Please note: This post discusses principles. Specific situations will vary. It requires personal application to benefit from these principles.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness. As time passes, bipolar disorder becomes so intertwined with the personality that it can become nearly impossible to differentiate them at times. For the sake of convenience and self-preservation, we can get into the habit of categorizing people - stereotyping. We may not entirely avoid people with bipolar disorder, but for the most part there are questions that linger.
Does bipolar disorder make a person emotionally manipulative?
Have you wondered the same about someone you know? There are some things we do well to remember while answering this difficult, personal question:
- Consider each person individually: There can be people with bipolar who are manipulative, and also those who are not.
- Take time to examine: It takes time to know someone to a reasonable extent. A manipulative act is different from the habit of manipulation. Beware of hasty assumptions.
- Bipolar patients need our help: The need for help - which can even turn into dependency at times - can arouse frustration. That is true, even when we love someone. Don't let that frustration cause you (caregivers, friends, and family) to label or accuse a bipolar patient as one, who is taking advantage of you. We can avoid such frustration by understanding our own limitations.
- Bipolar doesn't mean, no accountability: Let it be the aim of bipolar patients to take our fair share of responsibility according to our ability. It gains us dignity and satisfaction. It is one of the best ways of saying "thank you" to those who care about us.
Tired and angry, we might often feel like quitting ourselves as caregivers. If we have this thorn in our mind that our bipolar loved one is actually manipulating us, it can eat away at the very roots of our relationship. But what if our suspicion is proving true? What if a bipolar patient is acting in a manipulative way? Such a realization is incredibly painful. We need to confront the reality, but it can still be done in a loving and kind way. How?
Listen to your bipolar loved one, AND let him listen to himself. The goal of this communication should be to help him realize, that your love and respect don't have to be manipulated out of you. Rather, you love and respect him of your own choice. You will be able to convey this only if you pave the way by being willing to listen first.
To read the other side of the issue, please read:
Bipolar - emotional manipulation (A post for bipolar patients who might be manipulated by others)