Anger is a very negative emotion. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a natural reaction. In fact, it’s a very natural reaction when it comes to bipolar disorder. You’ve probably seen this in your loved one. They probably react in anger many times.
Sometimes it seems justifiable; however, sometimes it can seem out of proportion to the events that caused it – This can be due to the bipolar disorder itself. Pent-up rage can be their reaction to anger that they have kept inside.
Many supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder report that their loved one goes into manic rages. They say that their loved one will sometimes pick a fight over nothing at all. This could be because they have been ‘stuffing’ their anger, until it gets to a boiling point and comes out as rage, usually directed at you.
But what about you? What about anger in the supporter of a loved one with bipolar disorder?
This is a subject not usually talked about, because usually the supporter feels guilty for feeling angry at their loved one – Like they’re not supposed to get angry. Or because they see the results of anger in their loved one, and they don’t want that to be them. That’s understandable.
I remember when my mom would get so angry at me that she would throw things at me. I sure didn’t want to get that angry. But she sure would make me mad sometimes, too. I would feel that anger, but then I would feel so helpless, not knowing what to do with those feelings.
I knew I couldn’t act like her – I couldn’t throw things back at her. I couldn’t yell back at her, because yelling back at her wouldn’t get me anywhere, and would just prolong the fight. Yelling back at my mom would just make her angrier, and she would yell even more. So I knew that wasn’t the solution.
Now, if you’re thinking that you never get angry at your loved one, consider this: Do you ever resent them? Do you ever think that it’s not fair? That you wish you could unleash your anger the way that they do? That it’s not fair that they get away with expressing their anger the way that they do, when you can’t? Because you are the ‘normal’ one, the responsible one, and you wouldn’t do what they do, would you? You might even feel a little jealous of them.
Well, if you resent your loved one, you might be surprised to know that resentment is actually repressed anger! So you are actually angry. You may not rage, or act out like your loved one does, but you still experience anger.
The thing is, if you keep ‘stuffing’ that anger, it will eventually come out, and you might find yourself raging too. Or at least yelling and screaming when you least expect it.
Now, we’ve already talked about how ineffective that is. So you have to find a better way to
handle your anger. Find someone you can talk to about it. Someone you can trust, like someone in your own support system – or another family member or friend, clergy person, coworker or boss, friend, someone in your support group, your therapist, etc.
If you don’t have anyone you can talk to about it, at least write it down in a journal or diary, but get those feelings of anger out, so they don’t come back at you.
Well, I have to go!