Hello Everyone - I know I've been gone for awhile. I tend to retreat when I get down about things for fear of burdening people with my problems. But I need help/advice from anyone who wishes to offer. For those who don't know who I am, I am in a year-plus relationship with my BF who has BPII, with mixed states/rapid cycling. I have been getting better with my awareness of the moods, triggers, etc. and things have improved much in this manner dissipating what used to turn into big blowouts. Now, however, in the last month or so things have gotten much worse as far as outside stressors for my BF, things that I would have a hard time coming to grips with myself, so now the arguments are back. But what is changing is the things that get said to me, once our "discussions" get off track, and are becoming much more personal and hurtful. Ok, I know Rule No. 1 is not to take things personally. But the counselor I see has told me that not all his reactions and arguments stem from the illness and that it coud just be him talking. That's what's really eating at me. If that's true, then how do I know what's real (the hurtful words) and when it's just the BP talking? We rarely get to discuss his illness even though I've encouraged him to do so - unfortunately it's off limits and I have to respect that; however, by not understanding what he goes through, if he remembers what is said, etc., I have no way of knowing what to think. Last night was the worst - after hearing one thing after another about all the things he apparently thinks of me (pointing out all my weaknesses, my issues - everything I entrusted to him by being open with him), I told him I couldn't take much more and if this is how it's going to be, then I don't know if I can be in this relationship any more. He slept on the couch and we haven't talked since last night. I'm a mess. I'm at work just staring at the computer screen. I know I shouldn't have said what I said. I love him so much but I don't know what to do any more. I feel all that I've learned is for nothing. It hurts to exist right now - to think that he really feels all of the things he said to me hurts me to the core and I don't know how I'm supposed to move forward without doubting myself and who I am to him. He's told me I'm the one constant in his life that he's been able to count on, that he loves me more than anything, wants his life to be with me. Am I the one who's an ***? Should I just take it and be happy with the happy times? I thought I had it so together and all it takes is a few weeks of badness to undo the strength I thought I had.
Any insight into what people with BP go through when arguing would be more help than you can realize. I know it's sometimes hard to "go there" and try to express what you feel but hearing the truth, whatever it is, may just save this relationship. Because right now, I have no idea what I'm going to go home to.
Location: Minnesota, just moved from California where I lived my whole life.
Re: I'm Back................and I'm a mess
I'm sorry you're going through a hard time again. It's so hard to say where your boyfriend might be in his illness right now. If we are medicated, and stable, then arguments with our signifigant others really are just arguments between two people in a relationship, and don't have much to do with bipolar. You've already heard my co-dependent speech and besides that, just follow your heart.
I would tend to think this will blow over just because you have been 'here' in the past, and usually a few hours later, you're posting that everything's ok again. Everyone has fights, unfortunately, it's just part of life. As long as you have good coping and communication skills, you just get through it, and over it.
My husband and I have had patches of time over the years where we just didnt get along. And sometimes we've even separated, but we have always had enough love and a strong foundation of respect and friendship, that we have been through hell and back a few times.
You know what's funny, I dragged my husband in to counseling recently just becasue I thought it might help us with the hard time we have gone through lately with stress, and my health problems, etc. And the psychologist just looked at us, and was amazed, and said," first of all, it's a miracle that you are still together after everything you've been through. And you're already doing all the things I would tell you to do in order to cope." He couldn't help us at all, because even though we're having a hard time, we just deal. But it's taken us a lot of years of mistakes, and we did do counseling for a while, years ago, and they just give you the tools to get through these times. The hard part is getting a man to be willing to do it. LOL Anyway, hang in there, sweetie.
I don't know if any of this will help, but here goes. I have said and done a lot of things during episodes that I never would have normally. That said, I have also made what appear to be bad choices during bouts of hypomania and I'm never really sure if it was the illness or if I simply made a bad choice (we all do, just the same as we all row and say hurtful things sometimes, right?). What I'm trying to say is that there is no way of telling whether what your boyfriend is saying/doing is down to the BP or is just him. I think the only thing you can do is decide what is and is not acceptable to you, BP or not, and make this very clear, to yourself and your boyfriend - write it down if that helps. Yes he's ill and yes we all know those episodes are horrific, but at the same time you have a right to be treated well and to feel good about yourself rather than being someone else's verbal punchbag. It's a very, very difficult situation and I feel so bad for you. Remember, nothing needs to be set in stone - a couple of days apart might be enough for you to both sort your heads out a little and decide what you want. Counselling is always a big help - even if he doesn't want to it would still help you decide what's right for you. At the end of the day, that's what's important - sometimes loving someone means setting them free, and sometimes that someone needs to be you.
Hope something in there helps. It's a tough call and there are no easy answers, but your heart will know the best path for you to take. I hope things get better soon.
Lots of love
Thank you both for responding and for showing me two different views on how to look at this. I can certainly take the advice of both and incorporate it into how I'm going to handle this situation and any in the future.
To Heather - I'm sure you'll be happy to learn I picked up a book about co-dependency and I'm already more than half way through. I only started thinking about it when I met my BF but realized it stems from being a sole caretaker of sick parents (only child here) who both passed away within 4 months of each other. So now I'm learning to accept the things that happened and try to move on from it so I don't make the same mistakes here. I'm learning, as the book says, to "detach with love."
And to Picali - I think realizing that we're all free to be who we are and where we want to be releases us from feeling like we're "stuck" in a relationship and makes us stronger to say "hey, I DESERVE this or I deserve to be treated better." I read Colefort's latest posting and I am right there with him in that I love my BF so much that I can't bear the thought of leaving him or not having in my life - not out of codependency but because he does in fact bring so much joy to my life. These are the times to test us I guess and I'm not a quitter. Hell, he could quit on me just as easy being an "issue" girl I guess - lol.
So thank you both again for your guidance. It's much appreciated!
I have to say that 'hurtful' things are not your fault...they are his. Being Bipolar can make you do some pretty dramatic stuff but if you are sitting, staring at your computer screen because HE has made YOU feel bad, then it is HIM and NOT you. You deserve respect, no matter what. WHY is is disease OFF limits if you are in a loving relationship???? I don't get that part at all. My husband knows EVERYTHING about me. He has seem me wake up and start screaming..he just takes me to the ER...they are the ONLY people that can help me at that point in time. I know you LOVE you BF but love can be blind if two people cannot communicate. That is REAL love-sharing everything...good or bad......I am very out-spoken and hope I am not offending you but I really feel that you need to quit being so hard on yourself..after all..he said the hurtful stuff????......Sleeping on the couch never solved anything either as it just makes your couch a hiding place for a night...the next day..the issues are still there...good luck......Kahlia
I have seen many things BUT the most terrible thing I have ever seen was the lack of compassion for another.....................Kahlia
Glad to see you are still around, but sorry it is under these cricumstances. I'm kind of in the same situation you are right now. Just when I thought I had found some peace and inner strength to cope with my gf's episodes, something new came along and took it all away. I wish I had some good advice for you, but obviously I really don't have any answers otherwise I wouldn't be where you are right now as well. All I can say is to try and wait for it to pass, and then talk about it. That is what I plan on doing if this ever passes. I really feel for you and hope things work out for you and your bf. Keep us posted.
Hi Angel. I don't know if I have any advice for you, just wanted to share. Its so weird (I am the bp one at my house) when you said you were staring at your screen at work. Thats what I do and usually because my mind is blank. Ok, start over. The past couple of weeks, my dh has been telling me that he is sick of this whole thing (prob the past 4 months or so, I've been pretty bad). He actually spoke of divorce. He is having such a hard time with this. But heres the thing, I forget about his feelings. I don't even pay attention because I am so busy trying to pay attention to my moods, and my meds, and everything but him. I EXPECT him to be there, but why should he? He understands this probably even less then I do (and I don't understand it). I never really thought about it too much until last wk during an argument, hes like- this is all about you -all the time. And you know what, its true. My dh and I have agreed to try better to be a team, and screw the small stuff. I am taking one day at a time with my meds and i hope we will get sme answers soon. Take it easy and good luck. Love, Lori
As far as being open about BP in a relationship it sometimes takes time. My husband didn't want to hear that he had a problem. He was okay accepting the depression, but definately not my idea that he was BP. It took years for him to be comfortable talking to me about how he felt and about his illness.
It's been 10 years and I would say the past two years he's been totally open to managing his illness. This includes talking, and sharing feelings.
He still has bad "weeks" but now with the added meds of lexapro and depakote, the good times are more than the bad.
It used to be hard for me to decide whether he really felt the way he did or if it was the BP talking. I think that during those times when he would pick me apart he really felt that way, but if it wasn't for the BP he wouldn't have made it such a big deal and wouldn't have felt it was such a big deal. When he starts making statements that are false, like I never do this or I never do that, I know it's the BP. That has to be the most frustrating when we argue. I hate being told I don't do things when I do. Or that I do things when I don't. I believed for years that I was truly messed up as far as memory because I had no idea what he was talking about. Now I know that it wasn't me.(Most of the time.)
When he is not feeling well, everything is about him. I really don't matter much. He leaves and I don't know where he goes, And if I ask then I'm making it worse. I can start talking about me but then it turns into being about him. Even when I have been ill with thyroid and a tumor, it was all about how it made him feel. I sucked, in his eyes, because I wasn't able to be "well" all the time. He said he married someone who he thought would always have energy and do this and do that and never complain. I was like, yeah so did I.
But times like now, he is very in tuned to how I am. And very apologetic about how he acts when he's down.
I love him so much. I went into this marriage dedicated to a lifelong commitment and today, I can't imagine ever ending it. But, there have been many times in the past where I almost couldn't keep going.
It is such a personal thing on telling people how they should cope, or what they should do.
I just take it one day at a time.
Hugs to everyone,
I want to thank ALL of you for your heartfelt postings. We "got through" this weekend and we were even able to have a good day or two since I had Monday off. Arguing for 2 days straight is so draining and I know that I contribute to it as well. The hardest thing is to walk away but it would probably be the best at times. It's just when you feel attacked, instinct tells you to "fight" back. And so it goes, on and on.
Something that was said made sense - in that when things get exaggerated, it's the BP talking but when it's other things, it's probably how he feels, just carried too far in the heat of things. Developing thicker skin is something that's necessary but so difficult to do but with all the things you guys said, it has made today better and it gives me the strength to move forward.
It's so very kind of everyone who has this illness to have come forward to try to help me to understand things better. Thank you. Every piece of advice is taken into account, believe me. It really does help.
And to Nodi and Colefort, we are there because we want to be. Yes, it's extremely difficult at times and I'm sure it's only natural to secretly have thoughts of what it would be like if things were different. But things aren't and we love our SO's. It is difficult when they pull away because those are the times when we want to reach out even more. If we're the ones who are in it forthe long run, or are capable of, don't you think they found us (or we found each other) for a reason? We all deserve someone and I'm not always the easiest person to be with either. But there's something in each of us that makes it all worthwhile.
I guess that's why we're all here at this place. We all understand, from both sides, and we all want to get through this. I have hope that tomorrow will always be better.
I really do feel that my husband and I found each other for a reason. He has told me that if it wasn't for me coming into his life he would have been dead by now.
And my experience in the past with mental illness in my family, has helped to be more understanding. Atleast that's how I feel.
Couldn't imagine my life without him.
Glad you are doing better!