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Bipolar sibling(9 Posts)
Its been a while since I've been on here but I just think there could be someone out there going through similar to me who may be able to help or advise.
I have a sister who suspects she is Bipolar and has admitted this to me and my other siblings in the last few weeks. Its a relief. She has suffered from great high and lows for last 20 years. She is a great person - funny, sharp, clever, charming and beautiful to boot. Her friends see this side of her and also her anxieties and her truths however they don't experience her verbal abuse, paranoia, self-righteousness, anger and reality. We, her siblings, experience this regularly.
I have seen her through a couple of major lows, one when I managed to get her to a doctor and then a therapist. She has a complete aversion to meds. She sees a therapist right now and I have given her details of a recommended Psych so that she can perhaps get a diagnosis but she really won't consider it at the moment. I can imagine it must be a very scary thing taking the decision to find out whether or not you have a mental illness and then knowing you'll have to manage it forever.
I adore my sister. We were incredibly close growing up and I consider it an achievement that we are all still around to support her considering the abuse we've received over the years (although in her view we don't support her enough). She is impossible to reason with and constantly takes the upper hand. She believes that everything she feels and that happens to her is someone else's fault. This includes us, our mum, her husband and her past boyfriends.
We are patient and calm with her but I finding it increasingly hard to remain so and to take the abuse and passive aggressive messages/emails. I have two children and cannot give as much as she needs from me anymore.
What do I do and who can I talk to preserve my own sanity?
I'm sorry that this sounds awfully one sided. I just don't know how to deal with this current manic episode that she is on.
Thanks so much for any advice xxx
You could try contacting your local MInd - they can give phone advice but often also have support groups for family and partners of those suffering from MH problems or can point you to local services. There is often a lot of wisdom and advice there.
I think you need to set boundaries regarding what you are prepared to do for your sister (especially as she won't see a doctor, although it is good she has a therapist). For example - you are prepared to meet her for lunch weekly but not have her to your house. You will go toa GP appointments with her but will hang up the phone if she becomes abusive etc... T
It is really hard supporting a loved one when they have a MH issue but are abusive.
Do you know of a mental health carers group or service locally? They can be great places for venting, resources and networking.
Thankyou GurnyGob and msrisotto. I hadn't thought of MIND actually and yes, the guidelines thing is helpful. I've gently spelled it out to her that I cannot be there for her all the time but if things get worse then putting guidelines in place is a good plan.
MIND is a good idea. There's also Bipolar UK. You sound like a great sister to have.
You might consider counseling for yourself as well. Putting boundaries in place is essential as you are already aware that your mental health depends on it. However, it may become psychologically difficult if you begin to feel guilty and you feel/ she accuses you of abandoning her. FOG-fear, obligation, guilt are tools she may use to keep you engaged with her.
You should consider boundaries for your children as well. If your sister is too difficult for you to deal with, then she is certainly too difficult to be around your children. If this is impossible to avoid, then with supervision, so you can debrief the youngsters later.
I am nc with a sister who continuously put me down, who we suspect is narcissistic but she won't/will never admit to her behavior. She is right and everyone else is wrong, always, about everything. The family duty card was used up and just could not be a continuing renewable resourcce.
@AndTheBandPlayedOn Thankyou for the tips. Really helpful. And I empathise with you, I really do. It is incredibly difficult to keep holding you head up high when you are constantly knocked back. You're a strong lady xxx
Could she have pmdd? It's severe pms. I have it and I'm on a few Facebook groups about it and lots of women on there have had years of being told they have bipolar. They haven't. It's not a mental illness in my case, it's endocrine. Do you notice differences throughout the month? Can she track her cycle for a couple of months and see if she is worse around ovulation till her period starts?
I'm also nc with my sister. She's a narcissist who basically has spent years terrorising her family with her vile mood swings and nasty behaviour. She hates me more than anyone else and no matter how bad her behaviour is, she finds a way to make it my fault (in her mind anyway). It's a dreadful situation because I love her but she brings nothing but anxiety into my life. She has even gone as far as threatening to tell the family about the rape I went through despite my clear wish that I didn't want anyone to know. In fact I regret confiding in her so much I consider it to be the biggest regret of my entire life.
I agree with PP. You need to have clear boundaries in place and stick to them. It's a difficult situation. My sister won't admit she has a problem, to her she doesn't, it's everyone else. I wondered if she was bipolar but her light hearted behaviour with her friends which I witnessed last year and shocked the hell out of me, showed me she's very much in control of her emotions and behaviour. It was like watching a different person. I haven't much advice to offer, I tried appeasing her for almost 40 years until I went nc. It's tinged with sadness but I feel a weight has been lifted.
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