Bipolar: When is Enough Not Enough?


Let me ask you something: When is enough not enough? In other words, do you sometimes
feel like you’re giving all you can, but it’s still not enough? Do you sometimes feel like it’s
not fair? Let me tell you about Mark and his wife Dianne:

You see, Dianne has bipolar disorder, and Mark is her main supporter. Usually, Dianne is pretty good about taking her medication, going to see her doctor, and doing all the other things to
keep her bipolar in check. And usually, she treats Mark pretty good. But sometimes, she gets in these awful moods, and then she takes them out on him.

She doesn’t go into a full-blown episode or anything, but it’s like she just has a “bad day,” and just doesn’t act like herself. Then, no matter what he does, no matter how much compassion he shows her, it’s just not enough. She gets really angry, for example. Then she takes it out on him, and Mark gets on the defensive, and before you know it, they’re in a fight.

He usually doesn’t even know what they’re even fighting about, but there you have it – they certainly are fighting! And sometimes Mark can’t control his temper, so even though he knows he shouldn’t fight back, he does it anyway, which just makes matters worse, because Dianne just gets madder and the fight just goes on. But then Mark tries to end the fight, even admits he was wrong, and Dianne just keeps fighting.

No matter what Mark does, it’s not good enough for Dianne. She’s just in this bad mood, and she just keeps taking it out on him! This is just so frustrating for him. He tries to show love and compassion for her, but it’s like it’s not good enough when she gets like this. He just doesn’t know what to do when she gets like this.

Sometimes your loved one will just have a bad bipolar day. That’s just going to happen sometimes. It’s just really tough when they take it out on you. And, unfortunately, sometimes that will happen as well. Because when we’re not at our best, we tend to take it out on the person closest to us, and for someone with bipolar disorder, that’s their supporter.

If I were to give any advice to Mark, I would explain that it doesn’t mean that Dianne doesn’t
love him, or that she is even doing this on purpose, but that it’s part of her disorder. Sometimes, when someone with bipolar disorder has a “bad bipolar day,” they take it out on those around them. They just aren’t themselves. However, this can leave their supporter feeling like no matter how much they do, no matter how much compassion they show, that it’s just not enough.

I would tell Mark the same thing I’ll tell you: Don’t take it personally. It’s just a bad day. They happen. Try to keep your loved one separate from their disorder and remember what they’re like when they’re not manifesting symptoms of their disorder, and try to have more patience with them than usual.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. I really can understand where he is coming from. My mother has bi polar disorder and has had it for over 13 years. I have tried for many years to help her and be the best supporter i could be. Two weeks ago we had a big blow up and i have not talk to her since. i realize this is the bipolar disorder and not my mother but then again a person can only take so much until they break.This was my breaking point and at this point in time there is nothing else i can do for her except pray that God will take care of her and that hopefully someday she will realize her problem and that she will try and help herself. You cannot help someone that does not want to help themselves.

  2. I watch television alot!!!!! It helps me cope with Life’s “detours to the dreams of a lifetime”

    I think 8 is enough! That’s my favorite family show

    I am enjoy the best shows OF ‘family’

    8 is enough
    the have and the have nots
    and so much more and thinking how these people that are being depicted are being entertained – Today’s Shows can help you cope through Bipolar and so much more

    Cheers to You and Your Family!

  3. My son has MS and I think he is bipolar as well. He is just so impossible to live with. How can one find out which is it Bipolar or MS? I am so desperate when he is nice he is nice but mostly he fights with everybody.

  4. Yes David: I’m going thru one of those “bad days” today with my loved one. You are so right..I have taken “offense” to “unusual bad treatment” lots of times, and the best way to get out of the hurt is to do as you say – don’t take it personally, but realize it’s just the disease speaking. Thanks for your super understanding. You are right on!

  5. Hello,
    My brother in law is married to my sister who has Bi-Polar with Schizoaffective and he sent me this email. It was helpful, but I would like to hear what you have to say IF THE PERSON SUFFERING THIS ILLNESS HAS NOT BEEN HERSELF FOR MONTHS. Family memebers (siblings & aunts & uncles) wish he would call the CRISIS LINE at his disposal so there can be an assessment done. We have seen our sister go through 7 other episodes and know she is in one now. What help/advice can you offer us & him in this case? The case and scenario he sent me was depiciting a Bi-Polar person having A BAD DAY ! DAY IS SINGULAR. What if this bad behavior lasts for MONTHS ? She has not been herself and acting out towards him for 4 MONTHS. She even took her anger out in a physical way by jumping on/destroying a hood to one of his John Deer Tractors. Your advice please ? I am very frustrated and confused by what to do and how to support both my sister with the disorder and her husband who has been so patient with her. When does support turn into “enabling” bad & delusional behavior? I look forward to your response very much !

  6. My daughter, Samantha, is serious bipolar. She takes her ‘bad’ days out on her 6 yr old daughter, Savannah. Savannah does not know how to react with mommy when it seems like she’s always angry. Savannah is a well-behaved, lovable, little girl who has only lived with her mother for 10 months, due to mom’s bi-polar and drug addiction. Savannah has been getting into trouble and has been getting daily severe spankings and being ‘shook’ by both arms by her mother. It seems like Samantha is having ‘bad’ days on a daily basis. I fear Savannah is being verbally, emotionally, and physically abused by her mother. I am Samantha’s mother, I raised Savannah from birth until she went to her mothers. I am 6 hours away. What can I do to help Samantha ank keep her from harming her daughter further?

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