Should I stay or walk away, breaking my soul?

“I have a bipolar partner and she is taking her tablets but when she hits her manic times she becomes viscous and very hurtful to me and our son he lands up shaking for he knows what is coming up he is 8 years old we land up holding each other tightly and crying in his room with my partner Kicking the door down she becomes violent and very scary and if i cry she orders me to stop so cos i am a cry baby and i am feeling sorry for myself this lasts for a few hours then after that, i don”t know what her triggers are i just feel or even see in her facial features that she is in that mood and who ever is in her way she goes crazy on, I love her sooooo much but i think of my son and my sanity it has come to a point that i am so depressed cos i don”t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. my son his a emotional wreck don”t know if he is coming or going anymore he is only eight, i try to be the buffer between him and her but when she is like that she knows our son is the only thing that will hurt me so naturally that is her target, when she is not in manic she is the most amazing person we have amazing days together as a family and she is totally amazing with our son, i have tried to talk to her regarding her manic episodes that never helps it opens the CAN off worms that triggers it , she has changed her tablets twice now and she has been properly diagnosed with bipolar 1 she has never threatened to kill herself and that i am proud of her for but she has changed from day and night when we first met she was gentle and calm now she is angry demanding and controlling has to e the boss and in Total control of all of our lives , I HAVE SPOKEN TO HER ABOUT THE FACT THAT I CANT LIVE WITH HER LIKE THIS but that makes no deference she just lands up scaring me this manic episodes lasts only a few hours and then its back to being a happy family as if nothing is wrong and that what she did never happened i don’t dare talk to her about it cos i know it will crop up back to square one”

Thank you for sending a description about what it is like for you and your son to live with a person who has bipolar disorder.  From what you have explained it seems to me that this is “really no way to live” and it is my belief that nobody should have to live in such chaos.  As a person who has bipolar disorder I can certainly relate to many of the things that your partner is going through.  However having bipolar disorder does not excuse anyone from the type of behaviors that you have endured.  There is definitely something not right, whether it is that your partner is not on the right medication or adequate dosage or whether it is something else it is really hard to know.  I think that it should be the “responsibility of your partner” to take a look at what is going on with her doctor.  It sounds like you have tried numerous tactics to try and get through to her.  However I think that what is paramount is the harm that being in this situation is causing you and your son.  I believe that you are both at risk and that things likely will get worse if something does not change soon.

Although I am no expert in domestic problems I can tell you that “bipolar symptoms” can be controlled and managed fairly well if the person is on the “right medication”.  There are many things that we can do to help manage our symptoms.  Medication is only a part of it, we often need other things like seeing a therapist, and/or being in a bipolar disorder support group to help us through things like manic/depressive episodes.  You have mentioned that you have tried many things to improve the situation but you did not say whether your partner is taking any responsibility for managing her own illness.  For example if she does not always take her meds or cancels doctor’s appointments and does little to learn new coping skills and strategies to help herself then to me there is really not much you can do to help her get better.

If she is not taking her illness and the impact it has on you and your son seriously then things are likely not going to change.  In the meantime until you figure out what will be best for you and your son I would suggest that you have some sort of safety or escape plan in place.  The reason I am suggesting this is because what you have described is a “very out of control and unpredictable person” and for that reason I am very concerned for you and your son’s safety.

It may be a good idea for you to find some sort of support through family, friends or within the community.  For example if things become so severe that you are afraid for you and your son’s safety (which it sounds like you both have been very fearful already) then I think that leaving would likely be in your best interest.  I would suggest that in an emergency situation you either call the “police” or for you and your son to go to a “women’s shelter”.  I really think it’s crucial that you have some sort of plan in mind so you are not scrambling around when she goes into her next rage.  Have a plan A, B, and C if need be so you can at least protect yourself and your son from further abuse.

As a person who has bipolar disorder I can tell you that when “symptoms are as out of control” as your partners chances are things will only “escalate”.  She will not get better overnight it takes a lot of time and dedication for a person who has bipolar to become stabilized.  She may even need “hospitalization” in order to get better.  I am not a doctor so I can’t say if she will but many people need to be in hospital not only for their own safety but for the safety of others as well.  All I can really suggest is that you take care of you and your son’s needs and do what is necessary to stay safe.  You can only really control “what you can do” to change your situation if that is what you want.  I would imagine that you likely “feel quite torn” at times as you say that she is “often an amazing person” which I am sure that she is.  But again I cannot stress enough that she seems to be very out of control much of the time and you are at risk.  You may even want to think about “a trial separation” from each other so you can have some time and space to figure things out.

My other concern is that your son seems to be extremely anxious and afraid which is understandable, but it would be in his best interest to be out of such a chaotic environment.  Not that I want to scare you but if he continues to be subjected to this kind of trauma he could end up with all sorts of problems in the future.  Children who are exposed to these types of environments can end up with things like anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.  I am sure that this is highly stressful for the both of you, it must be like “walking on egg shells all of the time”, just waiting for the next violent episode to occur.

There is not much that your little boy can do to change things but there are some steps that you can take to make a better life for the two of you.  Perhaps one day your partner will get things under control and become well, that is my hope.  But I don’t want to give you any false hope either because it really is up to her if she wants to get the help that she needs to get better.  It is a lot of hard work to get well and remain well when one has bipolar disorder.  There is no cure or magic pill for us.  What we can do is learn what our triggers are and learn how to cope with them and manage our symptoms as best as we can.

I really do think that you have gone above and beyond with trying to help your partner and improve your situation but like you have said this has made “little difference”.  I really can’t tell you whether you should “stay or walk away” that has to be your decision.  But I do think that for you and your son’s own safety and emotional well-being it would be best for you to “walk away” for now anyway or like you have said it will keep “breaking your soul”.  I wish you the best and hope that you can “stay strong” and lean on family and friends during this difficult time.  If you have any further questions or comments please write to us again at www.askabipolar.com

One thought on “Should I stay or walk away, breaking my soul?

  1. Your partner sound like my mother, who had Bi-polar type one at a time when there were no specific medications for her illness. She was verbally and physically abusive to me and my father. I didn’t know at the end of each school day if I was coming home to milk and cookies or a screaming hitting maniac. I used to beg my father to get a divorce and take me away from her, but he never did.
    GET THAT CHILD OUT OF THERE! Your primary responsibility is to the welfare of your child, not your partner. As an adult I’ve had extensive therapy to cope with my trust issues, depression and anxiety, and I still deal with all of that on occasion. Don’t make your son’s future like mine was.

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