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Friday, May 29, 2009 Nyleco, Community Member, asks

Q: How do you deal with a bipolar father?

Well lets see. My father has been diagnosed for 18 years now ever since I was born. He has his good months and his bad, but lately all hell has broken loose. He left the house and then called home saying that he was going to kill himself. This ensued lots of phone calls to police and such and such. Which made him more mad because he has an authority problem. Finally we got a hold on the situation got him home and my mother took him to the hospital. The most asinine thing is that they would not commit him, they said that he was not suicidal enought to stay...So now my poor family has to be on a suicide watch. This is sad because there is a 53, 18, 17 and 16 year old "bodygaurds" watching a 43 year old man. Well nothing holds my father in place. He has vanish. Nothing, nada, zip from him for two days. Leaving us all the worry whether if he is dead or alive. Basically this was all just a rant. I needed it to release something because if we lose out father we lose everything. It is so hard to love him but I have too. Any advice or helpful comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Answers (3)
knowthyself, Community Member
5/29/09 7:26pm

Well Nyleco, it appears you know your father's condition very well and you understand he is currently ill and really has no intention of tormenting you or your family an making them worry about him.  The roles have also changed and you and your siblings have become caregivers and you are the ones who are are now there to be supportive to your father.


Times like this are when you and your family must be understanding and supportive of your father.  You may also have to act on his behalf to intervene, to keep him safe and see that he gets the appropriate medical care and therapy to assist him in reducing the symptoms that are responsible for his current behavior.  I am sure he does not want to be going through this anymore than you want to see him like this.  Do what you can to be understanding, let him know you care and want to see him get better.  Get him to him to understand that the best thing he can do for himself and his family is to get proper care without ordering him to do it.  Make his idea, let him see the situation from your point of view and that of the other family members.  He needs to know all of you care and want him back healthy.  If you can make him an active participant in his recovery you will have better results.

Nyleco, Community Member
5/29/09 7:49pm

Thank you. Your advice is greatly apreciated! You see with my father it is all about the control. We have been doing this a long time. He is to the point now where it is "I don't care" and " You guys don't understand" and when we ask what it is we don't understand he comes back with another question, now if he ask you a question you must answer or he will get angry. When we express how we feel to him he turns it on us. Saying that we are just imagining or making up his moods or the way he reacts to things and that he is actually perfectly fine. In the end my family is the bad people and my father is the saint. It seems like as the years go on his depressive and manic cycles get more harsh and last longer. By the way he did come home and then he left again but now he call every two hours. I know he still loves me but his way of expressing it is strange. Its hard on all of us expecially my mother who firmly believes that she was placed on this earth to help my father. I truly don't know how much longer we can last with him but I just keep thinking that if we make it through this cycle we can have our good months back.

knowthyself, Community Member
5/30/09 10:46am



Your mother must begin to understand that she can not help anyone who is not willing to help themselves or values the help from those that are their willing to give their help.  Your father believes that his family does not understand him and he sounds like he belives he is the he is the authority on what is best for him.  He does see his illness from a different perspective that his family.  He is on the inside looking out and sometimes due to his illness his judgment and perspective are not all that clear.  His family see the behaviors and emotion but not what is behind them.


If he could agree to see someone that was unbiased and would provide him with good honest opinions and suggestions on ways, he could become more stable and have a better life for himself and his family.  Maybe a therapist who is knowledgable about mental illness and its treatment could ask him what he has been doing thus far to maintain his stability and then ask him how that has been working for him?  If he could find someone he trusted and whose knowledge he valued, then maybe he would be more apt to listen.


You can wait for the cycle to end and him to possibly say, I am fine now, I do not need any help.  And you can enjoy his stable period but you will most likely again say that is was good while it lasted as the next episode takes hold.  Basicly, you do nothing and nothing changes.  If he happens to come out of this episode and is confronted with the reality of the chaos that resulted he then may be receptive to seeking help so as to avoid it in the future.  Your family can try to get him help now but must try when they know he may be most receptive or he is in crisis and you can get someone to intervene.  What he is going through is treatable with medication and therapy, he does not have put himself through this or his family and he can live a more stable life, if he is willing to get the help and do the work it takes.

Nyleco, Community Member
5/30/09 3:25pm

Okay. Thank you very much. We will try. He already has many doctors and such. He does see one that he trust a great deal but my father is not very patient. He is also on medication that makes him stable but he just had surgery for a hernia and that could also be the cause of this chaos. So yes we will wait and hope and help him through this.

whykie, Community Member
9/ 3/14 6:55am

Call 211 and ask if there is an organization that can help your family deal with your father's needs.  Also you could ask them if there is a local bipolar support group that the family and/or the dad could go to.

brijoux, Community Member
2/11/10 12:15am

oh honey, my father was bipolar and abusive, too.  because he supported us financially and never sexually molested or hit us on the face, mom never stood up for us.  but he did beat me with wood boards and slap my inner thighs.  he also threw things.  his erratic, unstable, violent behavior and many years of scapegoating made me isolate myself from my family.  my brother was older than me and he was never home.  i felt like i had no one to talk to about it because anytime i was defensive against his antics, i was labeled as "just like him" and i was labeled as "manic-depressive."  because of this, my parents made me take start taking anti-depressants when i was 8.  i went through a roller-coaster life, going on and off my medication and being prescribed numerous types of medication.  finally when i was 22, i went off all my medication cold turkey and plummeted into a deep depression.  i swallowed a bunch of pills in an attempt to kill myself, but i chickened out and my mother intervened.  a year later, i am still anti-depressant free and although i still get depressed sometimes, i've never felt better in my life.  psychotherapy, my wonderful therapist, and God saved my life.  


gosh that felt good to get out.  just wanted to share my story.  bipolar abuse is the worse because its duplicitous and can be easily hidden.  my father's an actor/lawyer and is extremely intelligent and good with manipulating people's perceptions.  


i hope more people realize that abuse is usually the culprit of depression.  

long time caring, Community Member
11/ 5/10 3:12pm

you are all very strong children of an uncontrolable, confusing, abusive mental health disorder.My father has had this condition for 21 years...he played the ruined father and I played the rescuing daughter. I have lived on anti depressants for  the majority of my adult life...he convinced me at one point in my life that I was bi polar too and I believed him. He has had episodes where he has ended up in prison and has always been sectioned in the psychiatic hospital. This year...I have had enough ! and I quit caring for a selfish man who never got any therapy once he was stable but saved up his money for the next episode. My father used to be an intelligent responsible man but he turns into a manipulative, cunning, self serving, emotional blackmailing, abusive person when his cycle turns manic. Otherwise, he sits and feels sorry for himself...never a stable stage..just one cycle or the other.I do not know who my father is and neither does he. I suggest to all who care for a Bi Polar mindful that you are not rescuing...instead of enabling. BIG DIFFERENCE!! take care of you all...I feel for you so much. Clincians harp on about how awful it is for someone with condition of Bi Polar but who helps the children/carers?????

I have had my rant....sorry if anyone reading this has bi polar...I am just venting my feelings from another perspective.Peace to you all xx

chris lebanon, Community Member
2/22/12 3:29am

you should thank god that this is what he does only , (get out of the house and wanting to kill himself)

my father has bipolar ever since we were born (31 years) and his symptoms are very dangerous (he gets mad on us, he wants to kill us (not himself) from the tiniest thing at home he gets angry at us , he makes a scene everywhere he goes and in front of everyone. we are living in fear everyday , frankly speaking i wish he commits suicide because now we all have stress disorders because of him.

we have tried every kind of medication , nothing works. so i think you are lucky that your father's symptoms are like that and not the other way around

i dont give a shit if my father wants to kill himself (ill be dancing on hos grave also)

you have no idea of the kind of torture we are experiencing everyday.



Aikdel, Community Member
10/31/12 1:43am

I feel the exact same way you do. Its tuff. I feel guilty for saying it sometimes since he is ill, but I too I wish he were dead..but I mean it would be easier. This comment stood out to me in this thread, someone mentioned it. "Clincians harp on about how awful it is for someone with condition of BiPolar but who helps the children/carers?????" What about us? Dealing with them just screws our minds up. Its awful ! I am 19 and being around a father who is bipolar since birth. I dont know who he is. I dont know him and I've been with him all my life. It hurts sometimes to see other people with such great father and daughter relationships because I know that it is impossible for me to have. I dont have a father who can be my best friend, I dont love my father, instead I hate him. All my life I feel resentful because I know that a parent is suppose to nurture, protect, and love you is instead I have one who is either NEVER there, One who just lays in bed for months doing nothing, one who just eats and sleeps (deppressive) OR he is Yelling, Swearing, Angry and Threatening to hurt you and even doing so (manic). What do we do ? how do we get help? This is Hard! I dont want to face this. I just want to run away.. I feel as if this is making me go crazy, I now even get scared when I get angry or I "snap" because I dont want to be like him. EVER. Also thats the thing, I will never know until it happens. Its awful to know that it is heriditary. I just have to hope for the best. There are so many thing we suffer. Yea they maybe the ill ones, But isnt it true that we can also get ill from them phychologically through all the stress we endure? ... Oh its tuff.. I guess all there is to do, is just think positive, because I mean what else can you do.. ?

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By Nyleco, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/03/14, First Published: 05/29/09