I got this email the other day that I’d like to share with you, as it really concerned me:
“I so often feel like my husband’s mother instead of his wife. I know I’m being manipulated by him, because if I don’t do the things he should be doing for himself he simply doesn’t do them
then blames me. He’s not on medication, has only ever seen a psychiatrist once – didn’t go back
because he didn’t like what he was told, so now resists any suggestion of going again, which is
frustrating. I’m now wondering whether all the years of support I’ve given him have been a waste. I’m on the point of leaving him because I am just so very tired of his games, and it’s time he had to face up to his responsibilities. I worry but think this is the only way to either get him to face reality, or if that fails, for me to get a life without the constant anger, abuse and manipulation. I know he loves me, and I think I still love him, but it’s just not enough anymore, and our relationship is becoming toxic for me.”
There are so many points that this woman brings up in her email. Many are points that other supporters deal with themselves. For one thing, she says: “I know I’m being manipulated by him, because if I don’t do the things he should be doing for himself he simply doesn’t do them then blames me.” I have had supporters complain to me that their loved ones try to manipulate them as well. But when you do things for your loved one that they should be doing for themselves, that’s called enabling, and it’s something that you really shouldn’t do, because it doesn’t help your loved one get any better. They should be trying to get as independent as they
can be, and you should be trying to help them get that way. And if they’re not, they could be manipulating you, like this woman’s husband is. If so, you need to put a stop to it.
One of the biggest problems is probably what this woman stated right out in her email: That her husband is NOT on medication. We know that although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, the best hope for your loved one to get better is for them to be on medication for their disorder. But the only way this will work is if they are compliant – willing to take that medication every day.
And this woman says her husband isn’t doing that. So, obviously, that is going to lead to some pretty big problems, which she goes on to talk about. In fact, she says that she wonders if all her years of supporting him have been a waste. You can get to feeling that way when your loved one doesn’t seem to respond to your efforts. But one thing you always have to remember is something I continually tell you: Don’t take it personally! You are a good supporter! If your loved one doesn’t seem to be responding to your best efforts as a bipolar supporter, it isn’t your fault. It could be because of them, or because of their bipolar disorder itself. Some people just take longer to respond than others. You can only do so much, remember that. Your best is always good enough.
I worry when this woman says in her email: “I’m on the point of leaving him because I am just
so very tired of his games, and it’s time he had to face up to his responsibilities. I worry but think
this is the only way to either get him to face reality, or if that fails, for me to get a life without the constant anger, abuse and manipulation.” Although I can understand her frustration. Sometimes it does get to the point where you wonder if your loved one will ever get any better, or if this is the best it will ever get. You wonder if this is the way things will always be, and you’re not happy about it. I always encourage supporters not to give up on their loved ones, not to give up hope. But this woman says in the end that this is becoming toxic for her. If things are becoming toxic for you, or becoming unsafe, making you sick, etc., you may have to consider leaving the situation, at least temporarily as well. Either way, it is a very tough decision, and I urge you to think about it very, very carefully. Maybe even talk to a professional about it?
Well, I have to go!