Do you think that he really can’t control these impulses or that he chooses not to?

My husband of over 10 years has bipolar disorder. He is on medicine but refuses therapy. During a recent manic episode, I found out that he was texting sexually inappropriate messages to a mutual female friend of ours. (She also has bipolar disorder.) When I ask him why he did this, what he was thinking,etc he insists that he doesn’t know or remember. He seems so devastated though. I want to believe that he’s sorry but he’s done things like this before. Do you think that he really can’t control these impulses or that he chooses not to? I love him more than anything and I know he loves me but I can’t just give him a free pass to do anything and blame it on his illness. Any insights into this sort of occurrence would be much appreciated since his communication skills are seriously lacking. Thank you!

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Urges are difficult for anyone to deal with… Add in the intense feelings and emotions you get when you’re manic, and it can seem like fighting through them is like climbing Mt. Everest!!! And your husband could be telling the truth-that he doesn’t remember sending the texts, and that he doesn’t realize he’s doing it… Some people, when they are manic, do experience these kinds of ‘black-outs’… It’s actually not as uncommon as you would think… I’ve heard of people having sex with random people, driving and crashing several cars, robbing people, etc… Of course, not only bad things happen during these black-outs… People can do some things that they would never do, or could be able to do, if they weren’t that manic…

Now, like climbing Mt. Everest, it’s not impossible to control these urges and black-outs!!! Sometimes it could be as simple as having a med adjustment… Therapy also helps, but is not always necessary… If you notice your husband going into a state of mind that he isn’t really “there” then you can start by telling him about it… That doesn’t always work, though… Intense sensations work to help bring the person back to reality… Sensations such as a hot or cold shower, or grabbing an ice cube-anything to help him stay in his body and mind… Of course, you can’t go too far with that… Don’t let him start abusing himself and seriously hurting himself… That happens in some extreme cases, but not all that often…

You also have to let your husband make the decision that he is ready and willing to change the behavior, which it seems like he might be… Give him some time, and he will come around…

This isn’t saying, though, that he can get away with anything and blame it on his illness… Everybody has to take responsibility for their own actions… Having BP is not a cop-out… Like with my self-injury… I would LOVE to blame it all on my BP and say I have no control over it-but that’s not true… Sure, I’m powerless over getting the urge, but I have complete power over how I handle it… Your husband may be powerless over developing the urge to text your friend and over the black-outs, but he controls how he handles these urges… It’s not easy, and it takes time, but if he is willing to work and do whatever it takes, and can control them…

Hope this helped some!!!

God bless!!!

One thought on “Do you think that he really can’t control these impulses or that he chooses not to?

  1. Wow! That was great Sammi. It brought something to light for me. I think I forget things all the time due to the BPD. My husband will say I said something and I never remember saying it. There are LOTS of times we have had conversations and I look at him like he has three heads. Now, that I have read this I need to learn how to control it. Ugh!

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