Bipolar Disorder Community
Is it OK to be blunt with family?
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Is it OK to be blunt with family?

Hello all,

I hope that all of you are having a much better than me. I feel like **it right now because first thing in the morning I sent off this email to my mom. The subject matter revolved around my dad's recent visit to spend a week with me. I basically told my mom that I don't want to see him at all since it's causing my stress levels to go sky high. Him and I have had a pretty strained relationship and I partly blame him for my mental condition. Last visit to my family, I avoided him like the plague and that's what I believe he's coming to address.

I think any asian, especially Indian/Pakistani member on this community would relate to me when I say how guilty and sad this makes me feel. I feel that I cannot even be upfront with my mother about my dad's visit impacting me in a depressive and at the same time upsetting way. I don't want to hurt her feelings since it's her husband in question and my dad too! Is it wrong of me to not want to patch up things with my dad right now or for that matter EVER because in all honestly I feel it's futile and what's the point when I'm already old enough not to need his advice/support in my life. I KNOW as a fact he'll never change because his diagnoses happened too late in life and I'm still not convinced it's a 100% accurate or he's on the right medication being in a third world country. the cultural pressures of pleasing your family and just accepting them are wearing me out. I do not and could not find any support at work to vent right now so I'm posting this pathetic truth on this community instead. anybody out there in a similar scenario, have some words of wisdom and comfort and how to pull through another 7 hours of hell at work?
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518117_tn?1406585660
Family can be the most toughest thing to deal with when it comes to mental illness. I agree that sometimes parents want to see their kids as still little and not grown adults. Also, parents have a hard time facing the facts, that sometimes their children have things wrong with them.

Many years ago while I was in counseling, I was having problems with family members and my mental issues. My counselor told me that sometimes we have to put up boundaries with people even loved ones. So right now, if you cannot deal with your father, then that is not going to change for the present. And yes, the stress of it will set off triggers. I know you are trying to think of your mother's feelings. But, you also need to think of yours. YOU HAVE GOT TO TAKE CARE OF YOU ABOVE ALL ELSE. Hopefully, with time your parents can educate themselves more about mental illness.

I do know where you are coming from on this. I had great parents. But, my father never could accept anything was wrong with me. And my mother always told me to pull myself up by the boot straps. So, for my parents' sake I tried to act like nothing was wrong with me and to pull myself up by those boot straps so to speak. And deep inside I was miserable for it.

You want to honor and respect your parents. I find that admirable. And sometimes it is hard to speak up, especially if you were brought in certain traditions. My parents were what was considered old school and mental illness back when I was young was very taboo. But times are changing with mental illness. And hopefully in time, so will views of others concerning mental illness. Wishing you the absolute best on this. I am in total agreement with all the other posts to you on this. Great advice from everyone. I am just pretty much agreeing with all the input.
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1255530_tn?1269871219
I think u should be upfront that it would just be to stressfull in your life to have this visit right now. let him know when u feel up to it u can discuss this and spend time with him. my doctor told me stress can trigger an episode so if they know about the disorder u can explain to whoever to get thew message through. u should not be forsed into something u dont wanna do. I understand u feel obligated but your health is more important in fragile times I hope this helps hun good luck I wish u the best. dont let people controll u u control what u can handle. I know that sounds hard but I had to learn the hard way. I moved from my family cause the stress was causeing me to breakdown. I lov them with all my heart but the stress is to much. I didnt tell them why but im so less stressed for it. family feels like they can do whatever they want socially seeing u but if its to much for u to handle let it be known even if itsyour mom or whoever has to tell him. dont hurt his feelings just be honest that its to stressful right now.
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1154462_tn?1327437979
Thank you shay. That's all I need to hear :) someone telling it's OK what I just did and there's no need to feel guilty or cry about it. although, I did have to leave work 3 hours early because I kept feeling bad and had trouble holding back the tears. I cried all the way back home too. Reading your comment which I was desperately looking forward to makes me believe that sometimes family trying to help just doesn't work. I wish they would give me some time and freedom than calling to monitor me every other day. It's really hard for me to take charge after spending 30 years of my life trying to appease them all but I'll certainly make an effort for my sake. I hope my recommendation regarding your sleeping problem also helps you.

All the best!
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952564_tn?1268372247
Yes, family can be tough. For many years I was suffering and my dad would just tell me to "suck it up." So, I understand how it is hard to discuss these things with even people close to you.

I agree, you need to get yourself into a stable place before putting yourself into too much stress. Stress is always one of the biggest triggers. Perhaps you can ask them to look at places such as NAMI if you think they will listen. Maybe they will pay attention to what others tell them because sometimes parents always see their kids as small children and never as adults.

Good luck!
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518117_tn?1406585660
Family can be the most toughest thing to deal with when it comes to mental illness. I agree that sometimes parents want to see their kids as still little and not grown adults. Also, parents have a hard time facing the facts, that sometimes their children have things wrong with them.

Many years ago while I was in counseling, I was having problems with family members and my mental issues. My counselor told me that sometimes we have to put up boundaries with people even loved ones. So right now, if you cannot deal with your father, then that is not going to change for the present. And yes, the stress of it will set off triggers. I know you are trying to think of your mother's feelings. But, you also need to think of yours. YOU HAVE GOT TO TAKE CARE OF YOU ABOVE ALL ELSE. Hopefully, with time your parents can educate themselves more about mental illness.

I do know where you are coming from on this. I had great parents. But, my father never could accept anything was wrong with me. And my mother always told me to pull myself up by the boot straps. So, for my parents' sake I tried to act like nothing was wrong with me and to pull myself up by those boot straps so to speak. And deep inside I was miserable for it.

You want to honor and respect your parents. I find that admirable. And sometimes it is hard to speak up, especially if you were brought in certain traditions. My parents were what was considered old school and mental illness back when I was young was very taboo. But times are changing with mental illness. And hopefully in time, so will views of others concerning mental illness. Wishing you the absolute best on this. I am in total agreement with all the other posts to you on this. Great advice from everyone. I am just pretty much agreeing with all the input.
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518117_tn?1406585660
meant to say...if you were brought up in certain traditions. Sorry.
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1154462_tn?1327437979
Thanks for the great feedback and advice. This morning I ran into another altercation with my mother. apparently first thing she does is show my email to my dad which is not what I had in mind at all! All I wanted her to do was gently break it to my dad that right now won't be the best time to visit me since my health is not so good. Instead, she again puts ALL blame on him. So I sent off this email to her explaining that this approach was immature and caustic as he already suffers from depression and the last thing he wants is to feel even lower about himself.

Also, I told her point blank that she is partially responsible for my condition too since her misery didn't allow her to support me and my siblings and she was always very critical. Also, dumping all fault on my father is wrong since she did marry him and almost enabled him with his behavior towards us all. I just wish my parents were supportive like you mentioned in your response and not so traditional and controlling and pointing fingers at each other. The saddest part is that I predicted this future (mimicking my dad's dad and his mother) even as a child. I also know that my other two sisters must be suffering from some issues too. The oldest one still acts like a child and super dependent at age 33 and the youngest one is always in complete denial about everything!

I guess it's true what they say in the end, "you can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family". You're right, i do have to find my own way through my illness and distance myself from my family so they don't cause me added stress. I'm going to start seeing a psychologist in addition to my psychiatrist because talking to SOMEONE right now will definitely help.

Lots of love.
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518117_tn?1406585660
I definitely think it is a great idea to talk to a psychologist. Someone that will be neutral, but yet will listen to you. I had an awesome counselor about 15 yrs. ago. I saw her for about 1 1/2 yrs. It took me going through several counselors though. It has to be a right match...especially for you. THIS IS ABOUT YOU!!!!

You are not alone. There are many dysfunctional families. As I said, I had wonderful parents. My father always had a good job, we always had a nice clean home and clothes, a nice car in the driveway etc. But behind closed doors, it was very dysfunctional. Love was assumed. Never spoken. My parents were very strict. And my parents fought a lot. My Dad was bipolar. No diagnosis. As the era he grew up in did not ever admit mental illness. But, looking back I know he was a full blown bipolar. My mother changed later in life and no parent is perfect. I was a hard to control child. I had unchecked mental problems. Still in the era where mental illness was taboo. My mother would get very frustrated with me. Tell me things like I was no good, the devil was after me and I would never amount to anything. My mother became a Christian about the last 20 yrs. of her life or so. She asked for my forgiveness. I gave it. But, in counseling I learned, that what my mother kept telling me, was like a tape going over and over in my mind. I felt no good and worthless. My brother I love most dearly. But, he has never been able to accept that I have mental issues.

In time, hopefully you and your parents can work this out. I do sense in your words, love for your family. But, sometimes family can be he harshest on us with mental issues. And even cruel with it. Your mother needs to realize that you are a grown woman. She was wrong on the email. That was yours...private. Then, there are your sisters. Sometimes as parents, we have to let our children grow up. And some parents don't know how to do that. I am currently taking care of my 30 yr. old son. He is bipolar and had a bad breakdown 6 mths. ago. Hospitalized 3 tmes. He went through an extreme trauma. But, I support him in his recovery. I take him to his counseling sessions, to see the phychiatrist etc. Mental illness does run in families, as you most probably know. As it seems to be in yours as well. Due to my struggles with my own mental illness, I understand what my son is going through. But, it is because I have been there myself. I can be supportive of my son, because I have accepted my mental illness some years ago and sought the help. I had to face it on my own and alone. Sweetie, you may have to do that yourself. Sometimes loved ones may mean well, but can further damage us. And that is what I mean by setting boundaries. You matter in this above all. And your mental wellness matters above all else. You matter period.

Please keep me posted on this. I am wishing you all the best things in life. You seem like a beautiful person inside. And remember that about yourself. That you are that wonderful person. People can only tear us down if we let them. Counseling will help teach you how to deal with your family. ♥
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