One issue that I find is difficult for me is a need to control people. This occured much more before my recovery but can occur at times as what I am being treated with does not address moodswings (its an antipsychotic agent with some effect on mania but not fully, same as with current antipsychotics) and I cycle from one mood stabilizer to another because of side effects and some medications I am on for my physical disability cause personality alterations that can involve moodswings.
Now I found that before recovery when I was psychotic "wanting to control people" was part of it. But it still can be part of grandiosity as in "controlling society" or aspects of it. And although I have schizoaffective, some people I know with straight bipolar or cylocythmia act controlling towards people at times. Or try to reorganize people's property as a means of control. Or other compulsions like that. But it happens at times of "losing control" and its a destructive way to gain it back. Have other people been through this? Or experienced it from other people? What's a good way to stop it before it gets worse and not let poor judgment take over your thoughts and project your problems on other people's lives?
I control as much as possible in my environment. I take over everything. Laundry, cause the way I fold is better. Chores that my son does cuz it's not good enough. Or I just end up doing them cuz it's not getting done fast enough. I clean my friend's house, discipline the kids, bathe them, dress them, feed them, clean up after them. All as a means to control these things.
I agree that it can be a destructive way to try to gain control in my life when I feel that I have none over my own emotional states.
Because of the therapy I've recieved, I am learning to let go. It's hard. It's a never-ending struggle. But everyone I know is extremely patient with me. When I recognize what I am doing, I stop.
One of the things I did was have my best friend and sister ask me if I was taking notes for my next child. That was indication that I was overstepping my boundaries and taking over as "mom."
My son also has phrases I have provided him with when I interfere with him.
And I have provided phrases, physical indications, and key words with everyone to help me recognize when I am trying to be controlling to kids and to those outside my social circle. Sometimes it's a snap, a word, or a sentence.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy also helped immensely. I learned to change my thoughts so that I could change my behaviour. I also learned that I was much more controlling than I ever knew! This is how I got some of the ideas to end my destructive behaviours.
I thought the control issue was related to schizoaffectiveness, I've never heard about it in bp. Interesting! CBT is definitely the way to go for any repeatedly negative behaviour.
Pills make things manageable, therapy seals the deal to good health. (a friend told me that)
Well it tends to vary as mood stabilizers work or not. I'm aware of it. Its more an emotional than psychotic thing. However, before I stopped having psychotic thoughts (not in my mind, this has been documented) I would really create havoc. Now its a matter of emotionally getting worked up. What I end up doing is factual and makes common sense. I have to learn more about CBT. I went to a behavioral therapist years ago (way before recovery from psychosis) and it was technically for ocd (perhaps part of my diagnosis, one psychiatrist said the obsessive thoughts were to mask the psychotic thoughts but now they are theorizing a whole new criteria called schizo-obsessive disorder which makes a lot of sense, that one I've been reading about, not a participant in any studies for that). However, he used a technique called "flooding" where he just played me tapes where he repeated what my compulsions were and I was supposed to listen to them over and over and then not want to do them. I found it bizzare and honestly it was of no help whatsoever though I did try but I know there are other forms of behavioral therapy as well. Perhaps you could detail.
But back to straight bipolar, I have to admit I am difficult to be around from my neurological disability and it creates psychomoter agiation which can be distressing for some people (partially why I am homebound, its uncontrollable but don't wish to expose the public to it). But a family member who is approaching the idea of treatment for cyclothymia (diagnosed) in reacting to this starts reorganizing all my stuff, including my medications and by the end of it I don't know where anything is. I called it to their attention once and they just got more sped up and were rooting through my possessions. I didn't really care for this and I asked them to please calm down and stop it. I finally asked them if in compulsively rearranging my stuff they were controlling me by proxy and they admitted that they were but they didn't realize it. And before when I was manic years ago, if people caused me trouble the first thing I'd do was straighten out and clean up their house, even if they didn't want it so its markedly similar.
I have to control everything. Sometimes I will try and let go and involve my husband in decision making but I end up doing what I wanted anyway.
Having a teenager has brought home to me that I can't control absolutely everything and that really got to me. He is a strong personality and stands up to me so I am learning to back down in situations where really it doesn't matter which point of view is right or not.
When I read what alzandra said about the laundry I thought "hey, its not just me". It has to be folded just right and if its not I get sooooo cross, I would rather it was left than anyone attempt to do it for me.
What is terrible about it is that family will do things because they think it will please me but end up with me losing my rag because they haven't done it how I would have done it.
I must be really horrid to live with :-(
I'm starting anger management in February and this will be addressed. Its a 6 week course and I'm really hoping I get some answers and advice on how to change.
Very interesting issue for me too! And control, I believe, is not confined to people with BP, or even people with mental illness at all, but is an issue for everybody to whatever degree. It does make sense that when you have a hypo/manic episode or other mental issues, that anything, control included, and perhaps control in particular, get brought out and highlighted for all to see.
I started recognizing the pervasive desire to control in myself about a year ago, uncovered and seen because of an intense spiritual search. I then remembered something that Adyashanti (a non-dual type spiritual teacher) had said, that control lasts even beyond the ego, that even when the ego is gone or rendered neutral and seen through or however you want to describe it, control, to whatever degree will remain as an issue to be reckoned with.
I went to a 7 day silent retreat, also about a year ago, after having realizing this control issue within myself. While there it became increasingly clear how much control I was attempting to exert, and it was just everywhere, and all over the place.
Ironically, at least for me, lately I've started watching UFC and WEC mixed martial arts fights on TV, and I've noticed that sometimes when I really get into a particular fight, I'll find myself standing up, holding the remote, bent over and moving in order to "help" the guy that I want to see win. It's completely ridiculous of course, though very common for people to do. I'll even do it when I watch the fight again later and already know the outcome, and for fights that aren't live. There is no way, even if you were to believe in some sort of psychically transmitted energy, that you're going to effect a fight that's already happened, yet I still try. :)
At this retreat, I actually got up and asked him a question about this control. I am a very, very, ultra shy person in those kinds of situations. It took a monumental effort for me to raise my hand and go up to the mic and as a question. I was petrified beyond words and even saw black (and neither saw nor heard nothing else) for a few seconds right in the middle of the time that I was standing up there.
His advice was essentially to just see the control, allow yourself to see the control for what it is, without judging yourself, knowing that it is something that you don't want to do, and the nonjudgmental seeing of it has the power to naturally and effortlessly undo it. "Just see it" I think I could quote.
can someone tell me how i can rebuild my relationship with my wife that i have driven away from me because of my controlling, meanness, bipolar disorder? i never realize what i have done or said till she threatens divorce. i'm sure one day it will not be a threat.
I'd suggest that you try to educate her about bipolar as best you can so that she knows that what you're doing is being fueled by this illness and what to expect. Bring her to this list and read some of these postings together. Cleanly and with full honesty, admit to her that you have done whatever you've done, and take full responsibility for it. Sincerely apologize for the behavior where appropriate, and maybe like alzandra, try giving your wife a phrase that she can say to you the next time that it happens so that it will alert you to what you're doing without causing more anger or hurt feelings. This will empower her and you both such that you are both working to completely face this thing and are both on the same team.
I'd also suggest therapy, for both you and your wife (and couples therapy too maybe) and that is not just for you but for everyone with BP, because it has been shown that therapy with meds is more effective than just meds by themselves. And it can go a long way towards helping your wife heal from past issues. With therapy, you can start to see what you are doing, and start catching it earlier and earlier once it starts, until perhaps one day you can see it happening in your thoughts and have the choice to not proceed with it out of your mouth.
If you can do this, and it may seem extremely difficult at first, it is possible to end up having a fantastic relationship with your wife.
She goes to my doc appointments with me and tell the docs what i am doing/saying and my way of seeing things are different from hers. of which i guess is to be expected. she is so resentful to me now because i know i have hurt her with words and actions. even my psyc doc said i was mean!. i only straighten up when she threatens divorce. i don't work and she is the bread winner. she says i am going to bankrupt us.
what do i do when she has had enough?
My suggestion would be to find some way to shake yourself out of thinking about what to do when she has had enough and focus instead on what you can do to make sure that you do everything possible to ensure that it doesn't happen.
I used to use The Sims to kind of get all my control issues out the way :-) I don't play it so much now and I do think I'm a lot better than I was. I do still find it hard to relinquish control in some areas of my life but instead I now compromise.
Marko45 - I have a rule that there are certain things I will never ever say in anger or other situations to my husband. There are some words that cannot be taken back or that are too painful to be forgiven. If I feel myself getting to a point where I really want to say those things I hold my mouth shut firmly and go inside my head. I will say the words "this conversation has ended". My husband knows that if I say that then I've reached a dangerous point.
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