Boy, did I open up a can of worms when I wrote about whether or not someone with bipolar disorder is lying or not! I received more responses than I could possibly answer! I also learned a lot from you, and from your own situations.
One point that really interested me, because it was made several times, was the fact that you say that to the person with bipolar disorder it isn’t a lie, because when they say it, they believe it.
I was talking to Michele (who works for me) about that point, because she does have bipolar disorder, and she said that it’s like when her boys were little, and they would tell her a lie, but then they would say it was a lie, and then say, “Well, it’s not a lie if I tell you it’s a lie, right?”
That’s what this reminds me of. But how do we know when the person is lying or not? They aren’t little any more, like Michele’s small sons, are they?
Or are they? When someone is in a bipolar episode, they do tend to seem somewhat childish, don’t they? Or at least some of them do.
I have interviewed some people for my courses, and they have described this behavior in their
loved ones. I have also interviewed parents with children who describe this lying behavior in their children and teenagers.
I have talked about bipolar disorder and lying before, and have made the point that the person with the disorder should not “get away with” the behavior:
But what we’re talking about here is when this behavior is seen in an adult with bipolar disorder.
And what we’re really talking about is making them be responsible for their behavior. That’s what we really want. That they should take responsibility for their behavior, especially if it involves lying.
That’s what a lot of the responses I got were about. There are a lot of angry people out there, whose loved one tells lies, hurting you and others with their lies. Lots of the responses were like that.
It’s not so much that they lie, but that they get away with it. That’s what makes you so angry, isn’t it? That’s what made me so angry with my mom, anyway. That she got away with it. She would do all the yelling, manipulating, and lying, and I would get all the blame, and be the one left to “clean up after” her. I hated that. And I didn’t think it was fair. It really made me angry and resentful. And it hurt a lot.
I think a lot of you out there are really feeling hurt, more than anything else. And the worst part is that your loved one goes along not even knowing that they’ve hurt you at all!
In my research, I found that it is very common that a person with bipolar disorder will not remember what they said or did when in a bipolar episode, after the episode is over. I usually urge people not to take it personally, and that’s why.
Lying is one of the biggest complaints that bipolar supporters have about their loved ones.
I hear about it all the time, at the support groups I attend, in emails and calls I receive, from people who talk to me, from people who write to me, etc.
And, like I said, I think it boils down to two things: The hurt it causes. And the fact that they are getting away with it.
So what can you do about it? You have to make your loved one take responsibility for their actions. Whether they remember it or not, they must take responsibility for the behavior they did during their bipolar episode. And there need to be consequences to pay for lying or not owning up to responsibilities.
Well, I have to go!