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meep591 09-29-2010 07:22 PM

need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
This is my first time on this site. I came here because I need advice on dealing with a neighbor who is also the parent of one of my childrens' close friends. This neighbor is a bipolar woman. I have never dealt with bipolar before, but want to guide my children in dealing with what had become a very bad situation.

I was friendly with this woman and our children were close for about year. They seemed like very nice people. Things started to change about 6 months ago. This neighbor started getting very nasty toward one of my children and the changes in her tone and the things she said were subtle but alarming. I noticed her son beginning to get physical when he argued with my daughter. I tried to set limits on the time they spent in our home and this made them furious.

Me trying to set limits set off 6 months of hell involving threats to kill me and my daughter, stalking, physical and verbal confrontations, lies and gossip to other neighbors that I still haven't been able to get through. It was awful and I had to involve police and the local court to get her to stop harrassing us. Now, all of a sudden she seems to have changed. She seems to be a bit more considerate and aware of her harrassing type behavior. Her child is acting normal again, and my children want to friends again.

I've warned my children that if what happened the past 6 months was due to bipolar, we will probably go through it again. Am I right about this? Maybe what happened wasn't due to bipolar at all. I want to have compassion for someone who is ill, and I admire my children's compassion for the innocent child in all this, but I just don't want to go through all that hell again. Can I let my children be friends with this boy but protect them at the same time. How?

pendulum 09-30-2010 09:41 AM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
I don't know much about bipolar, but my impression is that the term is being abused. Sometimes it is just a question of bad manners, envy, bad character, what do I know?

I am speculating that maybe the fact that you called the police made her change her mind and her ways. Well, I don't know. It is really difficult to account for her change. You know the old saying: A burned cat will dread even a spark (I know the words are different, but you get my drift, don't you?). And in any case, it's true: people can change for the better; it is rare, but it happens.

Well, children are children, let them be children. I would allow them making friends again, but keep observing from a safe distance. In fact, children should always be observed, so don't feel guilty for this, which doesn't mean intruding upon them, you know.

I know you have gone through a lot with these folks, but maybe you should give them another chance.

rosequartz 09-30-2010 10:03 AM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
[QUOTE=meep591;4336434]
I've warned my children that if what happened the past 6 months was due to bipolar, we will probably go through it again. Am I right about this? Maybe what happened wasn't due to bipolar at all. I want to have compassion for someone who is ill, and I admire my children's compassion for the innocent child in all this, but I just don't want to go through all that hell again. Can I let my children be friends with this boy but protect them at the same time. How?[/QUOTE]

ABSOLUTELY! you are 100% right.....I was married to a bi-polar man for 10 years, they might seem nice as pie for a period of time, but then the maniac comes right back out.....
I wouldn't encourage any more contact with someone who threatened to kill you or your children.....why would you want them to be friends with someone like that? Aren't there any other kids that your children can play with?
I'd avoid all this drama.....your children don't need it, and neither do you!

meep591 09-30-2010 10:11 AM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
Thnaks for your response. Your take on the situation pretty much reinforces my ownperceptions. I don't want to forbid my daughters who are 9 and 10 from hanging around this woman's child, becuase everything is fine now between the children. I'm just cautious about letting them back into our lives because if it all goes to hell again, and the police have to be out here again, I'm going to be viewed by them as a complete idiot. Not to mention the toll all that craziness takes on a person who is trying to fend it off.

rosequartz 09-30-2010 10:14 AM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
well if the kids are getting along ok, maybe just go with the flow, but i'd caution them not to expect much from these people....and if there is any nastiness they are to tell you immediately, and then I'd cut it off completely. Your kids might even be in agreement at that point.

meep591 09-30-2010 07:16 PM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
Actually, this is kind of what is happening. The kids hung out a little while today at our home. This boy began all the subtle but difficult behaviors that had caused problems 6 months ago -not wanting to leave when I tell him its time to go, hanging around our door to make sure I'm not letting any other kids in (he and his mother feel it is OK to get physically/verbally confrontational with us if I let another kid inside when I tell this kid its time to go home) I set limits with this kid because if I don't, he never goes home. He tends to isolate my kids from the other kids in the neighborhood, too. That happened fast today. Anyway, neither me nor my kids were comfortable letting them back into our lives today. My kids have grown a little over the past 6 months. It just doesn't feel right. I think his mother really believes she didn't do anything wrong, and I'm just mean and persecuting her and her child.

meep591 09-30-2010 07:30 PM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
[QUOTE=rosequartz;4336787]ABSOLUTELY! you are 100% right.....I was married to a bi-polar man for 10 years, they might seem nice as pie for a period of time, but then the maniac comes right back out.....
I wouldn't encourage any more contact with someone who threatened to kill you or your children.....why would you want them to be friends with someone like that? Aren't there any other kids that your children can play with?
I'd avoid all this drama.....your children don't need it, and neither do you![/QUOTE]

The reason I would do something (which my smarter self tells me is a stupid thing to do) like let someone who threatened to kill me and my child back into our lives is that I've listened to months of her denial through the hearsay of neighbors whom she tells that she never said it. We've also had a few neighbors who moved in after the worst of the aggressive behaviors had passed who think I'm a monster for calling the police on this seemingly sweet, charming woman. She bashes me to anyone who will listen to her. No one believes she was shoving and throwing things at me on my porch, using some of the foulest language I ever heard. No one believes me. And everyone makes me feel like I'm just so mean for keeping my distance when her son just LOVES us sooo much. But you know what, I bowed to all that pressure for just a 1/2 hour today, and let them back into our lives. Some stronger part of me told me to listen to my gut, to hell with what everyone else says. I don't want them back. I think this how it goes with bipolar. Your swept up in the crazy for awile. You react to the crazy. Then all the sudden they're a different person. You start to doubt your own perceptions.

rosequartz 10-01-2010 07:00 AM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
yes I know all about being swept up in the crazy.....I lived it....
I wouldn't worry about the neighbors not seeing the real her, they will see it eventually. I wouldn't even try to defend myself at this point, it will just make you look bad. I have a favorite saying that I have to remind myself of at times. I think it applies here.....
"don't roll around in the mud with a pig, you'll both get dirty and the pig will enjoy it". it's good that your kids are seeing how things are and if they're not that interested in spending time with the other kid, I wouldn't encourage it. they're listening to their gut also, and that shouldn't be discouraged.
and when they make you doubt your own perception of reality, there's a term for it and even a book written about it. it's a form of manipulation and it's called "gaslighting"

meep591 10-01-2010 06:13 PM

Re: need advice on dealing with bipolar neighbor
 
Thank you. We needed a little support through this. You've been great.


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