I Learned Something About Myself Yesterday….

Bipolar Affective Disorder
Bipolar Affective Disorder (Photo credit: tamahaji)

and I wish I had not come to this piece of enlightenment or wisdom, whichever you prefer. While I think I have been in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for a while now (my husband has a tendency to speak in a condescending manner to me, he does not really support the things and activities that I am involved in, he gives me the silent treatment when I have done something that displeased him rather than talk it out, basically anything to demean or degrade me), I came to the realization yesterday that I am no different. I am emotionally and verbally abusive as well. And I became that way before he did. I do think there are reasons why. I have never had a good grip on my temper, or my moods. Medication and therapy do help, but there is no “magic pill” that will make it all go away. Bipolar is always managed; it is never controlled. I have been subject to fits of anger all my life, and I have generally taken it out on the people around me, but not the person that I am angry with. Clearly, it is something that I need to work on. 

There is a positive to this realization, however. I think it may be the first time I have really tried to look at my self from someone else’s viewpoint. Where I see someone who really tried hard to please people, someone else may see a person who is manipulative, and tries to please people for their own gain. What I view as sarcasm may be interpreted by another as just plain mean ( I do have this problem with stupid questions: ask a stupid question, you’ll probably be met with scathing sarcasm. It is not a part of me that I like). I cannot tell at this point whether being emotionally abusive is reactionary ( I am feeling attacked, and I have to fight back), or if I actually start fights just to start them. However, in my defense, I rarely call people names. or speak to them in way as to belittle them. I just throw temper tantrums or I become very quiet (that’s when you have to look out because a storm is gathering).

I have always failed to take the role of the other which is what happened yesterday. I finally began to see my behavior through someone else’s eyes, and I was appalled at what I saw. What I saw was a brat who threw temper tantrums to get her way.

How much of my lack of control is due to having Bipolar Disorder, I do not know. I just know that I am destructive and not terribly constructive, that I have a hair trigger when it comes to tones of voice, inflections, and perceived attacks. I do know that Bipolar is a chemical or organic versus situational disease. The depressions and the manias are not typically brought on by things in my environment, they just seem to come and go as they please. I also know my brain does not process information the same way as a non-Bipolar person. I have seen PET scans and MRI’s of the Bipolar versus Non-Bipolar brain, and they are chemically different. Whether or not this chemical difference causes my mood swings, and my tendency toward hurting those that I love, I do not know either. 

I just know that somehow I am going to have to learn how not to hurt the people that I love even when I feel like they are hurting me. The perception may or may not be correct. It’s very difficult when you can’t trust your own judgement.

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