Bipolar Supporter? One of the Hardest Things You Have to Do


How are you? I hope you are doing well.

I have been having a hard time these days on so many things.

I won’t get in to it today but will be writing several daily emails about it. Especially how I got conned out of $4500 by a total conman.

It’s been tough to build this organization.

BUT, there are a lot of hard things we have to do in life.

Going through school was hard for most of us.

All those tests!

Some of us had teachers we didn’t like, or even teachers who made it hard on us to get through the class or the grade.

Learning how to ride a bike was hard in the beginning, wasn’t it?

Going through adolescence was hard – confusing thoughts and feelings, awkwardness, and even acne!

Learning how to drive was hard for many of us.

Relationships are hard.

Learning the other person’s likes and dislikes.

Learning how to get along with another person who may not be as much like you as you might like them to be.

Learning how to communicate with another person.

Buying that first house is hard for many people – it’s hard to understand about mortgages and everything.

Same thing with a car – sometimes it’s hard to make a decision about which one is the right one to buy.

But being a supporter to a loved one with bipolar disorder is really hard.

And one of the hardest things you have to do is to FORGIVE.

In my courses/systems, I go over the signs and symptoms of a manic episode, and the things your loved one might do in one, and that’s what I want to talk about today.




When your loved one is in a manic episode, they will become impulsive.

They will not be rational.

They will not be themselves.

They will do things without thinking about the consequences.

Things like:

• Excessive spending
• Risky sexual behavior
• Risky driving
• Substance abuse
• Compulsive gambling
• Foolish business investments
• Bad decisions
• Poor choices

And any of these things might affect you.

Because there are consequences to these actions.

For example, if your loved one spends money excessively or makes foolish business nvestments, it could mean financial ruin for you.

Or if they exhibit risky driving, there could be legal consequences.

If they get involved with substance abuse, there could be long-term consequences, because now you have another problem to deal with besides just their bipolar disorder.

And what if they get involved with risky sexual behavior?

That could mean they could have an affair, or bring home a sexually transmitted disease to you.

Any of these things might make you feel hurt, angry, resentful, or a host of other negative feelings towards your loved one.

But let’s just consider the last one.

If your loved one had an affair or gave you a sexually transmitted disease, would you be able to
forgive them?

This is one of the things that can cause real damage to a relationship.

And forgiving their loved one in this case is one of the hardest things a supporter will ever have to do.

But you have to consider this very carefully.

If you intend to stay with your loved one, you have to do it. You have to forgive them.

Now, I’m not saying you can do it right away.

It will take time.

Because it will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do.

But your loved one will be remorseful, and if you have good communication, it can be done.

Have you ever been in any of these situations?

Were you able to forgive your loved one?

David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

  1. I have been fortunate with my husbands mania. The worst he has done was keep me awake all night. its his depression that really bothers me. i can’t rely on him to do the things i ask or to even take care of my children becausae he may go all day without getting up once or if he does he is very mean wit hthe kids. my son does have some bad manias and it does make it hard to deal with him. i have to keep a close watch on him always despite the fact that he is 15. but you are right you can’t hVE A RELATONSHIP IF YOU AREN’T WILLING TO FORGIVE.

  2. Forgive my daughter, of course, after all I’ve put up with her irrational behaviors for 35 years. BUT….I can’t afford to forget — none of we caregivers can — if we forget, we don’t learn, and we have to stay ahead of our “loved ones” or we won’t come out of the crises with a whole skin. I have a psychiatric disorder myself, so I have to be extra-careful.
    In accordance with the ancient directive -“Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” Deplore the affliction, but love, cherish and protect the afflicted one.

  3. My 22yr old son has had so many episodes, I am just tired of dealing with it. Does any one know of an vocational/traing program. He needs to be kept busy. I do keep forgiving him and telling him I love him but some days it is very hard.

  4. I have experinced over 5 affairs from my bi-polar loved one. I managed to forgive him with time. In hopes that he would decide for himself to get help. This last time we got together, he manipulated me to believe that he was going to get help and was the only reason I decided I would go back and give it another try. I had everything set up, but he kept giving me excuses. Like I don’t have the time right now, or I don’t have the money. I realized then that I had been manipulated. Soon the episodes started to come. I was still trying to work with him until he gave me something. Thank god it was just a mild case and easy to cure and I’m healthy now. But, I’m all out of forgiveness, and I have walked away. Now I’m having to deal with a break up and his manipulations of trying to hold on to me. All the while he is with this other woman.
    To all you supporters…I must stress. If you are with a bi-polar person who has refused to get the care they need. Give up, you can’t make them do it. You will be subjected to this sort of treatment for the duration of your relationship. No matter how much hope you have in them.

  5. Thankfully, after you, Dave, and many others urged I continue to try to get help for my resistant husband, I have made an appointment with a psych to get eval and drugs. He was offered this almost as an ultimatum, since i’d pretty much given up hope for our marriage. So far, he is agreeing to go. Hope by the time appt comes up, we can go together. It’s my last hope. Things are only getting worse! Think he has bipolar and depression, or maybe it’s related. He has all the symptoms of one or the other most days now. Patience, forgiveness, pray, it’s all necessary if you want it to work. I have nothing to lose. Since he’s also the father of my young child, SOMEONE needs to help him anyway! My son deserves better.

  6. I too, have a bipolar husband. He was laid off from his job in Dec 2008 and has been looking for another one. He started a hate campaign against this company with a huge website. He has been emailing their lawyer. But this is not the first episode for him. When we were living in CA, in a house I bought with my brother and daughter, he had some bad episodes and I did not know about bipolar then– I had never talked to his mother! My daughter’s car somehow was “vandalized”, my dog AND cat were killed (I had put both of them in the garage cos it was cold. My daughter did not do her chores (she was 20 and working!) and her some of her clothing was “accidentally” bleached. I could go on and on. He was always complaining or saying bad things about my daughter (she was a good girl, going to college and working). My house became a pressure cooker and I had a nervous breakdown, walking away from everything that was precious to me, after my brother and daughter moved out. I left (abandoned) my house to foreclosure, he was on a job interview out of town. When he came back, he was so distraught (this was blamed on my daughter) that he vandalized our home, scratching and marring our furniture and appliances with a sharp object, and slashing our bed and our $7,000 couch, just to keep me from getting it! I forgave him and we got back together, but he STILL blames my daughter.
    OH YEAH, I have had to do some heavy forgiving, but it has not been easy, and this latest episode… he wont go to the Dr, he wont get medication… I cannot afford your program, because we are living on our savings and that is running out fast!!!

  7. hi dave i think this is ur latest 16 yrs old and i just diagnosed with it 3 yrs old.after i got bipolar 3 yrs later im so fat right u knw how life is?i feel like wanting to be a im thinking of starting smoking ,drinking,drugs and sex.u now being an addict.but i found out these getting high stuff worsens bipolar disorder and its symptons.and can lead to ven a bigger hole and even death.i have experience coz during my puberty years i really addicted to sex and no one in my whole family has bipolar except me so im 100 sure this caused it.i had experinces of anxiety mania and all bipolar symptons.and i realise that wehn my brain get so stressed.forget dat anyways.should i start these addictions.i know there must be a way i can live wid out these evil stuff.i see many people like my parents and good people.and u said it ur self lots of bipolar high functioning people live a normal life.PLS REPLY TO ME.IM YOUNG WHAT SHOULD I DO?AND IF U ASK ME TOD RTHE RIGHT THING.EXPLAIN TO ME ALSO.thnks al lot dave

  8. GEEEZEE! I dont know ; where to start! Im a 47yr.old woman with manic bipolar, personality disorder, emotionally distress disorder. But, so are my 2 daughters in their 20s! Sometimes; its extremely hard to manage my own mental illnessess,and dealt with my poor choices in life. Now;I figure, the best thing to do at my age is try to protect, and tell them the plain truth on how life really works, and is! Back in my youth; the doctors had practically knew next to nothing about any mental illness. And, didnt want to be bothered! So; if you dont want to be bothered; just put them in the e.r.! So ; theyll get some kind of help , before suicide,or regretable life choices!!!!! We are only human!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Is this for real???? Outside of the fact that your posts tend to be riddled with spelling errors….Why should I believe in YOU. 15yrs and 13 therapists later I’m still no closer to being able to hold down a decent paying job, maintain a “healthy” relationship of any kind, or get the help/assistance I need via therapy or medication I need. So….what advice do you have for me (37, unemployed, isolated, no insurance, and feeling like the only way anyone will help me is if I let loose what little restraint I have and do something drastic or dangerous to be seen/heard/or taken seriously)?

  10. Know these comments are meant for those who are caregivers dealing with forgiveness.

    Just one from the other side.

    Yes we do go through episodes where, at the time, we are not in control. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately afterwards many of us do remember just what we have done to our families.

    At those times, probably most of us, deal with the guilt issue, and are very grateful when our caregivers forgive us for behavior, that we really had no control over.

    I am grateful to those members of my family that I have hurt over the years and stayed with me. Also am grateful that, at least so far (after more than 20 years) most still are in my corner.

  11. On a darker subject: I attended a wake tonight for the 21-yr-old daughter of an old boss of mine (22 years ago). There was no mention of an illness or other reason for her death. I walked up to my boss, and, as the conversation went on, I asked him how she had died. He said, “A drug overdose. She had demons that ate away with her, and she couldn’t bear them anymore.”

    Now, I don’t know if it was accidental or on purpose, but she was a lovely girl, and waaay too young to die. Do those of us with bipolar have “demons?” I know in the Bible, it is mentioned that Christ “cured” demoniacs, especially one called “Legion.”

    When I had my first nervous breakdown, I was reading the Bible voraciously with every down moment involved with it. It felt like I had “legions” of personallties inside of me – that was my manic confusion. I also had religious delusions, which I’ve had with each of my 3 nervous breakdowns. Is there “demon possession” today??

    I felt so sorry for my boss; he didn’t deserve this tragedy (does anybody!). He wrote a beautiful obituary, making his daughter sound like a sprite, full of life and love. To end such a joyous life seems so cruel…

    I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is – if you are bipolar, TAKE your meds, GET enough sleep, EAT nutritiously, and last but not least, SEE your psychiatrist and TRY to work with them for your recovery. DON’T end up like my boss’s daughter, who had so much life left to live.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I pray for my country.

  12. Forgiveness, well I have had to forgive my wife alot, I know she has a illness and know that it isn’t her that says the things or acts the way she does. But if she cheated? well I would forgive her, but the marriage would be over. Even I do know the real Sondra, I would have to draw the line and it would be done. I woukd help her to get setteled again, and all I could do. But it would be over, there STD’S out there that kills, I have daughters and son’s + many grand kid’s I want to see grow. Sorry but that would be all for me.

  13. Hi Everyone,
    Thanks Dave for your posting pertaining particularly to we supporters.
    As supporters we all know treatment and management of this illness is a three step process, 1/3 Meds, 1/3 support and 1/3 therapy.
    Regarding forgiveness at times when you cannot forgive or are still too RAW from the experience, I emotionally divorce myself from the situation but call on friends to be his support if he needs it.
    Of course usually HE turns on these people too, but at least they have a glimpse into the spouses life and can offer us support and EMPATHY with what we go through.
    Last week I had one of those truely ‘LIGHTBULB’ moments. My husband had turned on me due to the fact I have been controlling our finances for both his and my family’s protection for sometime. He stole his Credit card from what I thought was a good hiding place and exploded, I enlisted the help of a male well-built friend who has now witnessed how violent and angry he can become. My husband thinks he’s OK, after all he was recently realeased from a Psych Hospital and is taking his meds!
    Wrong! he has cancelled his appt with both counsellor and Psyciatrist and thinks the Meds are enough.
    I have been in Family Support counselling and & Trauma counselling for what has been done to me which helps enormously with the forgiveness issue, However don’t make the mistake I have on blaming Bi-Polar for all their behaviour. Here’s the ‘LIGHTBULB’ while abusing me my husband stopped and Screamed “I F____ing HATE WOMEN” and oh my god suddenly it all made sense. In a way that only Therapy will deal with these type of issues, ingrained, deep seated resentment isn’t all Bi-Polar. When friends and I got together and discussed things we had witnessed with all significant women in his life over 56 years – it sadly just rang TRUE!
    It had always seemed to me -the old cliche “you always hurt the one you love” just didn’t cut it or explain everything. Sure I’ve experienced plenty of BP symptoms in him – particularly the spending sprees, the work instability, abuse, aggression and violence – but their just had to be more to it.
    For starters the afflicted needs to take responsibility and ownership for their illness – so during this very brief stage of remorse (usually occuring 4-5 days after the violence when coming down)
    I have drawn him a treatment flow chart explaining the importance of the 3 part management and requested he draws me an action plan of how he is going to take responsibility and implement these changes. You can lead a horse to water and all that!
    Also I have put our property on the market – suggesting we need a fresh start – of course this will enable me some options too. If this man cannot take charge of both his illness and ISSUES – after 14 years I can no Longer put myself or my children through it.
    I know this is a long comment, I do hope it is of help to someone my main message being: These people are extremely complex – it’s not all about Bi-Polar if they have other issues the Meds won’t fix it only Therapy and willing change will!
    My empathy and support to all fellow supporters

  14. Dave
    Thanks for requestings responses to Forgiveness. My story is a long one. Dealing with a spouse who is Bipolar and who is rasing a Grandson who is my step granson who has been diagnoised Bipolar at 13, on meds for 4 years and is finally responding. But, my wife who is his Grandmother, and by all of my research ( on Bipolar) including your information for the last 6 years. everything indicates she is definately Bipolar. I have lived this nightmare for over 12 years. My wife is in denial, refusing to get tested even with myself offering to be tested with her, made an attempt on my life 4 weeks ago, which lead to a police report and investigation. I offered to submitt to a polygraph exam if she would do likewise as to weather she tried to poison me, or if I made this whole thing up, as she ststes. She refuses to do test. She says I’m only doing this to make her appear crazy. SHE I BELIVED DID THIS ONLY AFTER I WROTE HER A VERY WARM LETTER TELLING HER I LOVED HER, BUT WAS ONLY WILLING TO STAY IN THIS MARRIAGE IF SHE WOULD GET COUNSELLING AND DIAGNOSIS. I HAVE FORGIVEN HER, KNOWING THAT IT WAS NOT THE REAL HER THAT DID THIS, BUT THE DISIESE. wHAT REALLY CONCERNS ME NOW THAT I HAVE FORGIVEN HER,IS, I MAY NOT BE AROUND TO FORGIVE HER IF SHE IS SUCESSFUL IN HER NEXT ATTEMPT WHEN SHE HAS HER NEXT DEPRESSIVE EPISODE.

  15. I have not Forgot, nor have I Forgave — in over two years now! My wife started spending ALL of her extra time with a co-worker. Idiotic things like needing to have “emergency car repairs” on the way home from work. (The adult version of running out of gas!) Almost every night at his house, for hours, after work. Even to the point of not coming home at night, twice because of an office party – I was not invited. I knew about her “disease” shortly after we met, and had been through episodes before, but that did not make things better or easier, for this particular episode.

    The one thing that she has wanted most her whole life is a stable and “normal” family life, and had never had it before. Like some people with a problem (and most all psychologists) she is now finishing her doctorate and will be a marriage and family counselor soon. This only makes things worse to me – in many ways. She was being bombarded with how terrible of a person that I was, and how nice and good looking of a guy he was. I have two successful businesses (at the time 4) and work 7 days a week. (Yes, a family problem in itself!) He was 20 years older than her and had a great, smooth talker type personality, but has never once had a stable relationship and all of his past girlfriends were married!! I could see the confusion and strife in her/our lives when talking to her and it was hard on her, but as she told her mother, she could not stop herself. Even our children noticed and were hurt too. This manic episode went on for a long time and covered A LOT more than just this “affair”. The following depression was as long too. Both were longer than any previous episode.

    The depression came to the point that she spent more than a month in a hospital that you, “need a key to get back out of!” While in the hospital she was only allowed a few visitors and numerous times I was “asked” by her to go home to care for the kids or care for this or that. It was not until she was about to be released and talking to her doctor in person (It was usually on the phone.) I found out that “HE” was the reason. If I was there, “he” could not be. The doctor said had he known that “he” was the family problem and part of what put her in the hospital in the first place the doctor would never have allowed him to see her. It was too late then.

    Part of her hospital release was that we see a family counselor. That “counselor” only added to the depression problem. My wife says things with such conviction that there is nothing that I can say to the contrary, she is that good! The “counselor” actually encouraged my wife to not only “be” with this guy, to make her happy, but to tell me point blank that she is “going” to be with him, and she did!!!!! To try to get herself out of the depression she did, and she got worse. Before this she had stopped seeing him. This “counselor” actually told me in a session that if I believed that my wife was having an affair to leave her, right now! Can you believe this *&%???? There are bad people in every profession.

    It was my wife that finally “pulled her head out” and realized that the “counselor” and “friends” were helping her to destroy what she not only had now, but what she had always wanted, a loving man and a stable family. She stopped all contact with “him” the smooth talker, and even quit a great paying/benefit state job to get away from the others who assisted. Of course we no longer see that so-called “counselor.” Family is now job one!

    She has been great since then, and the only real problem is me. I have never been the jealous type and my wife is an exceptionally good looking woman in perfect physical condition (military reservist too) and it has always bothered her more than I that a man would look at her or make “cat calls” at her. Now she is completely paranoid about it, and thinks that I’ll leave her because she’s starting something. I’m still not jealous.

    She says that I need additional counseling for Post Traumatic Stress from my Marine Corps and LAPD days and that this not letting me move on. But I have let it go; I’ve just not allowed it to go away as honestly, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I’ve allowed manic episodes to run into many thousands of dollars and many other problems, depression episodes too. I’ll tolerate just about anything, and have! I will not put up with an affair of any kind. I cannot believe I allowed it the first time without leaving. If it were not for kids I would have. I’m completely faithful to her and I expect for her to be too! If it happens again I’m out of here, period! To FORGIVE is the hardest thing to do, and as of now I have not! I do see it coming in the future, but not yet, not for an affair!

  16. I don’t know how to deal with a bipolar person! It doesn’t matter about the meds. and counseling; it is a bad situation to live in that causes so much HURT! The sad thing about it is, it is the love ones thatare trying to support this ill person, are the people who are getting hurt. It is the bipolar person who act as though they don’t know what is happening. Sometimes I don’t know whether he is using this illness as an excuse for his negative actions or a way of having his way. This really pisses me off. I’ve run out of patience and love. I feel trapped!! If I go away my husband won’t take his meds. therefore risking mania more often. This will not give my children a fair chance of having some kind of normacy with their father. If I stay it’s the damn same.

  17. Yes, I have had this happen and it was one of the toughest times in my life. To tell the truth I am not over it, and it has been two years. We still talk, and even talk a little about getting back togerther, but I don’t think it will happen, I have a big trust issue plus too go back thru that pain again, no thank you. I am not Bipolar so I don’t know what it is like to have the ups and downs, but I will say that if your involved with someone and kids are involved, you (the bipolar person)know the difference between right and wrong. Again I am not bipolar. I am of the opinon that at times, not always that this is an excuse for the behavior. I know from what I have dealed with, with her and it is not easy, but again I am not the one that had the affair. Having said all this I want to say that she is the one that had the bulit with my name on it and hit
    my heart. I will always have a wound their that will never heal. I love her more than I can say. I realize that I sound two faced, but the hurt also goes deeper than I want to ever experience again.


  19. To all the above, At the the risk of sounding like Turkey Phil (Dr. Phil.), find something or someone positive to talk to, latch on to. Do something that you like doing (after your essential chores and parental or carers duties),but without taking risks. ie…booze Ask your doctor for lifestyle suggestions if you don’t have ‘positive’ friends, family members to help.Find something/someone that makes you laugh and love again if your current relationships don’t do this.

    After an unavoidable marraige breakdown, i had two ‘lifesaving’ friends who i will remain indebted to. I now have a loving relationship with my daughter’s former Creche teacher who subsequently has told me that she had grave concerns about my ex’s mental state whilst being on a committee with her.. What I’m saying is..that water finds it’s own level.. If you still have your morals, or you can seek out ‘Good’ professional help and listen to positive people, then you’re well on the way. One thing I’ve learnt is that if you can’t look after yourself firstly, then you’re not going to be an effective parent/carer…

    Take care and be the BEST role model for your children (nephews, nieces,neighbours) that you can possibly be..
    stop wollowing in self pity and START NOW!.

  20. I have known my husband for 20 years.He has always been a moody person, everybody just accepted it. We have been living together for the last 15.

    He was diagnosed with manic depression 12 years ago before we got married and kept this from me.He told me a couple of years after. Foolishly I never found out enough about manic depression and just thought it was depression and knew nothing about the manic episodes or how seriously dangerous it is.

    18 monthes ago he became more and more secretive, started taking steroids against my wishes, lying about extra shifts at work, spending money, and way too much time on the internet. I confronted him time and time again if he was cheating on me he laughed and denied anything. After spending monthes completely consumed with finding the truth I finally got into 1 of his 5 secret email accounts and there I discovered my worst nightmare!!! Over 30 female contacts, emails and pictures that had been going on for 1 year.

    The man who I thought I knew inside out had different names he went by and a completely seperate mobile phone. When I asked why he just said “cause you were a bitch”.We seperated that instant and he began to fall apart.If it wasnt for our 2 young children (one being a newborn) I would never have looked back. After realising how serious his condition was and what he had put his family through I convinced him to go to hospital to get help.

    We are now 18 monthes down the track and he is a different man. People with Bi Polar are manipulative and sneaky and always say everybody else has the problem, when it is clear to everybody else they have serious issues. He knows that he must take his medication and see a pyschiatrist on a regular basis.

    If this was to happen ever again I know I could never take him back because I have given this relationship my all. I will never forget the horrible things he has put me through,the chaos he brought our life, but choose to move forward and pray that neither of my children inherite his illness.

    We are now closer than we have ever been and I am ever so grateful for the support of our families, friends and our wonderful counselor. Things could have turned out very differently…

  21. Some tidbits on forgiveness: CS Lewis: “Real forgiveness means steadily looking at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice”.

    “Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting to remember, but remembering to forget.”

    “Forgiveness is given; reconciliation is earned. Forgiveness cancels all debts, but it does not eliminate the consequences”. Reconciliation and forgiveness are related, but quite distinct.

    Again by CS Lewis: “To forgive for the moment is not difficult, but to go on forgiving, to forgive the same offense every time it recurs to the memory – that’s the real tussle”.

    In other words, there has to be clear evidence of deep change, on the part of the person with bipolar disorder/illness – ie taking medications to control the anger, outbursts, abuse, threats, intimidation, destructive habits etc.

    Forgiveness does not instantly put trust back into order. Just as a person with a bipolar problem is “suffering” so are the supporters living with all the terror of how things can change up, literally at any moment without warning. It is like living with a bomb about to explode. As supporters, we spend so much time trying to understand “them” but I don’t see a whole lot of “them” (bipolar folks) trying to understand what it is like for us (except for a very few and I applaud those who do care)- rampant narcissism seems to go hand in hand with bipolar.

    You also have to protect yourself and your kids emotionally or they will grow up to have emotional disorders BECAUSE OF being so terrorized by a parent with an out of control mood disorder. It is important to forgive, and teach your kids to forgive, but it’s also important to remind yourself and your kids that you do not have to be abused, regardless of the disorder.

    And once you can understand the “disorder” from a distance, then you can start to forgive. It is impossible to forgive when living the terror day in and day out. And that makes perfect sense as to why “only the weak can’t forgive” because in the midst of surviving the three headed monster that appears with each episode, you feel weak and worn out as a supporter.

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