Could this be bipolar affective disorder??

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My son called me last week in tears because he doesn't know what to do about his partner's behavior.  She is also the mother of his children.  I was aware that she has had emotional issues over the years. Angry outbursts, depression mostly from what I knew.  He has recently found out that she has been in touch with an old boyfriend and sending him messages that were inappropriate. They did get together once according to my daughter-in-law but did not have sex.  She, as most people do, denied everything but this quickly turned to anger and accusations to my son that it was his fault because he didn't "love" her.  This is absolutely not true.  He has supported her and her son for 14 years as well as their own children.  He loves her very much and even moved from where he had lived for his whole life to the city she grew up in so she would be closer to her family.  I won't go on about this but suffice to say he has been a good husband and father.

These are the reasons I think she may have bipolar.

1) bouts of depression, low self esteem

2) guilt about what has happened in the past

3) change in mood from happy, laughing and talking about future plans

    to flashes of anger and/or sulky behavior

4) partying with sexual behavior with other people (male and female)

5) loves my son one minute and threatens to call the police and have

    him removed from the house and says she will say anything to 

    accomplish this. (he has this on his cell phone in a text)

6) threatens suicide - even in front of their children

If anyone has any thoughts on this I would appreciate it.  I don't want to suggest this may be the problem to my son unless I have more information. 

I love them both and just want her to get the help she needs because they are both hurting and it isn't healthy to be living like this for them or my precious grandchildren.

Thank you,


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14 Replies

  • Posted


    It sounds like she wants out of the relationship with your son and is doing her best to make him feel guilty or miserable.


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    • Posted

      I'm not sure about that. She says she loves him and wants to be with him forever.  She says she wants to fix things but doesn't know how. She threatens to kill herself if he doesn't want to be with her anymore then the next minute gets mad and tells him to get out.

      She is resisting councillor and I think it maybe because she knows she isn't well but doesn't want us actually hear it.

      Both her mother and grandmother suffer from depression and ??? so there is a history there.

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  • Posted

    Some of these traits I have been through , and still experience ... at first they thought it was bi-polar and now possibly borderline personality disorder ....  it could also be the medication ( this if she is on any) . 

    Now aware , I dont take meds at all, but have started seeing a psychiatrist for help . usind DBT therapy . Its early days , so I cannot say for sure if this is working .. You need professional help here , and its not easy to find and not readily available (despite the message from health centres and doctors and TV saying it is ) . Its not a rosy picture I am painting , just the facts Im afraid . so bear this in mind . You still need to push for help via Gps despite this, but just watch the medications prescribed and the side effects , they can make matters worse if not monitored correctly 

    As a guide , you could try and get her to undertake a bi-polar screening test (free online) , this could be done as a bit of fun by all of you to if this is to direct to ask her on her own, it could be you are saying you are interested in getting to know members of the family even more on a personality level to see what they like and dislike in life ... its worth a try .this would at least give an indicator perhaps . there are many of these tests online just serach via google ok  trust this helps in some way .

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    • Posted

      Thanks Quovadis,

      I'll keep that questionnaire in mind but they live far away so we don't get to visit often. May suggest to my son.  

      Will also look at Personality disorder to learn more about that.  

      She isn't on any meds and I don't think she wants to. She was on anti depressants before and it didn't work well.  I think design needs to keep trying different meds until  she finds the one that will help her.

      I feel badly for her because I think she must know something is wrong and is scared. How would you bring up you think she should get help and that you would be there to support her??

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the info on BPD.  I have looked it up and the symptoms are more of what my daughter in law is experiencing.  I am going to let my son know where to find information on this for himself.  I am thinking of suggesting that he go to his Dr. (although I don't think he has one yet) and explain what is going on. Hopefully the Dr. will give him some idea on how to approach her about getting some help. Good or bad idea???

      Would you mind telling me what made you decided to get help?  Were you in a relationship? 

      My son has told her that they need to go to councilling for their relationship and that he needs time to recover from the hurt he is feeling because of her ifidelity.  So far she has made excuses not to go.  He thinks she is afraid the councillor will think she is the "bad" person.  He has told her there are 2 people in the relationship so both need to do the work but ??  It has been over a month now and he is still walking on egg shells everyday.

      Is there anything I can tell her that may help.  As I said before, I will support her in anyway I can.  I understand about mental illness as my stepdaughter suffers from OCD and Anxiety Disorder. 

      Alice has always been extremely jealous and rather than put up with the backlash decided long ago not to go out with friends. Even with her he was accused of looking at other women and not "loving" her enough.  He is totally not like that and seriously thinks she is beautiful and loves her to bits.  She also didn't want him to get a drivers licence because she thought he would leave her.  Is this perhaps not jealously and relates to the abandoment issues that are symptom of BPD?

      Sorry to be so long on this one but I am really concerned about my son and his family and really appreciate your input.

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  • Posted

    The support of any good doctor is essential, the problem is good . As you are starting afresh with no track record of medical interaction,you are starting behind the starting line, but at least your ar starting so its a good move forward . you may need to approach several doctors before becoming a patient to feel, guage the type of support you are likely to get , and there responses to the problem .

    Yes, I am in a relationship and it has nearly killed it (and me) I went to GP  as I realised I was out of control and becoming paranoid and suicidal .Whislt doing this the medication given was OTT and to a certain extent then was left to my own devices, and I realised that the drugs had started to work against me . so I stopped .This caused another upheaval , but the right one as I am sure I would not be here today ... so it does need to be monitored , and may not be the long term solution .

    Without being crude, the sex drive is a problem , and to a certain extent cannot be helped as this is part of the condition . its  I think the problem of feeling emotionally insecure. Again I have raised this on several occassions.but yet to get and answer . So you see there may be simarlarities 

    For me , was to acknowledge I have a problem . and this is the first and only step forward. if she does not acknowledge this , then the battle has been lost . so somehow the move has to come from her . The opportunity may be getting her to look at an event or crisis in a relaxed environment and for her to see it is not normal , and that help to avoid such problems may be the way forward? not an easy one this . as you are inpinging on a lifetsyle that has been in existence for many years and its HARD to change let alone admit there is a problem . I have suggested screening tests , but it maybe done together as you think YOU may have a problem as the way to get some sort of guide as to results ... ?  If she disagrees or will not seek help or recognise a potential problem , then there is nothing you can do but jus tbe there . 

    There is nothing wrong in your son to seek help/ support as he is living the hell at the same time and will require support at some stage , so go together if she is unwilling tocattend or participate . this even goes for marriage guidance as at least it can be shown you have explored all avenues before the crash which will inevitably come (as it always does) as you cannot keep this way of life going the way things are . its to much pressure . 

    For me , its still a struggle, I no longer work as this was a big problem for me to interact with others  easily . Since then , I t has been easier ( I find people the cause and trigger to my problems ) so I try to distance myself  from toxic people or toxic situations, and for me this works better than any medications to date . The head still spins and stresses me and some times the thoughts are exaggerated or distorted or sometimes paranoid . The fact is that now I acknowledge it , as do others and so the battle becomes less of a battle as I have started to know the enemy I am faced with. Like now, I cannot sleep its 3.34 in the morning ,but its not a problem , I will finish this replay and try to sleep again , if not I will move on to something else . The key is acceptance . 

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for sharing what you are going through.  Although there is a wide spectrum on how this disorder affects people it really helps to understand why Alice has been behaving the way she has. 

      They live in a small town and it will be difficult to find a good doctor but the first step is to make an appointment with someone and maybe, if she will acknowledge she has a problem, the doctor can refer them to someone that is familiar with BPD.

      One thing that is different about Alice is that, after 14 years of not working, she has just started a full time job and is actually enjoying it.  She is in retail and is very good with the customers.  She seems to be more sensitive and reactive with people in her personal life.

      This is very personal and you certainly don't have to answer but I was wondering how you handle the sex drive thing.  I know they party quite a bit and Alice drinks to the point of blackouts (or so she says because she can't remember anything).  These are the times my son has a hard time with because she ends up with other guys or girls.  It seems to me that avoiding this type of situation would help (???). 

      My son is 37 and Alice is 38.  They have 3 children who know something is not right with their Mom and Dad.  I hope that, if she realizes what is wrong, she will try and not react in front of the kids.  Along with the rage and screaming she has said she will commit suicide when they are there.  This isn't something that young children should have to deal with.

      I referred my son to a website about BPD to see what he thinks.  It also talks about how to communicate to avoid confrontations.  I hope it will help him to know they are not the only ones working through this.

      I really admire you for facing this disorder head on and learning ways to manage your life to make it better.  You sound like a very strong person and I hope you find whatever you need to have a happy life.

      I'm a hugger so sending you a hugsmile


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  • Posted

    maybe due to illness she does not know what she wants then, and does need a drs' diagnosis or at least some treatment.


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  • Posted

    The drive is controlled by suppression , which in turn turns to frustration and then depression , if you move out of this circle then you are then doing the real thing . So no control but pure fantasies day and night . .... Its hard to keep to the straight and narrow ,

    I avoid places or people that van lead fo more than you bargain for but would love to live the life of sheer recklessness , but jsut sweat it out when the bouts appear ... there is nothing else one can do . Drink is not the answer , either and both go togeter as being an escape , thats why its done .it takes you away from the bad feelings and replaced with fantasy and danger . and ezxitement to give you the fix you need , but afterwards you feel YUCK . so its best to stay away vvuts its hard 

    I an not strong at all , in fact very weak , I am much better in writing and explaining ansd is some cases have the answers ...but putting them into practice is another thing ...its like you driving a car for 20 years to be told you are driving it wrong and you need to learn the new way , when in fact you gave coped so well with the old way , so uts imbedded in your mind and way of thinking and how you react yo situations and events and people . To beat this is involves a rprogtamme and that is not easy at all 

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    • Posted

      I used to have a terrible time over this as well. But I worked out that I could be in control with the help of sexual aids purchased from high street outlets.  This meant I didn't have to put myself at risk with differing partners and at the same time satisfy the frustration without the guilt.  Sounds more fun when you read about it in the womens magazines, sorry, I'm just a bit overly serious!! I really enjoyed reading your comments to Mrs Mac  I thought you were really good.
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    • Posted

      I really appreciate your input to this discussion Jo. 

      I have an autoimmune disease called polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and it has helped me far and beyond any Dr. has done. We share our experiences including all our fears, defeats and especially our successes.

      All of your input helps those of us trying to support  our friends and family that have BPD to understand more about what you are going through and also hopefully to communicate with each other better. 

      I am very thankful to Quovadis for sharing with me and for your suggestions.


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  • Posted

    Sorry, a bit tired. .. I meant this website and forums have helped me with my PMR

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  • Posted

    It does definitely look like BPD and she suffers very often and tries to enjoy  whenever possible, BPD is like a PTSD, very heavy emotions to the extend of willing be rather dead than to live such a life.Drinking or some drugs is like a healing/relieve and helps to forget or not to think or rather - feel all those extremely upseting emotions.The main trait in BPD I would describe as persistent feeling of lack of acceptance what is the fundamental to a person with BPD in order to be able to function daily live.However ..paranoid thinking and suspicioussness which both come from oversensitivity, are not helping but very often destroy feeling of acceptance and safety and love.

    Sex is kind of a venture, curiosity, new experiences, just fun - in order to not think and feel lack of love, abandonment, one day we believe he is the one who loves me, after a while or so the whole situation changes as supersensivity/exagerated/ dictates as we made a mistake as he is not the one, he won't accept us/BPDs/ and is soon going to leaveso to suffer less better I will leave him, or; he is en "evil" and how I could make such a mistake so or  we love or we hate and it breaks not only others but us ourselves, breaks in peaces.We put a "mask" to cover our pain and a fear of abandonment whenever it is real or imagined/predicted, everything is based on emotions on the border/edge, fear and despair are to be covered too.I suffer all my life.Therapies yes of course they help but medications help at first in order to be able to ..understand and focus on progress and a very important role plays the right personwho should be like a close friend with that interpersonal relationship feeling between a patient and a therapist.Groups ar OK too but i found it less helpfull than face to face as a concentration and not easily distracting gives more benefit.

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  • Posted

    sadly this sounds like bi polar. I don't think I have it but the mood swings I have are full of rage.

    Depression makews you search for something that will make you feel good about yourself, which unfortunately ends in sometimes being promiscuis.

    I'm depressed and am constantly wanting to disappear or kill myself and I haven't been told I'm Bi polar yet so it sounds like to me that her condition is very volitile.

    The only thing that can be done is getting her checked out by the GP or if she threatens suicide maybe even get her admitted depending. 

    She sounds like she is trapped because of her own mind.

    As long as she is making regular contact with her doctor then she should be ok.

    If she refuses to talk to anyone and her behaviour keeps changing then your son needs to consider getting advice from her GP and maybe get her committed and get some councilling going.

    Sorry if I constantly repeat myself or confuse you, I'm also battling with depression at the momment.

    Best of luck

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