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family member alienation

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family member alienation

Postby sky33 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:45 pm

Hi everyone,
One of my family members recently had a severe manic episode (i'll call family member Gerry) and had to be hospitalized (first time)- they were suffering from extreme psychosis and were completely out of touch with reality. Bipolar runs in our family, sadly, but this episode seemed to come on very quickly and without much warning (odd behavior for a couple of weeks). Gerry reacted very badly to this, and was VERY paranoid the entire time about being hospitalized, invented all kinds of nefarious plots, and was extremely angry about it. I have heard through other family members some of the very dramatic beliefs Gerry has conjured about the hospital experience, none are even remotely true. I'm pretty sure these stories are told to others for sympathy points, I was there, nothing 'bad' happened. Also, Gerry is suffering from delusions of grandeur/grandiosity- which has not gone away. Upon getting out of the hospital, Gerry was determined to 'change their life' and get rid of the people who were 'bringing Gerry down'.... Gerry thinks that in order to be successful/accomplish whatever (there are TONS of delusions of grandeur going on. Gerry thinks theirself to be a prodigy of some kind... And even blames forces of bad energy for causing their problems), and that certain people have to be cut out of Gerry's life.

Prior to the complete Manic break, Gerry had already started exhibiting odd behaviors (which I was unaware of because I hadn't seen the person in over a week due to a disagreement with other family members). I later found out that I in particular, along with anyone else in the family who has ever had issues with was part of a paranoid delusion. I am in particular apparently considered a bad influence in their life. I have been completely alienated, and Gerry actually considers this almost a mandate from the universe or something so Gerry's life can 'move on' and become 'whole'. I'm at my breaking point with this behavior, I am most definitely not a bad influence on Gerry's life, we have been close for years. I have been informed by other family members about some of the crazy nasty things Gerry has been saying about me, and I know Gerry really believes this and is happy to be rid of me. We grew up together, and I want to know if our relationship will ever recover...

I'm wondering if this sort of behavior will persist? Or if there is any hope Gerry will let this go at some point?
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Re: family member alienation

Postby Exiled. » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:11 pm

There is always hope.

That said, the likelyhood that the relationship will go back to the way it was before is unfortunately minimal. It's very possible that he'll come down off the manic episode and no longer believe the things he said. However, the damage is done. When things like that have happened to me, I start to believe that people are walking on egg shells around me and I avoid them. There is no reset button.

The best you can do is not take personally what he says and be there if he needs you.
The eye that looks ahead to the safe course is closed forever.
- Paul Muad'Dib Atreides

My life - My responsibility.
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Re: family member alienation

Postby matri00 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:34 pm

I can only talk from my experience, so it may not be the best advice in the world but....

I think you just need to be extremely patient with Gerry. It wouldn't be normal for mania to last forever, and eventually some sort of delusions will end. He's probably using you as a scapegoat, I often use my parents as that just because it's the easiest way of moving blame from yourself to others. You should never underestimate quite how scary and horrible it is to go through some of the symptoms Gerry is exhibiting, and psychologically he may need to blame his family.

Some of what he might be saying may have some truth, probably not a great deal, but when I blame my parents I always say that they never understand me and don't show any love towards me. Obviously I'm the delusional person so I'm going to believe that but I can't remember the last time I received a hug from them or any sort of affection, so maybe think about the small things that you could try and change.

Your relationship will probably not be the same again, but the absolute worst thing for me when I tell people I'm bipolar is when they get scared around me. I hate it so much when people look at me and think I'm crazy... I can see their eyes glaze over and feel a nervous quiver in their voice. In my opinion the worst thing you could do is be confrontational about this.

My advise would be just to let this delusion wear itself out for a bit, be there for Gerry if and when he needs you. If you stay in his life he will eventually come round it may not be the same relationship you once had, but different doesn't always have to be worse. Maybe think of it as an opportunity to build a better relationship.

I wish both you and "Gerry" all the best.
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