A Wife’s Story

Posted May 2, 2008

I have been married 9 1/2 years to a bi-polar man. He was diagnosed about 7 or 8 years ago, on meds for a while then we just ignored the problem thinking it would go away. It didn’t. Three years ago I left after a very bad manic episode and he would not seek any professional help. When I said I was leaving it turned into an even worse episode that landed him in jail for a DUI (I think he was trying to kill himself with the use of the car).

I left for two months and he did everything right. Got help, swore he would stay on meds, let me have my freedom, etc. I thought I had to give it another shot for the man I loved, our dogs, cat and the life we had built together. I returned and we went to counseling and he saw his own doctor. They put him on Lithium and I started to think we may make it after all.

I started to let my guard down and started trusting him again to be the man I thought I had married. Then slowly the bizarre (well familiar to me) and controlling behavior started to creep into our lives. I do not think I noticed at first but my closest friends (all on guard) would ask me if he was on his meds. He started to say he really didn’t think he needed the meds and they prevented him from being the superstar at work he needed to be.

As time progressed, I started to sink back into my hole and things progressed to bad. Everything is my fault, I do not make enough money (I do make a nice salary), he wants a new luxury car, he is God and everyone else is an idiot, etc. He has built a very good company from scratch and has managed to maintain his business success. The thing is though the more we make the more we spend. We have major credit card debt, a big beautiful home (that costs a fortune to run), nice cars, lavish vacations, etc. He thinks if he works hard he should have whatever his heart desires at whatever minute he desires it. It appears on the surface we are the American Dream. I pay the bills and am always on edge that another month goes by and the more credit card debt we have. We have over-drafted for months now. I will let him know we do not have any money after the bills are paid yet it is only my fault since I need a better job. I ask him to curb big spending and then I get in trouble when I spend $20 at Wal-Mart.

Last October we went to a wedding and he was on fire and spiraling out of control on the way there. After he drank heavily for two days and was a monster to be around, he finally crashed. I had not seen this freaking out since the day I left two years prior. He was having a full blown manic attack. Sweating head to toe, couldn’t breath, didn’t want to live anymore, wanted to jump out the window to stop the madness, wanted me to leave him since he was so horrible, and on and on and on. I was in complete panic myself.

Luckily my sister was down the hall at the hotel and I woke her at 3am to help me. We calmed him down and then he promised to take his meds, do everything right and that he loved me more than anything and would do whatever it takes to make it work. Back home, back on meds….

Well, we are now in April and I am noticing all the subtle changes. He wants (or has to have) a new car (always a sign), he wants me home at all times, he cringes if my phone rings and it is a friend, I should have the laundry done and cook dinner (things I have really never done since we met), work is too stressful for him, everyone is an idiot, etc. I looked at the date on his pills and they should have been done weeks ago. He hasn’t stopped talking about how he is going to get his new car and how important his job is and what happened that day in painful detail. I have convinced him to go to a therapy session with me next week (we have not been in over two years), and he thinks the therapist will help me get over my car grudge and let him buy the car. I told him the appointment was for me (it is) and if he wanted to join he could. He thinks his own Dr is a total quack and has no respect for him. He keeps convincing him to prescribe the meds without getting the blood work done or the counseling.

I am just starting to lose hope that this will be my life forever. He said last episode that my friends could call him if I couldn’t break through, and now my friend wants to call and he says no way. We had two golden retrievers who I love more than anything and I know in my heart it was due to them I gave it another shot. We lost one of them in December and the other one is pretty old and I hope he will never pass on but I do think how I will not have any ties after that. Of course, we just got a puppy but I feel she is way stronger than my other two and would be happy to live with her dad. He loves them very much too. (I think the cat will go with me no matter what.)

I know this is all silly rambling but honestly it is the tie that binds. I cannot imagine having human kids (but yet I think about it) and dealing with the roller coaster ride I have been on. I know if and when I leave I will leave with the clothes on my back and probably half the debt since I just do not have the energy to fight for anything. I want him to be ok but I am now 34 years old with no children (human ones that is – scared to death to have them) and do not want to look back on my life with sadness.

In many ways I love him dearly, we met in high school (not high school sweethearts) and we have been friends now for 20 years. I do love the American dream life we live, without the debt of course. I know he loves me way more then I love him on a husband and wife level. I do not want him to touch me anymore at all and he knows it and it is very, very sad. I thought maybe healing over time would bring the romance back but I think as soon as I am about to forgive and forget it all starts over again and I have to put my guard up. Just the other day I actually verbalized jumping off the bridge to have kids. Then, that night, it was a two hour conversation on how no matter what he would buy this freaking car we cannot afford because he deserves it. Did I mention he already has a very nice new car that is 1 ½ years into a lease?

So, now I am at a cross road once again. I honestly do not know why I cannot leave. I have a million reasons to go but I really do not think I ever will and I am not sure why. I could write a book on everything so I have tried to condense it down to cliff’s notes. I am sure anyone who is married to a bipolar person could fill in all the gaps. (I just realized the two instances I mentioned alcohol, to clarify, he is not a big drinker normally but does self medicate with pot daily.) This is where I am today and just wanted to get everything out there to the world. I guess it is therapeutic? We’ll see…

60 Comments

  1. I just posted my story and it is similar to yours. I’m further down the road with this than you. I’m 49 and have 3 children and a grandchild with my 53 year old husband. Take it from me, don’t have kids. There is a chance they will have mental illness too. If you think it is hard dealing with one sick person, try dealing with 3 of them in the same house. No one listens or can be reasoned with. It is constant chaos. I can’t tell you what to do as far as staying with him. If you read my post, you will see I have no idea what to do either. I know bipolar is a medical illness just like cancer or diabetes. I took vows before God to love him and stay with him in sickness and health. My religious beliefs only allow for divorce in an abusive or an adulterous situation. Besides all of that, I don’t know how he will keep from becoming a homeless bum or committing suicide without me. BUT MY GOD! How much can a person take? If I had a decent paying job, someone to keep my grandbaby and a little money, I’m pretty sure I might leave. But, maybe that is just an excuse. I just don’t feel strong enough to try to survive on my own.

  2. This story was mine only I have everyone beat! I am 57 he is 59.
    He has just officiallybeen diagnosed with BP. I have lived a roller coast life-2 children-thankfully grown. I have read all the books. Until this past year, I had put up with so much that my mind spins. This last year he decided he would leave and had found someone else that was 20 years younger with little children. She bled him for money and things-expensive things. This lasted months. He was not diagnosed but I knew what it was and how sick he was. He is so abusive verbally when he is in this state-when I was younger I thought I should just make things better-you all know that feeling! He finally begged to stay and we went toa neurologist, psychologists, and now psychiatrists. When he started the mood stabilizer it was great-he then decided he had a rash(not serious but like heat rash) he would lessen his meds on his own without consulting the Doc. He has started taking them correctly again but started into mania. I don’t know-even at my age-if I will stay if he does not follow strict guidlines with the meds! I can say to all of you that it is not worth it if the person will not follow medication-BP will not respond to anything else. I could relate to the new cars-we always had one or two no matter what-and then he would eventually realize what he had done. We bought,last summer, a vacation plan that I begged him not to do but he said it would bring us closer! He later decided he could not pay for it. Great!! I could, also, write a book. I’ve rambled enough. Be good to your self-all of you!

  3. I, too, have a bipolar husband. It’s been a very rough two years during which he went from the kind, loving person I married to this out-of-control person and I started to question my own sanity. I am lucky that now that he is taking Lithium, he does seem to recognize a lot of what he has done and he has told me that “Lithium saved my life and my marriage.” I don’t think he will stop taking it, but it is always in the back of my mind.

    Like the poster above, I think that if I left my DH, he would either be homeless, or dead, and sometimes it is easy to see that things are not in his control. Other times, though, it’s so very difficult to get yourself to believe that he is not doing these things on purpose. My heart goes out to you. I hope you can somehow get your husband to see that if he does not take those pills every single day, he is going to lose it all….

  4. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. I have been with a bipolar man for several years now. We were engaged, live together etc. He is taking the minimum dosage of Lithium and for about a week I thought I had gone to heaven. Since then his symptoms are a little better, but in general I feel like I am with a truly disabled person. He often makes no sense, isn’t logical, and has many strange behaviors, ways of talking etc. I am wondering if someone, anyone can tell me some of the more bizarre behaviors that BP can exhibit. I am starting to wonder if he doesn’t have schizo effective disorder as well.

  5. I have been married to my bipolar husband for almost 24 years. I have raised 2 grown children and still have an 11 year old at home. My husband with his outrageous ways of thinking and hollering have run my other 2 children away from home. I am tired of the abuse and when i tell him i’m unhappy he wants to die or at least says he does. He is on meds and I am afraid of him. I want to leave to make a better life for my child and me but I have no idea where to start. I do not want to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder wondering when he will kill me and I certainly don’t want to be held responsible for his suicide. I am at wits end. Anyone who can help me would be greatly appreciated.

  6. I have been with my fiance for almost two years. I understand expecially for anyone who is afraid. He has been diagnoised with bi-polar for most of his life. He has been without for over two years. Nobody will help get his medication. I’ve tried. I lost my job because he wants to control me. He doesn’t want me to talk to guys, go anywhere with them. He accuses me of sleeping around(when i have cheated on him or anyone else, I don’t believe in it). At points, when he’s angry at me or anyone else he’ll flip on me. He has hit and choked. Evenually, I just got tired of it. I can’t take anymore.

    His mother has talked to him. Telling him that he needs to change. He doesn’t want me to wear revealing clothes, he wants to make promises all the time, I can only certain places. He rarely ever wants me to leave the house. When his mom/sister boyfriends used to be around he would want to stay in the bedroom until he got home…for anyone with children don’t put them through abuse. My father was abusive. You don’t ever get over it. It will hurt all of their lives. I know for while I couldn’t trust a man because I was so scared he would like like my real father. Out-of-control, abusive.

    Now I definity afraid of marriage. What do you do when you marry and the man changes. I love my fiance and I always will. He was my best friend since I was 15. He was my first serious relationship. We have had very bad money crisis. We still do. He can’t save money. He likes to spend it. I feel like I do all the work and he does none. I feel like I put in all the relationship work and he just lacks. He just sits back and watches.

    I ended on day he choked for last time. He told me if I didn’t talk to him in a hour he would choke me again. He chokes me until I feel like Im going to past out. His mother is going to get him help. What should I do? I love him and I can’t be without him. How do I know that he will change?

  7. Jennifer –
    You are in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship and you need to rally all your supports and get out. You are in danger. There are clearly good things about this guy and something about the relationship that you want to hold on to – but nothing matters until you are safe. You can’t know that he will change – in fact he is not going to change unless he gets professional help as well. You can’t wait until he seriously hurts you though. You can live without him – you need to figure out how to do that and soon. This is dangerous for you.

    If you have a therapist they can help you – if you do not I encourage you to get your own help. There are a number of domestic abuse crisis hotlines as well and they can give you some specific guidance on how to safely step out of this relationship at least until he gets help himself.

    Good luck with all of this – no one deserves to be hurt – and it is OK to say no to being hurt – you can still love him but you can’t be with him until he stops hurting you.

  8. Rhonda -

    This is a complicated situation – which is so common in families living with bipolar disorder. You will need help to make a big life change – to figure out one step at a time what you need to do. I would strongly encourage you to seek out your own therapist or counselor who can help you think through your situation and problem solve in a safe and effective way.

    Good luck – asking for help is one of the best ways I know of to start solving a problem that I think is impossible to solve. Reaching out here is a good first step – getting your own professional help will be your next one.

  9. I was with a guy for 6 years. There were strange episodes scattered throughout our relationship which I thought were just him getting overly emotional or whatever. Then things would get better. Then he would be controllling, telling me what to wear, etc. I am a pretty strong person, so I didn’t put up with it and we would argue. Then later he wouldn’t remember even telling me these things.

    I was so confused for years. Finaly about the last 6 months we were together he started smoking pot constantly, 24 hours a day. He was only sleeping like 3am-5am every day. He had all these “goals” that he had to attain. He was fired from his job for “anger issues.” He tried to start a business and used the business to lease a new car, when we had just purchased a new car a couple months before that. He drew strange phrases and pictures all over the wall in our house with magic markers one night. When I woke up the next morning, I had no idea what was going on. He was totally “productive” in his words. He was always saying how he was accomplishing so much and he needed more projects to work on, when I could see that he couldn’t even manage the main project he was supposed to be doing.

    He continued to smoke more and more pot. He would start arguments with me all the time, telling me I had to cook dinner more often and why didn’t I clean the house more, etc. But I actually did a lot of those things and had a full time job since he had been fired and I had to pay all the bills, which I couldn’t afford with his spending habits. When I confronted him about his behavior, he told me I was crazy, etc. He was very agressive and loud and verbally abusive. He took the car keys and said I couldn’t drive anywhere. He started a huge fight with me for no reason, I was just watching television, he was in the other room and came out to yell at me, kept getting about 6 inches from my face telling me all sorts of mean things, like I am stupid and worthless, I don’t love him, I want to sleep with a bunch of other men, etc. He turned the tv off so I could “focus” on him. Then he went in the kitchen and got a big knife. He sat in front of me and rubbed it up and down on his wrists, saying that he was going to cut himself open and I wouldn’t even take him to the hospital because I don’t love him even if blood was squirting all over the floor. I had no idea what to do I didn’t talk at all, this lasted 5 hours of screaming, I may have said 5 words the whole time, I just lay there like a zombie.

    The next day I had to go to work and he had taken the car keys, but was passed out on the couch. I woke him up hoping he was less crazy, but he wasn’t, he started yelling about how I would never drive the car, and he wouldn’t take me because I was an ungrateful bitch. Finally for some reason he agreed to take me to work. We got in the car and he drove the wrong direction to my work and said he wouldnt’ turn around until I agreed he was right and I was wrong, but I didn’t even know what he was talking about, so I just said, Ok I am wrong. He was screaming the whole time about I am a bitch, and many other cusswords.

    Finally about a block from my work, he stopped the car and leaned over and opened my door and said he hated me and I am a bitch and I could just walk the rest of the way. So of course I Was crying hysterically at this point, but I just walked to work. He followed me with the window open screaming obscenities at me as I walked, then demanded I get back in the car, which I did not. Finally he drove off.

    When I arrived at work, my employer was concerned and we called the police. I got a restraining order against him. When he arrived at court a few weeks later for the hearing, he was totally manic. He could barely speak, he sounded drunk, but I know he was not. He was completely delusional and saying he was famous and worked with famous people all the time and he wrote all kinds of delusional things on the court documents like he made $20K in one day of work. I barely even talked at the hearing because he did all the work, he just rambled on and on, the judge let him talk for 45 minutes. Finally the judge ruled and this guy was still rambling. The sheriff escorted him out of the courthouse and told me not to leave without an escort.

    The thing that is bad however is that I didn’t know he had bipolar disorder. I thought he was just a mean guy having a nervous breakdown. I am not even sure now if that’s what it is, but after reading all this stuff, I think that’s what it is. He still sends weird emails, despite the order. In one he said he had gone to a psychiatrist who gave him Zyprexa and something else which he didn’t name, so I am assuming that it’s bipolar. I feel bad for him. His family doesn’t help him, they don’t understand what’s going on, they think I am crazy for leaving him, I haven’t gone back and I don’t speak to him. I think once someone waves a knife in your face, it’s over. So that’s what I have to say to those other people whose significant others have choked or beat them. Hopefully he will get the help he needs before he hurts himself or someone else.

  10. I’m struggling right now and have been off and on for many years. The man I married 9 and a half years ago has violent and aggressive tantrums resulting in huge fights with my kids. Of course it is always their fault for disrespecting him and my fault for not “backing him up” ( which i do as much as possible). We are both from first bad marriages and at first blamed our problems on that. I was married to my children’s Dad for 17 years and endured countless episodes. I was so young and gullable at the time that I believed every thing he said and hung on his every word.

    I finally figured out after all those years that maybe I was not the crazy one. I begged him to get help, he refused and left. I later found out what I had been suffering with all those years was a Manic man. It nearly drove me crazy. During and after the divorce he would play the bait and switch game with me and the children tormenting us and scaring us. My present husband would come riding in on his white horse (jeep) and defend us from the” scaring man “. I had NO idea then that they were both crazy and I was just the object of their pleasure.

    The man I am now married to has threatened me many times. I have had restraining orders on him( which he violated and was arrested ). In court he actually lied and had his son and brother lie and say they had seen me hit him. WOW!!! why did I come back to him???

    What do I do now. My kids are 23, 18, 15 and 14 and they hate him. On the other hand he has “taught them so much ” and we are all afraid we could’nt make it on our own.

    After his last tantrum this weekend I have insisted he get professional help. and for the 5th time he wants to go to a Pastor with whom he can put on his spiritual heirs and fool him. He actually composed a “peace treaty for the whole family to sign as his way of making up. He insists if I don’t then I am not a “godly” woman.

    I know it’s time for me to go….just wish at 48 that my life had been happier.

  11. Get away from both of them. You can make it on your own. You have some kids old enough to work and help out. If you all work together as a group without the crazy men involved, you can do it. Even if things are rough at first, I think everyone will appreciate the peace and quiet.

  12. I believe my husband is bi-polar. I’ve been married to him for sixteen years and has been nothing but a roller coaster ride the whole time. I continued to stay with him because I fell in love with the good in him.He’s had 5 dui’s in this time and is on probation right now. He continues to drink. He will not get help.So three weeks ago he left me for another woman thinking his life will get better.Unfortunately, I have’nt stopped loving this man. His family doesn’t recogize his problem. I ‘m at a loss for what to do!

  13. My Ex wife is Bipolar with Schizophrenic tendancies. All of your stories hit home for me. I experienced more than a few years of her behavior, some of it so slight that it could be excused away by some reasonable explaination and all the while I questional myself and my belief in what I was witnesing in her behavior. I could see it but not explain it. Things were terrible and ugly. I stayed for many years beleiving I was obligated to do so, I did love her. But in the end I could no longer live that way and my kids needed a break. My two kids 17YO girl, 13YO boy, were being destroyed and needed me to help them, so I did. I left her for many reason I dont need to explain to you because I feel you are all aware of the issues and how difficult they can be to explain. My Ex-wife is still not better after two years post divorce. I have full custody of my kids and thankfully they are doing a little better. This was both the hardest thing and the best thing I have done in my married life. I am able to function again and so are my kids. I wish it were different but it is not. Nothing will change the behavior becase the Med’s that a person needs to maintain a good (normal) mood are not pleasant to take and that is why many stop taking them. I cant tell another person what is best for them but know for myself and my kids, leaving her was the only choice at the time. Looking back it still remains the best choice.

  14. I have been married 34 years to a man who was diagnosed with BP during his recent treatment for Hep C. He was not treated for BP until it started manifesting as mania most probably caused from the anti depressants prescribed during the treatment. We got through that, one of the most intense periods of our marriage, only to have full blown mania return early this year. Once it started it turned into a bizarre story. I think it is probably classic story but I must say it is like living in a soap opera. He bought a red convertible sports car, started wearing a tall beaver skin hat with a rattlesnake skull attached to the headband, carried a cane with a concealed sword and another rattlesnake skull on it, took to wearing rings on every finger, four necklaces, red glasses, had his teeth capped and always had an entourage of strange people following him. And the women he kept bringing up and flaunting around town in my face. Of course he was throwing cash around like crazy and paying for all the parties so there was quite a following. Of course he is adament that this is the “real” him and he appears to be living the life of his dreams although the money will soon be gone at the rate he is spending. The story is long and is continuing. He moved to Mexico and has been gone several months but is returning this week. I had hopes (delusions, I think) that we could work things out. But he sounds manic still.
    My question is how friggin’ long can this continue???? I saw the first signs of mania in early January and it still seems to be going strong. It just seems like there is no hope and maybe there is not. Maybe I just need to move on…..I thought we would grow old together but I don’t think I can stand the chaos much longer. Even if he were on meds I think I would be living in fear of another mania episode. The depression last winter was bad, bad, bad but the mania is harder, I think.
    My life has been very interesting the past 8 months, if nothing else.

  15. Susan–

    Good question. According to Dr. Fink:

    Untreated manic episodes typically last several weeks to several months – this episode being described in this post is 8 months or so and that is quite long. As the doc, I would be thinking about anything else that could be keeping it going – drugs or alcohol, surreptitious antidepressants (sounds weird I know – but possible), or something related to physical illness including Hepatitis C.

    We’re going to do a more in-depth post on this sometime in the near future.

  16. I am believing the man is self medicating as you suggested and although I have agreed to a possible reconciliation, I am questioning myself as to whether I have the energy to even deal with him anymore.

  17. I was married to a bipolar man, his family tries to help me with him. He is the father of my first son and has been getting back to his worst lately. I can always see it building. Now he is not letting his family talk to me and since I don’t have their help I called child services. Not only is he on edge and talking wierd and hyper, his living environment is disgusting and my son comes home sick all the time. I had child services go over to his house today to make him clean it up. I’m at work, my son is at my mom’s, mom just told me that my ex has called and is on his way to my mom’s to visit my son. I’m afraid to go there and am not showing up at mom’s til my ex-husband is gone. He scares me, won’t get help and the system is little help as far making him get a physce eval. My son talks to the school therapist everyweek, everyone has witnessed his episodes but no-one will make him get help.

  18. He is in mania right now. Doing all the wierd things…but it was drawn to my attention by the principle of my son’s school that he picked him up early one day for no reason. There is no explanation for it. My son did not have a doctor’s appt. or anything. He is to have him one evening for 4 hours after school and every other weekend. What can I do? He is doing a lot of wierd things lately. He is missing work at his new job. He goes and has lunch with his son at school spontaneously, this may sound nice to some people but I know it’s part of him wanting to miss work and being out of his mind.

  19. I can relate to so many of your stories. (You can read Susan C’s Story in the Share Your Bipolar Story section of our blog.)

  20. I found this site as I was reading a review of “Bipolar Disorder for Dummies,” and thought I would stop to read some of the entries. I feel such empathy and concern for the individuals who have posted their stories here.

    I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1987, thus my interest in this topic. Our family has a history of mood disorders. Fortunately for me, I have had the support of excellent doctors and therapists, and my moods have generally been well regulated with medication.

    I’m writing tonight to speak to all of the wives who are suffering emotional and/or physical abuse that worsens during the periods of their husbands’ illness. It is critically important for you to seek out help and support for yourselves. I worked as a domestic violence counselor for many years, and I would urge you all to find information about local domestic violence groups in your area.

    Yes, your spouse does have an illness, but this does not excuse any and all outrageous behavior. Most importantly, it does not mean that you as a husband or wife must endure danger to yourself or your family, or that you must listen to constant belittling and emotionally abusive rants. This is a very high tight wire that most of you walk. You want to help your spouse, you can’t bear the idea of him (or her) hurting himself. You want to find some middle ground, and that requires help.

    Most domestic violence agencies can assist you with counseling at a very minimal (or no) cost. They can assist you with information about such things as Orders of Protection or Restraining Orders. They can help you find referrals for support in your community. For many, who are afraid of the economics hardships that will follow, the domestic violence agency can suggest financial resources and employment training. Very importantly, they will not urge you to make a decision to leave that your are not ready to make.

    Besides my experience working with women living under the conditions that many of you describe, I had to make similar decisions to those you struggle with. Over eight years ago I had to make the decision to leave my husband of 30 years. Our struggle was with his alcoholism, although my former psychiatrist was convinced that my husband was also bipolar. The decision was painful, but I felt that my survival and my sanity was at stake.

    I urge you all to look for all the support and assistance that is available in your community. We all need to know that we are not alone.

    My best wishes to all of you.

  21. My husband does not think he is bi-polar. He was diagnosed a LONG time ago and then another doctor told him he was fine.

    I don’t know what to do. Reading these stories was like a slap in the face. I’ve been dealing with verbal abuse, control issues, unexplainable mood swings, etc. It seems I can’t ever do any thing right and I feel so used up and broken.

    I’m ashamed that I have allowed my husband to treat me this way for so long. I’m ashamed that I’m willing to put up with this just to have a family.

    What’s wrong with me?

  22. I know what you mean, Alone…but don’t let it get to the point where your life is in danger just because you aren’t sure what to do. Find a way out because the only person that can help him is himself by realizing that he has a problem and needs to address it, until that happens, it doens’t matter what you do and I know it is impossible to live with a bipolar person who is manic all the time and yelling, controlling, screaming, making no sense about stupid insignificant things. Just leave, even if you just take the kids and yourself with nothing, it’s better, you will not believe the relief when there’s no drama at home! It’s weird how you forget what’s normal and what other people take for granted every day.

  23. When you decide to have a relationship with someone who is bipolar, you are essentially taking on the disorder. You are affected by it too. Because it is something that you are both dealing with, both of you have to actively work to make your relationship work. That means both of you, as in you and him – not just you. You have agreed to love him and have/will sacrifice a lot for doing so. There also must be a sacrifice on his part. He may not like to be on drugs because of side effects or because he enjoys the feeling of hypomania too much – or whatever the reason may be – but this is a sacrifice he must be willing to make in order for your relationship to work. He must accept that he has an illness that must be treated and actually believe this. This is a progressive illness so if it is not addressed it will only get worse. It is a difficult step on your part when you find out the person you love is affected by a mental disorder, and then decide that you love him enough to stick with him. It seems like a slap in the face if he does not put forth the effort to make life tolerable for you.

    I have been with a bipolar man for 4.5 years. He had stopped taking medication before we started dating. I did not know he was bipolar at first. He decided to start taking his medications again when he realized how his behavior was affecting me (very negatively). He would randomly yell and hit things, slam doors, and just be enraged by the slightest thing. His actions were never directed at me although there would be times that something I did would be the trigger. This would scare me a lot. After about 4 months of dating, he told me he was bipolar. I was shocked and relieved at the same time because now there was a reason for the insanity and it was not me.

    He still gets angry randomly and goes off, but not nearly as bad. I deal with this by either remaining calm or leaving the room and letting him cool off. I think it is important to keep in mind that his anger is triggered by something random and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Anything you say will make it worse because it is feeding it. When this happens, I think it is important to focus on you instead of trying to make him feel better.

    I have noticed that most, if not all, the posts on this page mention being in abusive situations. I agree with Janine here. If he crosses the line and starts to get physical, there is still nothing you can do about it and you still need to focus on yourself. Once he starts to get abusive, it turns into a dangerous situation. I know it can be hard to focus on you, but it is important to leave the relationship if his behavior escalates to this and he turns his rage toward you. Especially when he does nothing to address it. This rule applies even if he is not mentally ill. Your safety is the most important thing and you can’t wait until things get really bad and you are seriously hurt.

  24. It’s so nice to find a support group for spouses with bipolar disorder. I so relate to much of what has been written here. I’ve been married for 22 years to my husband with the disease. He ignored it up until 1 year ago, when his mood swings and behavior started getting out of control. Fortunately, he is willing to take his meds (lithium), and talk about what is happening with him. We’re slowly working through this illness together, but there are definitely days when I wonder why.

  25. Hello all,
    i am sat at this computer crying my eyes out after reading all of the partner responses. I am 26 and have been diagnosed for two years. I was on medication but as many of your partners dont like taking it as it takes my highs away and i am those highs, they make me who i am the chatty person who fills the room and everyone wants to know. When on the meds i felt inviable and numb and grieved for the person i once was.
    My partner has left. He cant take it and the sadness in his eyes when we see each other for our child is immense and kills me and never before have i understood – i thought it was him because he was weak and i honestly has after reading your agonised storries NEVER considered it was me.
    i feel sick knowing that it is indeed my illness and bad for loving who i am and not realising that i am ill when am am so happy at the same time. But please understand that its hard to let go of this and its like i can be two people and I am so awesome when i am like this – i never realised that others and the one i love terribly feel this way.
    i hope you all realise i am not looking for aympathy and know that i should my meds but its hard for us too we have no idead whats going on in our own bodies and it scary not being in control thats why we like to control every thing else
    im sorry to my partner and i hope the best for every one

  26. I hate that all of you have had to experience such lows with your partner. I have a Bipolar NOS diagnosis and am pretty full-functioning about 90% of the time. We are difficult people to be with, but once we get that diagnosis, we have a responsibility to ourselves to follow the plan even when we feel like there is nothing wrong with us anymore. We all go through the periods of not wanting to take drugs, and then it all comes back. But at some point, a BP person needs to realize that we are not victims. We have an illness, and for many of us it can be controlled…just like our behavior towards others. Your loved ones are lucky to have your support, and you have endured much more than most people would.

  27. Thank you all so, so much for writing about your experiences. I have been married to a wonderful man with horrible bipolar for nearly eleven years and recognize so much of what you all wrote about.

    Walking on eggshells, constant abuse, the refusal to see ‘idiot’ doctors or therapists, self-medication with alcohol and dope, violent behaviour, throwing money around, bizarre plans and schemes, total and all-absorbing crushes (on cars, religions, new careers, porn sites, etc), massive mood swings – it’s basically what my life has been about for the past eleven years. And,of course, about picking up all the pieces and nursing him after every depression and mania.

    Yes, the mania can be wonderful. He proposed only a few days after we met and I said yes – I had never felt so completely, deeply, gloriously and abundantly loved. He’s the brightest, funniest and most original person I know – and outside the manias and the depressions he’s the kindest and gentlest person you could imagine.

    I am writing this at my office and it’s well after midnight – I simply don’t dare to go home.
    He’s been shouting at me for three weeks solid now – everything is wrong and it’s all my fault. He stormed off this evening, in spectacular style, and I don’t know what I will find if I go back home now.

    I won’t bore you with the details, but I spent most of the past three weeks tidying up the various messes created by his latest mania while being bullied and criticized beyond belief – I’m a bad business partner, a horrible wife, a dreadful housekeeper and I stink at sex.

    I had a miscarriage four weeks ago. It was my – and our – first pregnancy. His latest mania started less than a week later and on the first day he announced that we had to get a divorce. It was for some really silly reason, but he kept going on about it for days.

    I had some therapy last year to deal with the damage of ten years’ living like this and thought I had learned to cope. I haven’t. I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t talk to him or reason with him – whenever I try to, he says I’m ‘answering back’ to him and that’s not allowed.

    He seems to be completely oblivious to the idea that I might have feelings and thoughts too, let alone that I’m still heartbroken over the miscarriage. I have never felt so alone in my life.

    • J,

      Wow, I read this post of yours even though it is a few years old. I feel we are the same person. I am sorry for what you have gone through. I am made to feel by my husband exactly as you say. It is so strange to me that many of live these parallel lives that seem so out of the ordinary, yet we share this experience. No matter how strong I think I am, I have days where I just cannot imagine going on any longer. Is that a way to live a whole life? I have alst been trying to firgure out what is it about me that led me to him, fell in love with him, wanted to be with him and still wants to be with him and care for him. I love him so much yet it’s not something he can feel or appreciate or value. My experience of our life and his are very different. It is just so damn hard.

      It has been good to read everyone’s stories here.

  28. I am glad to find this site because nearly everything I look at talks about all of the things that spouses of bi-polar people need to do and be. Why doesn’t anyone seem to realize that while the bi-polar person might feel terrific or be completely enwrapped in his depression, that this feeling has NOTHING to do with the feelings of others? Sure you might romanticize how vividly your bi-polar spouse feels, but is it really feeling when it is 100% one-sided and extremely temporary? Even if this is a sort of feeling it has no place in it for you, the recipient. If you feel special because you receive it you should know that you are deluding yourself. If you weren’t on the receiving end your bi-polar spouse would quickly and easily find someone else and wouldn’t even know the difference because he or she is only concerned with his or her feeling of emotion.
    If you stay with your bi-polar spouse you should know that you will be required to give up any chance of your own feelings for happiness, sadness, love, experience. You will not be able to afford to have your own feelings because you will constantly support the feelings of your spouse–you will constantly be called to give over your life and sense of self worth to what he is currently, momentarily occupied with. If your happiness corresponds to what he wants, you will be allowed to feel it for however long it works with what his illness is doing. If it doesn’t correspond, forget about it. You will have to sacrifice your happiness to undoing whatever mess he has created or to monitoring meds or to listening to rants. And, since you are the “healthy” one you will be expected by him, family, and society to do this with a smile. Your spouse will have plenty of rational down-time to deal with his mis-management of meds, etc, but he won’t because it is very, very hard to be responsible for your own actions …and society won’t make him feel that he needs to. Most of these posts and websites have the message that “well, he is bi-polar and the rest of us just have to lovingly deal with the mess that he makes because we aren’t and he is so special–with all of his vivid emotions and charisma–that he deserves to live without consequences.” Well, you deserve to live without having to put his emotions and consequences first. If you choose to but these things first, fine, but don’t expect that things can ever by otherwise. Don’t do it because you think that things will change.
    The posts I usually read seem to assume that a spouse of a bi-polar person should be more than happy to give up his or her complete emotional life (and other things) to support the endless grasping after emotion that their spouse has embarked on. I want to put forth that it is OK, even if there is no physical abuse involved, etc, to decide that you don’t want this kind of life. If you decide that your own emotions and emotional well being are things that deserve to survive in the world you will find that you have to choose between them and your bi-polar spouse’s emotions and emotional well being. It is impossible for you to have a full and active emotional life if you stay with your bi-polar partner. Every emotion that you have will absolutely be determined and hinged on his emotions and whether or not he is stable enough for you to feel too. This is not pointing blame, it is just being realistic. You will be required to be their control, which requires tucking your own life away to watch how vivid and full–or empty and dark theirs seems to them at the time.

    • Thank you for such a brutal and honest description. I have been trawling the Internet since my partners diagnosis and all I have found is suggestions of ways to be supportive of him. I was beginning to think that I was the only one to feel like this, totally cheated!! My partner is step father to my 3 older children and father to my 2 younger ones, at the moment he is not living with us (my choice) and the sad part is I am now waiting for him to decide if he wants to comeback to us.
      When we started dating he was a drinker but a very happy one, then he became depressed after the birth of our first child, with medication he went back to being the man that I loved. Then we had another baby, he started drinking very heavily. Finally after 6 months of hell for all of us, he saw a doctor who diagnosed BP. The mood stabilised caused him to snore so bad that I couldn’t get any sleep and then he had a reaction to it. The doctor changed it so snoring returned to a tolerable level, on the new meds however he doesn’t seem to give a damn that he’s not any happier, won’t even use his normal anti-snore clips so I am not sleeping. He gets upset if I try to get sleep on the couch. The baby still wakes every nite but he doesn’t hear her, so it’s all on me. I finally asked him to move out when the insurance company called me to say he hadn’t paid again, I only wanted to give him some space to de-stress cos it’s very hectic with 5 kids. My second eldest child is autistic and adores his step-dad, but my eldest son dislikes him so I am torn.
      Am I pathetic to desperately want him back?
      When we have a fight he will stop taking his meds for a few days.

  29. I’ve felt the same way at times, especially early on, before I had ever heard of bipolar or knew what it was about. When my wife is manic, those feelings always return. I feel like a punching bag, wondering how much of this I can take.

    Fortunately, my wife has good times too – periods of mood stability. The bad times seem to be getting fewer and further between. I feel that I’ve had to make sacrifices, but not to the point that I feel as though I’ve had to trade my identity or joy in return.

    I suppose I would feel much differently if my wife were to refuse treatment or was unresponsive to it. It probably wouldn’t take all that long to reach a point of despair.

    I don’t think we can make generalizations that apply to everyone. Bipolar disorder has many faces. In some people, it’s more depression than mania. In others, mania is more prominent, and even that mania can manifest itself in different ways and to different degrees. Some people are more responsive to treatment than others.

    Bipolar doesn’t always result in tearing apart relationships and destroying the life of a partner, although sometimes it does just that.

  30. Joe,
    I have to agree with you, it has only been 8 weeks since my wonderful husband of 16 years was diagnosed with bipoolar II, he has always been a kind, gentle and generious man of good temperment; truly the joy of my life. in January, after pointing out that his behavior and the behavior of others he was spending his time with was inapproporiate and getting out of hand, I did not like being around them when they all behaved that way, and that there needed to be some changes made. He decided that he was not happy had not been happy and that he could not see a future for us. Knowing him as I do and having had a wonderful marriage, I was able to get him to understand that you do not end a 16 year relationship for no reason, there is something very wrong. He said that he would seek help which he did. It took going to several doctors and checking the side effects of the medication prescribed (for depression) to get the proper diagnoises and treatment. There were herrriffic and shameful things that he did during his manic phase last summer, the guilt and discuss of knowing these things and trying to understand them for himself was unbarebable he tried to make it about me (I was no fun, I would not let him have fun…) but he had a very difficult time in convincing himself or me, like I said; we had had a very loving and wonderful marriage. As you can imagine while in counsuling as he told me about his actions it was very difficult to accept and understand, but knowing him and the relationship we once had, I knew the man who did these things is not the same person that I have known and loved all of these years, with the meds, he says he is so clear and now he understands all the things that he never understood from the time he was young, he loves how clear his mind is now and cannot imagin anyone not wanting to take thier meds. I am greatful to GOD and all those involved who guided, advised and prayed for us and I pray that my children and family will learn to understand as well this is a terrible thing to have to deal with for the rest of your life, but you can have a wonderful life with forgiveness love understanding a good doctor and the right meds…..

  31. I can relate to so many of these stories. I think God lead me here just to remind me I am normal. I divorced my bipolar husband 2 years ago and started a blog yesterday to get all of this out of my system post by post – I still wish it could be different though.

  32. In Respose to Anonymous on March 25th 2009

    Finally someone who sees this for what it is! I have lived with a BP husband for 24 yrs. I should write a book!. I have recently went through yet one more manic episode and now of course we are on the down, and I say we becasue for the first time in all these years I am asking self why am I going through this? Self says “love” common sense says ” security”. I stay becasue I do not want to give up what I have financialy. But I really am tired of this ride..and feel like I want off.
    And another suject is taboo is the sexual part of the relationship with a BP. But the same statement applies,that is about him getting satisfied…whether he is in high side or low, it is not about me the other person and how I feel! He acts like what ever the outcome I am suppose to be ok with it. I have been controled by his emotions for so long I wonder who is this woman in this house. If I leave we are sunk financialy. If I stay the struggle continues.
    Even when they are medicated the cycle continues just not as high on the manic side but the lows are pretty dark times. This last week I thought I need to have my self commited for depression. I find myself more and more unhappy, then I think if I am this unhappy and he is the BP how awful sad he must feel , and I feel very sorry for him. He has been a good provider most of the time. I have had to forceably have him hopitalized once early on in his diag. I think the real problem now is he is not in therapy and has not been for years and is going back to old ways of thinking. Which is -if I don’t do it she will. She knows I am too sick to do anything. Writing this this makes me sick and angry at my self. I know better than to let this happen to me, I have always been the up beat positve one and now I am begining to care less and less. I want to laugh and enjoy something again…I am entitled i think.
    You are right I have made a mistake of being the fixer. And if I am sad what have I got to be sad about? That is what he says to me. Or he sometimes says you have a problem and you need to see a doctor…huh.
    What you write are extremley high expcetations of a person. I have lived this for the past 24 yrs. Packed all the upsets in a neat package and put away becasue I thought it more important to keep him happy and healthy. I feel I have no life outside him becasue I have let him control everything. But I feel if I leave the situation he will become suicidal. And then there is the finances. I feel kinda stuck and still commited to his well being.But I also know it is time for me to make a decision. I do not want to continue this life with no feeling anymore. I want more!

    • Sorry I hit wrong button. I married him young and in April he had a major bp episod and has been worse ever since. He keeps trying to fix me I’m not loving him right and the more I read on marriage I don’t have any feeling for him. I’ve tried but he hugs me nothing I ve been his care taker so long I don’t know what else to do. Last fAll I hit bottom living in a new state I had no one. So I started trying to live agAin lost 4 sizes so far. Go out to shop and coffee everyday now I feel human again so I put the. It’s in school they were. Being home schooled. And I think I’m ready to work part time I’ve never been able to work he sAid no. But now I feel alive agai n need to keep moving forward I know I can’t leave him at this point with the Suisse threats. But at leAst I don’t feel. Like jumpi ng myself. Not sure if first part got through married 20 years. He was older. 6 years I was 19. Didn’t know he was bp till ten yeArs in Have no feelings at all for him not sure whAt to do

  33. I’ve read all of these comments and at first felt a sense of relief that I am not alone, as many people have noted here. However, upon reflection it also saddens me that there aren’t more positive comments, that more people haven’t found a way.

    I can’t say I have found a way with 5 years of marriage, there have been great times, and bad times, the good times never last long enough. I’m still shocked sometimes at the things my husband says/yells/screams… I guess I quickly forget and enjoy the good days as much as I can. Things at the moment are hard, little sleep and med changes… how much more need I say. He calls asking for my opinion, I give it and then am told that he doesn’t have time for this, then I’m to blame for everything.

    There is no point in feeding this by saying, but you called me, it is better just to say I love you. However, how many times can I do this before exploding myself from frustration, I’ve found it to be about 5 times! After all I’m not perfect and it hurts, who wants to be blamed for this.

    Some times I think things are getting worse, but we have made progress, he doesn’t drink every day any more, but then there are set backs like no work. I don’t know I’m just blahing out here, but I guess while I still have hope, deluded as I’m often told it is by my husband, I remain to keep fighting, though I’m not sure how to keep fighting today.

  34. I am dismayed to see yet another catalog of horror stories that all include “bipolar.” I am deeply sorry to hear of this chaos and suffering.

    At the same time, there is MUCH more to say about the condition itself, and I can assure you all that these blog entries I have read are not typical of all, or most, or even a significant majority of cases.

    I risk stepping on toes by stating what I know to be true, so let me begin by stating that – I repeat, I am very sorry to read all of these stories and to hear of your suffering.

    In addition to that, I know from my own experience as well as from having numerous friends and acquaintences that these writings reflect some distortions.

    Nowhere in the DSM, under bipolar disorder, does it list “being controling,” “being a monster,” being “emotionally abusive,” “being a horrible parent,” being a horrible spouse,” “being a theif,” “being irresponsible with health care,” etc. etc.

    I get tired of reading, all over the web, these long lists of sad stories in which people feel vicitmized by someone with bipolar disorder.

    I came looking for some hope. I expect to find it someplace in the world, because I have been to hell and back with bipolar – without being a monster. I’ve suffered, and I’ve healed. I’m vigilant, not just responsible, and I have an independent life, as happy as anyone else does.

    In 21 years since diagnosis, I never behaved in the ways described here. I can’t imagine anyone would be flattered to hear that someone would be terrified to have the children of someone with bipolar disorder.

    It boils down to this: These behaviors that seem to wreck lives? It’s unspeakably awful. And I’m sorry. But it’s not characteristic of all people with bipolar disorder.

    We all have character flaws. If someone’s controling and violent, if someone is a monster, they will be that way whether or not they have bipolar disorder.

    Please don’t attribute all of this to bipolar disorder. It’s a distortion, and it clouds the real issues as to what this disorder really is, what we experience, and who we are.

    This is the reason why lots of people fear disclosing that they have bipolar disorder. I did not used to be ashamed of it, but these days we don’t seem to get anything but rotten press.

    People do things they should not do. Sometimes, people do terrible things. That is ALL of us. It’s insulting, and damaging to attribute all of those behaviors none of us likes to this illness.

    I prefer to take responsibility for my mistakes and my character flaws. I don’t believe bipolar disorder has me on a string…that somehow it makes me behave in harmful ways.

    I don’t attribute it to bipolar disorder. This should be celebrated, as there are PLENTY of people who do NOT have bipolar who choose to make excuses for their behavior.

    I’m afraid if I tell people I have bipolar they will decide that anything and everything they don’t like about me or my behavior, they will write off to bipolar disorder.

    Sorry, I was looking for some good news. I’ll keep looking.

    Wish you all the best – with the illness, and with the behaviors you choose. I hope you don’t hand over your will to bipolar disorder, and I hope you don’t do that on behalf of those you know with bipolar.

  35. I have read most of these stories and although i am not married, my mom married a man who was. At the age of 3 this man who later became my stepdad at the age of 12 is bipolar. We didn’t find out until 2006 though. It has been a nightmare. He is controlling and has all these quirks about things being in the right place. Not to mention he absolutely despised my brothers relationship with my mother. I could go on and on about this man and seriously our whole life story could be a movie. He has kicked us out of the house cut off my moms credit cards, and who knows what else. One day i came back home to visit and there was a basketball goal above the garage. There are no kids at the house, and the grandkids don’t even come over. He just decided to get one and he doesn’t even play basketball, ever. He wanted to get a divorce a while back because my brother was able to go to a quinciera and he wasn’t. My brother passed away a week or two after the event and he no longer wants a divorce. I feel many of ya’lls pain. For those of you who do have children of your own that aren’t the others, get out of it. I wish my mom would have got out of it years ago. I believe that my brother would still be here if she had. As long as you do what this man wants you to do he’s happy but the minute you don’t all hell breaks loose.

  36. I was taken aback by Anomymous’s words. After struggling with the guilt of leaving my Bipolar husband, after 20 years, there was hope in that email. I have been the strong Mother, breadwinner, and enabler in my relationship. Letting go of the feelings that I should always be there to pick up the pieces of the destruction that the mania leaves in our lives. The depression of my BP man is heartwrenching. But, he could never see my depression, my hurt, my longing to have a normal life. I knew that I had reached my breaking point. All BP people need to take responsibility for their own illness. As loved ones, we cannot be their casulaties. My heart breaks for him, but I am finding my own strenth to carry on. Good luck and love to all of us who are touched by this encompassing illness.

    • I agree at some point all you want is a normal life . The chaos my bipolar husband has conflicted on my family has been horrible. I don’t know if my children will ever have a normal relationship because of it. There was abuse, affairs, drug use etc…..the list goes on and on. He is gone now, we are all beginning to heal. I gave 18 years of my life being there for him. I finally found the strength to let go. I wish the best to all of suffering with a bipolar spouse.

  37. If you are dating or are engaged to a bipolar man, run as fast as your little legs can carry you!

  38. I’m running, but he keeps finding me. BP is a terrible disorder that destroys all involved.

    • My husband of 17 years was diagnosed BP a little over a month ago. He has always been controlling, frivolous with money, and angry and I have always been to blame. He was hospitalized to get diagnosis due to suicide attempts. When he came home he could not go into public. Then he had a total break. Yelling screaming drinking throwing things walking in neighborhood in his underwear! His parents came down and saw how he really was. It was a relief because his behavior had mostly been saved for me and the kids. They took him home 6 hours away to give the kids and I some much needed rest. Which didn’t happen for about a week because he constantly called and yelled at us. 30 minutes after he left he became obsessed with coming home. He says that is the only place I can get better. He wants to come home at all costs and the kids and I are the costs. But the kids and I are resting laughing and enjoying PEACE! So it is up to him. He is seeing a psychiatrist there regularly and his meds seem to be more regulated and I am encouraging a counselor as well. But I am drawing some very clear very hard but very nevassary boundaries. Like yesterday, I did not reply to his text because I was napping. He questioned what I was doing and I explained but it wasn’t good enough and kept on. I said I will not explain anymore you do not control me if u are acting this way you are not ready to come home. He stopped and apologized. I am encouraging and supportive telling I am proud when he is making good strides but no longer will I suffer because of this. Like I said it is up to him. He can come home but it will be on the terms that the kids and I set. He either can or cannot but he has to do it. I cannot do it for him. I am no longer the bad guy. This is no longer my fault and it feels awesome!!

  39. I have been married to my BP husband for 8 years. He was diagnosed a few months before we got married. Some of my friends told me not to go through with the wedding. We went through horrible times around the time he was diagnoised (3 times in and out of mental hospitals, jail, losing jobs, cutting himself, shooting himself with a bb gun several times, hallucinations, paranoia, etc.), and when they were trying to get his medications right.

    He was diagnoised as Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic tendancies. His mood swings change rapidly compared to most BP people. He could go from depressed to manic in the blink of an eye. He tended to be more manic than depressed though. He would self medicate with alcohol…life was a nightmare. The stress was too hard for me to deal with sometimes, so I would “lose it” and lose my temper…which turned a “minor” situation in to a REALLY bad situation..I realized how much his mood would depend on my mood (I finally got myself on a mild medication to help me deal with the stress/anxiety).

    Fortunately for me, he knows he needs to take his medication and he has, every day, for the past 8 years. He would never dream of missing a dose. He hates that the medicine makes him feel “blah” … never feeling really happy nor feeling really sad, just always a state of…blah. He is a very creative person (music,computers,math, etc) and the meds make him feel less creative, but it’s a sacrafice that he is willing to make to be “normal”.

    His doctor says that he is her most severe bipolar patient. He is on a lot of medicine. His dose of Lithium is very high, he is on Remron, Lamictal, Risperdal, Xanax, and a few others (names escape me). Thank goodness I have good insurance! He still has ups and downs. Sometimes he tells me that I just dont understand what it’s like to be bipolar..and I tell him that sometimes he doesn’t understand what it’s like to be the wife of someone who is bipolar. No, I am not bipolar myself, but I live with bipolar also. I may not have the symptoms he has, but I live it every day too. Of course, I’d never want to switch places with him…but I think it’s important for him to understand that he’s not the only one who has to live with the effects of bipolar disorder.

    Reading the previous stories, makes me sad, and makes me appreciative that I have a husband who understands the importance of staying on his medications. I wish happiness for everyone!

  40. Your story is very sad, but right on. Thank you for writing. Everyone should know how destructive this affliction can be to the self image, hopes and dreams of those that choose to live with those afflicted. I hope everything worked out.

  41. I need some advise. I am 24 years old, and I have been dating my boyfriend for 6 years, and we have been good friends for 8. Throughout the 6 years, we have both been sure that we are meant to be together. We have been through so much together already in our young lives (bipolar aside). He is my best friend, and I have wanted to marry him since the first month we dated. He was diagnosed with bipolar type 1 about 4 years ago after a manic episode that was induced by the meds he took after surgery. He has had only two other episodes (hypo-manic) since. 95% of the time, he is the person who I fell in love with, and he is the person who I adore, and he is my rock. Then 5% of the time, he is someone who I do not recognize and his life and my life become completely crazy and abnormal in a painful way. Recently, I have been emotionally abused through complete isolation and additionally I have been blamed for things that are irrational and painful, and pretty much verbal abuse. But his episodes are mostly euphoric. He has never gone off his meds since he started, and he does not want to. He also willingly sees a psychologist who he likes and wants us to see him together. He is probably the best kind of bipolar patient you could ask for. But he is still bipolar.

    The thing about my situation is I get to choose, more easily than if I was married and had children, if I should continue this relationship. I am scared to death of the unpredictable nature of this disorder. He has shown great desire to not let the disorder defeat him. Yet, life is uncertain and I know that the way he handles this disorder can always change simply due to the control it can take over a person. I want to have children yet I am scared of the chances that they would be bipolar. I want a stable and happy life (I know that life always throws difficult thing at you that you do not expect, but this is something I can choose to opt out of). I want him to be my rock and the one I can lean on. I want to be a team, not be the sole carrier of the heavy burden. I am obviously devastated that my expectations, hopes, and dreams for our future have to be reconsidered and are greatly challenged by this disorder. It is such a sad thought to imagine that I would not consider him worth loving unconditionally because of this disorder, yet I also know I should think about myself and my future right now at my age. He is a very motivated person, extremely bright, going to a top law school, has access to good health care and has a great family and support system. Yet he still has these episodes that I have learned have the potential to ruin relationships, not to mention stable homes, financial stability, even end lives. This is a horrible disorder.

    What would you do?

  42. Sitting here reading all these posts up until the latest. My advice to you is to really think about a life long commitment. I am now separated from husband who I have been with for over 20 years, married 17 (or just 3 days shy of 17 years). I felt that I had gone crazy. I had been the fixer of all his problems over the years. I could write a book, be a lifetime movie, as everyone tells me. I wouldn’t know where to begin except for some crazy reason, I journaled for the last 10 years, I always knew he was (passionate), thats how I explained it, but now realize that was manic. I was a perfect wife, perfect mom (with 2 beautiful boys age 13 and 10 who had very serious medical problems) I dealt. He said, he couldn’t even have 2 healthy kids. Then the insults, then the emotional abuse. Then the jealousy of my closeness with my boys, to the point he started verbally and emotionally abusing them to do what he wanted. I always was a positive person, I lost me over the years and up until last September knew deep down I wanted out, but didn’t know how. I started gambling at a casino that opened and lost everything. I did things that are not characteristic to who I am. My family was alienated and very worried about me. I let my house go because no one seemed to care enough. I felt like a slave, I have a full time job working with an autistic 12 yr old for the last 2 years as a paraprofessional. I always loved helping people, but at what price? I blew everything, wrote bad checks (and know the consequences) and take full responsibility. May 12, 2010, 3 days shy of our 17 anniversary I came home from work. I walked in the door and long story short, he jumped on me about money, sent my kids to my mother in laws (which he would never do, because he would want them to see him do his thing, or not even care) I turned around and he punched me in the face, then 17 more times and kicked me, while saying “Is this what YOU wanted!” I finally kicked him off me and somehow got the strength to kick him out the door and lock it. I called the police, they issued a warrant for Domestic Violence. I left the house and went to stay with my sister and her family. My boys got to see how a “normal” family functions. I got a PFA and kept him away for 3 weeks. His mother and brother, who know his behaviors, turned on me and I became the worst person in the world. I was blessed to have a host of the most supportive family and friends and my church (which I never really participated in because he felt anger towards our religion of Catholic. He was on the verge of losing his very well paying job as a nurse because of not getting along with co workers (but I will say he is one hell of a nurse) to everyone else, but no empathy for me. I developed type II diabetes, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure and depression. At times I felt like I chose this life and wanted to be a family. But to what degree? I NEVER thought he would lay a hand on me! NEVER! I moved out and now live in a Transitional Home for Homeless women. He is on Family Leave for his problems, which he now attends court ordered anger management and sees a psychiatrist. I asked him to do these things for years. I have had more broken furniture, broken friendships, broken hearts. I always said we never knew if Heckle or Jeckel was going to be on the other side of the door. We are on a talking basis and somehow I think he thinks I will come back. I have enrolled in school starting Aug. 23 to brush up my skills of Paralegal which I got a degree 20 years ago. I always wanted to be an attorney. I was led to believe I was worthless, always wrong and caused everything down to today’s recession. I believe now I gambled to blow everything to make it easier to leave. He did ask me why I gambled, I told him the poker machines, and the strangers I met were nicer to me than he was. I always, along with his mother said we always walked on egg shells with him. I said my feet are so bruised, callused, and damaged. I’d rather walk on fire. I am maintaining a relationship with him for my sons, which since I have been gone and he is on Ambilify he is so “blah” I know he is trying. I signed the house over to him, because over the last 18 years, he always told me it was “his” house. Well, I did the sales agreement, worked as the agent for the seller and obtained the mortgage. I had to quit a great job to take care of my younger son 10 years ago. I always felt like I had to justify my existence. I finally told him his expectations of me were too high. Writing this all down, doesn’t even scratch the surface, but I do hope if anyone reads this and sees themselves in me. I truely pray for you. People tell me how strong I am too leave and do everything I have done in short of 2 months. But let me tell you, once the ball starts rolling, it can’t go back up hill. But CAN move forward. He needs to take responsibility for his behavior and I can’t save him anymore. I need to take care of me so I can be here for my boys. Again, let me stress I NEVER thought he would hurt me! I thought I knew him inside and out. I was wrong! I am always on guard when around him, which right now is often because of the boys. I want them to have a relationship with their Dad, but I watch closely and everyone told me not to bash him to the kids. I didn’t. They said the kids would figure it out for themselves. They do, and fast believe me. But they are torn. I am glad I left to start over at 43 years old rather than get sick and die because I took care of him and not me. I have known many who went this way. Please remember who YOU are! I never thought I would lose me, but I did. But I am slowly finding my way. I will deal with my problems and move forward. He needs to figure this out alone. I was always the one afraid to be alone, but finally don’t have that “pick, pick, pick” in my brain that I couldn’t think straight. I am seeing clearly now and my wish is that this post will at least help one person to know you are not as alone as you think, you just have to move outside of your comfort zone. He laid a hand on me once, never again! Please think before marrying, I had no idea the road I was embarking on, I thought “Oh I can change him and help him once married” I was wrong. Don’t romanticize this, you will lose yourself. Don’t be a martyr. You were put upon this earth to bless many lives, not just one.

  43. Your story sounds identical to mine. I can deal with the anger, but it is the constant I want that gets to me. It is the selfishness. I left once and I wish I had stayed gone because now I don’t know how to leave. He is doing ok (not good, but ok) and I have no money to leave. I don’t know how to leave safely. We have two kids and I don’t want them to get hurt (physically or emotionally). I just don’t know if I can do another winter. I don’t want to live in a prison anymore.

  44. I am so touched and saddened to read all of your stories, which all sound so familiar to me. I also have been married to a BP and ADHD spouse for 14 years and we have 2 wonderful children. Our struggle began 7 years ago when my husband was first diagnosed.

    I am just so tired. I feel as though I have tried everything to “get him to see” what he’s doing to our family with his behavior. Although he is on meds, he often explodes over little things which are insignificant, yells very hurtful and damaging things, blames the problems on me, tells me that bipolar is “made up” and has nothing to do with his rants and rages.

    I have felt very battered emotionally for a couple of years now. I have seen a counselor for myself who promptly stated that I had passed my threshold a long time ago. The problem is, my husband does not seem to care. I feel very upset and depressed after we argue because it is always bizarre and there is never any resolution. I have gotten very angry with him and threatened to leave so many times, which also follows bouts of his hurtful and damaging behavior. He seems to twist and distort everything, how arguments happen, what was said, and he forgets what he says. Now his latest thing is telling me that I need help for my anger and that I am the problem. It’s very manipulative.

    I want to leave, even though I love my husband, but it is difficult because I’m a student and a mom with no income right now. Also, my children love their father and I worry about them. I just feel it has become impossible to have a normal relationship with him. He seems incapable or unwilling to talk through anything calmly, work on resolving the problems, seeking help for himself or with me, and staying in the present.

    I just don’t understand how a marriage with someone like this is even possible, unless I’m willing to stay miserable.

    All my family lives so far away and I truly feel alone sometimes, although I know I am not! I would appreciate any support or insight.

    God Bless you all.

  45. i know it from the other side. i am bipolar
    one, and ADD. i kept alot of the psychosis and crying spells and hallucinations and paranoid stuff
    mostly to my self and spending money was the one that was the worst. i would flirt online…which i
    am not proud of. i had an obsession with a friend
    of mine too. i thought i was great when ‘high’ and had all sorts of plans that never panned out. when depressed i could barely do anything and wanted to die. finally found meds that work on me. it took docs ten years to get it right. i now appreciate my life and have become a totally different person. no longer life of the party, no longer creative as i was, but stable, and i will
    take the stability gladly and be boring if i can keep from the mood swings that ruled my life.
    i never stopped caring about my husband, i did think of his side of things most of the time, but
    i was a mess…and sometimes even with meds i have
    episodes, but it is longer between times and shorter duration. i am glad my husband was able to
    stick with me for the rough times. i wasnt diagnosed bipolar till ten years ago. i wish u all well and do understand why it is too much to bear. i hated myself and behavior…when i could remember what i had done and said.luckily hubby was gone alot so he didnt have to deal with it as much. i rapid cycle too which in some ways made it easier…i would often be done with an episode
    by the time hubby got home. it’s no way to live, for the bipolar person or for those they love and live with. sometimes it is safer to leave. i dont blame those of u who do. mine was a success story, and i am so glad it worked out ok.

  46. I am a wife to a Bipolar husband married 9 yrs (diagnosed 2 1/2 yrs ago) He had a rough childhood life. His mom was in & out of his life they did not have a stable relationship. I am his 3rd wife. We have 2 children with diabilities bith still in diapers. My husband was the perfect Husband he helped me raise my Two oldest children that are not his. One of the has autism and he raised him since 5 months old. He was amazing with my children so I thought he would be an amazing father with our own.
    About 5 weeks ago his mom called after 9 yrs!! Yes you read right 9 yrs not knowing about her. He decided to go visit her where she lives 95 hrs away from us) well he was suppose to be back by Sunday. Sunday passed & he wasn’t back. All of a sudden He said he doesn’t love me & doesnt wANT TO BE MARRIED. I was like “Who Are You?” you are not my husband!! Till this day we are now separated 5 weeks he hasnt even done a trip up here to see the kids. I am a stay home mom so I have no income. He is retired, he retired early because of BP. Now I have all the bills, mortgage 4 kids 3 disabled and no job. Bipolar had destroyed my family life. And I was a great Wife to him extremely supportive. And this is how he pays me. My kids a so heart broken because daddy is not home anymore. I am emotionally drained and a mess because I do miss him and love him very much. But I know he will never be the person I married. I am pretty young 34 yrs old, so I know I can move on. It’s hard to raise 4 children on your own. But he doesn’t want to be a family anymore. I Hate this Illness because it stoled my husband from me.

  47. I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing their story. I thought I was alone on this. I cannot find support groups, all the Dr’s I talk to tell me to suck it up and my life is now all about him. I have a 5 year old daughter that loves her father more than anything. I do not want to leave him because of this and that I still do love him. He almost killed us both the last episode he had and every night I go to sleep praying that he won’t be waking me up like he did that night…the scared look on my baby girls face will never leave my head. I know, I should go seek therapy but when? I work 50+ hrs a week, handle EVERYTHING in the house and have to watch my husband since he doesn’t show any trigger signs, he just goes into violent mania. I see that this page is a bit outdated. Does anyone still come here? If so, I would like to talk to others. I don’t have a support group where I live and if I do find one, it will have to be online. Thanks again everyone, I’m not feeling so alone right now. It saddens me to hear your stories but I can relate very much. As for the ones that have made it through all of the hard times, kudos to you. I wish I had my husband, right now I have picked up a 40 year old child who could kill me and my daughter at any time and cannot even make a decision if he wants grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly for lunch. And to top it all off, we cannot find a Dr who will work with him because nobody has seen anyone who gets as manic as he does. He was on 40MG of Zyprexa if you know anything about Zyprexa and around 1300 of Lithium a day. He has been brought down and is showing signs of going into a possible mania but if he doesn’t have a Dr, what does one do? Sorry to complain…that is not my normal nature. I want to be positive again about my marriage and am scared I may never get to that again.

  48. I am starting my own personal blog as a wife of a man with bipolar. I would LOVE to start a group on Facebook where we can have support for each other being a spouse, significant other, and going through that type of life. If you want to join me please email me at candicurtis @ gmail. com

  49. Hey all I’m living with a man who is bi polar and was diagnosed with several other things. The thing is while we were dating he seemed to be a love struck, little immature, nice normal guy. Granted we dated and a year later married and he never let on that he had this diasgonse. now we are married and I’m in hell. I wish I had never met him and I’m looking to leave. I hear it is a lot harder to divorce a bi polar person. He threatens to punch me in the face and at 6″7 hovers over me with his fist drawn. He pushes me to the ground. Tells me he hates me. Flirts with other woman. Looks at them on line. Refuses to get help. Has gotten us in so much financial hell that I don’t know how we are still here. I hate him for not being honest with me. For being able to “control” himself while dating me and then as soon as the I do’s were said, and litteraly as soon as, he started acting off is rocker. I have a problem with understanding how he can control it while dating and talking to me every day on the phone and then not being able to thereafter. He has chased me with a gun in hand and my son has been a witness to it all. Not sure how I’m going to pull this off but how anyone can stay is beyond me! I feel entirely alone.

  50. Reading your stories has been enlightening for me. I had a 13 year relationship with a man who is bipolar…he took everything I had financially, worked me like a ox for his own benefit taking all the money for himself including my inheritence, used me to care for himself my step son and our own son who has dual disabilities with no support from him. He isolated me from friends and family and insisted on our moving overseas. Then after years of my supporting him through his times of mania and depression, overblown schemes that ruined us repeatedly and all the consequences of tha–he dumped me for a woman half my age, giving her all our savings before I even had a clue of what was happening. I found out about this 3 months after moving into the house we bought with my earnings and paying off HIS car, so there was no money left for me to escape his escalating abuse at being found out.

    The compassion I feel for someone with a mental illness may have been great at one point but no longer. If you are in an abusive relationship, physically, sexually, emotionally, financially…DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES due to a mental illness! You would not accept this behavior from a healthy spouse, mental illness is NOT AN EXCUSE either.

    You owe more than that to yourself and your children. Work as hard as you can to get yourself financially secure then LEAVE ASAP before everything you care about is gone, including your self esteem. The sooner you leave the less long term ramifications you’ll have to deal with. If you’ve been abused imagine how much harder it will be to heal when you’re also dealing with children who are traumatized, finances that are ruined and family and friends who are no longer willing to be there for you due to the abuse heaped on them from your former spouse. The sooner you leave the better!

  51. I have never gone on a blog before. It’s like walking on eggshells sometimes. My daughter and I both think my husband is bipolar. He recently went to the doctor for a physical and I told him to tell her about his depression and mood swings. I’m sure he didn’t. Is there any kind of blood test that can indicate if he is bipolar? I don’t think there is and there is no chance of him seeing a psychiatrist for this. He doesn’t think he’s moody and he doesn’t think he get depressed. There are times that he lays in bed during the day and just stares at the wall. I probably should ask him what’s wrong but his mood swings are so bad at times, I don’t dare. He tends to be very jealous over things other people like his brother has and always gets aggravated that he can’t live like that. He spends too much money on food and is very overweight and puts himself down all the time. He has cheated on me more times over the years than I care to think about. We separated once and filed papers. Once we were legally separated when my kids were small. He was running around with a few different women. A guy I dated in high school moved back to town and we started seeing each other, only because I was legally separated. When he heard that he followed me everywhere and even grabbed this other man a few times and warned him to stay away. Finally this man, this very nice man who was so gentle and wonderful to me, broke things off. Nice guy but it was too much. In the end I went back thinking he really was sorry. I know now he just didn’t want me with someone else even though he was. I know there is some love for me because in his up days now he tells me how much he loves me and how he couldn’t survive without me. Then on his bad days he flirts with this other woman in front of me. It’s very hurtful. He gets really angry if I say anything about it and tells me it’s all in my head. Then he will have a down day and say how he isn’t worth anything and how he is ready to be done with this life. The depression scares me. He will go sit at the cemetary by his family graves and just spend time alone. I do love him and I feel like I must be crazy to stand by him because one minute he is fun and nice to be with and the next he is critical and rude. He will never admit he has a problem and I just don’t know what to do. This has gone on for so many years I think I should leave and then he does something nice and I feel bad that I thought that. It is such an overpowering, unending cycle that I can’t seem to break it. I know deep down he needs me and then the guilt returns. Can anybody give me advice?

  52. I too am married to a bipolar husband, among other mental illnesses. So I can definitely relate. Currently, we are in the midst of an episode. I hate this disease! Well, I had to kick my husband out of the house in early January, thinking that if he got out there and took responsibility over his illness, including financial, he would wake up when everything fell to pieces.

    Well, everything did fall to pieces which is why we are at where we are now. This has been an awful experience. We married 4 years ago, and it has been nothing but chaotic I can’t tell if the meds ever work because he refuses to consistently stay on them for any period longer than 2 weeks, 4, if I am lucky.

    Although I have caught him sending text messages to other women, looking at porn, getting on dating sites, and spending money foolishly, he will not admit to any affairs. I know down deep in my heart that there has been more going on than just “friend” with other women. I’m not crazy, and there are probably more than I really want to know about it. Well, I filed the second time for divorce, I know its sad only been married for four years and this is my second filing. I know that he is in a midst of an episode, he has left town, went back to his old town to live to live a new life of course, and he is working. If he is working that means he is definitely in an episode because work is not something he does. And there is no telling what else he is doing. He says that he is tired of living his life like this. And probably so I imagine, but there is nothing I can do about it, until he decides to help himself. He refuses treatment and believe me things has definitely gotten much worse this time, and I know as long as he continues to live this pattern, it is only going to get worse. He is 40 years of age, and things are looking like he will be going back to jail again. It’s sad thing and I think, do I really want to live the rest of my life like this? How much more can I take?

    I’ve held up the divorce process again, because I know that he is not well at the moment and I do not need him coming back later trying to use his illness as an excuse. Just can’t never tell how he is going to react, although he knows I filed for divorce and of course, HE IS MAD, imagine that, him being made for all of the stuff he mostly created. I’ll admit my reactions have not been all that great in managing this disease. But, I am beginning to watch how I react. I am praying desperately to GOD to at least give us some type of peace at least for a while so that he can come to his senses and get him some help before its too late. He told me that his life will be over by the time he is 45. It’s scary because I know that he has had suicide attempts in the past, and I would not be at least bit surprise if another one will becoming rather soon. Especially if he is with another woman and she finds out what is going on and kicks his but out, or reality kicks in on him and he realizes that he will go back to jail, or prison rather for the third time. For all of us Spouses of Bipolar People, I pray for us all, our healing, our health and well-being. Whew, I guess I needed to vent.

  53. How can an intelligent BP person not realize that he has an illness? My husband realized 30+ years ago that he did and overall has been well. My daughter’s partner does not and is currently in hospital. I found several articles on anosognosia- lack of insight – that explains a lot. It is not denial of the disease but the actual inability to percieve that you are BP which makes it extremely difficult to treat. If someone told me today that I was BP, I would not believe it for a second. That is how someone with anosognosia feels. Apparently it affects 40% of BP patients and 50% of schizophrenics.

  54. I`ve been married to my BP husband for 24 years. I know what you all are going through. I don`t know if anyone uses this site anymore but we do need to start some type of online support group.

    • I agree Chelle, we need something. My husband has been this way for as long as I have known him. And right now i think he is again in a mood. He tends to be more manic than depressed. But he does get depressed.
      I wondered if anyone else has had problems with their spouse making things up. Not just lies about being on singles websites etc. Example, my husband let the air out of my tires so my car lights would tell me low tire pressure. When I called him to ask about it he had to come to my appt to see the tires himself to make sure they were not flat. Now this morning I saw him letting the air out yet again.
      He does things all the time to try and turn the tables and make me think I am the delulsional one. Am I all alone here ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Stories

Recent Comments