Bipolar Disorder Community
Relationship with someone bipolar and an alcoholic
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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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Relationship with someone bipolar and an alcoholic

Hello,

I've been seeing someone that I believe has bipolar (from everything I read about it) for few months.  He's never told me he has the disorder and I don't believe he's on any meds. He is also an alcoholic (something he admits).  It's been an extremely tolling experience.  Lots of ups, but also lots of downs.  I've seen him blow up, loose his temper on numerous occasions, normally this happens while he's under the influence.  This makes me very nervous and I tend to shut down because I don't want to put him over the edge and get violent. In our relationship, he never takes the blame for anything, everything is always my fault, he twist my words and actions, and even if I show him the evidence, he will keep accusing me of things I didn't say/do. When we have an argument, he will give me the silent treatment and will not respond to my calls, sometimes this will last for days, then later when confronted will say he was fine and deny purposefully giving me the silent treatment.  He will blow up for no reason and will make a huge issue of something really minor, which will escalate into a break-up, which is what happened again. Another thing that I find strange is that one minute he'll say he loves me, then he takes that back and says he just likes me, and says he's not sure he wants to be with me.

I realize this is a board for bipolar disorder and not for someone who's bipolar and an alcoholic, but I'm hoping I can get some insight from anyone that's dealt with someone who struggles with both and not seeking help. It breaks my heart, because I love him, and want to help him, but I'm not sure how, and even if I'm capable of doing so.

Thanks.
11 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
No you are not able to help him. He is a grown man and needs to take responsibility for his actions and his own health. You need to leave this clearly abusive relationship. It will escalate to physical abuse, it's common for it to start out as just an "anger problem" and verbal/emotional abuse. Get out now while it no children are involved. Get yourself to a support group so you can recognize signs of abusive relationships. It sounds like it has taken a toll on your self esteem or you would have already left. No one deserves to be treated that way
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Avatar_f_tn
You may want to get some counselling and figure out what is attracting you to dsyfunctional relationships. He is functionally unavailable to you, and will be until HE decides it is bad enough to get help. The best thing you can do for him is to tell him he gets help, or you leave, and mean it. If he doesn't get help you walk.

Because what you are describing isn't romantic love, its a dsyfunctional neediness. I'm not judging, I've done it myself. That is why this email has more red flags than I can count.

Real love, the kind worth having, means you give and you take. That you have someone you know for sure will be there when the chips are down, and celebrate with you for the good moments. If you are the only one making the effort, it isn't real love and you are worth more than that. He's not a wounded puppy you can nurse back to health, he's a grown man makings some very bad mistakes he's not willing to address.

I strongly suggest cutting your losses and moving on.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks Hummingbird24.  Yes, I've been realizing more and more that there isn't anything I can do to help, I used to try my hardest, but it has to come from him.  Fortunately we do not have any children, so I guess I can make a clean break, even though it is painful.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you lindahand. I have called and set up an appointment to get some counseling.  This has affected me quite a bit, something I didn't even realize until my friends pointed it out. I keep reminding myself that he is a grown man, and he has choices. I've tried to help him because I do love him, but you can only help those that want the help, and he doesn't, at least at this time.

Thank you again.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks lindahand. I've made an appointment to see a counselor, to heal and to cope and maybe get some answers. I used to think that you can love someone enough to wholeness, but that's not true, he needs to seek the help, and unfortunately he's not doing so at this time, so all I can do is move on.
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186166_tn?1385262982
his actions seem like a typical alcoholic
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Avatar_f_tn
I've never been with someone who's an alcoholic and at first I just thought he enjoyed drinking, but as time went on, he stopped hiding just how much he drinks and blatantly admitted to being an alcoholic. His behavior was really strange and left me confused a lot of times, so I guess I was just trying to understand.
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4378213_tn?1353691440
Jamie,

I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I am bi polar but not tipping any bottle, maybe 2 beers an entire yr. Anyways, i to lose it from time to time and nobody would be able to convince me i am in the wrong. I will hit walls, broke my hands once when i was in high school on a brick wall. Will literally destroy EVERYTHING in front of me. I used to be on meds, even wound up in a hospital. We have kids and our younger ones dont see me lose it much, if at all. Our older 2 seen it growing up.
I never lost it just because. Something was bugging me, from bills, money, use your imagination.
I am on no meds but when/if i feel something coming on i will smoke a tad just to calm me down. I dont abuse it what so ever.  Although some Doctors will say its a bad idea, whatever. I am not here to tell you or him what to do, however i am simply telling you how i was and what i do for a possible reference.
My wife will let me know if she sees any changes in my mood and tell me as i may not see them myself. We went through ups and down for many yrs. Why my wife is still with me, i have not a clue. I mean i could have threw something across the room and hurt one of the kids or worse. We are now very happy now but things still cross my mind which i will not get into. In my opinion, it is in your best interest to leave. He may need your help but until he realizes he has a prob, its a lost cause sorry to say :(
I wish you the very best love but to wake him up back into reality, he NEEDS to be scared. I dont want to over discuss this so i will leave it at that, if ya wanna talk, feel free to email me. I would even reach out to you and give you are phone number, you could talk to my wife and what not :)

Regards,

Daniel G.
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Avatar_m_tn
Bipolar Disorder can be a very challenging disease.  However just because you are bipolar does not mean that you have a personality problem.  People with bipolar disorder can still be loving, caring and emapthetic in relationships.  I think that dealing with the substance abuse ( alcohol) problem first must be the first step before thinking, diagnosing and dealing with Bipolar issues.  Often dealing witht the addiction first may cure any mood disturbances.  However alcoholism is a very hard think in and of itself to deal with.  The alcoholic must WANT to change and quit on their own.  I know that you may love this person, but you should not have to put up with abuse pschologically or fear violence in any relationship.  Good Luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
thank you for saying so...i am a recovering alcoholic and bipolar with serious PTSD...i have always been a naive and loving individual and never blown up and been angry at anyone, even before i was diagnosed.  a combination of these two diseases though can be very challenging.  once the bipolar issue can be addressed with therapy and medication, it is quite possible that he could be in a place to get sober.  that is how it worked for me.  i still have serious issues and have to change medications as my body ages and changes, but they are mostly due to depression and the PTSD.  the manic depressive swings have gone and the craving for alcohol and drugs have left me.  unfortunately, my 1st husband was very ashamed of me having this disease and refused to allow me treatment.  when we divorced in 2001, i went off the deep end but my medication stabilized by 2005.  my husband now doesn't understand this disease and when i get depressed, he just says 'don't be sad' or 'don't cry' which i can't change, of course.  that is the important thing to remember...stabilization comes and goes...suicidal thoughts come and go...NO ONE can change these feelings...they just happen
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes it is very hard for people to understand that bipolar is a chemical imbalance.  When the chemicals are out of wack......our feelings, energy levels, cognitive functions become out of wack.  

I am always saying that the way i feel inside has nothing to do with what is going on in my life.  A depression can start when everything in my life is great.  These cycles just come and go as they want.  

In fact I think I was one of those people that was very skeptical about depression.  Now having developed a mental illness it gives me a much different perspective on the whole matter.
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