When Dependent on Others, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Lynne Taetzsch Health Guide
  • At my last bipolar support group meeting, we had a couple of parents attending, and one of them seemed angry that his daughter was still dependent on him financially. “I buy the food she eats and pay the rent,” he said. The daughter was complaining that her father would make plans with her and then change them at the last minute, driving her crazy. But because he was supporting her, the father felt his daughter should be compliant and not complain.

    For many of us with bipolar disorder, there are times in our lives when we have to be dependent on our parents or other family members for support. I can remember bouncing back home like a bad penny several times when I was young. It’s not easy, as an adult, to go home again and start putting our lives together. We all want to be independent—to make our own decisions, follow our own rules, and take charge of our lives.
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    But when our parents are supporting us, and especially if we’re living under their roof, they often feel that we should simply be grateful and go along with their plans. It’s almost as if we are small children again, in their eyes. And in addition, they worry that we might get into trouble if they don’t police us enough.

    Ideally, each side of this equation should be understanding of the other side’s point of view. If you are a parent who has a bipolar son or daughter living at home, try to imagine how you would feel if you suddenly lost your independence and had to live under your parents’ roof again. If you are the son or daughter, remember that your situation is temporary, and try to minimize conflicts. Put your effort into building your own life, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

    How have you balanced relying on others and maintaining your independence? Tell us in the message boards.
Published On: June 27, 2006