Hi Mrs. T,
A family member has bipolar and depression and has anger issues, and often fits or rage. I feel unsafe with bringing my child into an environment like this. I feel torn as he’s always missing at family gatherings it breaks my heart he isn’t here to share those times with us. I would love more than anything for us all to be together, but until he can control his anger, I simply can’t put my baby in that position, or myself.
How do we as a family approach this situation?
Mrs. T’s response
Thanks for taking the time to write, and I hope I can help. You are experiencing an emotional dilemma, which is tricky for anyone to navigate. First of all, your relative, with Bi-Polar Disorder, is experiencing self-hate on a regular basis, and the anger he displays is a symptom of his distress and frustration. Mental Health is not a chosen path of illness, as with cancer. However, what to do?
Protecting your child’s emotional well being must be your priority, regardless of any pressure to do otherwise. So, to avoid your relative, when your child will be present, is the right thing to do. However, this may, in of itself, bring new tensions within the family, so you will need to think it through and talk to other members of the family, telling them of your intentions and why. You could explain your dilemma of feeling sad for your relative’s condition, but also your instincts not to expose your child to negative emotional situations, until old enough to understand more of life’s issues. Hopefully, they will understand, but you MUST be prepared that some may not support your decision.
You appear to care a great deal about the family situation, and perhaps feel frustrated and helpless at not being able to impact the situation in a positive way. But, the good news is; you CAN indeed help your family by being proactive. Knowledge and understanding is power. So, what I strongly suggest is, you contact your local support group for family members of those who have Bi-Polar Disorder. There you will find support from others who walk in your shoes. You will gain so much knowledge of how to handle your situation, which, in turn, will enable you, not only to be proactive but also to coach other family members to better understand what to do themselves…it will turn the negative, helpless feelings you have into delightful, feel-good emotions. I really can’t emphasise this path enough.
To help you, here is a link. You are just one click away from being part of the solution, which somehow I feel you want to be.
I wish you the very best, and please get in touch again concerning the decision/progress of the situation. By doing so you will help others who will read this post.
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