Bipolar and love relationships
Bipolar Relationships: What to Expect
Ups and downs are natural in any romantic relationship, but when your partner has bipolar disorder it can feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. Not knowing what to expect each day is stressful and tiring. Over time, it wears on the relationship.
Understanding why your partner acts out sometimes or becomes withdrawn is the first supportive step you can take in strengthening your relationship. Learn exactly what a bipolar diagnosis means, how it could affect your partner’s behavior and what you can do to foster a healthy, stable relationship.
What does it mean if your partner is bipolar?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by intense mood changes. People with the illness switch back and forth from mania or hypomania (an emotional state of being energetic and gleeful or sometimes aggressive or delusional) to having episodes of depression.
The lifelong condition tends to run in families, although the cause of bipolar disease is unknown. However, it can often be successfully managed through treatment. There are two primary types of bipolar disorder:
Bipolar 1 is a more severe form of the illness and is defined by manic episodes that have one of these characteristics:
- Hallucinations, delusions or paranoia
- Hospitalization required for safety
- Impulsive behavior with significant consequences
“When people are manic, they pursue pleasurable activities with great enthusiasm and with no regard for the consequences,” says Jennifer Payne, M.D., psychiatrist and director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “They may gamble, spend excessive amounts of money, use drugs or become promiscuous.”
People with bipolar 2 experience hypomanic episodes, which still include out-of-character behavior but aren’t as extreme as those with bipolar 1. Hypomanic episodes may include:
- Increased energy and drive.
- Rapid speech.
- Decreased need for sleep.
“During hypomanic episodes, a partner with bipolar 2 may obsessively pursue sex with you or others,” says Payne. “They may stay up all night and have lots of wonderful ideas they want to tell you about at 3 a.m.”
Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of medications and therapy. However, successful treatment can be a challenge since many people miss the euphoria and energy of manic episodes.
Often people with bipolar disorder view these elevated mood states as their best selves — when they’re the most productive or creative — and will stop treatment in order to experience that again. Sometimes those with bipolar disorder will even intentionally trigger a manic episode.
“Lack of sleep is a trigger of manic episodes for a lot of people,” says Payne. “Sometimes patients with bipolar disorder will deliberately skip getting the sleep they need in order to initiate an elevated mood state. For example, a person might want the high energy that comes with a manic episode to get a project done.”
The key to your partner’s successful management of the illness is a commitment to continuing treatment and ongoing communication with their psychiatrist. This can take place at therapy sessions, during regular checkups or whenever necessary to discuss troubling symptoms.
Many people with bipolar 1 do well on lithium, a mood-stabilizing drug. Those with bipolar 2 may not fully respond to medications often used to treat bipolar disorder. If that’s the case for your partner, it’s important for them to continue to work with their psychiatrist to find an effective treatment.
Being in a Relationship with Someone Who Is Bipolar
There are certainly challenges in any romantic relationship, but bipolar disorder can make things especially difficult in various aspects of life:
It’s common for people with bipolar disorder to desire frequent sex during manic or hypomanic phases. Your partner may initiate intimacy much more than normal, or masturbate or use pornography more frequently than usual. Those with bipolar disorder may also engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex or extramarital affairs while manic.
During episodes of depression, your partner may avoid sexual contact altogether. This can be confusing or feel like rejection, especially if your partner recently desired lots of sexual activity during a manic or hypomanic period. Many medications for bipolar disorder can also lower sex drive.
Your partner’s ability to perform well at work can be affected by bipolar disorder. Severe mood swings, along with manic symptoms such as poor judgement and impulsivity, or depressive symptoms such as low energy and disinterest make it tough to find and maintain a job. Stressors at work may also trigger or exacerbate your partner’s symptoms. If your partner can’t hold down a job, this could put more pressure on you to provide financial support until their illness is well-managed.
Many people consider parenting the most stressful (albeit rewarding) job of their lives. But any kind of stressor — good or bad — has potential to trigger manic or depressive episodes for people with bipolar disorder.
In addition, the erratic behavior associated with bipolar disorder can be confusing and scary to children, who look to parents to provide stability. Helping your partner get and maintain treatment to control symptoms is crucial for providing a safe and secure home for children.
How to Make a Bipolar Relationship Work
It takes effort to keep any relationship strong, but it can be especially challenging when your partner has bipolar disorder. Payne offers these recommendations:
Go to Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is essential for working through upset over a bipolar partner’s actions. It’s common for someone with bipolar disorder to hurt and offend their partner. When someone is first diagnosed, there are often relationship issues that need to be addressed. Couples counseling can help you:
- Understand that there’s an illness involved in the hurtful behavior.
- Forgive the behavior that happened during an altered mood state.
- Set boundaries with a partner about maintaining treatment.
Get Involved with Treatment
Ask if you can be involved with your partner’s treatment, which may include occasionally going to the psychiatrist together. Being a part of your partner’s treatment has multiple benefits, including:
- Gaining a better understanding of the illness.
- Providing additional insight for the psychiatrist.
- Learning to spot signs of impending episodes.
- Alerting the psychiatrist about mood changes.
Even if your partner hasn’t signed off on you exchanging information with their psychiatrist, you can still report worrisome signs (the doctor just won’t be able to tell you anything). This gives the doctor a chance to make quick medication changes that may help your partner avoid being hospitalized.
Self-care gets a lot of buzz these days, but nowhere is it more important than when you’re caring for someone with a serious illness such as bipolar disorder. It’s essential to dedicate time to your own physical and mental health, whether that’s going to a support group, talking to a therapist or attending a yoga class.
Being in a healthy relationship with someone with bipolar disorder requires not only careful management of their illness, but also setting aside time to take good care of yourself.
Bipolar Dating & Marriage -- Romantic Relationships
Whether you or your loved one has bipolar disorder, you can learn to make the relationship work.
Written by Stephanie Watson
Navigating any romantic relationship -- whether it's dating or marriage -- can be a tricky endeavor. Add bipolar disorder with its roller-coaster ride of emotions into the mix, and relationships become even more challenging.
When Jim McNulty, 58, of Burrillville, Rhode Island, got married in the 1970s, everything seemed fine at first. "It was an absolutely normal courtship," he recalls. "We got along well."
Then the mood swings began. During his "up" or hypomanic states, he would spend huge sums of money he didn't have. Then he would hit the "down" side and sink into the depths of depression. These wild swings put stress on his marriage and threatened to run his family's finances into the ground. He eventually signed the house over to his wife to protect her and his two young children. Finally, he says, "She asked me to leave because she couldn't live with the illness anymore."
The Bipolar Relationship
When people get into a relationship, they're looking for stability, says Scott Haltzman, MD. Haltzman is clinical assistant professor in the Brown University department of psychiatry and human behavior. He's also medical director of NRI Community Services in Woonsocket, R.I. and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women. He tells WebMD that bipolar disorder can seriously complicate a relationship. "The person, particularly if untreated, may be prone to changes in their mood, their personality, and their interactions that can threaten the consistency that is the framework of a relationship."
He adds that not everyone with bipolar disorder experiences the distinct mood phases of mania and depression. But when those episodes do occur they can wreak havoc on a relationship.
During the manic phase, a person can lose their sense of judgment. That means spending money recklessly, becoming promiscuous, engaging in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse, and even getting into trouble with the law. "When you have a spouse with bipolar disorder who gets in a manic phase," he says, "it can be extremely detrimental to the relationship because they may be doing things that endanger you or may endanger you financially."
On the other side of the curve is depression. Depression can cause the person to withdraw completely from everything -- and everyone -- around them. "If you're a partner with someone, it's very frustrating," Haltzman says. "That's because you want to pull them out of their shell and you don't know how to do it."
Dating With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can become an issue from the very start of a relationship. When you first meet someone you like, it's natural to want to make a good impression. Introducing the fact that you have bipolar disorder may not make for the most auspicious beginning. There is always the fear that you might scare the person off and lose the opportunity to get to know one another. At some point, though, you will need to let your partner know that you are bipolar.
"I don't think it's necessary to introduce your psychiatric problems on the first date," Haltzman says. "But once you sense that there's a mutual attraction and you decide to become more serious with this person, when you decide that you want to date this person exclusively, I think at that point each partner needs to come clear with what the package includes. "
Knowing what triggers your cycles of hypomania, mania, and depression and watching out for warning signs that you're entering one or the other phase of the cycle can help you avoid uncomfortable situations in your new relationship. "I think the more the person knows what their cycles are, the better they might be able to be in charge of them," says Myrna Weissman, PhD. Weissman is professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is also chief of the department in clinical-genetic epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute. Warning signs, she says, can include disturbed sleep and changes in activity level.
Bipolar Disorder and Marriage
Any number of things, from work stress to money issues, can lead to arguments and put strain on a marriage. But when one partner has bipolar disorder, simple stressors can reach epic proportions. That may be why as many as 90% of marriages involving someone with bipolar disorder reportedly fail.
McNulty watched not only his own marriage fall apart, but the marriages of others with bipolar disorder as well. "I've been running a support group for almost 19 years," he says. "I've seen dozens of couples come through the door with their marriage in tatters." Bipolar disorder "puts a huge additional strain on a relationship, particularly when you don't have a diagnosis."
Healing a Troubled Relationship
Having a relationship when you live with bipolar disorder is difficult. But it's not impossible. It takes work on the part of both partners to make sure the marriage survives.
The first step is to get diagnosed and treated for your condition. Your doctor can prescribe mood stabilizing medications, such as Lithium, with antidepressants to help control your symptoms. Therapy with a trained psychologist or social worker is also important. With therapy you can learn to control the behaviors that are putting stress on your relationship. Having your spouse go through therapy with you can help them understand why you act the way you do and learn better ways to react.
"I think the more a partner can learn about these things, the better role he or she can play," Haltzman says. "Being involved in treatment can really help make the treatment for bipolar disorder a collaborative effort. And it will actually increase the sense of bonding."
Though you may want to crawl into your self-imposed cocoon when you're depressed, and feel like you're on top of the world when you're manic, it's important to accept help when it's offered. "I think," Haltzman says, "it sometimes helps to have a contract." With this contract, you can decide ahead of time under which circumstances you will agree to let your partner help you.
For the spouse of the bipolar person, knowing when to offer help involves recognizing how your partner is feeling. "You really have to work at it to understand what the other person is going through," McNulty tells WebMD. "And you have to be alert to their moods." McNulty is now remarried to a woman who also has bipolar disorder. When one of them notices that the other is starting to slide into depression, they will ask, "How do you feel?" and "What do you need from me?" This gentle offering helps keep both partners on track.
Here are a few other ways to help relieve some of the stress on your relationship:
- Take your medication as prescribed. And keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
- Take a marriage education class.
- Manage your stress in whatever way works for you, whether it's writing in a journal, taking long walks, or listening to music. Try to balance work with more enjoyable activities.
- Stick to a regular sleep cycle.
- Eat healthfully and exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
If you ever think about hurting yourself or committing suicide, get help immediately.
How to build a relationship if one of you (or both) has a mental disorder - Knife
Why love and mental disorder do not contradict each other
Love, no matter how strong it may be, is not able to cure mental illness. But there is a scientifically proven fact: stable and supportive relationships improve mental health. Even those with severe disorders are less likely to have seizures and spend more time in remission.
If you think: “Why any recommendations, you need to do your feet!” - keep in mind that about one in four people around is not healthy. And if we take borderline states (that is, mildly pronounced disorders), then almost every second person is abnormal to one degree or another in some period of his life. Since few people like to go to psychiatrists, this can be found out after many years of relationship. And at some point, you may become seriously ill yourself, and, probably, you will count on care, and not on the fact that those with whom you have lived for years will scatter in horror.
How to love a depressed person
Quite a typical sad story of a relationship with a depressed partner: you had a magical romance, you dreamed of being together all the time, finally made a common nest. And now nothing pleases him or her, and in general he or she does nothing: sits at home and whines. “Probably, they have already stopped loving me, or have never loved me at all,” you think.
It is important to distinguish between clinical depression (major depressive disorder) and reactive depression. The second develops in response to difficult events, and the chances are quite high that over time it will pass forever. In the first case, a person is chronically ill, usually from adolescence.
Attacks of depression occur more or less regularly, including without apparent external causes. Depression is almost twice as common in women, but it is harder to recognize in men, because they do not like to complain about symptoms and try to avoid visiting doctors.
Therefore, a depressed man has a higher risk of suicide, as well as slow self-destruction with the help of alcohol or psychoactive substances. And lowered mood can be accompanied by severe irritability, which makes the life of loved ones even less pleasant.
Depression may be less obvious. For example, in physical symptoms: your head always hurts, your back aches, your stomach twists and there is no strength for anything. Sex at the same time causes a lot of negative emotions - from quiet irritation to violent tears.
What not to do if your partner is prone to depression
Criticize and blame. Believe me, your partner is great at doing this on his own and does it from about morning to evening. The consciousness of a person in depression is distorted, he really considers himself in these weeks (or even months) to be a worthless loser who is not worthy of your love. On the contrary, praise in such a state will never be superfluous: even for the fact that she washed her hair and made tea.
Dissatisfaction with the world around and disappointment in what you used to like so much should not be egocentrically taken personally: most likely, at these moments, the partner does not think about you at all, but about the fact that his or her whole life is one big failure , and humanity is heading towards the apocalypse.
Create stress . If your girlfriend or boyfriend is prone to depression, it is important to understand that they objectively have less strength and energy, they get tired faster and react more strongly to negativity. The magic kick method, calls to get out of the comfort zone and brilliant advice in the spirit of "be more positive" will not help in any way. This does not mean that nothing can be demanded from a partner at all. It is possible, but not now, but when a person returns to normal and will be able to adequately perceive these requirements. A depressed man experiences double pressure, because he is traditionally expected to act and initiate. It must be recognized that this will not happen in the near future. You may have to take care of your family for a while.
What to do if your partner is prone to depression
Relax a little. In a depressed person, it is not the body that is paralyzed, but the willpower. Physically, he is able to get out of bed, but he does not see the point in this. He needs to be helped, but in no case should he be pressured, but interested. Negative emotions of all kinds are over the top, so it is important to show that there is still something pleasant left in life.
If depression is severe, it will be a great achievement to simply take your loved one by the hand and take them out for a breath of fresh air, like a seriously ill person (and they are). If the situation is easier, you can choose different activities, the main thing is feasible.
Support in the pursuit of recovery. Relevant to any mental disorder: Instead of deprecating comments like "yes, you're fine, get some rest and go," support practical steps to recovery. Take them to a neurologist and a psychotherapist, remind them how important it is to get enough sleep and exercise.
If episodes of depression recur and do not go away for weeks, antidepressants should be taken (only with a good doctor's prescription). And to dissuade from this is a disservice.
Always remember that depressive episodes pass, and if a person was good, then he will be. How soon depends on both of you.
Depressed people are naturally sensitive and impressionable. Many of them are thoughtful, subtle and romantic natures, not alien to the arts. If you are attracted to lovers of philosophical conversations and poetry, there are very, very many depressive ones among them.
Such people can be not only weak and passive in life, but also obsessive. They are very attached and hard to endure separation. This can turn into a constant shifting of responsibility to the partner and the requirements of caring for those who have been tamed. Depressed men often become bitter drinkers, getting used to drowning out their depressed mood with alcohol.
How to love a person with bipolar disorder
This self-confident charismatic cannot be ignored. He pursued you with all his passion, and he managed to impress you not only with his lively wit, but also with a sudden trip to Africa on a safari. What was your surprise when, after just a year of living together, the partner turned into a weak-willed inhabitant of the sofa. He watches helplessly as you, in splendid isolation, complete the creative repairs he started, and only occasionally makes comments that maybe you shouldn’t have done it. Yes, and generally move out.
The whole life of a person with bipolar disorder (and this is both men and women) is a swing, a rollercoaster of dizzying ups and painful downs. The degree of steepness of these slides is different for everyone: for some, the contrasts are not so strong, and they retain a normal human appearance almost all the time. Others are first carried into a complete separation from reality (mania with psychosis), and then thrown into the abyss (severe depression).
What not to do if your partner has a bipolar disorder of
Wait for persistence. He will not be. If you dream of "taming and domesticating" a bipolar person, it's in vain. Even the most conscious and treated person needs a certain amount of adventurism. This is a person doomed to constant search: for himself, for a place in life. You should not expect him to patiently climb the career ladder in a big company for 10 years and complete all the work he has begun. But you have a chance to become the main constant in his or her life (such people really really need something permanent).
Argue. When a person is in a mania, it is useless to argue with him. At this moment you are a mere mortal, unable to appreciate the genius of his ideas. And if there are signs of psychosis, any conversations are meaningless. Only strong drugs will help.
Keep up the frenzy. The opposite tactic is also very dangerous: to encourage and support madness. Traveling across India on a bike? Walrus tusk souvenir business? In mania, a bipolar is ready to jump into any crazy undertaking, and you may even like it at first. But if you are healthy, this will be a great adventure for you, and for him - a trigger that can trigger a real psychosis attack. Or suicidal depression.
What to do if your partner has a BAR
Look for balance, set the mode. The golden mean probably sounds boring, but you have to stick to it in everything. Most likely, it is you - as a more balanced person - who will have to establish and maintain an adequate regimen of living together: eat normal food on time (and not a champagne cake), go to bed on time, alternate work and rest, and take normotimics in case of deterioration. Your partner's health depends on this routine: the more stable his daily life, the less seizures there will be.
Channel your energy. It is useless to forbid inventing adventures, but you can take on the role of an expert who rationally evaluates the prospects of new ideas.
It can be occupied, for example, by drawing up a detailed business plan and gathering information. If a person is still inadequate, he will spend his energy on diagrams and sketches and calm down a little. And if he remains critical, maybe he will think of something really brilliant.
Keep track of your finances. In mania, a bipolar person can easily spend the entire family budget on cute trinkets. Psychologists strictly advise for the duration of an attack (and usually it is only a few weeks) to seize documents and bank cards from a partner and even block the Internet.
Perhaps the most "creative" diagnosis. A wide range of emotions and wild imagination help such people become inventors, entrepreneurs, actors (with talent, of course). On the rise, this is a holiday person and the soul of the company, who will pick you up and carry you towards adventure.
The rise never lasts long. The main problem of life with a bipolar man is instability: he either works around the clock, or he doesn’t work at all, or he comes up with a dozen cases, then he abandons them, leaving you to deal with the consequences.
People with bipolar disorder can be not only creators, but also swindlers and graphomaniacs, as well as pathological liars and incorrigible cheaters.
A man in mania changes lovers as easily as all his other hobbies. Those who have known each other for half a year, and couples with 10 years of experience and three children, are not immune from this. The craving for novelty and adventure does not always bring them to good.
How to love a person with an anxiety disorder
You met a nice girl with whom you finally feel warm and comfortable. Sensitive, attentive, for the first time in her life she put your apartment in order and, it seems, is ready to cherish and cherish like a mother. However, the comparison with your mother is not the most encouraging, because pretty soon she begins to control you in the same way. You can no longer hang out after work in a bar, because she does not let go alone, afraid to death that someone will beat and rob you. However, she also doesn’t go to parties, because she can’t stand loud music and big companies. And at some point, an attempt to correct the marafet induced by her at home causes a real hysteria.
It may not just be a “severe temper”, but anxiety disorder is a widespread and diverse mental disorder, from generalized anxiety disorder to panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder and various types of phobias.
Each anxious person has his own main fears: someone is shaking from the company of new people, someone - from worry for loved ones. Constant anxiety is exhausting and leaves little energy for useful activities, so you should not expect high energy and efficiency from them.
Some will find fearfulness and impressionability very cute, but don't be too deluded: anxiety has another side - aggression aimed at self-defense. This side is especially pronounced in anxious men: they, as a rule, are also economic and caring, but the level of control (for your own good!) can reach despotism.
A common way of dealing with anxiety is the many rules and rituals that go to the extreme in OCD. This is not a whim, but a relatively effective way to cope with the situation: the performed ritual calms, gives a feeling of control over what is happening. It's definitely not worth laughing at. After all, when you read a prayer to calm yourself before an important event, or sleep with a textbook under your pillow before an exam, you are doing the same.
What not to do if your partner has an anxiety disorder
Leave alone with problems. Being alone with fears is the main nightmare of the anxious. Dr. Spock's methods of "the best way to stop a tantrum is not to react to it" do not work here. Of course, you will save yourself from an unpleasant sight, but the relationship is unlikely to live long after that. And if you stay nearby, embodying understanding and calmness with your whole appearance, they will definitely appreciate it. A firm hold on the hand and lead away from an unpleasant place can be enough to stop a panic attack. It is important to listen to the entire stream of consciousness, to say something soothing.
Feed the alarm. If you yourself are anxious enough, you will have a very difficult time. It is important for an anxious person to believe that there is a person nearby who controls the situation better than him. And if you are easily infected with panic and start voicing new terrible versions of what is happening, then he will lose the last ground under his feet.
Save from all adversity. Ridding a loved one of all hardships (from nervous work to a couple of hours in an apartment alone) is also not at all a solution. Anxiety has a dangerous feature: fueled by fears, it grows, capturing new spaces. This is called "generalization": at first a person is afraid of white mice, then of the laboratories in which they live, and in the end he cannot cross the threshold of the university. Thus, the anxious one runs the risk of driving himself into a corner and finding himself in complete isolation.
What to do if your partner has an anxiety disorder
Don't escalate. Since you are together, find out what exactly scares your soul mate and never abuse it.
Keep me posted. Tell me regularly when you get home what important things you are doing and why you are in a bad mood. So you save yours and her or his nerves. After all, when an anxious person does not know what is happening, his brain draws the most terrible version possible. By the time you return from an unscheduled meeting with a friend, they may already start looking for you with a detachment of volunteer rescuers.
Create a safe environment. The sensitive psyche of an anxious person cannot bear overload. She can be "closed" even from an excess of positive impressions, for example, at a stormy holiday. Therefore, it is extremely important that the house be that quiet and cozy place where you can relax.
Support in the fight against fears. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy offers to deal with fears using the “wedge wedge” method: accustom yourself to frightening situations. But you need to do this gradually and in really safe conditions, no "throw off the boat - let him learn to swim" (you will never be forgiven for this). The support of a partner just creates this feeling of security, and in general it’s great to expand the boundaries of an interesting world together: for example, climb a beautiful roof arm in arm with a loved one and overcome the fear of heights.
Anxious people are attentive, empathic and responsible. They try to foresee everything and prepare for everything simply because they cannot do otherwise. They will find a way to save money "for a rainy day", they will always notice when something has happened to you, and they will take a warm jacket for you on a trip. If care is dear to you and some degree of overprotection is not frightening, then you will be comfortable together.
Reasons for fear and anxiety may have nothing to do with reality, and then guardianship turns into hysteria or domestic terror. Anxious people can be tough and controlling in their attempts to shield themselves from anything threatening. They torture their loved ones with interrogations and prohibitions. It is not in vain that in lectures on psychology they like to cite Chekhov's "Man in a Case" as an example - a rather heavy character.
Pathological jealous people are also often anxious people.
And if you even accidentally put your beloved in an unbearable situation for her, for example, get stuck in an elevator on the 20th floor with her fear of heights, you can physically suffer from heels and nails.
How to love someone with borderline personality disorder
Like depression, this disorder is more common in women. But do not forget that a quarter of all "border guards" are men. Being in a relationship with a "border guard" or "border guard" is as easy as shelling pears: these are emotional, sociable guys who, in the truest sense of the word, cannot live without love. But they are quickly disappointed (or disappointed), and therefore they are periodically in active search. The essence of their relationship style is perfectly described in the book "I hate you - do not leave me": a constant storm of emotions and contrasts.
Today you were a princess and a dream come true for him - and a week later he calls you an arrogant egoist. In the morning she sings in the bathroom, and in the evening she complains that she has been unhappy all her life and is not understood by anyone. The peculiarity of the border guards is the all-encompassing predominance of feelings over reason. On the most physical level: they have a hyperactive amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions, mostly negative ones. Their thinking is painted in black and white, at every single moment everything is either perfect or too bad.
Border guards have difficulty understanding who they really are and what they want from life and from you: this is called an identity disorder. It is very painful. Often, border guards inflict physical harm on themselves, only to drown out the mental pain.
To maintain balance, the border guard needs to “attach” to a more stable person and look at himself through his eyes. No partner can fully compensate for the deficit that comes from childhood, and therefore the relationship will not be easy. But this does not mean that they are doomed to failure. Given sufficient awareness on both sides, there is a chance to learn how to smooth out sharp corners.
What not to do if your partner has a BPD
Ignore. "Freezing" from a hysterical border guard is not only pointless, but also dangerous. If you leave, slamming the door, it will be perceived as "gone forever, no one needs me, why live." It can even go as far as suicide threats, which will seem like banal blackmail to you. This may be true, but always remember that most border guards have real suicide attempts on their account. One of them is in danger of becoming the last. Emotions are so strong and unstable that they drown out the voice of reason completely. The accusations made in hysterics cannot be taken seriously. When the storm subsides, the border guard will most likely forget what he had to say.
Provoke. The psyche of a border guard is easily excitable and unstable, and therefore they succumb to provocations easily. If you force your opinion or argue aggressively, then the banal finding out who goes to the store will turn into an analysis of your relationship from the first day you met. With a stream of swearing and the most sophisticated accusations.
What to do if your partner has BPD
Acknowledge the reality of his feelings. No matter how absurd the drama unfolded out of the blue may seem, for the border guard all experiences are absolutely real. At this moment, he feels rejected, lonely, practically non-existent. Just admit it - the border guard rarely meets with an understanding of his feelings, which are always "too much" for others, and will be grateful. You can also simply distract yourself from intense experiences: not always, but your favorite movie or good sex will save you.
Connect your mind. In psychotherapy, the main methods of helping people with BPD are teaching techniques to control emotions and training logical thinking. You can also help your partner in this by calmly (without moralizing!) pronouncing and explaining conflict situations.
Reality check helps a lot: using concrete examples to explain that there are no real reasons for his fear (for example, to be left alone and in poverty until the end of his days). It is important to remind that bad moments will pass, and life will continue on.
Many people with BPD are bright, intensely sensitive, creative. They are easily carried away by both people and affairs, they love the new and unusual. You definitely won’t get bored with them from the lack of emotions and events in your life together.
They are manipulators. From childhood, the border guards got used to the need to fight for care and attention by any means. And if you don’t give them enough (and it’s impossible to give, because too much is required), then heavy artillery can be used against you, and you yourself won’t notice how you find yourself guilty of all the troubles of the universe. Stalkers who pursue those who rejected their love are also often people with BPD. Their self-esteem is so strongly attached to the chosen one or chosen one that they are unable to let it go.
What to do if you have a mental disorder
Sometimes, or quite often, we are unbearable. No one chooses a mental disorder for himself, but no one removes responsibility for relationships from us, adults, capable people with their own characteristics. We can make them better, more honest, more constructive. In the end, this is in our personal interests: as I have already reminded, balance in relationships is not a guarantee, but an almost indispensable condition for mental balance.
Be honest. No one can read minds, you can’t expect a partner to guess everything and guess every time you feel bad. If you have serious plans for a life together, tell us about your personal characteristics and triggers. About in what situations you really need help and in what form. Do not expect that they will understand you and agree with everything right now - it is really difficult to accept the fact that a loved one has a mental illness.
But if, after numerous and patient explanations, your companion continues to stand on his prejudices, you will probably have to admit that the relationship will not work.
Another scientifically proven fact: a destructive relationship in which a person with an unstable psyche is regularly devalued, blamed, provoked to negative emotions is worse than none at all.
Explain. Perhaps you don't want to act as an educator and rummage through the scientific literature. But if you don’t explain (in detail, with links to authoritative sources) to the person you live with what your diagnosis is in general, no one else will do this, and then misunderstanding is guaranteed. If it's hard to find words, find some good movies and books. And if trust reigns in your relationship, you can invite your partner to talk to your doctor.
Strive for remission. There are many people with mental disorders in the world who quite happily start families, build houses and give birth to children. But all happy families are similar in one thing: a spouse with a disease is aware of his condition and undergoes therapy. Psychotherapy helps some, pills are needed for others, a healthy lifestyle and self-control is enough for someone.
If you deny the very need to somehow correct your behavior and think that your partner is obliged to accept you as you are, with all the problems, you should hardly count on a long-term relationship.
There are also statistics that show that when a partner is not treated, the probability of divorce for various disorders reaches 90%.
How not to be an asshole
No matter how severe our disease is, only part of our impartial actions depends on the symptoms, the other part depends only on ourselves. Believe Viktor Frankl, a psychologist who found opportunities to show humanity even for people with schizophrenia imprisoned in a concentration camp.
A person with a mental disorder is in a state of attack / episode only a small part of the time, the rest of the time he is quite capable of controlling his behavior (if this were not the case, the issue of deprivation of legal capacity would be on the agenda).
If you can't help but destroy everything around you when panic attacks, you can fix the broken when you come to your senses. And to apologize to those who managed to suffer, thanking them for their patience and support. One friend told a touching story, how, being in a deep depression, she cooked jam for her friends, because she could not express her love for them in words.
It is also impossible to abuse the partner's trust: for example, to attribute any unimportant state of health to an illness and each time to shift difficult matters to him.
The resource of any, even a perfectly healthy person, is limited, and at some point a partner may leave, not because he is a traitor and does not appreciate you, but simply because there is no more strength. And this is not the worst ending: having burned out, having given more resources than he had, he risks falling into depression himself - or into dependence on alcohol or other harmful substances (not the rarest situation in families of people with mental disorders - it is not in vain that there are support groups specifically for relatives). Then you have to save him.
How love drives you crazy and what to do about it
Love - the real love - should be dramatic, passionate and emotional. We do not notice the moment when passion turns into pathology. Sometimes love and unhealthy relationships can become a catalyst, the “last straw”, provoking manic, delusional, depressive and other conditions. ASI correspondent learned about the types of unhealthy relationships at a lecture by a psychiatrist, psychotherapist of the psychiatric hospital No. 1 named after N.A. Alekseev, candidate of medical sciences Elena Yurievna Onegina.
Health, Culture and education 22.05.2018
In classical literature, love is almost always described as a tragic feeling, lovers experience months and years full of dramatic events, and then either die or part, continuing to suffer all their lives.
To remember a novel or a poem about happy love that brings only joy and harmony, you will have to try.
From childhood, boys and girls absorb behavior patterns described in novels and drama series. Excessive jealousy, addiction, painful, codependent relationships, and more seem to be the norm until the situation gets completely out of hand. An expressive and passionate relationship on the part of one or both partners may not be a “crazy and beautiful love story”, but a pathology that a psychiatrist will have to deal with.
Obsessive Compulsive Love
This is the most common type of disorder. He is extremely masochistic and with him a person torments himself first of all, thinking about the object of love and suffering from uncertainty.
This is "thinking gum". If your close friend talks about how he is madly in love, how he thinks about the upcoming date day by day and tells you about this date when he endlessly imagines “how we will meet, how I will confess my love, and what will happen after that” . But in reality, absolutely nothing happens.
Psychotherapists say that there is nothing healthy and romantic about this rather common condition. This uncertainty can last for years.
A love drama typical of 19th century novels can be described as an example of depressive love. Almost all the heroines of Russian literature lost weight, turned pale, wringed their hands and suffered in every possible way. They stopped eating and fainted, instead of trying to communicate with the object of love, or at least try to live with it without harming themselves.
A happy story is boring, says the therapist. - If we take poetry, cinema, literature with you, then it will definitely be some kind of tragic plot with a bad ending, depressive love, which is so often sung in novels. And why talk about happiness, you can’t write poems and songs about it.
With depressive love, one can write portrait descriptions of the hero of a love story from a person. Psychosomatic symptoms make a person lose weight and turn pale, anxiety increases and there is a need for sedatives, there are disturbances in the functioning of other organ systems: the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and the cardiovascular system.
Excessive euphoria, excitement, desperate dramatic acts for love, the need to share love with others and ignoring the feelings of the object of "blind love" are all signs of manic love.
The lover has a feeling that he is a godsend for his beloved, but at the same time he absolutely ignores his feelings and needs. Whom does a person love in these relationships: the object of love or himself - so wonderful and beautiful?
Bipolar relationships (codependency)
Bipolar relationships are absolute instability. What is called "I love it, I hate it." All this happens in accordance with the phases, which sometimes even depend on the change of seasons of the year, the psychiatrist claims.
“At one stage I accept my partner with all his strengths and weaknesses, at another he irritates me, I cannot forgive him for the slightest slight fault. Such love requires constant reinforcement and confirmation from the partner, constant words and actions expressing love, and this is impossible, ”says Elena Onegina.
Delusional love is the most difficult option. With her, a person in love loses touch with reality in the literal sense. He can talk about the fact that someone is in love with him, although in fact "love" exists only in his head. In this case, urgent psychiatric help is needed.
There are many cases in which girls who are persecuted by men had to change their place of residence. This is already called stalking and it is very important to recognize it in the early stages.
At a certain age it is very pleasant to be jealous. When they arrange scenes, when they ask: “Who is he, why is he calling you, and why is he writing to you, I don’t want him to call you, but I don’t allow . ..”, quotes Onegin’s common phrases.
According to the psychiatrist, at some point ordinary jealousy turns into persecution. It becomes impossible to convey to a person that this is not the norm and one has to turn not only to a psychotherapist, but also to the police. In the classifier of diseases there is a special disease “alcoholic delirium of jealousy,” Onegin continues.
Unlike ordinary jealousy, which can be relieved by a heart-to-heart talk, persuasion and logical explanations do not work on a person suffering from a disease. Even if the girl says that the courier called her, the jealous person even then begins to see the catch and say that she specially persuaded someone and is deceiving again.
The most important thing is to recognize any of these pathologies or any other unhealthy moments in a relationship in time. And immediately go to a specialist who will help save the relationship and the health of both partners. In recent years, the situation has changed for the better even in budgetary neuropsychiatric dispensaries and there is an opportunity to undergo treatment while in a day hospital, without consequences in the further search for work and obtaining rights.
So if your partner, friend, or yourself is trapped in one of these pathologies or is experiencing other difficulties, advise him (or yourself) to see a therapist.
The lecture was held within the framework of the interactive psycho-educational project "I can't keep silent" in the Blagosfera space. The event was organized jointly with the Regional Public Organization "Psychiatrists Club" and Hospital No. 1 named after N.A. Alekseev.
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