Do you and your loved one fight a lot? Then you might relate to the email I recently got:
I am so tired of the fighting. There just doesn’t seem to be an end to it any more. I hate it! I don’t
want to walk around mad all the time but that’s what it feels like any more. Every time I turn around my wife says something that well just pushes my buttons! And she knows how to do it boy does she ever! She knows just how to say that one thing that just pushes me over the edge and make me so mad that I see red! And then I just want to punch something. And I could’ve
been having a great day up to then and the fight just comes out of nowhere that’s how it goes. But it happens that way all the time lately. She just picks on me. About everything. She just picks and picks at me. Like I said she pushes my buttons. I don’t know what to do. I try not to fight back I really do but she just makes me so mad. I know its probably just the bipolar talking but then I think that’s just an excuse and she could help it if she wanted to she just doesn’t try. But I am just so sick of all the fighting. Does everyone go thru this? George”
Well…I can certainly sympathize with George. And I can’t say whether everyone goes through the fighting or not, but I do know that many, many supporters do report that they go through fights with their loved ones.
And I know that even I had to go through a fight or two with my mom trying to get her to do what needed to be done to get better with her bipolar disorder. It got really bad sometimes, like when she yelled at me and screamed that she didn’t want me to be her son any more.
So I know what this man means about how his loved one can make him so mad by pushing his buttons. It’s a sad fact, but our loved ones are so close to us that they know what will hurt us the most. And sometimes in their own anger, they will lash out and use that to try to hurt us or make us angry and fight back.
Unfortunately, fighting is just one of the things that can happen when you’re dealing with a loved one with bipolar disorder. But just because it’s a common thing, doesn’t mean you
have to put up with it.
Consider this story that Michele told me about her and her son, Tyler, when he was a teenager:
Teenagers can sometimes be very belligerent, but Tyler would get downright cruel sometimes, and his barbs would hurt Michele so bad that she would run into her room crying.
He always knew how to push her buttons. She would be feeling fine, and with just a word or two from him, she would be pushed to such anger, it would be like going from zero to 60 in a car in seconds!
The problem was, he had “learned” that he could get that reaction by doing or saying certain things. To Michele it seemed like he did it on purpose, and maybe he did. It didn’t matter, the result was the same. He would say something that pushed her buttons, and she would respond in anger, and a fight would inevitably ensue.
Then he would say more things during the fight that would push more buttons and make her even angrier, and always, out of hurt or anger, she would end up running to her room crying, and Tyler would “win” the fight every time.
One day, Michele was telling a friend about this problem of Tyler pushing her buttons and them fighting all the time, and the friend said simply, “Move your buttons.” She didn’t understand at first, because it seemed so simple, but her friend explained. “Whenever he tries to push your button, don’t react. Even if you get hurt or angry, don’t show it. Don’t say anything back. Just ignore it. Every time he does it.”
At first, when Tyler would push her buttons, Michele felt hurt and angry, but didn’t show it. But after awhile, she didn’t even feel the hurt or anger. Eventually, because he didn’t get the response he expected Tyler stopped trying to push her buttons, and the fighting stopped.
If you’re finding yourself in a lot of fights with your loved one like George or like Michele…
And you feel like they’re pushing your buttons too…You might want to try moving your buttons.
It worked for Michele! Just think about it…No more getting hurt and angry! No more fighting!
Wouldn’t that be great?
Well, I have to go!