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Thursday, February 24, 2011 heartgoeson, Community Member, asks

Q: My sister is bipolar and I can't deal with this anymore. Am I unreasonable?

I'm 17 and I have a 31 year old sister who's recently been diagnosed as bipolar. Throughout all my life she's been problematic--irresponsible, selfish, manipulative, racking up 50k in debt for clothes and shit she didn't need, and did I mention SELFISH? Recently she had a psychotic breakdown, which the doctors said was the hypomanic state, and that's when she was put on a psych hold and diagnosed. She became religiously fanatic and started having hallucinations, etc. So, now, in view of this new diagnosis, my parents are doing their best to understand this disease and talking to a lot of counselors to see what we should do about it. The thing is, my life has been living hell ever since my sister moved back in with us with her husband and two children because she spent all her money and went broke. And then she racked up more debt! So a situation that was already tenuous at best became THE. INFERNO. Especially as I'm starting college soon and how can I not worry about the finances in my future when my parents, who are not rich, took over her debt to give her some stability and room to get her life together... Anyway, when I show how angry about the hell she's put us through these last few years, the counselors all say it's an illness and that it'll get better... But the thing is, it's NEVER been better. I have NEVER seen my sister be anything other than all of those "symptoms" of the disease. So once she's medicated, then what? She'll just blossom into this new, magnificent person? Is this illness her personality and now she'll get a new one? I...I can't do this anymore. I'm 17, and my last few years at home have been an absolute disaster. Every time someone starts talking about this in any kind of sympathetic voice towards her, I get so angry I begin to cry and I can't stop. Is it unreasonable to not want to be a part of this anymore? To just go off to college and be home as little as possible? I can't accept that it's all an illness. I can't accept that all MY suffering is supposed just forgotten. I was diagnosed as OCD a year ago and there wasn't any support from my family. I just...I cannot do this anymore.
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Answers (9)
Donna-1, Community Member
2/25/11 7:17pm

It will hopefully get better for you when you go away to college, even if you have to work and pay for your own way.  Sounds like you need to get away from the situation as well as get some counseling for yourself. Yes, your sister is sick.  Now that she's on medication, there is the possibility that she can get her act together and become more responsible.  But I would imagine she will continue to have problems from bipolar disorder to some degree.  Your parents are likely angry, too, at having their lives interrupted and their financial situation put in jeopardy, whether they show it or not.  Family therapy might even be good if it could be arranged.  You need to be able to say how you are feeling and how this has affected you over the years -- maybe not to blame, but just to express the cold hard facts as you see them.  You have every right and reason to be angry.  Don't turn it in on yourself.  She needs as much forgiveness as you can muster, yes, but you have a right to your parents' equal treatment and should tell them so.

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bobo, Community Member
2/25/11 10:01am

Your sister is sick. She is not to blame for her actions. But neither are you. The healthy sibling always gets the raw end of the deal and noone should blame you for being angry, least of all yourself. Your parents owe it to you to get you a good therapist so you can work on your own issues. They are part of your childhood and the sooner you deal with them the better off you'll be, in college and later in life.

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Stephanie, Community Member
2/25/11 6:10pm

I agree with Bobo on this one.  Its not your sisters fault.  Do you really think she would "want" to be this way?  NO one wants to be bipolar I don't think.  I know I don't. :(  Try to be patient with her, it is not her fault she is the way she is.  She don't do these things on purpose.  Try to not get angry with her, get angry with the disorder instead.  Educate yourself on it.  But I agree, that your parents should give you more attention and/or equal attention just in a different form.... the kind that YOU need, which is probably some good therapy.  I love my psychologist, having her to talk to is wonderful.  I am OCD as well and I have PTSD.  You are just as deserving of good help as your sister and your parents need to realize that.  Just please keep in mind that your sister is sick, like Bobo said.  And bipolar is SO NOT FUN.  IT IS A HORRIBLE DISORDER AND I WOULDN'T WISH IT ON ANYBODY. :(  I HATE IT. :( 

 

I hope this helps some.  Take care and let me know if you have any more questions. :)

 

www.mybipolarlife.com

Stephanie

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madness24/7, Community Member
5/ 1/11 11:54pm

My sister is also bipolar. We are only two years apart in age (I am the oldest) and what you are describing is how it has been for at least the last 10 years of my sisters life. She is 44. She has two children and is married. Her marriage has been troubled at best, although she has been married for 20 years. Her illness has created many problem for her children, both socially and emotionally. She was diagnosed with many things over the years including depression, anxiety disorders, etc. until the bipolar was diagnosed. She has been medicated for many years. I think the medication would work better if she didn't drink so heavily. Bipolar has ruined my family. My sister is currently not speaking to me or our mother because she thinks we are to blame for everything. She has gone from job to job over the years and thinks it's becasue of the horrible people she has worked for. She is extremely paranoid. I miss my nieces, but rarely speak to them for fear of how it will affect how thier mother treats them. Speaking to me can lead to loyalty issues with thier mother. I fear that nothing will ever be "normal" again. I know it's not my sister's fault, but I have a hard time separating the bipolar from my sister at times. I am angry. I understand how you feel. I wish I had some words of wisdom that will make your life easier, but ther are none. It is a day by day struggle. I'll pray for you and your sister. I pray for bipolars and thier familes everyday.

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freeyourmind, Community Member
3/10/12 9:38pm

I am so very sorry that your sister's illness has affected you in such a negative way!I am bipolar and I understand because the ones that are the closest to me are the ones that I hurt the most! I don't mean to do it and after awhile I can see how that excuse may make the ones suffering from our actions sick! We have so much guilt because we do not mean to do what we do but yet sometimes it is out of our control, doesn't excuse any behavior but it's really hard to live with yourself knowing that you may have caused someone else so much pain and ruined their lives or chance of one, anyways :( I have wished many times to just die and even thought how it might be without me; but I have children and love them and they need me too. If you could just look at your sister and see the disease and learn to seperate the two and pray. God knows your pain and only He can give you the forgiveness, grace and peace that nothing else can. You can't get it alone, it is not humanly possible, only God can perform miracles in our hearts like that! I will be praying for you.

Cry out to Him,He loves you and understands!

Have a wonderful time at college and do seperate yourself from this if you can, college is a great excuse, a legitimate one! I do reccommend counseling 100% for you and encourage you to seek it ASAP.

God Bless you and your family.

Sincerely,

 

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jeanine, Community Member
5/14/12 2:17pm

I feel your pain, and more importantly, I understand your anger.  In fact, I was so fed up today that I did a google search for "anger with bi-polar sister".  Lo and behold, I found your statement.  I too, have a bi-polar sister who has spent her entire life being irresponsible and destructive.  I have answered the door to the police multiple times only to find out that my sister was back in custody for some stupid thing that she did and so that I could, once again, pick up her three (completely effed up) kids. I have my own issues and am completely pissed that my family treats her with kid gloves while leaving me, the "long suffering" sister behind to deal with the aftermath.  And before you judge me, let me tell you about mother's day.  My sister showed up drunk off her ass (after driving over here with her three young children) and spent the next three hours bossing me around beacause "It's mother's day".  Excuse me? A) You are not MY mother and B) You are a pretty shitty excuse for one anyways.  Her kids sometimes slip up and call me mommy.  Alright.  That felt good.  The best advice I can give you is to enjoy college.  Your sister will be living in her own private hell for the rest of her life.  Bipolar disorder robbed me of the sister I loved.  I miss her. I fucking hate this disease. You need to live your life, make some new friends, and be strong.  You sound very well put together for a 17 year old! I think some distance will do you some good.  Good luck:-)

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Walkingoneggshells, Community Member
7/24/13 12:50am

Boy do I feel your pain. My bipolar sister (older by 2 years) is manic as we speak. Apparently everyone is to blame for something EXCEPT HERSELF!

 

Everything you've said that your sister has done, mine has as well. Because of her I need counselling, and my memory has been foggy after her recent mania. I think I have PTSD. She's extremely paranoid and jealous of me when she's manic. Meanwhile I walk on eggshells and try to make myself invisible, talk down about my accomplishments, and never celebrate my life. Even my mom avoids praising me or paying attention to my achievements when she's around. Of course, my mom has paid off over 50k for her, and moved in with her to take care of her and her son.

 

So I feel like I lost a sister and a healthy normal relationship with my mom. I'm SO pissed off with my sister sometimes.

 

Sorry if I can't be more helpful, all I can say is that my Family Doctor, my friends, and her friends, my husband, counsellors - ALL say that I should distance myself from her and keep her at arms length, never live with her again, and possibly even in a different city. Sometimes helping is enabling, and taking their abuse does not help them get better.Sometimes I wonder if they really need to hit their absolute rock bottom before changing...

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eggshells2, Community Member
3/11/14 8:42pm

Hi 

reading this response was kind of a trip. You sound like you're going through the exact same things that I've been going through with my sister. I'm her 27 year old brother and she's 25. She is currently manic. Only 2 weeks after my mother and stepfather put her into a really nice, extremely expensive rehabilitation centre (to hopefully put a stop to her drinking habits that mix terribly with bipolar disorder) she has been "occasionally" drinking again and her old symptoms are coming back. Presumably, she's been taking her meds, put it's always a guessing game. 

 

Thank god for my mother who puts up with 95% of the irrational behaviour. It's particularly difficult for me to coexist with her as I'm doing perfectly fine, achieving my goals, in a loving relationship etc.. - this makes her incredibly insecure and jealous and she will find everything she can to try and get under my skin to break me down to her "level" - of course the horrible things she says to me would affect me greatly when i was in my teens before we knew about the illness, but now i've just been having to sit through it, feeling for her pain. I'm completely there with you when you said that stuff about your disconnect with your mother, this past christmas my mother and I weren't even speaking because my sister's illness getting between us. 

We all have difficulty finding ways for my sister to live in this world. She's burned a lot of bridges in terms of friendships and it's really hard for me to have an adult conversation with her as everything she says drives me crazy inside - just knowing the complete selfishness and ignorance behind everything she says makes it really hard for me to agree with anything that comes out of her mouth. 


She's experienced a lot of failure in her life (but would never admit it), but my mother has always been there to get her back on her feet. She's enrolled in massage therapy school, yoga instructor school, early childhood education, but hasn't stuck to any of them. She had her heart broken in 2007 and she talks about that breakup as if it were only last year still - to give you an idea how traumatic it was for her. I'm starting to wonder if she'll just continue to relapse over and over and continue to get picked up time again and it will just be this never-ending tired and frustrating cycle. I'm wondering if my mom just needs to back off from the constant support and let her hit rock bottom - but this scares both my mother and I as my sister has said really scary things like "I think I'll die soon". 

Fuck this disorder. I hate it

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Mia norway, Community Member
5/31/14 10:37pm
I know how You feel I'm 21 and my sister 24 soon and she cats like she still is 10 she has had bipolar since she was 10 she's always been the same, Keep saying she is a lesbian, she is very judgemental too comments on my weight, and when I'm Heathy etat Heathy she get's mad bcuz she says se only live once, i am soo sick of her changing her mind being soo bloody selfish my dad doesn't seem to care at all And I know she has bipolar bcuz her symptomps are all the same as Everyone says Here, Even had a friend With bipolar at school it all went to hell because she was rude and trying to make me be like her. I really don't know what I am going to do? She doesn't want help because she doesn't think anythings wrong but it is, she doesn't want to have help because she cares what others think of her, that annoys me to hell, instead she complains about her day people commenting about her being a lesbian and more i am just soo sick of her obsessing over it and always talking shit. A while i wanted to record it all and give it to a doctor soo that maybe she could Get help but she is "grownup" and over 18 soo she has to make the decicion herself, god sometimes i hate that rule she really Needs help i am sick of negativity i am going mad I can't sorround myself With her because all she does is complains!!!!:(( but I think You should go to college I just went to college it was great getting away I Needed a looong vreak from my sister!! You Needed it too :) soo pack your bags;) my sister hasn't alot of friends only boks because They doesn't think she is gay, the only friends she had tried to Get her in bed. I don't really think she's a lesbian it's just she wants to be different, I think she's jelous of me having boyfriends and each time iæI have one I Get the feeling she is jelous and wants to steal them from me. Pretty annoying -.- she just got dumped of someone and all she does is complain about how terrible people are and the World is a bad place and she knows more Than me, I just can't continue it's hard to Keep being positive and it drains my energy i am soo sick and tired, I had ADHD when I was a kid grown up it gone away Even my brother had ADHD and asberger and he is more grown up Than my sister he is 18 now. Just soo sick of her what should I do? Reply
cambam, Community Member
1/ 4/14 1:23am
Hi, I have never posted anything like this before, but after reading all of the stories posted on i here I feel hope that I have never felt before and I wanted to share that. I am 16 years old and my 20 year old sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year. It has. Been a rough time these past few months. whenever I am emotionally overwhelmed I sort of tune all negative thoughts out. With the recent news of my sisters disability I have just sort of shut down at home until recently. Latley I have been overwhelmed with feelings of anger,confusion, jealousy,sadness,hate and most of all plain hopelessness. I go to school and it's great! But at the end of the day I come home and realize that the news is still the same. My sister has been eaten by this illness and I want her back! I miss my best friend :( we were so closI go to school and it's great! But at the end of the day I come home and realize that the news is still the same. My sister has been eaten by this illness and I want her back! I miss my best friend :( we were so close. She was always a bit different but I just chalked that up to immaturity and believed that in time she would change. The opposite happened as the years went by. I don't know what to do I feel like screaming and crying and hugging her and punching her! she's hurting my mommy. My mom had the worse end of the stick. my sister can't funtion in this world. She doesn't fit in and she can't cope with reality. so instead of reality she found fantasy. Through an online video game thing like world of Warcraft or somthing (I honestly have no clue) she has created an alternate world where she comes out in top I guesse. She was always a bit different but I just chalked that up to immaturity and believed that in time she would change. The opposite happened as the years went by. I don't know what to do anymore, I feel like screaming and crying! Or just hugging her and then punching her!and she's hurting my mommy. My mom had the worse end of the stick. my sister can't funtion in this world. She doesn't fit in and she can't cope with reality. so instead of reality she found fantasy. Through an online video game thing like world of Warcraft or somthing (I honestly have no clue) she has created an alternate world where she comes out on top I guess. She has these online friends and she stays up until two am playing this game. She doesn't leave her room and it. Smells so bad In there! It's not healthy. She tried going to college but she just couldn't handle it and it's so much stress for me because I feel like I have to be the successful child now. My mom tells me not to tell my friends about my sister because it's not my secret to tell but I need to vent! I can't keep this "secret" bottled up any longer or else I'm seriously going to blow up one day. I know its selfish for me to be complaining because my mom is the one dealing with the bulk of the issue and my sister is the one who will never live a normal life, but Im going to start developing issues of my own if I dont talk to someone about this. maybe I need counseling with my mom? I just wish all the pain would go away and I could go back to the simple days of rolling in the mud with my sis. I know she's in there somewhere I just hope I find her before I begin to give up. Reply
Mia norway, Community Member
5/31/14 10:46pm
Sorry some of autocorrects fault that it says cats instead of acts and more Reply
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By heartgoeson, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/31/14, First Published: 02/24/11