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Blocking a mentally unwell relative

(80 Posts)
Eastie77 Mon 15-Jun-20 18:45:02

Dsis was diagnosed as bi-polar (apologies if that is not the correct terminology) several years ago and has been hospitalized many times since. There is a quite a large age gap between us and we have never been particularly close but we have always got on fairly well.

About 3 weeks ago she was hospitalized after another manic episode. Last week she sent me a particularly unpleasant text message. Amongst other things she said she has hated me since I was young, called me a pathetic, evil parent and said that she would be calling social services on me immediately as she heard I was taking the DC to visit our parents soon. She is accusing our dad of sexually abusing our two brothers (neither of them have ever said this happened). It was truly hate-filled.

What I found particularly unforgivable were the comments she made about my DC, using vile racist language to describe them (I am Black and DP is white). I can’t move past this. I know she is mentally unwell but something about the message tells me that what she is writing is what she has truly feels. Some of the comments were so specific and clearly articulated, I really don’t think it is entirely the illness talking. I actually find it unnerving that she has stored up this level of hatred against me over all these years. My brother has said I have to just let it all go as she is unwell and she has insulted him during her episodes as well.

I can't shrug it off. I have blocked her number. AIBU to just leave it blocked for now? I am in a very stressful situation at the moment juggling work and DC at home and I don’t feel I can cope with any more of these messages, I really need to protect my own well-being. We are also moving home soon and I do not want her to know where I live. She has used my name and address in the past to attempt to fraudently get credit (adding as I don't want to drip-feed about the issues).

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Mon 15-Jun-20 18:59:22

I would block her and keep her blocked. You should not be her emotional punching bag, no matter what her medical condition is.

Windyatthebeach Mon 15-Jun-20 19:07:09

I have a close relative who is bi - polar. I backed away. For my own mh. As must you op.

MissConductUS Mon 15-Jun-20 19:11:08

People with bipolar disorder can be a nightmare to deal with, especially when they go off medication. Her illness does not obligate you to receive abuse from her. Leave her blocked until you know that she's back in remission.

Ponoka7 Mon 15-Jun-20 19:12:09

I've voted YABU. You can't judge what someone is saying during an episode. My DH was vile and even tried to kill me, that wasn't him at all.

It isn't her real feelings. It's what's going on in her brain. It's a similar thing to people with dementia who behave uncharacteristically.

Keep her blocked for now, to protect yourself, but don't judge her on it.

LordGarmadon Mon 15-Jun-20 19:12:28

You're absolutely right to protect your own emotional and psychological well-being.

I have a sibling with mental health problems who is also plain nasty. I blocked her years ago. Best decision.

There's no excuse to treat someone the ways you've been treated. You don't have to tolerate it.

Sertchgi123 Mon 15-Jun-20 19:12:39

You really don't need this. You're right to block her. flowers

Toilenstripes Mon 15-Jun-20 19:17:18

I would advise to leave her blocked. You will suffer and so will your children if you don’t. I feel sorry for anyone with bi-polar, but you have your family to consider.

MarleyBarley18 Mon 15-Jun-20 19:17:28

Ugh sounds just like my dick head baby daddy. Block block block and try to zen the hell out xxx

Ohtherewearethen Mon 15-Jun-20 19:17:30

Having a mental health issue does not mean people can't also just be nasty. You and your children do not deserve racist insults and all the other horrible things she's thrown at you. Protect your and your children's mental health by keeping her blocked. I'm not sure I'd be able to forgive everything she has done, illness or no illness. Even if it is all down to her illness if still doesn't mean you have to put up with it.

Besom Mon 15-Jun-20 19:19:04

Ultimately you have to look after yourself and your children.

SpilltheTea Mon 15-Jun-20 19:24:33

You did the right thing. She may be ill, but that doesn't mean you have to put up with her disgusting behaviour.

Sparticuscaticus Mon 15-Jun-20 19:26:16

She doesn't mean it, it's the illness talking, paranoia and misdirected anger

However it is best to block her right now since she's targeting you and your DC. Of course you don't have to give her your new address, that seems sensible as she's been in and out of hospital and unpredictable and you have young DC and yourself to think about. No one would blame you for cutting contact right now.

You might want to think about a letter to her that says "I know you are unwell and don't mean the hurtful things you are saying to me and about my children. I am glad you are getting good care. At the moment for our safety & emotional well-being, we are stepping back. Please know we love you" and then think about if or when you post it to her for her care team to pass on when she is well enough. It might just make you feel better to even just write it.

StarScream22 Mon 15-Jun-20 19:29:53

I’ve said vile things to people when manic. It’s absolutely not a reflection on what I think about them.

Do what you need to do for you’re own mh but don’t necessarily accept that that’s what she thinks of you.

Crimeismymiddlename Mon 15-Jun-20 19:38:07

You need a break. A close family member of mine was a mental health social worker and often commented that although it is awful for a person who is mentally ill it is often just as bad for the family who love and care for them, support both emotionally and financially, put up with sometimes unbelievably bad behaviour and at time’s put their own mental health at risk. It’s important for you and your family to take time to recover from that nasty message and when you feel it is right you can decide to make contact. You can be understanding without being forgiving for the time being. I am so sorry you, your sister and your family are going through this. I really hope your sister finds the best treatment soon.

Technonan Mon 15-Jun-20 19:39:58

That's bi-polar for you. She'll be mortified when she recovers, but right now, she isn't in control. Blocking is fine, but try and leave some kind of message to say you understand she's ill and you'll be happy to talk to her when she's recovered a bit.

RB68 Mon 15-Jun-20 20:00:14

I have had to go low contact with one sister - when she is on balance she is ok for around 30 minutes but even then she starts to piss me off - I am not allowed to open my mouth withut her jumping down my throat - and if I say something different to what she thinks is correct she is like a herd of rhino trying to prove me wrong with her opinions. I just now try and keep all convos light, none factual and anything that rears its head I just try and slide past it and avoid anything that might trigger her - its a pain in the arse. I have also had vitriol flung at me - we have had to agree to differ although not even sure we have done that lol

Eastie77 Mon 15-Jun-20 20:00:46

Thank you for the replies. I do feel so sad about it all and understand she is ill of course but I don't feel I should have to deal with this. She is currently still in hospital near her home which is many miles away but she does have a husband for support. She actually had her latest episode at my parents home where she was on lock down with them and may have run out of medication. The mental health team transferred her to a hospital close to her home and she left all her clothes and phone behind. Dbro sent her phone to her in the post and now feels guilty as without it she would not have been able to send all these vile messages.

StarScreen22 I appreciate what you are saying but she must think these things subconciously at least. There is no way the level of detailed, personal abuse she sent me just came out of nowhere and isn't, at some level, a reflection of what she truly thinks. She actually wrote she was glad to finally get it all of her chest.

OP’s posts: |
StormzyInaDCup Mon 15-Jun-20 20:03:35

Remission? She doesn't have cancer @MissConductUS. And bi polar is a personality disorder. Ignorance around mh is unnecessary, Google is your friend!

@Eastie77 I feel for you. An episode can strip you to your core when you're the subject of it. Step back by all means, let her know that it's vile, unnecessary and won't be tolerated, but do not bite back.. Any ammunition will be used against you..

It's a tough road. I can almost assure you that she's trying to push you away, whilst knowing that she needs you the most. It's torture.

StarScream22 Mon 15-Jun-20 20:08:25

Bi polar us a mood disorder, not a personality disorder.

Honestly OP, I said horrible vile very personal things to my best friend. But it was just stuff I knew that would hurt her, not what I really thought.

funnylittlefloozie Mon 15-Jun-20 20:12:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

sammylady37 Mon 15-Jun-20 20:14:50


Remission? She doesn't have cancer @MissConductUS. And bi polar is a personality disorder. Ignorance around mh is unnecessary, Google is your friend!

Yes, remission. That’s what psychiatrists call the periods in between Acute episodes of bipolar disorder, be they manic, hypomanic or depressive episodes. It’s a relapsing and remitting illness.

And bipolar disorder is not a personality disorder. It’s a mood disorder. The clue is actually in the full name- bipolar affective disorder. It’s often mixed up with borderline personality disorder though, as people use BPD for both, though BPAD would be better for bipolar disorder.

Lots of ignorance around mental health and mental illness indeed.

frumpety Mon 15-Jun-20 20:18:27

The problem is you are looking at what she is saying from the perspective of a well person, if you said any of things she said, you would probably mean them. That doesn't mean she does. Nothing wrong with blocking her for the time being until she is better. She might even appreciate it. flowers

OldLace Mon 15-Jun-20 20:19:19

Whether she can 'help it' / really means it / it is 'just her illness talking' is, in some ways, irrelevant.

I'd block for now as you have enough to cope with.

Whether you choose to unblock in time is the question, I guess?

MissConductUS Mon 15-Jun-20 20:20:23


Symptomatic remission in patients with bipolar mania: results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of risperidone monotherapy.

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