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Abusive bipolar parent

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Abusive bipolar parent

Postby david439 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:59 am

I was raised by a bipolar parent who didn't take meds. This person would frequently become enraged without any obvious provocation. Me and my siblings were hit with folding chairs, stove grates, vacuum cleaner tubes, belt buckles. We had our heads banged into walls. I once had to get stitches in my head and my sister had to get them a few times. Throughout most of our childhood we could go to school but had to come straight home and were rarely allowed outside. The doors couldn't be unlocked from the inside without a key and the windows were screwed shut so we couldn't leave. We were placed in foster care on more than one occassion.

I don't hate this person because I realize the disease was the problem. I'm posting this though as a reminder of why it's important for people to take their meds if they deal with bipolar rage. Not that anyone cares but my sister committed suicide a couple years ago. I have ptsd and have difficulty forming relationships or maintaining a fulfilling life.
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Re: Abusive bipolar parent

Postby CrackedGirl » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:04 pm

I am really sorry you went through this and thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

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Re: Abusive bipolar parent

Postby Living Well » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:18 pm

Thanks David,

The unfortunate thing about bipolar is the inability to see oneself accurately. So I would add, that if you can find a pdoc who is also a therapist that is the best way to get a really firm dx that they can explain to you. Once you trust a pdoc as your therapist, you are much more likely to accept the dx, which is stage one. No one will take meds if they dismiss the diagnosis.

The second thing is that meds are essential in stabilising bipolar. Some people can't take meds and do everything they can through diet and lifestyle. They do improve, but I maintain they would still achieve more stability through meds, if they could take them.

Given the genetic basis of bipolar, it is not unusual for someone to have both, a bipolar parent or two and a bipolar child or two. I have posted here before about bipolar and abusive families - and was quite interested by the people who came out stating they were bipolar but hadn't been abused (I infer - by a bipolar parent??)

I'm a bipolar parent, but couldn't get dx, despite presenting for help for 20 years. I still tried to break the abuse cycle the best I could - something very hard to do when as unwell as I am; also with the handmaidens of abuse - bpd and ptsd. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best!!!
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Re: Abusive bipolar parent

Postby david439 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:20 pm

@ living well

I'm sorry to hear about your frustrations with the medical establishment. In fairness to bipolar people who've had this illness for decades there haven't always been good medications to treat bipolar disorder. My bipolar parent was diagnosed in the 80s and was medicated briefly, but stopped using the drugs because of the horrible side effects. I'm told that the meds are much better now though.

I had a psych eval in my teens and was diagnosed w/ ptsd. I have a brother who is bipolar though. He manages the disease well with medication
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Re: Abusive bipolar parent

Postby jilkens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:00 am

Hi David,

I'm so sorry you went through all that abuse. It's hard. My mom was never diagnosed as bipolar, but she was most definitely mentally ill. Her illness manifested as deliberately making me ill in order to garner support and attention from medical personnel. When that wouldn't work she'd beat, verbally & emotionally abuse. Other days she'd break my things - sometimes over my head. It doesn't have to be bipolar - I think any mental illness in a parent left untreated can be disastrous. She was supposed to take valium but never did. I think she should have been on something far heavier.

Having been in the mental health system myself for the past 12 years, I can tell you that medications aren't always the answer and sometimes make the situation worse, especially if there's a misdiagnosis. I was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 16 and took medications for 9 years. During that time there were hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and health crises related to effects from the medications. Once I stopped taking the stabilizers & antidepressants my life started to come together again. My current diagnosis, CPTSD, was masking itself as bipolar. The extreme stresses caused by the trauma sensitized my brain to mood swings. Not dealing with the root issues of abuse left the trauma time to do some extra damage. I'm no longer on meds and am at my most functional. It's like someone threw some oil in my turbulent waters. The real issues are finally (albeit extremely slowly) being dealt with.

During this entire time, my parents separated. My dad went through a very predictable situational depression. Because of my bipolar diagnosis the doctor prescribed him lithium and said that he was bipolar, too. This highlights a very interesting flaw in the current practice of diagnosing family members based on genetics - if one family member is misdiagnosed, it's possible the rest have been misdiagnosed as well.

Bipolar rage isn't always directed outward. The sufferer can take it out on themselves in the form of self-injury and suicide attempts. I think a child witnessing their parent suffering from this type of rage can be traumatized as well. Either way, the root issues need to be addressed so the child has a decent chance of growing into a healthy person.
Blame it on me, but know that I won't regret one iota.
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Re: Abusive bipolar parent

Postby never42 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:21 am

Hi David,

I'm sorry about what you went through. And I am sorry about your sister.

I have been scared of what effect me having BP would have on the people around me. This just confirms that nobody should give up treatment.

Thank you for this post.
"We're all f***ed in our own little unique ways"

"The point is that when you're depressed, you're in a constant battle with your dumb brain for control of your life." - Mark Hill

Dx: Bipolar I Disorder
Rx: Epilim (2000mg), Seroquel XR (50mg), Dopaquel (100mg)

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