Bipolar mood disorder, if untreated can cause periods of agitation, irritable euphoria, excessive talkativeness, poor judgment with impulsivity and transient loss of contact with reality alternating with periods of depression. The most distinctive “symptom” of bipolar is going from extreme happiness to extreme depression with periods of “normal” in between. It usually starts showing signs in late adolescence to early adulthood. It will affect the day to day living of a person suffering from this disorder. Many cannot hold a job unless medicated. It is one of those disorders that gets worse and worse over time.
With the mood swings that someone who has bipolar suffers from, they can lead to violence against loved ones for various reasons. Often times the person with bipolar disorder has triggers that will set off a mood swing. If you are with someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar, it is essential that you work with him/her and their doctors so these triggers can be recognized and avoided if possible.
In my research for this article, it is easy to see why many abusers have been diagnosed with this. I have heard many stories from women and men who suffered from different forms of abuse from a partner that has bipolar. My fiancé is one of those. His ex-wife refused to take her medicine on many occasions claiming she felt fine therefore she thought she didn’t need her medication. A trigger set her off into thinking one of her ex’s were out to get her. When my fiancé tried to calm her down, she grabbed a knife she had hidden under a chair.
So the question comes up: If you are living with someone who has bipolar disorder and is abusive, do you leave them or stay with them? I think this has to be handled on a case by case basis. Some people just can’t handle the ups and downs of a bipolar person whereas other people can. Don’t stay with a person because you feel obligated to take care of them. I struggled with that issue with my ex-husband. I felt like I had to take care of him. But he would not seek medical treatment for whatever problems he had. That is where I had to draw the line. If your abuser knows they have a problem but will not get help even if it will make your relationship better, maybe it is time to move on.
If you suspect your abuser has bipolar, do as much research as possible. Gather some facts to present to him/her. During one of their “normal” phases, talk to them in a calm manner about your concerns and feelings. Offer to help them get the help they need. But if you just can’t take it, leave for your safety and theirs.
For more information on Bipolar:
Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families