Can Bi-polar sufferers be abusive?

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by meaningless-vessel, Nov 5, 2013.

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  1. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    A bold question - one fraught with potential for being slated for asking - but there is a reason to this debate.

    Whether knowingly or unknowingly, this is definitely a debateable question. I know someone who has through psychotherapist appointments been informed that they have been abused by their ex partner. This ex-partner of theirs, has been diagnosed with bi-polar, although I am still on the fence regarding whether or not to believe it (in that instance).

    I also have 2 work colleagues who claim they are bi-polar, but I am again not sure I want to believe them and be sucked into getting any form of abuse as a result, knowing that the person I know has been treated badly by the bi-polar suffering ex, and if it wasn't for a network of support around them, they wouldn't be here today.

    I may have limited dealings with these people, I may have a really restricted knowledge that I can read up more on, but unless I was to be proven otherwise, I'd be inclined to say it is as possible that bi-polar people are as abusive as those who they claim to be so. Also I have my own views because of ongoing issues regarding a particular source where I am on one side and a bi-polar sufferer is on the other.
  2. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    Anyone can be abusive if that is in their nature. Being professionally diagnosed is the only true proof of being something such as bipolar, but even then the diagnosis is never an exact science and it's not like they can run a definitive test and measure something in the blood or something to say someone absolutely is bipolar.
  3. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member


    Try looking at it this way. Abuse in this context is derived from a form of damage being inflicted from an external source. By that I mean, the actions taken from an individual are producing a form of damage upon another individual or object. We objectify the reasons for these actions by understanding the root(..ish) reasons for this expression. And for good reasons.

    However this doesn't deteour from the reality of what's actually happening. It's unacceptable behavior. People are just more "afraid or worried or understanding/caring" so they put up a tough skin mentality. Which is good, but it's only 1 part of dealing with it. The point of having tough skin is so you don't react to it in the wrong manner. You are still supposed to react to it, so the person realises that there actions/expressions are wrong. Wether you wait until later to talk about it, or wait until they are done their tirade and respond in a calm manner explaining that what they've just done is inappriopriate, you should let them know. Everytime. The more you get to know them, the more you can simplify the reaction to them, as long as they understand what you are trying to say.

    To simply answer your question, yes ofcourse people who have bipolar can be abusive. People react in all sorts of ways to things. Sometimes they overstep the boundaries. It may not be malicous, it just may be a momentary lapse in judgement, or an inability to understand in those moments that it is inappriorpiate. Generally we look past it and try to offer a calm response so they can see it themselves and work towards overcoming it. The thing when dealing with people who are in distress, is it requires more patience, more intuition, and most importantly to use those situations to help that person overcome them. Atleast with family/relationship/friends. It requires alot more effort, especially if they lose the point and you need to help them regain their self control.

    When it comes to co-workers.... Theres a fine line. If they say they have a problem.. great. Glad they feel comforable sharing it. But despite all the compassion in the world, you're not a punching bag. And it is not an excuse to go off on anyone, especially in a work environment.

    I'm running on with this, but also, try not to use your friends experience as a regular generalisation about people who say they have bi-polar. Idk how bad it was for your friend, but relationships go past the barriers of general human interaction. It just get's really icky when defining the reality of a situation, especially after the fact, and especially when you're explaining past situations from memory/feelings and someone else is re-defining situations for you. Bi-polar doesn't mean you are abusive. Neither does being an alcoholic, or a drug addict, or someone with pstd, or ect ect. It's based on the individual, the severity of whatever they are dealing with, their mental/social upbringing and their environment. Anyone can be abusive. The reality is the actions, then the reasons that help define the situation.
  4. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    I don't quite know if you missed my last paragraph....

    My issues where I'm one side, bi-polar sufferer on the other - is not relationship based. My friend's was. The two situations may have been different, but the recurring theme is the same, and the only constant between my issue and theirs, is that both people on the other end have/claim to have bi-polar (I'm not saying one way or the other - I'm not a doctor or therapist). Somehow there's been some level of "abuse" garnered - and I have found out things that I am not willing to repeat here that could throw things into a totally different light.

    I'm not generalising as a whole - but given the two situations being different and the same thing happening - this is where my debateable opinion has come from.
  5. Butterfly

    Butterfly Sim Addict Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    Anybody can be abusive. Male, female, old, young, black, white, loud, shy, have a mental illness, don't have a mental illness. Being bipolar has nothing to do with it. Sure, symptoms of mania can include rage, anger, violent behaviour but so can depression and a whole range of illnesses. Just because you have bipolar doesn't mean you are an abusive person, nor does it give you an excuse to be abusive.
  6. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    To be honest, you really cannot make a commitable generilsation like that, especially since you've already stated you have exceptionally limited experience with people who deal with bi-polar disorders. For starters you have two different instances of bi-polar. There is alot more that goes into relationship abuse than just a defined disorder. Again, the way the two interact in a relationship, the way they've been brought up, their compatibility, the way each reacts to the others stress, their lifestyle, their bills/stress, ect. There is a laundry list of things that will coincide with your friends unfortunate situation. Pinning it on bi-polar is just... well sounds stupid to me, but idk could be. I don't know the situation, but if it is bi-polar 100%, then damn it must be so extreame that it's close to an agressive split personality. Most aggressive longer term "bi-polar" situations become excusable behavior, and perhaps are not bi-polar, but a shield that someone uses to just be a real jerk. Again.. I don't know the situation, I'm just saying.

    As for the other source of where you're in conflict with someone who has bi-polar disorder. .. Look, again it's all on an individual basis. The main thing I would suggest when dealing with someone who claims to have a disorder is to maintain that "Normal ground" that is socially acceptable. When they breach it, pay attention. When are they breaching it, how are they doing, do they feel bad about it later, how do they deal with it and how to they respond to the people theyve clashed with. You can't go into a situation pre-defining things, but yeah, I agree being cautious is a good idea. Like anything you need to be pro-active for yourself. So someone claiming they have bi-polar doesn't justify them being an ass to you or anyone else. In actual fact it opens the door for you to strike a dialouge with them about it.

    Another thing to truly note is, I've noticed in the last 5-10 years "mental disorders" have become so rampent by definintion that alot of people have something or another. It's like some people who read medical symptoms online and conlude they have some rare aliment from the 1500's just because they have X Y and Z. Alot of people use medical defined disorders as an excuse to just be rude. Whereas some people truly have them, but feel that is the extent of what they are and stop resisting those situations. That's when you have a higher degree of abuse. But again those are selective situations and more of just something to be aware of. I know a few people that have bi-polar and it seriously just makes them intervert fast and be unable to maintain themselves through things. But being aggressive or abusive? No, that's not their way of dealing with it.

    If you're worried, just cleary look at the situation. Disregard any mental disorders and look at what is happening. Then apply the situation that the person is dealing with. In general you come first, so if this person is doing something that is hurting you, or making you feel uncomfortable, I would suggest doing the difficult thing and dealing with it. However, if they claim to have something that is debilitating them, then you might want to talk about ways of dealing with people who suffer from that debilitation. That way you can deal with it in a way that benifits the pair of you, or at the very least creates a barrier that doesn't create too much hostility.
  7. MyJourney

    MyJourney New Member

    Being Bi-polar myself, I appreciate your explanation. It was very well stated. Thanks!
  8. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    I was but I also suffer from anger issues. Now that I am not bipolar I realize it was always my anger issues. The see saw emotions didn't help though.
  9. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    Just out of curiosity, if you were prone to dramatic mood shifts, is that fair to say it was purely your anger issues? I mean I get angry when I reach a certain state, be it just pure frustration/being overloaded, or other forms. But generally anger is a reaction to a state and if you're predisposed to sliding into other states, wouldn't that mean that BP made you reach those points more easily instead of having a more gradual effect that you may control better? Also I'm not saying that BP makes you angry, just saying that the ease at which you can emotionally shift may have aided to anger. I know the more anything happens, the more we "know and understand and are aware of what comes next". That sort of awareness in itself can accelerate anger issues especially if you just want the cycle/situation to stop. Atleast I would think it would if you were prone to mood shifts.
  10. names_stink

    names_stink Member

    Anyone can be abusive, hypothetically. My brother shows all the symptoms of bipolar disorder and he is abusive. If he is bipolar, I would not blame the bipolar disorder. He became too hard for my mom and me to live with. He almost hit my mother once. I had to intervene. He and I butted heads a lot. He would literally scare me. I thought for sure he'd hurt one of us. Naturally, I defended myself. And when we were both having an episode, our fights could get terrifying. We had the cops called on our house quite often. We suspect he abuses his girlfriend, too, but we've never known for sure. So, unfortunately, the cops have never done anything about it even though we believe we've heard it happening on numerous occasions (that whole 'without proof' or 'we have to see it' BS). But if he is bipolar, he is not like this because he is. Sure, the anger might play a role. But anyone can be abusive.

    I have recently found out I might be bipolar. I never wanted to think I was. But perhaps that was denial. I'm almost positive I have experienced hypomania. I have read into it after being told, I have read things posted by people who are. And I can relate to it. I can relate to it better than I ever related to depression. Because yes, I have depressive episodes. But then, I have very elevated episodes. And something that is kind of a weird mix of both of them. I have never physically abused anyone. I get the urge to hurt someone sometimes, but I never act on it. Typically, when this happens, I take it out on a wall. (Which can be just as damaging to myself)

    Also, this is VERY true. I did not and do not say I have any disorder unless I receive a definite diagnosis. Before I went back for treatment, I always said depression. As I'm pretty sure that is what I was diagnosed with as a teenager (I could be wrong, though, as it's my mom who says that and her memory is bad). And even now, I hesitate to say I have what they're telling me I have. I almost feel like a fraud. I know I told the truth about all my symptoms. I know I answered the questions accurately. But a part of me... just feels like it's not real. Before this, I would look up things online and read the symptoms. I noticed how I had X, Y, and Z of certain ones... but I didn't assume. In fact, I always convinced myself of the opposite. That I was fine and just being paranoid. That everything was alright. I never understood why some people try to self diagnose. Hearing you have it or might have it can be a world shaking experience and I don't know why anyone would.. want that.
  11. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    The unpredictability of my mood swings made it nearly impossible to control myself. If I attempted to hold them back they just grew in force until I couldn't hold on any longer.
    My anger issues are a learned habit that I adopted from my step dad. His lack of anger management taught me poor anger management skills. I can only see this now because the bipolar is no longer an issue.
    I no longer get physically violent because I can control myself better, but old habits die hard as far as getting angry goes.
    So in short I agree the bipolar intensified my angry reactions in a way.
  12. wyngedbyste

    wyngedbyste Well-Known Member

    Anyone, including a mentally ill person, can be an abuser. As a child, I was abused by a mentally ill person. As an adult, I choose not to be a victim. People, mentally ill or not, treat us the way we allow ourselves to be treated.

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