to call it what it is and realize you are not guilty of anything, excepts perhaps loving someone “too much” if in fact that is possible.

      My brother shared an example which might be helpful. Imagine you go to volunteer to visit senior citizens in a nursing facility. You do this out of the goodness of your own heart and a desire to help. But the old man they assign you to, after about 5 minutes, starts swinging his cane at you and trying to hit you. And sometimes he succeeds. And it hurts! What are you going to do? Stick around and let him hit you? Does it really matter WHY he is hitting you with his cane? No, it doesn’t. He may have some mental or other condition which means he is not to blame for his actions. But the end result of whatever his condition is, is that you are going to be black and blue all over – or worse – if you stick around. So you decide to leave. Should you feel guilty? No way. You may in fact feel sympathy for the old man, but you should not feel guilty. It is much the same kind of situation when trying to have a relationship with a bipolar person, except that the ongoing emotional pain is much worse than being hit by a cane. At least that has been my experience and that of many others. So don’t feel guilty. False guilt has no place in your life and does not deserve a seat at your dinner table.

      I understand how much you are hurting and how hard it is to let her go. It can be excruciatingly difficult. Try to focus on and be thankful for the good things she brought into your life, and to move forward one day at a time. It will get easier as time goes by. Remember that time is definitely on your side. And time is a powerful ally. Focus on the better future that will be yours if you move toward it day by day.

      • Hi David thanks for the advice. My daughter was one when it all started. She is now 4 I’ve been struggling for 4 years now with stuff. I gained alit of weight while married 140 Ibelieve and it was one huge mess for me. But since . We got divorced I’ve lost 146 lbs. I was not taking care of myself at all. I was taking care of my ex and of course my daughter. She now lives with her parents and my daughter sees me not that much. II’m trying to move on with life and its taking to long for me. But Iguess slowly is better then nothing. Thanks for your comments iIappreciate when iI feel I’m being heard. Well the ex mil has told me its over and I need to move on. And they only want me to be their for my daughter. Which I’m fine with. But its a controlling situation where her mom interfered throughout all of our marriage and cause problems in my marriage. Now that I’m on the outsideiI can see it wasn’t a healthy relatiinship . so the next part is getting over it. Any tips on what to do for that? I may have to do counseling. That may be my next step.

        • hi Utahman – basically you need to focus more on your future and the positive things that you enjoy doing (as long as it’s not illegal / immoral)

          As a rule of thumb – happier lives seem to include a balance of:
          exercise – something that gets the blood pumping
          social circle – GOOD friends you can count on
          work – if you don’t enjoy your job then at least be proud of the fact that you’re doing it to take care of your responsibilities
          good clean diet – and personally I feel good about knowing that “I made that!”
          regular sleeping patterns – soooooooo important for EVERYONE! Gotta recharge the body, mind and soul
          challenges – it’s good to get out of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves

          But the best bit of advice I can give you is something someone told me 5 months ago: it was from a guy who has spent the last 7 years hitch-hiking around the world. He even hitches lifts on boats! He told me that no-matter which country he is in there’s always the same place that he can go to to meet people and expand his mind: it’s a place called “out” :)

          Good luck buddy. Remember, you’re not alone.

        • Hi utahman –

          David’s advice about a balanced life is really good. I do think you could benefit from going to some counseling, for the purpose of helping you get over your relationship. I don’t think it would hurt, and could help a lot.

          When I sometimes have those wistful thoughts of the good memories and good times with my Bipolar ex-fiancee, especially the kind that make me think or wish or even entertain the idea of how nice it might be to still be with her, I have found it very helpful to remind myself immediately of the awful, terrible, and no-good-at-all parts of our relationship, and to remind myself how fortunate I am to not have to be dealing with all those terrible aspects of the relationship anymore.

          We need to have a very realistic view of things, and the more realistic you can make it, the easier it is to let go and move on. That has been my experience. I’d also recommend removing as many reminders of her as you can from your surroundings – mementos, pictures, etc.

          It is important to look forward, not back, and minimize contact with her as much as possible – no contact at all is ideal. That also makes it easier – and quicker – for “time to heal all wounds.”

          Good luck!

  103. An interesting topic!
    My ex has Bipolar but he left me and our children 5 years ago. Left me a single mum with little support and financial security.
    Did he care? Not one bit.
    At the time we did not know he had Bipolar.
    The abuse he put myself and our children through in that 5 years can not be put into words and if he had not left us i assume that abuse would have been a lot worse.
    Would i have left him if he had not left us? I really think that i would have had to as much as i loved him. I could not have put up with that abuse or allowed my children to put up with that abuse either.
    There are no winners in any of these stories, each and every person is a victim of Bipolar Disorder. What a cruel disorder that can take a beautiful person and twist their mind to make them do things they would never ever do if they were not sick.
    How do you help someone who does not want to be helped? You can’t allow them to continue abusing you and your children, the only solution i have is to withdraw to save us from even more pain.
    I wish i knew the answer and i wish i could change things but right now it seems this is my safest solution. It does not mean that we don’t think about him every day and worry about him and still suffer the pain, we feel it everyday, the loss of a wonderful husband and father, however it saves us from the pain that he still inflicts on us and believe me we could not take any more.
    I wish the situation was different.

  104. My bipolar friend (he suspects he has bipolar) says I am overanalyzing what he says, when clearly I was not. He would say something confusing or contradict himself, or I would just assume he meant somthing different because te statement could mean one of two different things and I would try to get him to clarify.

    he would get irritated and accuse me of “making a big deal out of it” (I never said it was important, just that I was confused enough to want to ask clarification), or assuming he had a “deep” reason for saying what he said (this was not the case! I just didn’t know what he meant) or that he didnt mean to hurt me by saying it (not necessarily something hurtful, just something confusing or I didn’t know why he thought it was true or it needed clarification if the conversation were to continue).

    But that’s not the bad part- the bad part is that I feel like Im being bullied or at least put down and devalued and made ashamed of feeling hurt by his behavior when I tried to calmly and sensibly speak to him about it. (the second time he accused me of overanalyzing him). He said “dont start this again” or “you’re making a big deal about this” and accused me of trying to start an argument when I wanted to do the opposite- to avoid arguments by going over the subject now. The nicer and gentler I was the angrier he got, and he was very very illogical. He is usually very smart and logical. He hung up on me and I was in tears for a while afterwards.

    It was brutal, especially since I had been kind to him beforehand (though I admit, not perfect- I did judge him a bit harshly for stuff he did as a child, though that was partially because he first framed it to me as worse than what I would consider it to be). He was showing traits that looked like a narcissist (the gaslighting- saying i was overanalyzing him- and denying he said something mean he had said during another discussion) and I did say, during this second time, that I wanted to hold off on the friendship and that was the part of the argument he most remembered later on…seemed upset.

    The first time he said I ‘overanalyzed’ him I was immediately reminded of my ex boyfriend, who also told me I did it (definitely didn’t do it with him either), and I was very upset when my BF did it- in fact, I had hoped my friend would comfort me about it. Instead, he did it himself. I had also reminded him of when he promised to call me back, didn’t, and then blamed me for not knowing he woludn’t do it. Accusde me of making a big deal out of it, which I wasn’t, I was just asking because I didn’t want to deal with someone who was going to break promises in general, even if they weren’t a big deal (and who determines what a “big” deal is?) It wasn’t the lack of phone calls that bothered me, it was the fact he was blaming me for things I didn’t have control over (not knowing he wouldn’t do something he promised to).

    The latest and third time he did it (I did it least of all that time) I stood up for myself (I profusely apologized and “admitted” to the behaviour the first time…just to get the otherwise good friendship back) and he seemed to back down a bit, saying maybe we should just not talk anymore that day (it was over the phone) and that he didn’t want to argue.

    I hate feeling afraid to ask him questions or to bring up issues I am hurt by, especially since it means I have to walk on eggshells and just “let” him hurt me and cannot bring it up to him when he does. At least not on the “you’re overanalyzing” issue. He is not hurtful on other issues. I also hate having to say I’m hurt by something (I have to let him know in order for him to stop doing what is hurting me) and have him judge me that I shouldn’t be hurt or that I’m just trying to be argumentative (opposite is true).

    Well, another thing happened- on and off he had been talking vaguely (but not vaguely enough for me to ignore it) about suicide. I got nervous especially since a lot of shit had been happening in his life. I tried calling him or a couple days and when I couldn’t reach him I decided to call a suicide hotline and ask for advice. They said try to contact his family. So I did, though I didn’t know them. Big problem. I contact his cousin and aunt, tell them not to worry, I’m just trying to be safe, it’s probably nothing. Cousin contact his aunt, aunt contacted everyone and freaked out, almost called the cops on him, and now my BP friend is mad at ME. I told him I don’t control how his aunt behaves and I did what I thought was necessary. I asked him what he needs for me to make it up to him, and he said just give him some time. He was mad, but not dropping me as a friend.

    His cousin had told me he had told his aunt I was stalking him (not true) and we hadn’t talked in a while (def not true- it was two days at most, a point he made mention of himself!), and I had briefly contacted his aunt a couple times on FB before and I told him and neither she nor he seemed to mind.

    My friend called his (frankly, crazy) half sister out on the West Coast, gave her MY HOME PHONE NUMBER (because I’M the one who’s a stalker) who said she was a police officer, and vaguely warned me about getting too involved with the family, saying they were very “private” and she contradicted a lot of things my BP friend said, so now I don’t know which one is saying the truth.

    Other than this our friendship is great (and may become something deeper), but these things are really rankling me. They are worse than they seem on paper. I have called several verbal abuse hotlines and some say he is and some say he isn’t.

    I love him very much otherwise, but I’m afraid of walking on eggshells with him and being forced to mold myself to his lies/delusions.

    • I’m going to be brutally honest with you… you may mean well, but you’re not doing either yourself or your friend any favors. If he’s bipolar and not seeking medical treatment, he’s not going to get better. He WILL contradict himself because his mood swings are radical and his perception of reality will be radically different depending on the mood. Pointing that out to him only irritates him and makes him feel worse about himself (which I know isn’t your intent). If you love someone, you love them for who he is, not for what his potential is. It’s lovely to see his potential and encourage him, but what is HE doing to reach that potential? Why are you with someone if they make you feel like walking on eggshells, need to call suicide hotlines and verbal abuse hotlines? Let him go and do some soul searching to figure out why you’re drawn to those who hurt you or you need to change in order to be happy. Don’t keep hanging around, being hurt, arguing with him about why you’re hurt, etc. That’s the blame game and a never ending cycle. Consider counseling to understand yourself better. To be clear, I’m not saying you should never be in a relationship with someone who is bipolar. I’m saying a bipolar relationship doesn’t have to be a dysfunctional relationship. I wish you the best of luck and hope you take this the way it’s intended – to steer you toward a happier, healthier life.

      • Hi! thanks for reading and thanks for the advice.

        I do love him for who he is, but he is not “himself” when he is like this.

        The more I have been reading this blog, the more I have forgiven him. I am definitely willing to continue the friendship. He doesn’t have super strong mood swings, though he talks a lot and jumps from topic to topic just a bit. He is late 40s, lives with and cares for a sick mother (does quite well, actually) and holds down a job. He is forgiving, open minded, and takes responsibility for himself (he admits his faults when he understands he’s wrong). He also understands his limits, it seems.

        Also, I forgot to mention, he has chosen to go back to therapy (on his own) and he is starting Lorazepam again.

        And I never said I was drawn to him BECAUSE he needed to be changed or rescued. It’s in spite of that. I am drawn to him because he is funny, charming, interesting, open minded, intelligent, and a freethinker.

        Why is there such a stigma against wanting to help others, and why the assumption that that’s the reason I attracted to him? I didn’t know he was so poorly off when I first became friends withhim, so that can’t be the case.

        • I definitely don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with helping people…. quite the contrary. However, in your first comment you were clearly distressed and expressed a pattern of feeling hurt by people and feeling like when you expressed that hurt, were dismissed by them. You used the phrase “it’s brutal” and expressed feeling devalued and ashamed. THAT is what made me say you might want to consider counseling. You may not be seeking out dysfunctional people, they may be drawn to you because of your empathetic nature and willingness to forgive. I’m not being critical, heck, I’ve been married for 30 years to my bipolar spouse. However, I realized after a few years that some of my caring behavior was actually making him worse. I did things a lot like you (trying to point out irrational behavior, feeling hurt, forgave him… repeat). It wore me down and damaged his self esteem. I had to learn to set boundaries and not “engage” in every argument I was invited to. Perhaps I’m reading too much into your comment because of my own experience. If so, forgive me. I learned a lot about myself and bipolar disorder by going to a counselor and can’t express enough gratitude for the lessons I was taught. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being a good, caring friend. There IS something wrong with you feeling verbally and emotionally abused and just putting up with it. I’m happy to hear he’s going back to the doctor for treatment and wish you both the very best!

          • Ah, I see. Yes, I was conditioned a bit as a child to just suck it up and to assume the other person was right, but I didn’t do it too much. I eventually stand up for myself.

            I am very logical and am good at “proving” another person wrong to defend myself, but I am learning that it isn’t that way with bipolars, since they are not trying to be adverse and are not consciously lying, they truly believe what they say in and of the moment.

            I am less bothered by the stuff he says and does the more I read about the cause and true nature of the behaviour, and I did stand up for myself the last time he did it. He wasn’t super unreasonable, and wasn’t screaming and yelling (he never really did, not even the second time), and he handled it somewhat well for someone talking so irationally. He chose to end the conversation so as not to get upset.

            But no, I haven’t been “forgiving” him. I did apologize after the second time (because what I did seemed at the time, to me, to actually be an overanalysis- and I had been unfairly judgmental against him earlier on a few weeks before, which might have scared him off). But I don’t do that with him anymore on this issue, and also, I certainly didn’t just enable him the rest of the freindship.

            I will tell him when there’s something I don’t like or that he needs to change. And he usually agrees or at least stands up for his viewpoint. He’s very self sufficient like that, in that he is who he is and doesn’t try to change for anyone, unless he thinks he is hurting or offending someone.

            I can see why you might think he would decide to latch onto me. I am definitely one of the few caring and giving people left in the world, but I did “test” him a couple times to see if he would take advantage of me (we were going to hang out, so I offered to pick him up, and he said no, he would take the money to come down- so I knew he was not selfish; also offered to do the housework when I came up, he said “no, you don’t have to do that”).

            I was upset last night when I typed that, but, to be honest, he’s only done this to me three times over the course of about 6 months, and other than that, he’s great, funny, fun, and seems to admit his mistakes and want to change. He admits fault in things like past relationships (doesn’t “blame the ex”- in fact, I do that more than he does) and he seems to understand he needs therapy and also meds, which is a big thumbs up in my book!

            Thank you for the advice, I am working on even better boundaries, but they weren’t as shaky as they seemed to you in the beginning. What should I do? Ignore him when he gets irrational? Tell him to stop? Tell him I won’t let him mislabel me?
            Really it’s the gaslighting I received as a child that makes this so painful, and made it hard to not take his comments as truth about me.

            I am tough, smart, AND loving enough to handle this 98% of the time wonderful friend of mine! Also willing to rent every bipolar book in the library to read about how to handle him, which I should have done in the beginning…

            • Everyone has to decide for themselves what their boundaries are. I know I would NOT engage in the verbal sparring when you know he’s in a mood. He got that right. It’s OK to say “this is going nowhere so we should just talk later”. It’s probably a good thing to learn more about bipolar. Natasha writes wonderful articles that have relly helped me understand it better. It’d also a good thing to learn about your own childhood and the “gas lighting” you received. Again, not because you’re doing anything wrong, but because it might help you understand your own hot button issues. It really all boils down to relationships – it’s just more intense with someone who is bipolar…. so anything you can do to understand yourself better, and your relationship issues better, will help you deal with a bipolar friend better.

            • I agree, Lori.

              However, gaslighting is not something which works on specific people or those for whom it is a hot button issue. It is something that can effect anyone. It’s a conversational tactic and can work on anyone, not specific kinds of people.

              All it requires is that the person being gaslighted not be sure about a fact and the other person taking advantage of that and telling them something not true. Since no one knows everything, anyone can be gaslighted. If you have had reason to doubt your own perception about something in the past, then you can be gaslighted about that thing you were supposedly misperceiving. Therefore, anyone can be gaslighted, so long as he doubts his perception about or does not know the details of the issue the other person is gaslighting hiim about.

              But, yes, sometimes a person who was gaslighted about a lot of things is “ripe” for being gaslighted more often, simply because there are many more things that they have doubts about (since they were never told the truth and therefore do not have the truth as a weapon).

              I also agree that counseling can help anyone who has been abused in the past, even if the abused person was not hurt because of some weakness or defectiveness (as so many abusers like to claim- “you were only hurt by my behaviour because you’re ___”).

  105. My boyfriend has broken up with me again after becoming frustrated with me during some sort of episode. His perception of my actions didn’t match with the reality (again). This time he wanted to see the pictures on my camera from a recent trip. He couldn’t understand that the camera had been borrowed from a friend who joined me on the trip and that I don’t actually own a camera. He remembered seeing me pack the camera and my trying to understand how he saw that was what made him frustrated and he walked out again. Aside from our differing realities, he also seems convinced I have a secret lover (I do not) and that I am trying to kill him (I am not). We have had many wonderful times and the sense of closeness I feel with him makes me want to pursue him with the hope we can have more good times. I’ve urged him to be reassessed as his paranoid thoughts seem like more than the bp he was diagnosed and medicated for. He is perfect but for this stupid illness, whatever it is. I am really so sad to think he will never trust me.

    • Hi Amanda –

      I know how difficult it is to have a relationship with someone whose perception of reality is so drastically different from yours, so different from what is actually happening – or not happening as the case may be as with his being convinced you have a secret lover. My ex-fiancee also was convinced I had a lover even though I did not and would never do that. Of course that hurts a lot when you realize the person you love so much seriously believes you are cheating on them when you aren’t.

      But what concerns me even more, in your case, is his believing you are trying to kill him. Because if he really believes that, you could be in real danger of him doing something violent to you in order to (in his mind) “protect” himself from you hurting or killing him first. This may sound outlandish, but for example, it is exactly what the defendant in the “American Sniper” killings said as his reason why he killed “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. He thought they were going to to kill him, so in that warped reality, he decided to kill them first.

      I also understand and can very much identify with your remembering the many wonderful times you have had with him and the sense of closeness you feel with him, and how those things make you want to pursue him with the hope you can have more good times. I did exactly that, for longer than I should have, in retrospect. Others such as friends and family could see things more clearly than I could, because for one thing they did not have those wonderful memories and times with her as I did, and they could not see the potential for a wonderful future together with her as I could. But they were right. It took me enduring more of the same anger, paranoia, false accusations, etc. before I realized that marrying her might not be a good idea.

      One of the main challenges, when it comes to deciding about continuing the relationship or not, is that it is, by necessity, a “binary” decision. That is to say it is a Yes or No, one way or the other decision. There are only two choices. To continue it or not. But our emotions are far from binary. Yet we still need to make a binary decision.

      It’s very difficult to break up with someone you love so much, but at some point you/we need to face the harsh, stark reality of the situation and make the decision to either keep trying, or to break it off. If the person is not admitting they have a problem, and not getting treated for it, it is almost certain you are going to continue having the severe and very painful problems you are already experiencing, And it may get even worse.

      Even without his paranoia about you trying to kill him, you are in a very, very difficult situation whose outcome is not likely to be good. With that kind of paranoia added to the mix, you could also be in very real physical danger. I think you should take stock of the whole situation and make the binary decision I think you already know you need to make.

      Remember that if you do break up with him, you will someday find someone much better who treats you much better and who loves you as you really need to be loved. Keep looking forward to that, not looking back, and someday you will have that kind of relationship. It will be a gradual, sometimes sporadic process, but in time it will get easier to look forward more and more, and to look back less and less. Good luck to you! And Happy St, Patrick’s Day!

  106. Hi,

    I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in November, and although it brought me clarity, it brings me so much sadness to finally realize how sick I was. I dated a boy for about 8 months, and now looking back, I was so unstable, refusing to get help and just so verbally abusive. The last time we spoke I lied to him, to appear that I was better because in my mind set, I felt that he was upset with me, it would make it easier for him to let go. I know that’s so stupid, I’ve been stable since December but I know he wont believe me. I don’t hate him for leaving at all, but should I keep trying to have contact? I am healthy, and don’t want a relationship with him. He was just such a great friend, and cared for me so much.
    So, basically what I am trying to ask is, how do i get over that someone i love left me because of actions, caused by my disease, and how do I accept that I lost him forever.
    I am just so upset with myself, and having such a hard time accepting by actions, and am so angry that I didn’t get help so much earlier.

    • Ok! Two things:

      First, you didn’t know how this would all turn out, so when you took the decision not to get help, you made the judgement with the best knowledge you had at the time, with the best “head” you had at the time. So, you didn’t make a bad decision.

      Second, when you’re ill as you have been, it’s hard to be rational, hard to be logical, not least because Bipolar Disorder (like most mental illness) screws around with your ability to think logically as well as how you perceive your world. Not your fault – it’s something that simply goes with the territory, and there’s very little you can do about it.

      So, don’t beat up on yourself so much! You’re being much too hard on yourself. :)

    • Erika, Harry is right (as always!, lol). You did the best you could under the circumstances. If you broke something during an epileptic seizure, would you beat yourself up for it? My husband is bipolar and I admit I sometimes get angry with him because of actions I know are a result of a bipolar “flare”. Intellectually I understand (if he’s taking his meds as directed) he can’t really help his twisted reasoning at times. Yet it hurts anyway… but for the most part I can set aside those hurt feelings and focus on the big picture and all he does right. Some people simply do not understand or have the right disposition to deal with bipolar. It’s best to let those people leave. I take it from your message that you have already apologized. It’s up to him to accept it or not. If he can’t deal with it, you don’t want to try to make him be something he’s not. It simply won’t work. Instead of focusing on your mistakes, or a guy, from the past, try to look forward to a better life now you have the proper diagnosis and treatment. Send a letter to him and apologize if you must (or haven’t already), but then let it go. If he’s the right one for you, he’ll be back. If not, think how great the next relationship will be now that you are healthier, especially if you find a guy more suited to you.

    • Hi Erika –

      I think you may be making some premature assumptions about having “lost him forever.” You also say you love him, so maybe you really would like him to be more than a friend? Maybe he loves you too in a “more than a friend” way. You may be making these premature assumptions to protect yourself from hurt, but then again if you do love him and he does love you in that way it would be a shame to just give up now because of the problems you had earlier and assumptions you are making now, especially if you have the new clarity and stability and health you said you have. I’m assuming that means you are getting treated for your bipolar II and not avoiding or skipping the treatments, whether they involve medication or therapy/counseling or both.

      In my opinion you should be honest with him and tell him what you wrote in your post, including the part about you lying to him before to make it easier for him to leave. Again, you were making an assumption there that he was upset with you. Let him be the one to tell you he is upset or that he wants to leave, if he does. But let him make those decisions based on being fully informed about everything. Maybe his choice will surprise you – in a good way. :) And if he chooses otherwise, you are no worse off than you are now in terms of that relationship, except perhaps for being hurt a bit more. But I think it would be worth the risk to give him a chance. If you do, you will at least know he made his decision based on true and complete information. If he knows you are now aware of and very sorry for the way you treated him before, I think that would be very important for him to know, whether or not you two ever become a couple again. And I think it would greatly increase the likelihood that you could become a couple again.

      I will echo Harry and Lori in saying you are being way too hard on yourself. Kudos to you actually for being one of the 50% of bipolar people who has what they call “insight,” which is being aware of and acknowledging your condition. That is HUGE in terms of helping making it possible for you to have a successful relationship, especially if you also combine that with faithfully taking any medications and therapy/counseling you need. If you are doing that, then that is even HUGER and more kudos to you. How much I wish my ex-fiancee was able to have “insight” and get diagnosed and get treatment. We’d probably still be together. So don’t give up too soon. Give him the opportunity to make his own decision based on complete information. Including how you really feel about him – if you really would like to be “more than friends.” :)

      Good luck!

  107. Hi, in my case, I am the one who is ill. I really don’t know if I consider myself as mentally ill. I am suffering from consistent night terrors, like hitting, screaming, cursing while asleep since 2009. My parents were the ones who took care of me during those times. Then my parents died in March 2013. I decided to live with my partner because I felt so alone, my partner and I have been living for 2 years and every night he is experiencing these night terrors. And these past few days, these night terrors became more and more harmful, he told me I scratched him, hit him so hard and I even bit him when he was covering my mouth (preventing me from shouting). I told him no to cover my mouth whenever I scream, because I sometimes can’t breathe and become paranoid that I may have sleep paralysis when he covers my mouth (which I sometimes think may cause me death). But he still continues to cover my mouth everytime I scream/shout/curse while asleep, he told me he was just worried that some of our neighbors might think there’s something wrong going on in our house. I really do not know what to do, but I have read some articles that can help me like consultation and enough sleep. I suffer also from anxiety, I also become tense often. I do not want to take medications because I am afraid that I may get dependent on the medications instead of controlling and preventing myself from becoming more ill like getting enough exercise, sleep, and the like. Please give me some advice on how to cure this kind of sickness. I want my partner to be happy, I do not want him to end up leaving me because he is hurt. I love him so much. He is the only one I have. I got no parents, my relatives left me and did not take care of me, I only have him, my husband. I know I am selfish but I cannot assure someone will love me like the way my husband loves me. He knows everything about me, he accepts me, all of me. But I don’t want him to get hurt because of my unconscious actions, so please help me. I sometimes think if I am gonna leave him because I know he gets hurt so much, but there’s this selfishness of mine that I do not want to be alone again, and I really really love him.. Please help. I need your help.

  108. I am lost. Seven months into our relationship my partner crashed. Better after one night in hospital but 2 days later decided to leave our home and live in a crisis centre with little or no contact with me. I am supposed to wait indefinitely with no contact. She can go to classes, volunteer work, out with friends and such but cannot have contact with me. I feel abandoned. The illness was brought on by recent anxiety unrelated to our supportive relationship. She believes her need for her space and her spiritual journey justify her actions. My needs are not a part of the picture and I am not asking for much. She has said we can talk about next steps when she gets home (whenever that is) in terms of what she needs. I know mental illness clouds choices, but unless you are at rock bottom, it should not absolve you from considering the impact of your actions on others. I do not understand and I do not want this to be my life. I believe her needs will always come ahead of what I might need to be happy in a relationship. I am in limbo and just waiting for the days to pass by until I know wht is going on. In the meantime, grieve the loss.

  109. This article is exactly what I needed to read right now. My son has been in love with a woman who is bipolar and not medicated. She is currently pregnant with his child; however, she has had 3 suicide attempts in the past month. They have been living with me and when she goes in an “episode”, as we’ve come to call it, she attacks my son and I. Him both physically and verbally and me by burning my stuff. After this very last episode of burning a lot of stuff in my house and destroying personal property, my son has decided that he’s done with her. We’ve tried long and hard to help her and support her, but this has crossed the line. The time has come to walk away for our own safety and sanity in this house. My son intends on being there for the baby and getting CPS involved to make sure she doesn’t keep trying to kill herself and the baby. This is a very hard thing to do and a sad time. However, I know it’s the right thing to do for everyone. Thank you for reaffirming that!

  110. I’m mentally ill and I refuse to go anywhere or to be treated like I’m some dumb waste of air fuck, I will take meds and I want to take them to be better but my dumb ass doctor has cut me off of them on purpose and I wont go in to see him cause I can’t even go outside to do so with out them! I’ve now lost every single family member and friend and every one I ever knew cause of this, I’m completely alone but I have my mom still but she is also mentally ill and she does take meds, It’s not far that I have to live this way for 3 months now not even being able to step out of the door not one foot. I have bipolar schizophrenia An I do not know how long I can hold out for controlling and suppressing these massive emotions and now minor talking in my head mix with loud ringing sometimes in one ear while the other goes dead non hearing for minutes and I feel pain from it! I need Risperidone 6mg (generic equivalent to Risperdal) once every single day in order to be better and I can’t order it online cause it needs a fucking Prescription! There is no cure for bipolar atm and there is myths that my schizophrenia doesn’t ether. He clearly knows this and that I have to take life long meds and he cut me off so I would lose it and get sent to the loonie bin little does he know I will never go back there ever! My Dr. is [moderated]. An HE DESTROYED MY LIFE! After I get my meds and I feel better my life is completely destroyed from him now. Just being this way my whole life caused enough issues cause he never diagnosed me in the right way I had to be sent to the hospital when I was 18 to find this out, I could of had a better life, even tho tons of ppl mentally and physically ruined me in every way possible but the meds back in time would have helped me dramatically! I’ve only had one gf and in that time from what she did made me even worse so I havn’t had one in 7 years an I have not lived a life it has bein nothing but suffering, I do be-leave I suffer from post dramatic stress as well as multi-personality identity disorder, An OCD massive emotional issues like depression and anxiety an the anxiety he didn’t even care about he thinks I do not have it I clearly know wtf it is I am feeling, the depression he gave pills all Dr’s do from that but they did is make me worse so I flushed them down a toilet a year ago cause no one liked me when I was on them and when I didn’t take them they felt I was easier and nicer and more normal to be around. I also have and never got meds or the right kind of disability’s and I also have the following that was never helped with: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Paranoid Personality Disorder, Dramatic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Anxious Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. I also took a test to prove these factors he are the results: Paranoid |||||||||||||| 59% 50%
    Schizoid |||||||||||||||| 62% 40%
    Schizotypal |||||||||||| 48% 56% (The ones one the right mean normal the ones on the left are what I scored)
    Antisocial |||||||||||||||| 65% 46%
    Borderline |||||||||||||| 58% 45%
    Histrionic |||||||||||||||| 68% 52%
    Narcissistic |||||||||||||| 55% 40%
    Avoidant |||||||||||||||| 63% 48%
    Dependent |||||||||||||||| 61% 44%
    Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||| 57% 45%
    I just want the meds I need to feel normal I am fully self aware of myself and what I have and just want the meds I need to feel better inside and to try and work on a new life to create it for myself again and I cant with out them I am only going down hill and if it keeps going on with out them for a long time I’m afraid that I will lose myself into the black hole of an abyss. I have a healthy home and I do my best to live as healthy as I can and to try to avoid not to rage or get mad over things but some things are just so hard to not get involved with but I’ve now learned that who am I to tell some one how there doing some thing and what there doing is completely wrong when I myself am mentally ill so I’ve now learned to just walk away and not talk to them, I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt happy, what I can remember at time of happiness is a feeling that I cannot handle it’s like being on 90000000mg of sugar It is a feeling I do not like cause I don’t like the way it makes me feel inside, I just want to feel and be normal again and I can’t cause of the Dr. but I guess he doesn’t realize how serious my disability’s are or if he even cares, he clearly doesn’t understand that I can’t go outside with out them let alone if I by some miracle make it there I can’t stay in the waiting room with a group off ppl I don’t know in any way at all so after I check in and sit down for 1 minute I’d just get up and go back home again where I feel normal and don’t feel those feelings and don’t have body shaking or twitching, or massive sweating, This also caused by myself with also having manic issues an zero tolerance for any thing with zero patience with anything and not wanting to wait at all or for a long time at all ever, mixed with my INTJ personality it’s no wonder why I can’t fucking make it into the Dr.s at all, An if he see’s me if By some miracle I got into see him I have to explain what he’s so post to know and my mind locks up outside and I cannot act or be myself and I get memory loss until I feel comfortable in a environment to open up more even then I cannot remember every single thing I have to write it all down but as he reads it in-front of me I have to wait with anxiety and extreme paranoia that he will just want to send me into some lock up so he doesn’t have to deal with it and I am still me and I can be normal I just need the meds, Let alone I have also bein feeling alot of pain threw out my body in my spinal cord lower back my ribs in certain spots an my arms and hands feel so much pain at times I cant even play a video game, and my legs knees and feet hurt alot cause I spend alot of time walking in my house cause on the last visit with him he basically called me fat I was over 210 lbs but I now feel n look way better I think I am now under 190 I feel like 184. I also have a severe teeth problems and I can’t go to get help with my teeth or them pulled out cause I need my meds. I also have a ulcer and if I don’t take my meds for that, that he still gives thank god: is severe it turns into burning then not being able to eat anything or drink any thing but milk products with no acid or sugar added in any of it but milk flavoring, every thing has acid related products all food and all drinks and what doesn’t which isn’t much still creates massive burning it’s basically a really nasty deadly flu like symptoms that turns into that after a week or two even if I buy my required products, an then not eating every day or drinking everyday I start after I couple days to a week start puking up tons of blood alot of it I even had massive chunks that I thought was my own body part like my belly come out out and after water rinsed on them was just like that so I put them in a baggy and went to the hospital (I found out it was blood clogs) my mom was ready to call the ambiance but I refused to have a $500 bill so I got a ride, an I found out I have a ulcer and they don’t know how many but they gave me a med paper to pick up meds for it only to find out it’s not covered and I cannot afford it so now I’m on cheaper pills that only work from consistent taking use always making sure I take one every single day no matter what I cannot miss them at all and if I do this will happen again because I’m so post to be on stronger ones, my Dr. honestly thinks It’s not that bad that I don’t need them really that he only gives me at most ref 4 and expects me to contact him every 4th month, I get my mom to do this but while I wait I go threw that flu again until I get them and it takes 2-3 days to fully recover from it again. It happens every 4 months that I go threw that, cause of the Dr. All I want is the meds that I will need for life to be and live healthier and to feel and be better. Can some one out there help me with getting them or you all think I’m not even worth it? I am fully still here an I need the meds for the love of god, Saying to let go of some one that isn’t like the other mental ppl that fully wants the meds in the comfort of there own home is like so wrong that I cannot help but say your a fucking idiot and some one who doesn’t even care in some one that still has a chance to live. I am only asking and saying pure honestly and truth I just want to be better I don’t need to be locked up in any way shape or form. Even when I was locked up twice in my past it only made me worse cause it’s out of my environment where I feel comfortable and able to be better much faster I just need the meds, and I’m fully normal with them. I have not hurt any one in any way with any force I have never left a mark one anyone in a very long time years even I am not a threat to anyone in anyway shape or form I am a very sensitive nice person, I just don’t like how I am or what I am feeling and going threw, to keep happening, I may make a person get upset or even cry but it says with out any kind of disability I have of any kind that just my INTJ personality alone makes me seem very cold or even emotionless person when I am extremely sensitive person inside. I am still me, and I will fight to be me so much that I will even if that means isolating myself to keep myself normal, I will do it I will not lose myself I do not want to I refuse to. If you seek to reek havoc on me or just want to say some thing nasty to me it will only make my life worse I do not need more stress in my life at all in any way shape or form! I am seeking understanding and support in getting my meds I ain’t some crazy that needs locked up, I am still me and will always fight to be.
    (this msg took me a hour and a half so don’t make my life worse please)

    Moderator: You cannot name specific doctors like that. There is too much liability involved.

    • Ryan, I’m very sorry for your medical condition and the fact that your doctor cut you off from your meds. It’s not clear to me why this happened, but it IS clear to me you need to be on Risperdone and probably some other mood stabilizer. Have you tried going to another doctor? If nothing else, I think I would go to the emergency room and tell them you are suicidal (lie if you have to). I think they HAVE to admit you and give you meds if you do that. At least that way you can get your prescription. Keeping you in my prayers.

  111. Thank you Foxy, Lori and Bob so much.

    It does help to know that people you have never met are able to share their honest opinions and experience to help others. This has helped me and I know I need to move foward because he is not the same person I fell in love with and probably won’t ever be the same. That is the most hurtful thing to have to realize. But thank you guys, I really appreciate your feedback.

  112. Would you leave someone because they broke their leg, and it cost you money insurance-wise? Would you leave someone with cancer? Not all those who are mentally ill are absolute hurricanes. I sought psychiatric care for my depression and I had triggers, but my husband left me, anyway. In ever cheated, I never stole – I only had outbursts of mood and threatened suicide. BUT again, I sought help for myself. So ask yourself this: if you have a mental health issue, and are actively doing something to help yourself, and your partner leaves, why would you even want someone like that? Aren’t marriage vows in sickness and in health?

    • I think your husband should have been more patient with you, because your illness has not caused you to cause too much trouble. Some husbands will take any excuse to leave, however. (Mine did and I don’t have bipolar.)
      On the other hand, there are those of us who have suffered so much at the hands of bipolar rages and destruction of our lives and property that we must leave the situation for the sake of our own health and sanity.
      I was literally dying while trying to cope with a bipolar relative that I foolishly invited to recover at my home. After he switched to a manic state, thousands of dollars worth of my personal property was broken, lost and stolen by creepy people whom he invited into my home. Dogs freely destroyed my new rug and I might come home from work to find a family living in one of my bedrooms. If I made the mildest protest I was subjected to a wild-eyed screaming rage and all the filthy language accompanying.
      As for myself, I was coughing 24 hours a day, losing a lot of sleep, getting pneumonia and other illnesses almost back to back. I had glaring red rashes that I had not been able to alleviate and suddenly, after I moved out of my own home, they were gone almost miraculously. In three years, I’ve scarcely even caught any illnesses, despite the fact that I care for a grandson who brings one illness after another home from daycare.
      I rented the home to this relative, but even that did not work. I was losing my house no matter what I did. Every time I tried to alleviate the problems destroying my home, he would either go into a rage or undermine my efforts by running off the contractors or telling to handle the work differently than I had requested. The destruction was ongoing and he was filling the rooms with the possessions of other people. I just had to sell the home to get my life back and to be able to move on.

  113. I’ve been reading many forums and blogs to help me deal with leaving my ex bf who is bipolar just two months ago. It was soo hard to make the final decision, especially since we have been together for 5 years. I find myself going through many mixed emotions. From feeling sad, depressed, upset and anxious. I hate feeling this way because I’m usually a happy and energetic person.

    It’s so unfair to be going through this while he’s seeing another girl he recently met and cheated on me with and basically stays with now that I left and moved out of a place we had together. Its so unfair to love someone so much and think that you would spend the rest of your life with and this hits. I’ve been with him through his first manic episode and dealing with his most recent one I had to leave. It felt like I was giving up but this time around I needed him to make a change and get better. But he’s still in denial and refuses to seek help.

    I still keep in touch with him but it gets hard because I believe he’s still in his episode. He still blames me for leaving and asks me to come back but doesn’t want to change and tells me he doesn’t need to give anyone an explanation. I get upset when he doesn’t text me back or call. I know I need to move on but it’s really hard right now to completely let go. I really appreciate this article, it helps me not to feel guilty for putting me first.

    • I’ve noticed a lot of similar comments as yours on all of these forums….partner cheats or lies, partner quickly gets on with the next person they will date, without any room in between parting from you and their new found love, this extreme manic phase of “I’m so much better off without you” quickly followed by this need to somehow lure you back in. Everything I’m reading about these types of scenarios leads me to believe this isn’t actually bipolar. Bipolar, from my understanding doesn’t come with all of these abandonment issues, stagnant victimization states, and the constant lack of empathy for others. In those cases, there’s usually something else going on, such as a personality disorder, which medication cannot cure. There are a LOT of things that are hard for physicians to pin down because some of the symptoms of mood disorders also overlap in personality disorders. Trying to separate the two is also hard. If I were you, I’d also examine and look into the possibility that this person is suffering from something more than just bipolar, such as borderline personality disorder, or narcissistic personality disorder, and I mean…really look into it…there are many variations of both and they present differently in different people. If any of it rings a bell, you’ll have some answers for yourself so that you can eventually find the courage to just let go of this person. Unfortunately, and I really mean that, some people really truly do not know how to love someone else, because they never learned how to love themselves…and they don’t want to learn. They are already getting it from everyone outside of them…through attention. Sometimes….really loving someone like this, does mean leaving them. They may not ever change, but you being there is just enabling them not getting the help they need to discover in themselves.

    • You told him what you needed from him if he wanted you to stay, but he’s not willing to do it. Sometimes it’s easier for a person to find someone new than admit they need to do the work to get better. He hasn’t made a lot of mistakes with the new girl yet, so she still sees him in a more positive light. You cannot save him, nor should you try. A relationship is TWO people working together to get through this life. The last thing he needs is an enabler who will allow him to go untreated. Sending mixed signals to someone with bipolar makes it even harder for them to sort out their feelings (which is what you’re doing by texting and calling after leaving him). Know yourself and your boundaries and HONOR that. You’d be surprised how others will learn to honor it too – and if not, you don’t want them in your life. This is the foundation of any relationship, not just someone with bipolar, but it’s even more important with someone whose emotions are so intense and volatile. You HAVE to be consistent.

    • Hi Ash –

      I wanted to reassure you that you are making the right decision, even though it is very difficult. You invested yourself in him for 5 years, no doubt with great expectations. I am sure he has/had some very good qualities which attracted you to him in the first place and make it difficult now to for you to leave the relationship behind as you move forward now with the rest of your life.

      But that is exactly what you need to do or you will be stuck in a never-ending nightmare of all of the negative things you described, and I am sure you could add more negative and very painful things to the list. It is important to realize it will be never-ending, perhaps even getting worse as time goes by. Love is not enough to make a bipolar person well or to make being in a relationship with them tolerable… or in most cases even possible. I wish it was, but I found out the hard way, as you have, that it was not enough. Love does not conquer all, and most assuredly does not conquer bipolar.

      I say all this based on my own very difficult experience (which is much like yours) with my ex-fiance who I am sure has Bipolar, and possibly some of the other disorders Foxy mentioned. Being an analytical person, I spent a lot of time reading about Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism, etc. as I tried to determine (for my own benefit and understanding as well as hers) if she had these disorders. She would never admit she might have a problem, so I had no doctor’s evaluation to go by, although one marriage/relationship counselor we went to didn’t take long to say she thought my ex may have “PTSD or something.”

      At one point I realized that whether or not she technically or officially had any of these disorders, I could definitely tell from all my reading that even if she didn’t (technically speaking), she was still very, very close to having them. From my perspective, whether she had them or not, the consequences/effects of her very negative and unhealthy behavior, words, attitudes, etc. were still just as terrible, not just for her but for me too. I realized I did not need to get an “official” diagnosis for her, that even if she didn’t technically or “officially” have bipolar, she was dangerously close to having it and the very negative and unhealthy fallout and effects were the same.

      If you don’t leave him, you are sentencing yourself to more of the same. Five years is a long time to invest in someone, but 8 is even more, 10 is more still, etc. You have a right to be loved and respected and happy, and being with a bipolar person is a sure path in the other direction. Especially if he is not admitting he has a problem and is not taking steps to deal with it. Even if he was admitting it and trying to deal with it, it is something that can never be cured… at best it can be “managed,” but even then, from all I have read here and elsewhere, that too is an ongoing battle and challenge for many if not most people with bipolar.

      There are reasons why 90% of all marriages involving a bipolar person end in divorce. I have experienced many of those reasons, and so have you. My guess is that when the bipolar person does not admit they have a problem or won’t take steps to deal with it, the divorce rate must be even higher than 90%.

      Stay the course because you have made the right (albeit difficult) decision. As Lori and Foxy both said, do not communicate with him or it will make the healing process take longer and be much more difficult. It will be hard at first to stop communicating, but you need to do that for your own benefit and also for his. And as difficult as breaking up with someone you love is, try to remember it will be far more difficult to NOT break it off and to continue living with all the extremely negative and painful and literally unhealthy effects of the relationship. It is not uncommon for people to say that it can be “hellish” to live with a bipolar person. I experienced that and from the sound of it you have too. I am sure you don’t want to live that kind of existence for the rest of your life.

      It will take awhile, but each day or each week or each month it will get easier and in awhile you will be well on your way to moving forward again with your life and onto something (and someone) much, much better.

      Make it a point to look forward, to look ahead, to that, and someday that will be exactly what you have.

  114. Thank you very much for your kind and heart warming words. This is the first time I’ve ever spoken about this openly to strangers and it’s made me feel a lot better that I’m doing the right thing for me. I know it’s a long riode ahead but I’m prepared to take that journey into another phase of my life. I know it will be hard at times but I’m stronger than I was 5 years ago. Life has to move on. Thank you again. One day at a time. I need to keep positive about my future knowing I can make my own choices and decisions in life.

  115. I felt so alone. After 28 years of marriage I’ve finally made the decision to leave. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I feel so guilty leaving him because he has bipolar but it’s making me ill. His illness appeared five years ago and over night he became a different person to live with. Someone I love but not in love with anymore. It all started when he had a nervous breakdown 25 years ago which we got through our daughter was one at the time. He was hospitalised for a few weeks and then therapy and medicine for awhile.. Things got better and got in with everyday life good and bad. But things started to surface over the years but put it down to marriage children and life. But drinking started to affect his moods his actions. He is very good with his abilities ie put his hand to anything. But his moods were getting difficult to live with. Then it all went upside down five years ago when he lost his mind and started acting and speaking to himself and a picture on the wall it was a very scary time. After getting help eventually he wa hospitalised for a few weeks again and was now told he had bipolar. It was a very difficult time one daughter had already moved out but other daughter at home 15 years old. She found it very difficult to live with his moods even though he was on medication. I think he was in denial for quite sometime he was still drinking which is not good on meds. We were slowly drifting apart nothing in common anymore. With many ups and downs it finally came to a head last year a few months before our daughters wedding. I found he had been privately messaging a young girl who I thought as a friend to us both. I’ve always trusted him but things have happened that the trust has gone. I thought knew him I thought I trusted him if nothing else but some of the messages were deleted and I found the rest. It was very jokey messages but I felt totally let down. It is isn’t just this incident that has made my decision. We ploughed through the wedding said we would give it six months went on holiday got through Xmas but nothing has changed for me. He is in a more positive place now he hasn’t been drinking since January and eating healthily. We both agreed we needed time apart so we are now at a trial separation I’ve moved out. But the sad thing is I don’t have the same feelings for him as I did earlier in the relationship so much has happened. I became his mother his carer treading on egg shells all the time. Didn’t say anything to annoy him frustrate him just plodded on. But I’ve got to a point where my existence is ridiculous I feel so alone we are not a team anymore. We’ve got to a point where we both just try and get through each day without upsetting the other. We both feel it’s not healthy for the relationship or each other. So I’ve moved out to my mothers which is really hard to leave my daughter. I feel extremely guilty. But I couldn’t live that life anymore. I do worry for his health but I’m being selfish and worrying about myself for once. I’ve always bought my children up to believe life is too short and if your not happy change it. So I should practice what I preach. It’s the not knowing if your doing the right thing. I’ve no money, no home, no job after 28 years of marriage. Now what!!

    • hi Wendy,

      it sounds like you’ve had a rough time of it. Unfortunately life is tough and there is no crystal ball – we just never know what the future holds – which is why every day we need to live as best as we can by always trying to be the best that we can.

      I’m a big believer in being tenacious, loyal and never giving up and it certainly seems that you’ve invested yourself for a loooooooong time in trying to support and love a person who just doesn’t behave / respond the way you would like or expect.

      Bipolar is a terrible disorder: I would hate for my emotions to be so overwhelming that I had such difficulty in controlling them. It must be difficult enough to deal with the personal inner aspects let alone how it impacts your integration with the rest of society.

      And there’s no cure. At best you can only manage it and that takes huge amounts of honest, loyalty, discipline and trust in your non-bipolar partner / family / support team. And time. But until the bipolar person is able to accept that their view of the world is skewed and that they need to blindly trust the advice of their loved ones / therapist, relationships will always be hard.

      You have 2 daughters so there must have been love in your relationship. Hold on to that. Don’t feel guilty for leaving the relationship. It takes two to make it work. Enjoy happy memories, enjoy your daughters more :) And live every day as the best person you can be. It may take time but you WILL be happy again :) Good luck.

    • Hi Wendy –

      One thing I have learned from my own experience and from reading so much about bipolar here and elsewhere, is that it takes a terrible toll not only on the person with bipolar but also on their loved ones, especially spouses or partners. We all love our bipolar spouses/partners, but one thing I learned is that love does not conquer all. Even though she and I both loved each other very much, that by itself did not solve the serious relationship problems caused by her bipolar disorder.

      At some point, we may need to end the relationship with the bipolar person for our own self-preservation. This is not being selfish (the word you used), it is protecting yourself. Unfortunately bipolar relationships can come down to that – self-preservation – in various ways – emotionally, financially, even physically.

      So do not beat yourself up for taking care of your own needs. As one poster here said, speaking of spouses/partners “bipolar can destroy an otherwise healthy person.” I understand the feelings of guilt, but you need to realize that there is nothing you can do, especially if the other person is not cooperative, to “cure” bipolar or to make the bipolar person change their very unhealthy behaviors and words and attitudes.

      Take one day at a time. Ask God for His grace and peace and provision to see you (and your spouse/partner) through this difficult time. It will get easier. Time is on your side.

    • Hi wendy.
      I read your tear dropping story. My heart really goes out to you. You must be such a caring and loving lady.
      I wanted to ask you for some,advice.
      you see I too have been dating a bipolar/schizophrenia man for
      12 yrs. I do love him very much. He stays on his medication. Until dec. 30th . He just dissappeared jan.9th fri. 2015. He has not contacted me any form. He just dissappeared in the morning. He didn’t take anything. No meds ,sscard,med paper wrk,clothes,etc. His entire life was left here in my home. We had everything in common. Will he ever show up again or call?.
      He is living ,I think homeless on the beach in venice,calif. Only a mile away from home. I am so shocked. Can you email me or call 3104478830
      Billie

  116. I agree with most of the above. I also would like to know if the references made are for bipolars type II as well. I haven’t found bipolares type II in violence situations yet. I have been abused in many ways, over and over again all my life by many people inside and out of my family. I have 2 women diagnosed with bipolar type 1 and 2 in my close family (the rest they have symptoms but think they are just fine…) and if I hadn’t a self control as I do I would have kill those who still abuse me. I have been abused long enough to become a psychopath, not a bipolar type 2, and yet I haven’t been violence with no one. I am physically psychologically stronger than those who abuse me. I don’t take medication of any kind. I think it’s a lot more important to understand that we choose a personality too. If you don’t know your partner enough before you marry him or if you don’t give that person a good healthy environment you will put him/her at its limit. I’ve never stolen from anybody. I understand when you are abused and the abuser has a mental illness you should leave that person. But there are many violent people who are not mentally ill and do drugs as well. I think this would be could be more specific and address the fact that being abuse is wrong, and yes, you should leave. But understand that violence is not an exclusive characteristic of mentally ill. And not all mentally ill are abusive; there are some who are abused as well.

    • IMO (and this is also my psychiatrist’s) it is better not to think of Bipolar as a 2-D sliding scale between Type 2 and Type 1, but more 3-D, where the collective symptoms are not clear-cut to say that a patient is Type 2 or Type 1. I am generally regarded as being Type 2; however, there have been moments, maybe a day or so, when I have exhibited some symptoms that were more like Type 1. Personal example:

      Like most Type 2’s I can be irritable, when in a depressed or hypomanic state. However, on the occasions of mixed episodes, dysphoric hypomanias, I can be very aggressive, even threatening, and on one (just the one) particularly acute occasion of a mixed state, I was in a murderous state of mind. Fortunately, it lasted less than a day, but during that time I was out looking for an excuse to kill. Even more fortunately, I coudn’t find anyone “bad” enough (according to my definition of a bad person on the day) that would have excused (in my mind) such violence! It felt most frustrating NOT to have found someone ‘bad’ enough to expend my murderous energy on! But the next day … I was much calmer and heading downwards towards the sister, if not the mother, of all depressions, hitting rock-bottom less than 2 weeks after the acute mixed episode.

  117. Can someone please help me understand this? I’ve been with my bf for 2years now he has a residual mental illness & I still don’t understand why when he snaps he says he doesn’t wanna be with me were not going anywhere I’m a stupid bitch! Go find someone else, he ignores me for weeks I’ll text him call him he doesn’t answer :( then he’ll go back t being regular. Why do they do this? Does anyone else get ignored?

    • hi Ellie – I don’t think there’s an easy answer as to why people behave this way: there’s just no single set rule as to how or why people behave the way they do. However what you’ve described does seem to be a common behavioural trait with bipolar. My ex would do similar but to a far lesser degree: she would ignore my text messages for 4 hours or more – not even a polite acknowledgement or “honey, I’m busy with work – call you later’ – and apparently she wasn’t even annoyed with me. She would claim that she had been busy at work. Yet I could see that she still had time for Facebook … And once annoyed, yes, she would definitely ignore me – especially once she knew the impact it had on me. Now you could say that was just he being plain nasty. But I believe that the bipolar triggered that behaviour or amplified her nastiness.

      I do also believe that a big part of bipolar is the inability to control overwhelming emotions. I don’t hold it against the bipolar person: they just can’t control their behaviour. So please don’t take your boyfriend’s actions personally. At least, not in the sense of “what have I done wrong’ – the chances are you’ve done nothing that would be considered significantly wrong in a ‘normal’ relationship.

      The fact is, whether or not people want to hear or accept it: people with bipolar simply do not see the world as a normal person would. I will probably cop a lot of flack for that last statement but in my limited first hand experience but significant (subsequent) research online (not professionally): this does seem to be the case.

      And bipolar does seem to be accompanied by behavioural traits that are destructive and saboutaging towards relationships.

      However once a bipolar person realises and ACCEPTS this, then (and ONLY THEN) do they seem to start to make progress with managing their life and being able to function within a relationship in a consistent, sustained and long-term manner. This is usually accompanied by medication and therapy.

      We first get into relationships because the other person makes us happy. You have to ask yourself, knowing what you know now, would you have first started dating this guy? Clearly you’re not happy with the pattern of behaviour you’ve experiened to-date.

      So the question for you is: do you think you deserve this treatment? Do you think this is the best you deserve from a partner? If the answer is yes, then I would suggest working on yourself. If the answer is no, then you need to let your boyfriend know what you expect from him in order to be in a relationship with him and then walk away. This leaves you free for someone who is ready and able to control their behaviour (which may later be him, or it may not).

      Personally (and I’ve fought this one significantly with myself for the last 3 years) I believe that we act patiently and give our loved ones as many chances as we reasonably can. HOWEVER, life is also too short to hold on to someone who continues to hurt you. You have to ask yourself, do the good times really outweigh the bad times? You don’t have to shut the door on them completely – but certainly you push them out from the Inner Circle Of Trust until their behaviour makes you believe they have changed sufficiently to be allowed closer again.

      I know: it’s hard when you love someone so much. And you hope that somehow you will manage to find a workable balance. In fact we hope DESPERATELY that the person we love will be available 100%, 24×7 for the rest of our life. But it just doesn’t always work out that way (bipolar or not).
      I hate cliches but they say “life is a journey’ – my take on that is that if the path is covered in gorse bushes and swamps … find a different path.

      I hope that helps.

      Stay strong. Focus on the things that you can rely on to make YOU happy. Force yourself to be black and white about it. Then I think that you’ll be happier single than in a bad relationship.

  118. Thank you so much for this article, and for all the comments.

    There is so much here that sounds so familiar. My husband and I have been together for 34 years, and I have reached my breaking point. I know that he’s ill and wishes he weren’t, but he keeps making the same choices (to stop taking meds that are working well, to drink, to smoke pot) over and over and over. He’s been verbally and emotionally abusive, reckless with money to the point that we’re in danger of losing our house (again), and frankly just cruel. The sad thing is that when he’s stable he’s very loving and funny. But I live on eggshells, knowing that the next downturn can come at any moment.

    I’ve done everything to take care of him and keep our life together. Enabled him? Heck yes. And we both know it.

    We’ve finally gotten down to the bare bones of it: Ill or not, his choices have consequences. And I am too worn out to pay those consequences for him any more. I have my own choices to make, and my own consequences to pay. I’ve chosen to stay with him and enable him for all these years, and the consequence is that I’m broke, hopeless and miserable. So I need to make different choices, whether he does or not. That means selling our house and finding separate places to live in the near future, and also splitting up our finances, car insurance, etc. In short, I need to fix my life so that I’m not responsible for his actions any more.

    I still love him, and I’ve very hopeful that once he’s on his own he’ll finally be able to make better choices. (One of our issues is his resentment when I act like his “mom” and tell him what to do.) I will help him where I can, but my priority now needs to be my life and our daughter’s.

  119. So this is the thing; when my dad realized my mom had strange behaviors when being exposed to change in the routine, or got altered when she was contradicted, he looked for an specialist that could tell what was happening to her. My mom was diagnosed with bipolarity. She started taking pills for the illness, and her behavior got a little better. But when we (dad, mom and I) got hit by economical problems, everything got worse.

    My parents started having constant fights, to the point that didn’t affect me anymore, and were annoying instead of worrying. My mom stopped taking the pills, without my dad knowing that, and telling me not to say anything.

    Arguing was now a daily thing. Since my mom worked on my dad’s business, it was pretty easy to argue about everything. That’s why my dad fired her. In not so long, my mom’s attitude started changing again: one day she was loving and liked to grab my dad’s hand; and other day argued how much he drived her insane and how much she wanted to get divorced and ran away from home. She always told me about what she planned to do (which at the end she never did), like trying to found the sister she lost contact with 23 years ago; founding an NGO to help kids, dogs and the elderly; or opening her own cafeteria.

    I could notice how my dad’s anxiety increased. He would eat more and had a bad mood all day. Fights started getting worse: breaking cups, glass, trimmings and lots and lots of screaming and swearing. What my dad finds repulsive, is that recenlty my mom adopts a bulgar way of moving, screaming and mimicking. Like they usually argue in front of me, when my dad walks away for a minute to take air, mom quickly tries to convince me that she acts like that, and quoting her: “because she doesn’t want him to treat her like a sane person anymore”. Sometimes she also says incoherent things while arguing like: “You’re just like mi sibblings! Getting away from me saying I’m crazy!”, right before she said how much they help her. They also always end the discussions with: “we are getting divorced.” They are married until now.

    I think the worse about this is that they seemed happy for a month, which was full of hand holding, laughs and watching tv late at night. I never said anything, but that sickened me. Of course, after those weeks of hope, everything fell again in fights and swearing.

    My dad constantly tells me that my mom has a mental illness and that he can’t stand her, but he’ll try not to divorce her, so I could inherit some money, instead of spending it on lawyers. He also constantly tells me to research abot bipolarity, but it’s never enough, doesn’t matter how much I read about it.

    On the other side, my mom says my dad is the one with the mental disease. That HE is the bipolar person and that needs treatment. She also asks me a lot about what my dad and I did in the day (I spend more time with my dad because like I said before my mom now works outside the business, which is at home, so I spend lots of time with dad). She treats me WAY too well, but when I contradict her in something she gets super pissed off and gives me more chores to do in the house (sweeping the floor, doing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom).

    I love my mom. Really. But sometimes she does things that get on my nerves, and even when she knows, she still does it. She also always thinks she is right. But of course, for some reason she is completely different with the rest of the world. With all the other people she is EXTREMELY kind and generous, at the point of making her look really needy of approval.

    I’m worried about my dad. He is almost 60, but has to work like a 30 year old. I’m pretty sure all the three of us want is some godamn peace, beacuse we all have extarnal crappy problems.

    I don’t know what to do. I just don´t want one of us to finish all this the way God doesn’t want to; beacause I know those thoughts have been around our minds recently.

    Thank you,
    -A teenager.

  120. i just left my fiance of 2 years i was controlled verbally and physically abused for the past 1 and a half her and her parents came today to pick her up from the hospital and her stuff from my house she seemed like she was getting better except for the verbally abuse part watch her drive away was the hardest decision ive ever had to make i was told the are taking her to a state hospital which i hope is true she
    lost her mind completely it hits me hard i truly did love her with my heart i feel like it was the most selfish thing ive ever done my God does it hurt i pray she can be treated and recover her mind back. the times we had were really so great it was unreal but the bad was also so bad it was unreal there was no median. does any one have tips on dealing with what you felt true love and to see that persons mind gone? should i still visit her or communicate or will it just worsen her?

    • Hi Floyd,

      I understand your pain. I’ve also gone through the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse of this type of relationship. Luckily there wasn’t ever any physical abuse, but the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse eventually did have it’s toll on my own physical well-being….so vicariously it was somewhat physical abuse that I was putting myself through.

      I too understand the whole, hardest decision you’ll ever have to make part. We are told to not walk away from love, that love conquers all, that if you love someone enough anything is possible. Unfortunately we can only do so much. That person also has to love themselves enough be fitting to love you back. And likewise, you can only love someone as much as you love yourself enough to take care of you. You and your health are just as important in this equation. That was a hard part for me to suck up at first, until I finally hit rock bottom myself and felt so utterly disrespected that I had no other choice but to walk away and say “I’m done.” What you did was NOT selfish. If you are in the same boat I am/was, where I was the caretaker, and constantly looking after and making sure I was doing everything to his whim, and not voicing my feelings or opinions because it would set him off, and felt like I was constantly walking on egg shells….sir, let me tell you that you have paid your dues. In fact, you have paid it forward. Now is the time to bring it all together in you, and realize that there’s a difference between being selfish and being self interested. You MUST have self interest in yourself. You MUST care about your health, YOUR sanity, and YOUR right to have emotions, feel them, have opinions, not feel a slave to someone else’s torment. I’m guessing that when you both fell in love, you had none of the wretched qualities most of us encounter coming out of one of these relationships, and I’m sure that was a quality that attracted her to you in the first place.

      The best thing for both of you is for you to focus on yourself. Get you better, and get you out of that situation and don’t look back. Do not communicate, it only prolongs pain. Maybe some time down the line, 2 years or so from now you can manage to be friends, but I wouldn’t even try to communicate. It really will just open up old wounds and hurts for both of you, and it will take longer to heal. You need to know that it’s ok to do this. This is actually the best thing you can do for her as well, even if she or her family don’t see it that way now. Don’t feel guilty, you couldn’t have stopped it, none of us can. It’s an illness that tears relationships apart, no matter how much YOU try to stop it. It’s not yours to stop. Ask yourself also if the pain you are feeling is a grief and longing for the person, or if the grief you are feeling is more in relation to how much you actually tried and failed. It’s an important question, and when you realize that there is nothing you could have done to prevent this, nothing you could have said, you couldn’t have even tried harder, you will feel less guilty that this has anything at all to do with you and your value as a person. I’m sorry to hear about your pain. I hope this helps you.

  121. I just ended a 5 year relationship with my cyclothymic boyfriend. Things seemed to be great for the first year of dating, and then things all of a sudden flipped. I was getting paranoid comments coming from him about how the “other shoe” was going to drop, of which I had no idea what he was talking about. Things seemed to be going good, so i had little understanding of what he was referring to. Then he kept telling me that he wanted to see how we argue, which I thought was pretty weird. That seemed to be the thing that concerned him the most in our relationship at that point was…how were we going to argue. I was focused on the good stuff and he was already focusing on what was going to happen during our fights (which we hadn’t had yet) and his abandonment issues, so it was really confusing to me.

    Then things just got worse. It was like a self fulfilling prophecy for him…he got what he so badly wanted and the other shoe finally did drop because I was left no other choice. I wanted to move forward in our relationship and I kept getting vague answers to that. Any time I tried to have a discussion on the topic he told me I was “ruining things.” I didn’t understand what had happened to the person I started dating. Soon after, everything became my fault. Everything bad that happened in our relationship was my fault. Every fight was my fault. Every time I tried to talk about how I felt, he’d bust in with what was upsetting him and the focus had to be on that. It was very codependent manipulation. I never got to talk about my feelings and had to hold them in for fear that he’d explode on me, or blame me for something else that I didn’t do. Every time we tried to take a trip, he’d do something to get me aggrevated (like finding out about a porn addiction he has, or looking at other women) and that was my fault. To this day, all of that is still my fault. He told me he had major trust issues and I was the cause of that, although I had never lied to him once in our 5 years together. I don’t lie to people I love.

    I also noticed he acted differently around his friends and family than he did around me. Most of the time we’d go out he’d just ignore me. I didn’t feel like a priority at all at this point. I was just severely confused. He wouldn’t open up to me about anything, or any of his feelings. Instead I just got blamed for them, and blamed for things that he had been stewing over for 6 months, most of it probably misinterpreted or made up in his head. For his birthday i made him a homemade seven course meal. He opened the door of one of my kitchen cupboards and found a recipe for some cupcakes that I was going to bake him. Knowing I can’t lie I ended up spilling the beans that I was also making him my famous cupcakes. His response was “Oh that’s great I love those. I dont’ think we’re right for each other and should break up.” I just stared at him open mouthed not believing what I was hearing…..Sure bake me your cupcakes and then I don’t want you anymore. I

    finally had had enough and before I broke up with him, decided I’d call his father to see if he had any advice for me, because I cared about what was happening to him. Something was definitely not right. His dad said something to me that I will never forget and never understand and told me “I don’t think my son knows how to love someone.” Wow…what am I supposed to do with that?! Needless to say, we broke up, and then unfortunately got back together again a few months later, and moved in with each other. Biggest mistake of my life. Things just went worse from there. He was mad at me for everything…for breathing, for walking into the room wrong, for not sleeping in the same bed, for sleeping in the same bed. He even got mad at me for 6 months because I hung his towel up in a different spot because otherwise it would have gotten wet. He told me I had no respect for him and I don’t know what respect is. Everything he was doing to me, was being mirrored and projected onto me and what he was doing was my fault. It’s like he didn’t have the guts to stop being in denial that he was the one creating the problems. He would accuse me of having a mental health problem…which is hilarious to me because I actually did get checked JUST to make sure that I wasn’t causing any of this, and of course, I didn’t have anything wrong with me, other than the therapist telling me that I’m in an obvious unhealthy atmosphere and environment being with him. His friends were even telling me to run. Some of his own family members were telling me to run. Everyone was telling me to run, and I didn’t listen. Boy I wish I had!!!

    3 years after our initial break, I told him what his father had told me and told him that he should ask his dad what he had meant so maybe he could start understanding himself. He was so depressed I didn’t know what else to do other than tell him. He was in denial that he was acting crazy and that maybe he needed to get his medication checked. I didn’t know how else to help, and was at my breaking point. Well, what his dad had told me just happened to be the one thing that caused him to get his meds checked. After his medication switch, things seemed to be going ok. So, after 6 months of being on new medication and things going better, he finally asked his father about what he had told me, and his father denied it all. So then I was accused of being a liar and it went on about how I’ve lied about everything in the relationship and how I’m untrustworthy and how he didn’t even care about me explaining myself because I’m a liar, and he’ll never be on my side, only his family’s side. It was sick…absolutely incredibly sick. And, he did this all on the back of a personal family grief issue I was having with my own parents. The conversation we were having started with me being sad about how my parents are ill and how our relationship isn’t moving forward, and he slammed the final cards down. All of the false accusations of lying was just too much and I said I’m done.

    His entire family is a codependent mess especially if they’re willing to not feel bad lying to their own son, which could have helped him. He’s in denial. I don’t even think he has feelings towards what happened. I’ve heard sorry 2 times in the entire 5 years we’ve dated, and that was only after I said I was sorry. Any time he said he was sorry it came out as “I’m sorry you did that too.” At this point I’m not even sure if he has cyclothymia, or worse, now if it’s gotten to bipolar, or even if he also is suffering from borderline personality disorder….because there’s a LOT of red flags that point in that direction. If you’re in one of these relationships you need to get out. Even if people are medicated, there’s often too much damage there, and they’re in too much denial of what they’re doing to give YOU a fighting chance. It will never be about you, or YOUR relationship. It will always be about them and what they need, or aren’t getting from you, or what you are to blame for next. You need to get out. These people can destroy an otherwise healthy person, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t also feel valued. It’s not a relationship if it’s one sided…it’s caretaking, and your not their mother or father, you’re supposed to be their partner. Sometimes you cannot help someone. They don’t want your help. They want everyone to buy into this idea that they’re victims, and we all know they’re not. Some of the bravest of them have figured that out and are not playing that card. If your partner is though, there’s little hope in changing that…it’s become a survival technique that you have no control over.

    • Hi FoxyMcGee –

      Thank you for your comments. I have found them very helpful as I deal with feelings of sadness, regret, loss, and even guilt after the end of a 2-year relationship with a woman I loved deeply and was engaged to be married to. There were/are so many wonderful things about her which attracted me to her, yet she could also turn on a dime and become very angry, verbally abusive, paranoid, etc. You are right to say that in their minds it is never about YOU or about YOUR relationship. It flummoxed me completely how utterly incapable she seemed to be able to see things from my perspective. I am not talking about small or nebulous things, I am talking about big, “obvious” things which would not even have to be discussed with most people because they would be so obvious. The saddest part is that we both loved each other so much and there were many good times and good memories and the potential for such a great future together.

      She has never been diagnosed with bipolar, nor would she ever consider the possibility that she has anything like that, but I am 95% sure that she has bipolar disorder. Now I know why 90% of bipolar marriages end in divorce. I realized that her view of reality was just very different from mine and no matter how much I loved her or showed I loved her or did for her (and her son), she was incapable of just relaxing and enjoying it and being happy. I just wanted to make her happy, but I could not do it, no matter how much I did to make her life (and her son’s) better. And I did a lot. So in that respect I am glad I did because it helps a lot when it comes to the feelings of guilt I sometimes feel, as if I could have done more. But I really don’t think I could have. I am also quite certain her son has Asperger’s, although she got very angry when I suggested that possibility, and she refused to go to a local Aspergers specialist even for a free 2-hour diagnosis interview. Then later I learned there is well-known connection between parents with bipolar and children having Aspergers (as opposed to other types of autism.) My life is easier now without all the frequent strife and heaviness in the air, but at times I do miss the good things about both of them. I know that in time it will get easier. I will take your words to heart about not communicating with her as it will only open old wounds and prolong the healing that needs to take place. Thanks again and good luck in your own healing process.

      • Bob – I feel your pain. I had similar experience – my ex would not so much change her personality but was just unable to do the most simple of things – like progress getting her driving license; keep her side of the bed tidy (and I’m not meaning just a few things (I mean like HEAPS of clothes shoved under the bed just to hide them); new opportunities would excite her and then within 3-6 weeks she would be complaining about the negatives or wanting to quit; inability to plan a birthday dinner (out at a restaurant) for me to the point that I would have to tell her what to do because it was less than a week away and she still hadn’t sent invites; she would leave buying family birthday / Christmas presents until AFTER the event; she would only contact her family when she needed something; having only 2-3 friends because she doesn’t invest time into managing relationships.

        When we eventually broke up I believe it was because she had a hypomanic episode and everything became my fault. (She had a lot of physical health issues at the time which, on top of our relationship issues, I believe became too much for her).

        It hurt like hell. And like you I remember a side to her that still has me so in love with her. But while she chooses to blame me and refuses to acknowledge that she is the one who needs to change her behaviour, she’s just not fit for a relationship.

        The reason I tell you this is simply to let you know that you’re not alone. Don’t lose faith in yourself: you’re a good person who tried to work on a relationship as much as you could. It’s a shame it didn’t work out.
        Who knows how long it will take for the recovery period. But be strong. Stay focused on your own happiness and do things that are healthy for YOU. Good luck :)

        • Hi David –

          Thanks for your insightful and encouraging words. The key thing you said which had me nodding in agreement was this:

          “It hurt like hell. And like you I remember a side to her that still has me so in love with her. But while she chooses to blame me and refuses to acknowledge that she is the one who needs to change her behaviour, she’s just not fit for a relationship.”

          As I have seen in so many posts here, this inability to accept responsibility for their actions, words, and attitudes/emotions (such as frequent, intense, and unreasonable anger) and an almost complete inability to acknowledge they are the cause of the problems (at least the main cause) and that they need to change their behavior are hallmarks of bipolar disorder, and no doubt some of the key reasons bipolar people have so many serious relationship problems.

          We went to see a counselor who almost immediately said she thought my ex may have “some type of PTSD or something.” Even a comment like that from a trained marriage/family counselor did nothing to open her eyes to the possibility she may have a problem which needs to be addressed. Instead she just had negative things to say about the counselor and how the counselor was taking my side (as opposed to her “side”.) I don’t think she even considered for a moment that the counselor might be right – it was more of an immediate and strong denial, followed by the negative words about the counselor. This lack of ability to admit there might be a problem, at least in our case, I think was the biggest problem of all. I was willing to work with her on it, and told her so, but in her mind there was nothing wrong with her and I was the one to blame for (almost) all of our relationship issues. In fairness to her, she did accept a very small amount of blame/responsibility for some things, but it was so small, and so late, without addressing the major problems, that it really didn’t amount to much.

          Another thing this counselor said which stuck in my mind was that its not enough to love each other; we each need to be loved the way we need to be loved. When she said that it was like a light went off over my head – a realization that even though there was no question she loved me deeply, and I her, I was definitely not being loved in the way I needed to be loved. The counselor also said something else I found very helpful, which was that each of us is responsible for our own happiness; no one else is (or can be) responsible for your happiness but yourself. I actually felt like she was saying this for my benefit – whether or not she was, it hit home for me and was very helpful. As much as I loved my ex, and even though I knew she also loved me very much, I also knew that our relationship was not really making me happy. At times, yes, very much so in fact, but overall – definitely not. Over time it became more and more clear to me how off-balance things had become in this regard. No relationship is happy all the time of course, but it became clear to me how extremely out of balance things had become.

          You are very right to point out that no matter how much you love someone (even a “normal” person), if they are not able to admit they are at fault (when they are) and they are not willing to say they are sorry or to change their behavior, well that just makes it pretty much impossible to have any kind of meaningful or successful “relationship” with them, because in fact they are not “relating” to you – there is no give-and-take, there is no real listening going on with them, they are only looking to point out how everything is your fault, not theirs, how you are to blame for everything. Their anger, fears, paranoia, false accusations, and more all only serve to destroy the so-called “relationship,” bringing about the end of the relationship in a “self-fulfilling prophecy” kind of way.

          I think the most helpful phrase you used was to say that such a person, no matter how much you love them, “is not fit for a relationship.” That is very, very true, and it took me awhile to figure that out. Truth be told, I am still letting that truth sink into me day by day. As I said before, there were/are many good things about her which attracted me to her in the first place, and at times make me wonder if somehow we could have made it work. But it is important to realize we can’t cherry-pick just the good qualities – we get the whole package, and unfortunately a big part of that package with a person who is bipolar is a way of thinking, a way of seeing (or not seeing) reality and a set of behaviors and attitudes which make having a successful relationship very, very, very difficult if not impossible.

          As a Christian, the whole experience has made me long even more for Heaven, where I know I will be able to see her and talk to her and her son free from all of the mental challenges they now have. How indescribably wonderful that is going to be.

  122. Hi, Natasha,

    I have a father, 63, who suffered from depression since 2004,. was once hospitalized and treated with antidepressants. July 2013, he suddenly became euphoric, happy, started going out, socializing, wearing pretty clothes, spending money. Mother saw first that his change in behavior was strange, she worried about him, and, eventually, couldn’t keep up with his pace. Especially , with spending, when all of there savings went away…Then he became aggressive, critical , couldn’t stop speaking, never slept and pushed my mother to ask for money from the relatives and friends. Finally, he pushed her out of their apartment…My mother now lives with her father, 86, with no income for herself and with a few panic attacks caused by my father’s behavior.

    After a one month treatment of mania in hospital, dad was a little bit slower, but continued with planning to bye a ship, although he tied himself in lots of debts, and continued socializing with a few young drug addicts , because of who, neighbors often call police to dad’s apartment.

    I read a lot about this illness, but what i don’t understand is, this faze, he is now pretty calm, but not caring for his health, does not take ANY medications, washes his hair and going out wet, breathing heavily but don’t want to go to the doctor, eating bad food, answers to questions with yes and no, or lies to us, and of course, the bad company…

    Sorry for my bad English, I’m from Serbia, and, yes, except the medications, I never saw that there is any form of psychological support for bipolar patients here :(, just drugs and hospitals.

    Thank you for your blog, I wish my father was this open …

    Best wishes,

    Ljupka , Belgrade

    • Liupka, I’m sorry for the struggles your family is going through. In defense of your father, Natasha is incredibly insightful. It’s not “normal” for most of us to see ourselves so objectively, and bipolar disorder makes it much harder. Try to remember that this is a disease, not a personality. You’re correct, there’s not much we can do for loved ones with mental illness. We lean heavily toward liberty in this country even for those who may not be capable of managing that liberty. Can I presume your father would rather live without your mother than stay on the proper medications? I know for me, that is a deal breaker with my spouse – no meds, no marriage. You didn’t mention if he has a source of income (retirement?) or if your parents are still married. If he does have some sort of retirement income and they are still married, I would tell your mother to see an attorney and start divorce proceeding so she can at least secure some of that income and separate her from the liabilities he’s accruing before he gets into even deeper financial distress. Good luck.

  123. Wow, I just read some of the stories in this post, and I can certainly relate. A few years ago, a death in our family seemed to trigger a very severe manic episode in my aunt. I’d actually never seen evidence of her illness before. She lived far away for about 25 years, and based on how I’d experienced her, I was really shocked and even doubtful when I learned that she had a bipolar diagnosis. But that’s because she was managing her illness very well at that point with therapy, medications and substance abuse recovery groups.

    When she moved back to her hometown and closer to where I live, she inexplicably decided that it was no longer necessary to go to therapy or work on her recovery. I think she m