Bipolar: Dealing with Bipolar Anger


I remember when I was dealing with my mom’s big episode, one of the worst things I faced was her anger. I know, too, from the many emails and letters I get from bipolar supporters, that anger is a common issue that many other supporters face as well.

When people with bipolar disorder go into a bipolar episode, they can sometimes feel very angry. They can get angry that they are depressed or manic. They can get angry that things aren’t fair, or that they feel that life itself isn’t fair (or at least feel that it hasn’t been fair to them). They can be angry that maybe they had to lose their job because of their bipolar disorder.

They can be angry that their family is treating them differently. They can be angry because they feel society (their community) is treating them differently. They can be angry because of the diagnosis of bipolar disorder itself. They can be angry because they feel differently.

Mostly, they are probably angry because they feel like they are not in control. They probably feel like the bipolar disorder is in control of them. Although this is a common feeling for people with
bipolar disorder to have, it still doesn’t excuse the fact that they are probably taking their angry
feelings out on you.

So how do you deal with your loved one’s anger? One way is to validate their emotional state and feelings. Now, I’m not saying that you have to agree with everything they think and feel, nor with how they’re acting. But validating their emotional state and feelings means that you can say something like, “I can see how you might feel that way.”

This makes your loved one feel as if you are at least listening to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree with them, and you are acknowledging their right to feel the way they do. This is important to them.

Another thing you can do when your loved one is angry is to ask how you can help. Notice I didn’t say to ask IF you can help, because then all you’re going to get is a yes or no answer, and that’s not really going to help you. But by asking HOW you can help, you will get a clearer direction in exactly what your loved one is looking for from you.

One thing you DON’T want to do is to fight back with explanations. This just puts you on the defensive, and only prolongs the fight. Explanations are a force of habit. We really do believe that if we can just explain ourselves, our loved one will see that they have no reason to be angry.
That’s assuming that when your loved one is in the throes of bipolar anger that they are totally
rational, but that’s not usually the case. In fact, it’s usually the opposite, so you need to treat them as such.

Definitely do NOT patronize them, though, as they will resent that and just get more angry at
you. But if you try to explain yourself, your loved one will see that as a way to prove them wrong, belittle their beliefs, or avoid blame, so you don’t want to do that, either. It’s best just to avoid giving explanations for your behavior, opinions, beliefs, feelings, etc., especially when they are contrary to your loved one’s.

If you really feel as though you need to make your point, save it for a time when your loved one is more calm and rational and is not experiencing bipolar anger.

Having your loved one angry at you is not a pleasant experience, but knowing how to deal with it can certainly help. Try using these techniques the next time your loved one is experiencing bipolar anger.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,



  1. I’m going through this right now,my adult bipolar son lost his job two weeks ago ,because of his anger ,his manager noticed he was different and start cutting his hours,this happens at every place of employment,he does a good job,they give him letters of special recognition because of his performance,it’s when they see he is not very social,and occassionally talk softly to himself ,it becomes a problem,he has been subjected to name calling as well,referred as a retard,he try to overlook it ,it hurts him and it hurt me too .

  2. I have been dealing with my husbands rapid cycling bipolar disorder since 2009. Actually that is when he received an official diagnosis but I was dealing with it way before that.
    Although he is good about taking his meds. they don’t continuously work for him and I can often tell they are not working because he has temper outbursts. They are usually irrational and hurtful. I have been told by his psychologist not to take it personally which of course is hard since he aims the anger at me, but I try to understand it is not really him. You are right David arguing with them when they are in that state only escalates the situation so when reasoning doesn’t work I just try and walk to another room. If he follows me to continue I ask him to just give me my space. Usually he will leave the room until we both calm down.

  3. Wow Dave,

    my girlfriend was telling me how “scared” she felt when she saw two total strangers fighting over “environmental stimuli”

    She is not accustomed to seeing total strangers provoking others so she was so startled, she took her car and parked across the street from the actual house that was fighting. I asked her to move the car because I didnt want to at that point be on that block (the luciferic energy was bad) she froze of fear.

    Anger is an energy that comes from ‘below’ and if used in a constructive way it can yield healthier results. Like amazing strength of samson.

    One thing I told my girlfriend is to put on a peach top, go out and not tie-in how society (which is usually choreographed) treats them. We as humans evolved the person may no longer be the same person they were to you “yesterday” today.

    It’s sort of like wearing a Guess top

    yesterday to the right of your Sister
    Today to the right of your Sister’s friend

    never married, never dated before.

    I told her wear the same top she wore yesterday

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