How To Deal With Bipolar And Schizophrenia

Question

Asked by Megan

How To Deal With Bipolar And Schizophrenia

I have been dating my boyfriend for 16 months now. He is bipolar and schizophrenic. I love him dearly and i sometimes dont know how it is he feels about me. He gets depressed and angry and yells at me sometimes or doesn't want to see me. He always apologizes afterwards and feels bad, we communicate very good, but sometimes he just seems so empty inside. He says he wants to marry me and wants to have children with me, he bought me a ring back in may and said it was a pre engagment ring because he couldn't afford a dimond or to get married yet. He has trouble with work and he can't go to school right now. I am going to be done with school in may and i told him i would help him, he is not a moocher he pays for what he can. Is that a good thing for me to help him out or would that some how make him worse, i want to do the right thing for him i care for him and i just want to see him living a happy life and i want to be a part of that. Please tell me what you think.

Answer

Hi, Megan. I'm going to be cautiously optimistic here. We get lots of questions here from individuals (mainly women) who describe a clear pattern of abuse from their loved one. The type of answer they are looking for is one that removes all the blame from their abusive loved one and instead lays it all on the bipolar disorder. This implies the abuse will go away once their loved one gets on the right meds.

Sadly, these people are dreaming.

Spousal abuse may occur while a person is having a bipolar episode, but the queries we tend to get here strongly suggest that these people are abusers to begin with. These are people who will abuse whether in an episode or not, plus they engage in behaviors typical of abusers - eg no remorse or fake remorse, no responsibility, casting themselves as the victim, always blaming others (including their loved one), always in denial, manipulative behavior, no empathy (or fake empathy), driving a wedge between their partner and their friends and family, always controlling, always keeping their partner in a weak and dependent position, often mooching on their partner, never respecting their partner's boundaries, always making their partner feel weak and inadequate and cheap (even when heaping high praise), and on and on.

What you describe is a lot different. Yes, people with bipolar (and schizophrenia) can put their loved ones through hell, but what you describe appears to be isolated instances (plus no doubt daily annoyances), not part of a pattern of constant abuse. If this is the case, you can work with this. Clearly, with 16 months under your belt, you already have. I commend you for your patience and understanding and love. Loving a person with bipolar is always a challenge, but this is a challenge that you appear to be up to.

As for your loved one, from what you describe, it also sounds like he is up to the challenge. He acknowledges his illness and appears to take responsibility for his actions. Yes, as a result of his episodes (and most likely stressful situations) his feelings and emotions get the better of him. But from what you describe, you are not living in daily mortal fear. Moreover, your loved one experiences remorse, appears to be doing everything he can to keep his illness under control, appears to be willing to change his behavior (if you demand he does), and - very important - is willing to communicate.

Moreover, I'm sure he cares deeply about you.

This augurs well for you setting boundaries, and for the two of you to work together in laying down basic ground rules, for planning for crisis situations, and for resolving your disputes.

Mind you, if you left out any descriptions of abusive behavior I take it all back. But based on what you say, you have reason to feel hopeful. Relationships are always a challenge - even when Snow White marries Prince Charming - and the two of you appear to be up to the challenge.

Finally, you may be the one asking the question, but it appears that you have a lot of wisdom to share. I for one, with a history of failed relationships, could use your advice. So don't be afraid to start blogging here. I'm sure a lot of people could benefit from reading your shareposts on the challenges and successes of loving someone with bipolar.

Answered by John McManamy