Is This True About David Oliver And Bipolar?


How’s it going?

I saw this post on my blog the other day:

Gloria writes:

“Well Dave, YOUR partner doesn’t have
bipolar, its your Mom. Its totally different
when you live with it 24/7 and you lose the
love of your life. I don’t mean to be negative
and maybe because my husband beat me up
last week going through his episode. He sure
is alot stronger than me and I guess maybe
its nice to pretend it didn’t happen but it did.

He crashed two days ago, and I am thankful
because I don’t have to worry so much now.
Guess thats where the JOY comes in. I’m
sorry but right now, after being the
SUPPORTER for him for four years of
SEVERE depression and almost three of
CRAZY BIPOLAR, my nerves are SHOT.”

First let me say, Gloria, sorry to hear this. Secondly let me point out a few things to you
and all my readers.

I DO know what it’s like to deal with a person with bipolar 24/7. I lived with my mom when she was sick. I didn’t leave until AFTER she was well.

I asked my dad to NOT be in the house the majority of the day so I would be the target and not him.

If you have been on my list for a few years, you’ll remember, I didn’t think my dad’s heart could take the stress.

My idea to you is that you have to regroup and come up with a different strategy.

I don’t know your situation but I could guess these strategies would work:

First of all, since you are so stressed out, you have to find a way to get your stress level down.

Many supporters have found that taking a break helps. Some only need a short break, while others need a longer break.

I’m talking about a break from your situation.

I’m talking about actually leaving the house and making a plan outside of your house.

It’s too difficult to make plans for the war, while you are getting shot at so to speak.

In war, the plans are made generally when people are not taking incoming fire.

Another suggestion is that you de-escalate and not escalate. This means that you
avoid arguing at all costs. Agree with him (even if he’s wrong and you’re right).

I have a couple I know who call this “agree to disagree.”

There’s another couple I know who call it “Teflon.” Just let it slide off you. : )

Just get by however you have to.

Another trick is: Don’t take it personally. Ignore all personal attacks.

When he’s yelling at you, practice this:


I know, it’s sounds crazy. But with a little bit of practice, you can do it.

You sort of “separate” yourself. You hear the words, but you don’t listen to the meaning of the words. You just sort of isolate yourself from the pain of them.

See? That way you don’t get hurt by them.

Here’s another thing about “isolating” that other supporters have found success with: you can try to “isolate” your husband from his bipolar disorder. You CAN hate bipolar disorder. But keep trying to keep him separate, or isolated from his disorder. This way you can still love HIM (not his disorder in him).

These are like some of the techniques that I teach in my courses/systems:




One important thing you need to remember that most supporters don’t, is to take care of yourself.

Too many supporters get burnt out because they spend so much time supporting their loved one and too little time supporting themselves.

Then, first thing you know it, they’re too tired and stressed out to be any good for anyone.

Maybe you just need a break to recharge your own batteries.

Make sure you’re getting enough rest and eating right. Make sure there is enough joy in your own life. Take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Then you can focus on your husband.

It sounds like he needs help.

Focus on getting him to treatment and making that your single focus.

Many supporters don’t ever do this.

If his stability isn’t both your goals, then it’s not going to happen.

What about you?

Do you agree or disagree with what I told Gloria?

What would you have told her?

David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

  1. Hi Dave, I feel so sorry for Gloria. My husband is very abusive, but luckily only verbally. I must admit, now, after 6 years, I am losing the battle, I don’t want to “understand” anymore. I feel for you BUT when will it be your time, Gloria?” I’ll pray for you.

  2. Sometimes the spouse just has to get out. No matter how much you love the person, no matter how hard you try. If you are not safe, if that person is harming you, get out. Get the divorce. It is difficult, I know. But you can’t risk your own life to save the other person. If that person is not getting help and not acknowledging that he has a problem, then get out before you come to serious harm.

    This can be very difficult, but YOU are worth saving.

    Don’t lose your self in the all-consuming battle to save the other person. Sometimes it just cannot be helped. Sometimes you have no other choice but to save yourself. Don’t stay and be abused. It is not helping your partner. He may never recognize that he has a problem. He may never want help. Get out. Get out. Get out.

  3. Gloria shouldn’t be where it’s not safe.

    Also I was thankful for Lori’s comments on rapid thoughts. My family member that I support tells me when they have thoughts running up, down & all over through their head they just need me to be quite.

  4. first i would tell her to have a cell phone with her at all tines and if she feels the need call for help……….this will give her suport stop the battle and hopefully her husband will be taken to a hospital ;;;she should make sure to tell then when she call that he has a problem ,,,,,,,, that way they will know what is going on and after doing this a couple of times her partener will know what happens and while at a hospital he might start to see he needs to start to get help then it will be his choise to get help too not just hers …..then while he is in the hosptal she can have some time to herself and at this time know he is safe for now ,also this would let others see how hard she is trying as well as family to finally see what is happening and then at least support her and she will not feel alone

  5. Hi
    The most important person in your life is you Gloria.You are the one now who needs a break, and time out.
    Seek out help by way of a support group that you can go to, or speak to a psychologist who has special knowledge of bipolar, and one who is willing to see you and your husband together should you wish it at a later stage.
    Even those with bipolar have a responsibility towards their loved ones – to take their medication, and have regular check ups. Too often relationships with bipolar sufferers become one sided, and i have to work very hard in my relationship with my husband to maintain a balance so that i have enough reserves for myself. it doesn’t always happen though. I have found our twice monthly support group very helpful. Support and understanding from outside is very important, especially for you. I agree with Sharon that your husband needs to take responsibility for his illness. But in the meantime you owe it to yourself to take care of you! I do wish you all the best.

  6. This isn’t a comment on this post but a question I want to ask. As being Bipolar, I find that I can control my anger when on the right medication. Do all Bipolar’s get violent or angry? I have lost my temper and threw things, but most of my anger is towards myself. I have a tendency to harm or hurt myself when I get angry or upset. Doesn’t mean that I couldn’t lash out at some people some of the times, but I control it best when I choose to get away from the person I am angry at.

  7. Hi Dave, She needs to move on and get out before he really hurts her. Once they hit, it WILL happen again and it could cost her her life.She needs to go now. Her Life is is danger!!!!!!!! Know matter what is wrong with him. It is now beyond her control.She needs to take this VERY seriousley and get her the help she needs now.

  8. I have a wife with bipolar but refuses to recognize or get any help for her disorder. As Sharon indicated in her comment (get out get out), I feel the time has come for me to get out too in order to save the children and myself. I am afraid to leave her along with my children for any extended length of time fearing an episode which sometimes causes emotional and/or physical abuse to my children. In fact, she has indicated not feeling comfortable being around the six year old at times when I’m not there. My occupation has suffered because of this, but her occupation can/will pay the bills. It seem like I’m in the middle of the deep blue sea and hell with very few choices. Can anyone offer any help?


  10. Hey Dav….you no when you said hear but don,t listern,
    do you mean goes in one and out the other.

    Take Care Linda

  11. Hi dave, this is my first time commenting, on what you have to say. I totally agree with what you wrote. I`ve read your emails for a while know, and find them very helpful. I really hope gloria get`s through this episode, with her husband, she definatly needs some time out. I`ve only recently been diagnosed with bipolar. Over twenty years i`ve suffered.

  12. I must say that I am a bit schocked, Dave, that you did not tell Gloria to leave. A verbally abusive situation is one thing but physical abuse is a whole new ball game. It seems irresponsible NOT to tell her to leave when her life may well be in danger…to say something a passive as ” try to agree…try not to escalate the problem” well I am in verbally abusive situation and I know that most of the time there IS NO way to difuse the situation, no agreeing to make things better..when he is on a roll no amount of agreeing, silence, tears, WHATEVER…will stop it until he is done. Should she sit there until he kills her? I don’t think so. That line has been crossed and after it is crossed it becomes easier and easier to hit. Be careful Dave. .I know you mean well and have everyones best interest at heart, I read your emails and have been helped by them and can see that you truly care about people that are bi polar and what they go through, also about their supporters and the personel hell that can be theirs as well. Physical abuse should not be tolerated..for any reason, period.

  13. Dave, there is a lot of difference in staying with a parent while they are having a tough episode with mental illness, you know that at any time you can leave, she is your mom, not your life-partner.

    I would assume that your mom is an important person in your life, but not “the” important person.

    For Gloria, her husband is her life-partner.
    A parent-child relationship is on a totally different level.
    The parent-child relationship is intense for the time that the child is at home, then they are meant to go on to a life of their own. A life-partner is just that.

    I am a member of a caregiver support group.There are 9 of us. Two of us are taking care of an elderly parent, the other 7 have caring for spouses.

    It is heartrending to see my mom deteriorate, and it just breaks my heart to see a parent age before my eyes, only hoping that I can make her final years as comfortable as I can. After she is gone yes, I will miss her but she was my mother, not my spouse. There will be a big emptiness in my heart, but still I will have the opportunity to carry on with “that person” who is special,and my life-partner.

    The men and women, who are trying to cope with spouses who are dying are having to say goodbye to their best friends.

    I am not sure if I am making my point or not.

    A “trauma” in a person’s life to cope with the illness or loss of a parent.
    Can’t give a name to the affect that the illness or death of a “partner” is on someone’s life

  14. Dave your advice is always good, but sometimes too one sided in helping the sufferer. Gloria needs to get out, or draw the line – he must take medication daily or she will leave – no second chances. One cannot negotiate with or trust someone who is in an episode, especially someone who will resort to physical violence. I understand her frustration – we are always being told to ‘change our ways’ to accommodate the sufferer in trying to help them. But then they must also come to the party and take responsibility for the disorder. And there is never any excuse for any abuse – physical or verbal or emotional.

  15. First, I read through most of the above comments and they are all good, but so it what David said. How do I know? I am living proof. I had a stress related heart attach, have severe depression and personality disorders and bipolar now myself as a direct result of not doing what David advises. Of course I did not find this advice until after my husband and I were divorced and seperated by many states. He became so bad that we had to keep someone awake 24/7. He wanted to slit our throats and was dreaming about it. But, I did not tell this to scare anyone, but to inform and to warn. You really have to take your own safety into count and you have to take your own life and physical well being into account for you to be able to ever help your spouse or whomever. You actually need more rest and relaxation than ever before. It does help, and it is possible to work thru and make a plan. But, remember it all depends on whether or not the person with bipolar really wants help. I tried for years to get him help and to help and support through thick and thin, good and bad, abuse and not. But I then found out he really did not want help, he felt he was able to medicate himself and to be superior to all the doctors. He made this decesion despite me and I finally had to give in to it and realize I could go no farther and do no more, I needed a big break and I took him, under medication to his mother who allowed him to go completely off of everything and saw first handed just how bad it could get. She had believed he needed nothing and was not ill. Perhaps that was why he also decided that. I do not know, but I put myself first and got out, you need to find out if he wants help and decide what is best for you right now. Be selfish, it is a right you have earned and need to act upon right now. You are in danger, i was also. Act, now. Plan later.

  16. Hello Dave;
    I thought that most of your advise was valid and useful. Also, reading some other responses I agree that Gloria should get herself into a safe place.

    One thing you didn’t address was the part about losing the love of her life. That part I was especially able to identify with. Yes, your mother was an important person in your life and taking the brunt of her abuse was hard, but she was not the person who you planned on spending the rest of your life with. It is a different dynamic and having not gone through it, you would not really be able to “feel the pain”.

    You are a great help to me and others like me. Thank you for all the insight you give us and helping us to stay on track. Peggy

  17. I disagree with you Dave at least partially…. I believe that you don’t stay with a person who is abusive. Gloria I stayed married to my husband for twenty years thinking I could fix it and that love conquers all… well, bad idea, get out and think of your self … it may sound selfish to some degree but, even if you love the person get out. I had children as well, four, and I should have left sooner. Verbal abuse sometimes can be worse than physical abuse but either one is not healthy and a person should leave that situation as soon as possible. Dave, I know believes that you can live with a person who is sick (bipolar disorder) and perhaps with some yes….but unfortunately sometimes you have no choice but to leave…. my advice after twenty years of experience is to leave….. you may be in more danger the next time.

  18. I can feel for Gloria. But, at the same time I see the advise David gives is good, if it works. I have found every episode requires different responses. It is exhausting, and easy to look back on afterwards to say, if I had done…only to find this doesn’t work next time. It also assumes the BP person is willing to work together. I have not found this to be the case after years of dealing with it. Good Luck.

  19. How my heart goes out to Gloria. I too have a husband with Bi-Polar and it has been one giant roller coaster for some fourteen years. My husband too has cycles beginning with mania, then the AGGRESSION finally up to 30hours later sinking into depression. In november he began rapid cycling, 3 huge episodes between Nov and Feb finally culminating in me involving the police and having him committed. The psych team have changed all his current medication as for my husband it appears to be the anti depressiant (as many of you have learned – seeking help in the depressed stage – when the patient is co-operative often leads to a change of diagnosis – back to ‘depression’ – not Bi-Polar – which has disasterous effects) that was creating the aggression. We have fingers crossed the new meds will prevent further destruction.
    David your advise of taking a break – fantastic advise if it is indeed possible. I have two young children 5 and 8, which makes that both impracticle if not impossible. My break was really my husband in hospital,though sadly because of an under resourced facility ie 48acute admissions and only 28 beds – he was released back to my care after only 2 weeks.
    I hadn’t had a chance to deal with my own trauma let alone heal in that time.
    Like me Gloria, I imagine you are looking at alternatives for your future.
    I fell in love with a Man, but at times wondering which is the man and which is the illness?
    I do know this – Bi-Polar is no excuse to take abuse, you or your children. Not only does abuse NOT SERVE YOU – it does not SERVE THE ABUSER to let it continue.
    Please get intervention and trauma counselling and support for yourself and family. Don’t become a VICTIM!
    Don’t let Bi-Polar define who YOU ARE.
    My heartfelt thoughts,sympathy and empathy are with you – Devon (From New Zealand)

  20. Dear Gloria, In my heart Iknow what you have been through and I read the anguish anger : to me there are no 1st prizes for the most difficult bipolar relationship , we all love dearly those we support- mums dads sisters brothers daughters sons, husbands,wives because the one thing we all have as supporters is that we absolutely love and care for our loved ones who have Bipolar.
    My daughter beat me up several times during the period she was in full denial I finally reached the limits of my own endurance the day she beat me up for the last time. I fled to Australia and my sister- leaving behind my daughter and her new baby- for 6 months i stayed in Australia – when I came back to New Zealand I knew if I was going to support my daughter it had to be different – I listened to my son-if someone is determined to be in a train wreck they will – my son cautioned me to look after myself first and to not be part of the train wreck.Rachel’s( then ) partner was part of the problem he would beat her during her manic stages she would end up physically attacking him the cops would arrive he would be thrown out she would simmer down he would come back she would go into a depressive stage and he would torment her with graphic images of her last episode and lay total blame on her for his actions, she would have another episode fueled with drugs etc made available by her partner he would beat her up she would attack him the cops would be called etc etc

    Suffice to say the hardest thing I had to do is stand to the side and wait until the train wreck happened and Rachel was arrested and thrown into gaol she was severely beaten up in jail and taken to court – but that wasnt the end of the train wreck Rachel gradually got worse but by this time she had gotten rid of her partner Rachel still failed to acknowledge her unwellness and at this time Im sorry to say I was no help – I didnt want to believe she was really ill either- for to keep the peace I simply agreed to her wild and weird theories even when they started to get very bizarre and I enabled her so much.

    One day Rachel gave her expartner guardianship of their children and proceeded to throw all of her belongings incuding the sofa , chairs beds everything out of a 2 story innercity apartment into the middle of the concourse in the middle of the night she then ran around the streets with next to nothing Rachel was finally admitted to hospital and officially diagnosed and she was helped for the first time. I helped find Rachel during her run and arrange for police escort and I signed the sectioning papers ( that gave legitimacy to the hospitalization because Rachel resisted the hospitalization) it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life it broke my heart I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my life

    Understand this all of these events happened over a 2 year period ,if Rachel had been well she would never consider participating in the above events She had never previously raised a hand to others in her life and she would never ever think of doing and saying and thinking the things that were coming out of her mouth.

    My daughter was put under court order to receive the medication and limits on her personal freedom – for her own safety

    Rachel had to take ownership of her illness her Bipolar Until she did so we would continue to have train wrecks

    But I had to face up to that diagnosis as well and my part in her suffering as the classic ENABLER.

    Actually my daughter found Daves website and it was she who emailed me the website details ( just as she was going into an episode she must have known about her condition deep down- amazing huh!)

    Daves blog and website was an amazing find, his daily emails have been a god send- like todays email Dave is right with 20/20 hindsight I would have called the hospital crisis team and the police the first time Rachel had her rages and smashed both the apartment and me up and the pathway to her eventual hospital and treatment and eventual recovery would have been swifter.

    My daughter is recovering it has been a long way back for both of us I celebrate every day she has a good day and I am thoughtful and helpful on the days she has that are not so good ( noone would like to be visited with the hopelessness of a depression and neither does Rachel) When Rachel is down I bring the children to her 2 little lively boys who love their mummy and they don’t take no for an answer and they clamber on her and the laugh and play around her and on her knee and they illicit a smile and that will do for far this last month she has had 7 days all in a row, the last 7 days.

    My daughter will fully recover she will manage her Bipolar I love my daughter absolutely.


  21. Dave, first of all, thank you so very much for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. I find all your messages useful and I often email to family and friends and make sure that my husband reads ones that I believe to be of the most relevant to our situation.

    The advice you gave Gloria,is spot on and to seek medical support for her husband and to take care of herself. I have found that over the years of being our son’s supporter, when I wasn’t taking care of myself, coping was harder. At present our son is going through a period of intense support by the medical team,as he was presenting with hypomanic symptoms and I wasted no time in contacting his consultant and set the ball rolling.

    I have gone on a bit, and just want to say a big thank you and best wishes for you and your family.

    Bernadette PS, I stopped to read some of the comments, and found it upsetting that some people would suggest that Gloria leaves, what about; understanding, sickness and in health, and am sure there are laws in the US, if she is living in the US that would enable her to request for him to be taken into hospital. In the UK, there is the Mental Health Act which gives the authorities the power to hospitalize and treat someone against their will if they are in a situation of harming themselves or others.

  22. Gloria’s life IS IN DANGER! One needs to study social science to realize that. No one should pressure her to stay with an abusive mate when her health/life is in danger. One other thing: verbal abuse will lead to physical abuse. I have had two abusive mates and have found this to be true! I stayed with the first one for seven years because he threatened to kidnap our three boys. I could not trust him with either my emotional or physical health. Emotional abuse is also insidious; it makes you sick and then, because you don’t have any bruises with it, nobody believes it is making you sick. My husband stressed me out until I was so worn down that I developed Hodgkin’s Disease. This was directly related to the stress I experienced. When it became clear that my second husband was going down the same path as the first one I got a restraining order!

  23. Hi. I think the one thing you didn’t address in Gloria’s post was the physical abuse. She needs to be re-assured that while she is doing the right thing in supporting her partner, she is not doing the right thing for herself or him by accepting being hit. I totally agree that making plans in the middle of the crisis is no good. I know you have said this before but Gloria needs to be reminded that sometimes outside intervention, weather it be a strong and understanding family member or the police, may need to be recruited at times of physical abuse. She needs to sit down with her partner, when he is calm and prepared to listen to her, and formulate a plan as to who will be called when or if he becomes abusive. She needs to understand that when he goes onto an abusive episode he is not still going to agree to that plan but for his sake she should follow it through. From what I have read [I thank God not from personal experience] a number of suicides by people with Bipolar occur not when they are in an episode, but when they realise the damage they have done and can not live with the guilt or pain.
    Gloria, Your matra, as you call the police, needs to be “I am not doing this to you, I am doing it for you” Keep in mind, if one day he hit you too hard and kills you, HE is the one who has to live with the guilt.

  24. I have gone through the loss of both parents (with them 24/7), a brother (24/7) and 2 husbands (at the time, my “soul mates”), all while having bipolar disorder. I was the only one available to take care of funeral arrangements and so forth. My pDoc increased my meds for 6 months AFTER the funerals, without which I don’t think I would have made it.

    To GLORIA: GET OUT!!! He may be the “love of your life,” but do you “love” the abuse? Until and unless he gets treatment, and starts taking meds and go to therapy, he is NOT the man you married. “Bipolar” steals the personality of our loved ones, and oftentimes replaces it with someone we HATE. The ONLY way to get your husband “back,” is either to leave him, or get him the treatment he needs.

    Right now, you’re on the rails of a “train wreck.” I can read your hurt and your anger. The MAIN person you have to take care of right now is: NUMBER ONE. Unless you take REAL good care of YOURSELF, you will find yourself growing more and more angry, hurt, and, yes, sad. I say GET OUT because right now, you are in a dangerous situation, and to possibly save your own life, you MUST remove yourself from “temptation.”

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good. I pray for my counry.

  25. you are correct. i have a 36 year old daugther. and she has her up n downs too. she taks her medication.oh but when dos not take it,it is very hard for the family.thanks bea

  26. Dave’s advise is good but then there comes a time when you feel that there is only so much you can bare. Taking a break would be the ideal thing to do provided that you have someone to care for them. In my case that is impossible, My husband, although he has had this for many years, only recently, after a big episode, he was diagnosed with BP. I was all stressed out because I felt that I did not have the support of his family. I wanted to leave, my kids wanted me to stay yet they themselves were stressed out with the situation. The fear of something happening to him if we left took control of me. Hence my still being here. I finally treatened to call police and that is how the family got together and got help for him. Since he began taking his meds I feel more relaxed. I am hoping that this would control it for many years to come. As for Gloria, I would advise her though to Get out while she can.

  27. Dave,

    I would tell Gloria, first and foremost, to get her husband into treatment. Having bipolar is no excuse for beating your wife. I wouldn’t put up with that type of abuse, and I would be concerned that it could get worse is he’s already prone to violence. Protect yourelf, Gloria, no matter what disorder your husband suffers from. It is not ok to be hit for any reason. If your husband refuses to get treatment, then I would leave him until he does. Don’t jeopardize your life.


  28. I disagree with you and if I were Gloria, I would leave immediately, as she could get hurt very seriously and her husband would not be responsible for his actions. As you said, her husband is two people in one, and when will she really know when the other person in him will strike. I will pray for her.

  29. GLORIA NEEDS TO HAVE A PLACE OF SAFETY…Number ONE priority. Everything else comes next. Dave, I admire your fantastic support for the Bi-polar family but in this case I must emphasize that NOTHING is as important as ensuring you have a plan and a place of safety. Gloria might find practical help & support from a Womens’ Crisis Center, but she truly MUST have a PLAN and a PLACE OF SAFETY. Once these are in place she is in a position to decide ‘what next’. Suggestions of ‘getting her husband help’ are well-meaning, but it’s often not possible. You can’t make someone seek help if they don’t want to. You usually can’t change someone else’s behaviour either. The only behaviour you CAN change is YOUR OWN. Loving someone (even the love of your life) to the point where you allow your LIFE to be put in jeopardy is not OK. Gloria – now you’ve reached out – PLEASE take the next step….seek help for YOU. Get a PLAN and ensure you have a PLACE of SAFETY. Then you can consider what the next step will be – with him or without him. The man you fell in love with is not the man you live with now even though he looks like him. Vivien

  30. I am appalled at your answer to Gloria, I have lived with this crap for nearly 40 years and I am totally done with it, I am not going to cater to this horrible man , not in a heart beat, he has destroyed my life ,, taken my life, I have done every single thing I could to make him better, but he wont get better, he is now in the hands of his Phychiatric Dr and his Primary Dr. and they cant do anything with him, he has been in the mental health wards 3 times now and I continue with our Daughter to try and help him , but he wont be helped, He wants to continue his way of life without the medications and also wants to drink again, so be it, he can do it without us. I filed for separate maintenance and I am so damned done with him. As far as calling him our loved one, I would really rethink that term ,, its a hate relationship, not a love relationship…. where do you get our loved one from??? it boggles my mind. I guess a man is entitled to anything ,,, but a woman isnt. I have been married for nearly 52 years and I have had it. MKL.

  31. I think I said enough, I am danged pissed off, this man is a horrible man and has only his best interests at heart, not mine, he never has had my interests at heart, no movies, no dinner where they didnt serve alcohol, no trips anywhere, unless it was fishing or hunting, not one thing for me not ever . he is a selfish asshole , and always has been, now its over and I am so glad. I dont have to deal with him ever again, We are still married, but legally separated. I havent even moved out of the house yet, but will be so glad to be gone. I think its called peace. let him deal with his manic depressives,, let him learn to help himself, he is such a destructive person. LATER ,, mkl

  32. Hi Dave

    My heart really really goes out to Gloria. Lets hope that she can get through this time (again)…

    I need to say two things though:

    1) Although i admire what you did for your dad in getting him out of the firing-line, this is NO COMPARISON TO HAVING A HUSBAND OR WIFE WITH BIPOLAR. The relationship dynamics are TOTALLY different to that of a child-parent relationship. I dont think its fair to compare that at all – Gloria’s right..

    2) I hear what you say about not taking it personally (“Ignore all personal attacks”) – i’ve been on the receiving end too – but did you read that Gloria said that she was BEAT UP – how do you NOT take that personally –

    I agree with some of the other posts that say he needs to want to get well, they both need to be able to work at it, and that he needs to find meds that work for him

    Thanks for all your info and resources for bipolar supporters and sufferers – i just thought that these comments were a little off-target.

  33. As the supporter, how do you know which outbursts are the bipolar (the ones you ignore) and which ones are actually coming from the person (the ones you should take personally)?

  34. Gloria, I feel for you, from my own personal experience. Is your husband seeing a psychaitrist and is he taking medication? My husband was EXTREMELY abusive, even in front of our daughter, making her go into her room while I was across the apartment in our room, with the door shut and locked. He knew that something was wrong (he had not been diagnosed yet), but he refused to get help. I saw a golden opportunity one morning and fled. I was gone for almost 2 months. He was persistent in his attempts to contact me, but the break and the distance did a world of good. He sought help, has seen many doctors and tried several medications, but the diagnosis made sense and he has been patient, as have I. He still has his moments during which I just want to run, but I have to distance myself and understand that it is the disorder trying to control him. I wish you the best. I hope he is getting help or does soon if he isn’t already. Be patient. My best recommendation is that you develop your own relationship with his psychiatrist. he doctor will be appreciative of your input and you support of your husband. If he refuses to help himself by seeing the doctor and taking the medications, I hope you have the strength to leave, before you put your life in danger.

  35. I would like to add to David’s advice, 18 years have passed since my husband was diagnosed as suffering from bupolar disorder that was originally masked by alcoholism. During this time I have learnt a lot by trial and error, for instance if I allow yourself to become visibly angry and retaliate in some way however small it is like opening a door for him to resort to some type of destructive behaviourl. So what to do – first of all set boundaries, spouses may be bi-polar but they do know what is acceptable behaviour and what is just not on, so let them know that bad destructive behaviour is not acceptable under any circumstances, supporters also have feelings.

  36. Hey David, I agree with the majority of the people here. Gloria needs to find a safe haven she can go to.
    I had a bipolar partner who threatened to kill me if I did not leave. I left and later after he was finally put in a state hospital. His Doctor did not realize what kind of shape he was in and said he could get more medicine because she did not accept the fact that he was out of control and would not take his meds.
    He refused to go into the hospital even though the crisis team came out to see him. They could not convince him that he needed to go to the mental hospital. We lost everything of value because he gave drug addicts alot of our things supposedly to sell and then bring him the money. All that was left when I returned home was 1 pot, a fork, and a mess of pictures on the floor. There was a few items of furniture left, but they were too big to carry off and were ruined because he smoked in bed.And the other furniture that was left was too big for us to travel from where he lived and where I was staying.

  37. I’m not for anyone divorcing or breaking up their home but there comes a time when you really need help and leaving may have to happen. Living with a screaming, money-spending lunatic acting person is one thing, but
    being beat up is another. Could it possibly lead to being beat to death? I lived with a person like this and you can get quieter and quieter and they will still rant and slap you around. A psych told me once that an abuser doesn’t change easily. It has to come from deep inside and a desire to change. I’m so sorry for this person, support for the supporter is crtical. Get help now!

  38. Dear David,

    For a couple of years, I have subscribed to your newsletters, though, after a while I stopped reading them, because I wanted closure.

    Today, I picked this one up at random, and was so moved that I am responding – for the 1st time ever to tell Gloria that I agree with David about 90%. But there’s also the 10%.

    Allow me to explain: When I married the prettiest girl in town, 20 years ago, it was a marriage made in heaven. But it quickly degenerated into a Hell on earth. We were close to a divorce when she was diagnosed to be Bipolar. For the next 10 years, I nursed her single handedly (we were living abroad with no support system), while caring for our little son. Unfortunately, she took this caring / supporting to be a sign of weakness, and stepped up the abuse. My vanity prevents me from disclosing the extent.

    The message here is, don’t assume that your loved one’s abuse is due to clinical reasons alone. Find out, take counselling sessions, investigate. If I had doen that it time, I could have saved my 10 years, and saved my son a lot of emotional scars.

    For, counselling revealed that my wife was consciously using her illness to “get back” at me for. Despite being found out, she refused to stop the abuse. We separated, and 4 years later, divorced. It’s been 5 years since then, we even both got married to other wonderful people, and live in different contries.

    I was touched by Gloria’s mail. And thought I should proffer my advice. (I hate playing victim, so I have never shared before, except some to my son as he grew up, in order to encourage his to ‘dissociate’.)

    First, Gloria, David’s is very good advice, mostly. You have to dissociate a little (dissociate the words from meanings, the person from the Bipolar, yourself from 24/7 – take breaks).

    Second, I salute you for taking the pain for 4 years to make it work for your loved one. I did that for 12 years, and I know what it means. But after 12 years of supporting, I caved in, gave up & asked her to leave if she wouldn’t behave. What triggered that break was the marriage counsellor’s advice that the abuse she showered on me was only partially due to the Bipolar, and was otherwise a behavioural issue – in simple words, she thought she could get away with abuse under the cover of her illness. To quote the doctor, “the clinical part of it we doctors can handle chemically, as for the behavioural issues in your relationship you need to work on it yourself – we can guide you & help you, but medicines are not the solution for that”. 6 months after that, she refused to continue the counselling, and I so I refused to play further. 12 years I thought was long enough. During which there was violence in full view of a young son (when a man is at the receiving end, Gloria, the taboo is worse than the weaker woman getting beat up by the stronger man), financial ruin, career impact – and since we lived in a foreign country, we had no extended family or support system.

    Amway, that’s my ‘street cred’ which entitles me to weigh in here. I never took a break (yes, David, I know I should have), not one. I smoked a lot, I drank a bit, and prayed a lot – always thanking Him for giving me the strength to support the mother of my child, and worried myself sick about the emotional impact on our son seeing his father get beat up & bleeding.

    Along the way, I developed a sense of false humour, telling my son I was his Dummy – Daddy & Mummy rolled into one, that he was luckier than other kids because his Dummy had a moustache!

    Back to David’s advice. It is very difficult to Teflon. It takes long years to for it not to hurt, but eventually you do get there. Abusive words become meaningless, microscopic words of love/gratitude/kindness we learn to magnify and treasure

    Come to think of it, isn’t that what “normal” life also is all about?

    But, here’s where I differ from Dave: Don’t forget to keep your powder dry – for unless he realises that you have the power to walk away from abuse, he will not stop abusing. To stop the abuse is in your hands. Let no one kid you about that. Note I am not advocating not to help your husband – just that you need to draw a line – in stone – that he cannot cross. Where you draw that is your choice, but draw it you must, if you value your sanity. In airplanes, they always tell you to use the Oxygen mask on yourself first, before helping your loved ones; it’s the same principle.

    It took me 12 years to learn that. And then she crossed the line, and I let go. Today my ex-wife, my precious son, and I are happier for it, Yes, even my ex. For old times sake, I guess, she still abuses me in emails to my son, but as he puts it well, “relax, Dad, it’s only 1-2 times a year, its better than the everyday of old. And it’s from a different continent.”

    You hang in there, Gloria; all the best. And thanks, David, for being there for the supporters.


  39. Dear Dave,

    Your emails have helped me alot over these months and I usually agree and appreciate your kindness, optimism and practicality.
    Unfortunately, this time there’s a but. Your reaction to Gloria’s situation was way too mild. Her husband beat her up! I’m very surprised that you glossed over that. I agree with the others that that is unacceptable, as well as the intense verbal abuse.

    Your suggestions are right on with someone in a milder situation,
    but this one seems way beyond that. My therapist ance told me “you can’t stop a freight train, by waving at it.”

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