I got this email and wanted to share it with you:
“I have a question/comment. Dave, you mention that bipolar disorder comes along with rages in several different blogs you have posted. I find this difficult to digest. I have never accepted the raging and abusing. It is simply not healthy for the family, as it affects the atmosphere of a home and makes the nervous system of the family members very unstable !
Someone with bipolar should be held to the same standards as someone without bipolar. We cannot walk in an AT&T store and rage and threaten and get away with it, nor would we want to. We cannot throw chairs and typewriters or get up in peoples faces, just because we feel like it, yet you write that with bipolar this is part of it. Perhaps no-one has held the bipolar person accountable for their destructive behavior. It is not normal and the minute we accept it as “well they have rages” it is us who have gone crazy.
Intolerable behavior should never be allowed, especially when it is used to manipulate you with. Family members can only take so much crap from one person. And another thing, there is a huge difference in someone who has bipolar and has episodes but realizes how they behave and wants to change their behavior or take the medications that hold that behavior in check. It is completely different when a person with bipolar et al, refuses to acknowledge how their behavior affects other people around them.
It is not normal to rage. It is not normal to verbally abuse just for sport. And it should not be tolerated in the name of “oh well, they are bipolar” or whatever. The behavior is stuck below 5 years old and that is the awful truth. You cannot have an adult relationship with someone who
behaves like a pre-kindergartener !”
First of all, let me say that I agree with this person. Now, that may sound contradictory, since I have said what they said I did at the beginning of their email, so let me defend myself here. I have said in certain blog posts that bipolar does come with rages. Manic rages. I’m talking about manic episodes here. And it does not happen to everyone, just to many people.
Now that I’ve got that straight, let me continue.
Much of what this person said in their email can be typical of a person in a bipolar manic rage.
They can fly off the handle over seemingly nothing. They can throw a tantrum in a store. They can embarrass you in public.
But one thing I think this person is missing that I do tell people about is that you have to set limits and boundaries. You have to decide what is tolerable and what is intolerable behavior and then set limits and boundaries on what you will take. Then you have to set up consequences for intolerable behavior.
The person who wrote the email talked about the loved one’s behavior being stuck below that of a 5 year old. So, basically, you treat them like one. If your 5 year old threw a tantrum in a store, what would you do? Would you tolerate the behavior? Or would there be consequences for the behavior because it is intolerable behavior? Then gradually they learn not to repeat the behavior,
It’s the same thing with your loved one. That’s what limits, boundaries, and consequences are
for. And if they do their job, eventually your loved one will stop doing intolerable behavior and will learn to act like an adult, like anyone without bipolar disorder would act. Like the person in the email said, about holding the loved one to the same standards as anyone who does not have bipolar disorder.
They also point out that there is a huge difference in someone who has bipolar disorder but realizes that they have this behavior and need to change it and someone who doesn’t see a need to change their behavior. You can work with the one who sees that they need to change their behavior. The other one is not ready yet.
Well, I have to go!