“I have had on-going problems with my husband since we got married. I have always had support by friends and family before I got married. My husband is the only person that seems to feel like not only should I be able to act at his command how “I should” , the correct way in his mind but he yells or gets angry at me when I don’t understand what he is saying or if we are not communicating well. I often feel misunderstood. And try to get across to him that his view of what I am saying is not how I feel inside. This never results good. So I feel more sad and overwhelmed and then negative. How can I try to help him to understand that his anger toward me will not help me feel like he care nor will help our marriage? How can I cope in a environment with no support or understanding of a Bipolar mind?”
Yikes. I felt like I was reading my life story while reading this question. Maybe our husbands were/are twins? I am actually hearing more and more stories of husbands who have behaved this way. Its definitely not helpful to have someone with this type of attitude (husband or not) in your life. When a friend behaves in this way, its easier to distance yourself from them, but when it is your husband (or wife), it becomes a lot harder to remove yourself from the negative situation or limit the amount of exposure.
There are a variety of things that I tried to get my husband to try to understand a little bit of what was happening with my mind and body in hopes that it might might help both of us work together to make some modifications that would not make him feel like I was trying to completely change him (a lot of men put up huge walls at the very notion of change and the thought that someone is trying to change them) but that both of us were sort of meeting halfway to come to better terms in understanding how each other were feeling and what we needed emotionally for support.
The first thing I tried was getting him a few books. I had a variety of books of my own about bipolar disorder and books tailored toward those who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but I went and bought a few books that were written for those who had loved ones with bipolar disorder. Many spouses will take to learning about things if they do it at their own pace and on their own terms. Giving them the materials will let them absorb the information themselves at their own pace and may make them much more receptive to the ideas and information in the books.
I also tried counseling. We picked out a therapist that was a completely neutral person (meaning one neither of us had seen before) to help us mediate and get input on where we both could improve and how we could both learn to help each other and be supportive of each other. By expressing in the neutral presence that the anger he shows usually makes the situation worse, the three of you may be able to come up with a few ways to handle the situation without the anger but in a way that both you and your husband will feel like you are being understood. For example, if you are having a down day, and you can’t help but cry but your husband get angry when you cry, maybe you can discuss why he gets angry when you cry. Finding out why he gets angry can be the key to helping diffuse the situation, but he may not feel comfortable enough talking with you one on one about it. Maybe he feels helpless and so you could suggest that the times you are crying, you just need a few minutes alone to work through it and then you will be better.
Its hard to continue living in an environment that is toxic. One where you have no support or are constantly feeling negative, misunderstood, and not heard or respected is definitely a toxic environment and does nothing but bring you down further. I can attest to that because I have been there. Hopefully a little bit of education or the presence of a third party perspective can help alleviate some of the negativity and can help create a more positive environment for you. The key is getting your own feelings expressed and HEARD, not just listened to, but really heard and hope that he will be willing to take those feelings to heart and work with you to create a better environment.