• Ising Ising
    October 24, 2010
    Children of a bipolar parent...how do/did you cope?
    Ising Ising
    October 24, 2010
    There are no support groups in my area. I was looking in to it when I came across this site. I am curious, does anyone live with a bipolar parent? How do you help them? How do you cope? I am 32 and I recently told my mother that I would not talk to her or see her again if she did not agree to either go to counseling with me, or try to find out what is really wrong with her. She has been given the diagnosis of manic, but I personally feel it may be worse. She will be ok for a while, then go nuts and get credit cards in my siblings' names or my dad's name, without telling them, run them up and then give the gifts to us and tell us they are from "friends". I do not feel this behavior is normal and it has happened all of our life. If it is not credit cards, it is something else. It is hard to establish trust with her. We never know what she could be up to. Most times she seems normal, and then BOOM, we are hit upside the head with something crazy she did. She refuses to accept responsibility saying that she was forced to do it for some reason or other. Mainly she blames my dad because of ____ insert latest excuse there. So, I am trying to love her, but also not let it cause me any more trouble. My marriage has been on the rocks because of it. Gladly though, my husband has helped me through it and helped me define boundaries and to not allow her behavior to effect me. I have had to go so far as to have the credit bureaus password protect my account so she cannot get credit in my name without my knowing it. I have pointed out to her, that this behavior is not normal. She tells me she just has a "sanguine" personality and that is why she does what she does. Anyway, anyone out there in the same situation? What do you do? READ MORE


This question has not been answered by one of our experts yet.


  • jdgoogs28 March 12, 2011
    March 12, 2011

    I have a bipolar mother and father that are in denial and won't admit it or get diagnosed.  I gre up with two bipolar brothers whom one of them is deceased.  I am comming to grips now at 28 yrs old that I to am more than likey bipolar.  I hated it in the beginning, i always felt alone growing up.  But with age i have been able to acceppt it cause there really is nothing else you can do to change it.  I am currently pregnant with my spouse who also is bipolar.  I worry alot but that does nothing.  He also suffers with tourettes but not with swearing and that just motor ticks.  I worry about that also.  Life is too short to worry all the time i didn't plan on having a family like this things happen and u deal with it.  my brothers' death hurt extremely bad it was 12 yrs ago.  He couldnt't deal with how he felt plus he self medicated with drugs and alcohol, which is never good with bipolar or anyways.  Getting to know everything about it and accepting it was key.  You're not a psycho killer just because you hava ''label''.  it's  really how you choose to view it that makes all the difference.  plus through churches they have all types of classes group classes that help.  even just going to a depression/anger class is helpful cause both are a part of bipolar.  I dont go to my mom for help or anything cause she is in denial and shes hard to approach i think thats why i'm with someone bipolar who accepts it cause that gives some kind of comfort.  alot of people don't understand it but alot of people are more accepting to it now.   My dad just says not to focus on it and do good things to cope.  It's really on you you can't change the situation at all but u can try an help, and be there.

  • bizzeehands January 04, 2011
    January 04, 2011

    I am not the child of a bipolar parent, but their father is. Their uncle and aunt from their father's family are also bipolar, as well as their dad's father who has been undiagnosed, but I am sure he is. I also believe their aunt was bipolar. I could never figure out what was wrong with her, as she talked so rapidly and switched from topic to topic so fast that no one could follow a train of converstation.


    Their great grandmother also suffered from depression and had to have shock treatments. I have also heard of others in my husband's side of the family who have what I believe is undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

    Their dad, my husband, has what I am sure is bipolar I disorder. He refuses to get treatment and is in denial that anything is wrong with him.


    He has had this disorder all our married life of almost 40 years, having what I believe was his first major manic episode five years into our marriage. This past year he went into high mania and decided he wanted to divorce me, after he moved out. At the time, we had 4 adult children living at home, and five who were not. He had needed help on the farm, so the younger children came back or never left because his farmhands had quit and they wanted to help him stay afloat. So they said they would  work for him.

    His leaving devastated them. They were/are now without means to get out, since he had not been paying them, as promised, as he always found other areas he claimed he needed to put his money, saying he would get them paid in X amount of time.

    Because they always trusted him, they just put up with his delay of payment.

    A year ago he went into high mania, with not sleeping for a week, talking very rapidly, brimming over with myriad ideas for making money, spending away our money, taking out loans, investing in the stock market and so on. He also accused me of many untrue things to them, behind my back. This hurt them deeply because they knew what he was saying was not rational; they didn't understand what was going on. He made untrue claims against them, also, acusing them of not being obedient enough, so he was going to have to start over with a more obedient family. He tried to get one daughter quit her own project of writing her book, to write one for him, saying she was breaking the commandment to honor her father if she didn't do what he asked. She was devastated that he thought so little of her own goals and dreams.


    The kids here at home tried to make their older siblings who hadn't been living here, understand what their dad was saying and doing, urging them to help them in getting him get medical help. We all went through a very painful and emotional two weeks of his being highly manic, not knowing what to do, so we turned to the rest of the family. But they turned against us and refused to believe us.


    Because my older children had not been here living the nightmare, as they had been out of the home for several years, they did not believe their younger siblings or I knew what we were talking about. They came up with all sorts of excuses for their dad flipping out, saying the younger ones ganged up on him, stressed him out with money worries because they were still living at home, and so on, and that I was the one who had the problem of being too emotional.


    So, not only did the younger ones lose their dad, they also bascially lost their older siblings who would not believe them and instead accused them of being the cause of his mania. Instead of diagnosing their dad and getting help for him, they diagnosed their younger siblings as being the cause of his stress and refused to believe their stories of what he was doing and saying.


    It has been 11 months since he moved out, and my husband and I have since divorced, because he refused to get medical help so we could have a sane relationship. He has been bipolar all our married life, flipping in and out of mania and back into depression, periodically. Not often enough that I connected the dots. I just grew to feel that we were not connecting on any sort of emotional level that was necessary to a loving relationship. I was feeling increasingly like I was just living with a 

    roommate, and I expressed that thought to him. He would just look at me and shrug and walk away. And so I endured, figuring something must be wrong with me.

    At one time, right after his first major manic episode, 25 years ago, I did get him to see a medical doctor who said he was manic depressive and put him on valium. Because my husband did not like how the valium made him feel, he quit it, and now, because of the remembrance of that feeling, he says he will never let anyone give him drugs again. So I endured the times when he would flip out or the times he was depressed. He was basically a good man, and was never physically abusive, but I did suffer a lot of mental torment because of the things he would say and do over the years. I tried to shield the children, when they were young, from the things he had said to me. I wanted them to love their father and respect him.So many things which I claim now, they deny, because, "Dad never did that." They didn't see it because I shielded them from it.

    Until I had access to the internet, I did not know for sure what was wrong with him. I always made excuses for him, believing I must be the cause of his irrationality, or I would figure  that he was just so smart, the reason he was always coming up with some new theory or idea, or was not like other husbands. The older kids said to me, "Well, dad has always been like this. You  know, just a bit eccentric." So that is all the father they have known. I was the one who empathized with them, because he just didn't. He was more like the good ole boy to them, someone to carry on lengthy conversations with about his latest theories and religious ideas. He had so many "visions" and religious experiences, he had us all believing he was practically God. Now he believes he is, basically.


    A  younger daughter use to always say to me, "Mom, I don't feel like dad is like what I figure a real dad should be like. He doesn't see me, except in terms of what I can do for him. He doesn't connect emotionally. I don't feel like I have ever had a real dad. He just bosses me."


    It has been a very painful time for my  younger adult children to see their dad basically being who he has always been to them--very outgoing, very funny, very gregarious and basically a nice, good person with eccentric ideas, but who is now basically locked into mania, and saying and doing things that disturb them.

    He doesn't really act like he loves them, but he needs them to be there for him, to validate him and his ideas.

    It's like he has amnesia and doesn't feel remorse for hurting them emotionally, or for saying the terrible things he has said about them to the rest of the family, because he simply doesn't remember what he has done and said in the  past. Or he refuses to see it, and simply denies it.

    Others excuse his moods and behaviors as just being the normal way he has always been. 

    He's very intelligent and prides himself on being in "super genius mode," when he is manic. He remains at a low level of mania,now, after 11 months, still saying and doing irrational and damaging things about us.

    One daughter who he uses as his sounding board all the time, calling in the early hours of the morning, many times, waking us up, says that

    she doesn't feel like he can feel real love for her or us. That he really doesn't think about us all that much. This hurts her, as she has always loved him as a father.


    The kids at home who have been dealing with contact with him from time to time, are still struggling with their own self esteem, and their feelings of loyalty to their father. He calls several times a week and wants one or the other of them to come over to his place and wash his dishes or clean his house. Or to just come and visit. He gets weepy when he feels like no one will come when he wants.

    They always come home very disturbed by their visits with him, because he doesn't really "see" them, or connect with their feelings or needs or wants,nor act like he really care about their life. He just wants a listening ear, someone as a sounding board for his latest ideas.

    They are disturbed because he just doesn't seem "normal", even though he is very intellectual and bascially a nice guy, unless they happen to question anything he says. Then he gets agitated and blows up, or breaks down and weeps.


    He tends to feel sorry for himself a lot, breaking out into tears at random moments, over inconsequential things. He still tries to maintain control, always wants to be in charge of their life. He keeps coming up with ways for them to do things for him,and tries to get them to do what he wants, to make a living as he sees would be a good idea. Never mind that he never asks what they want to do, or their ideas about things. Their whole life, and mine,  has been spent in serving him, ordering their time to work for him, to fulfill his dreams and goals.

    But now they are seeing that this is wrong. They are seeing that they need to take charge of their own lives. They can love and respect him, and be nice to him. But I tell them they should not let him run their lives, nor  should they spend their time catering to his wants and needs every time he gets a mood and wants them around, exclusive of their own plans.

    I have not been able to find anything about dealing with a bipolar dad. How children are suppose to come to grips with the fact that their dad cannot be there for them in a normal way. They have to learn that

    it's okay to disagree with him and they are still valuable human beings even if he cannot connect with them on an empathetic level.

    We all feel cheated, somehow, that this connection has seldom been there. We have had a good family life, until now, even though it has been strange in many ways. But now that he has really flipped, our lives will never been the same.


    They have to distance themselves from him enough, that he can no longer cause them emotional damage and can no longer have their lives revolve solely around him, nor should they allow him to emotionally blackmail them into serving his needs by turning on the tears whenever he doesn't get what he wants.

    Anyhow, I don't know if this will help anyone. Maybe just to know that someone else out here is also dealing with this awful hell of being at the mercy of  the  moods of bipolar disorder in the one that should be there for them, will help someone. The trick is in how to love and care for a father who is only into his own head, while guarding one's heart and mind from their irrational moods, is a real balancing act.

You should know Answers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition. Content posted by community members does not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media, which also reserves the right to remove material deemed inappropriate.