how do I support my teenage daughter following a relationship with a bp boyfriend?

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I may come across as an over protective mum but I just feel I need to get this out there. My 16 year old daughter started college last september and became involved with a lad who was very open about the fact that he had bipolar.They started going out and all was well for a time; he sent some lovely texts and was very affectionate and then without warning dumped her saying it wasn't working. That wasn't the end though as the very next morning he bombarded her with texts about how he wanted her but couldn't have her and this continued all weekend. The short story is they got back together, she suggested as a friend if that made it easier but he was adamant that he could handle it.All was well for a short time and then she noticed his erratic mood swings and how he would often be quite hurtful in what he said to her. She's read up on bp and he was flattered- his words-that she cared enough to do this and was pleased about it.It was all very intense, as bp relationships seem to be , and at around two months he told her he was falling in love with her.This was a bit scary- she is only 16 in her first relationship remember- and couldn't say it back. This set off a bit of a storm and he dumped her again.The same thing happened, a barrage of texts about how much he wanted her etc. seeming to forget he was the one who had finished things.There was a bit of a break until he asked her to give him another chance, he was truly sorry, knew he had treated her really appallingly-his words again-but he was scared of his feelings as he had never felt this way and so quickly before[he's 18 now].By this time my daughter had fallen for him quite badly and like so many others didn't want to be another person to walk out on him. She wasn't trying to change or save him but genuinely cared enough about him to want to support him.He then asked her out again and she agreed to give it one more go.I had concerns but felt my daughter was mature enough to make her own deciion on this and I would be there to support her.  This turned out to be a huge mistake. He constantly blew hot and cold, sometimes being loving sometimes totally ignoring her and putting her down in front of others, accusing her of flirting with another lad on the course,she wasn't, getting jealous for no reason,criticising her to the point it was actually verbally abusive .Even when we had a bereavement his response to her was "f*** you" rather than offering any comfort.He then finished with her a final time sending her a very obscure text about how people think they know but dont and thats why it'll never work.He then continued to behave as though they were together, trying to hold her hand etc. again seeming to forget he'd finished things. She was so confused. Since then she's had the usual texts of how he wants her, he can't stop thinking of her etc.He stopped his anti depressants as he said they were making him worse and as for other medication she doesn't know. The time she broached it with him he got angry and said his bp wasn't that noticeable and he had it under control but she can see he hasn't because his behaviour is so up and down. This was the final warning light really;if he can't see he needs help there's nothing she or anyone else can do and so she's having to let go.This isn't easy not least because of all the horrible things he's said to her.Even despite all this she still cares for him and it would be easier she said if she hated him but she doesn't. Her confidence and self esteem is in tatters and I don't know how to help her pick up from this.Avoiding him is not an option ,they are on the same course and in a small group. What I want to know is ,is this bp or is it bp with an overlap of personality disorder?[not that it helps my daughter if it is]He's accused her of things he's guilty of himself- projected his own faults onto her and others, he lies , exaggerates things to make himself the constant centre of attention, says hurtful things that are really abusive, has no regard for the feelings of others yet expects everyone to be there for him all the time.My daughter just needs something to make sense of it all and to be able to believe that she's not this dreadful person he's told her she is.

As a final thing , it now seems he has found someone else which is good as the begging texts have stopped. I can't help feeling sorry for this new girl as I can't imagine things will change with him. My daughter was the longest he went out with someone ,his other relationships didn't last longer than a month and although I'm upset and angry he treated her like this , I know he can't help it and wonder if the lad will ever be able to have a happy relationship. It's sad for all concerned and I feel for anyone involved in a relationship with someone with bp as you really have to put your self aside and focus on that person. My daughter was way too young for this intensity and I'm heartbroken that her first romance has left such a negative impact on her.

 

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  • Posted

    Do I understand this correctly? You came to this site to see if bipolar people can help you with your daughter? Give advice about her moving on and having a happy productive life. Did you research bipolar? I know your daughter did but did you? You feel for anyone involved with him? Perhaps you need to do your homework. Your daughter can get rid of him but he will always be bipolar. It takes loving, caring people to believe in you and support you until you find the right combination of meds and therapy. Don't worry, your daughter will eventually find a perfect, non-bipolar person. I found your story insulting. Be thankful your daughter does not suffer from bipolar and get her therapy and have her drop out of that class...she will be fine.
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    • Posted

      Thankyou for your reply. First of all let me apologise for the offence I Have caused you, that was not my intention although I can see why it did.Yes I have researched bipolar disorder, we have a shelf load of books on the subject and yes, I have read them along with nights trawling the internet trying to find out as much as  I could, and have found it to be a terrible illness. Some of the things that my daughter told me her lad was experiencing reduced me to tears. So why did I go to this website? Well, reading books is all well and good but as you pointed out ,everyone is different and the books can be very contradictory and confusing. The best way to find out is to learn off those who experience this illness and a forum allows for a wide varieety of responses.   My aim wasn't just help for my daughter but more how can she continue to help him as a friend? She certainly didn't get rid of him or want to , he pushed her away. Some of the things I've read talk about personality disorder and that some people are mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar 2 when they are'nt. How can you support someone if you don't know what you are dealing with? I appreciate , looking back, how I sounded and to anyone reading it I do apologise for my total lack of tact .
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    • Posted

      Hello again phillppa,

      I understand that you want to help your daughter and, it sounds like you are trying to learn more about bipolar disorder. It's probably as complex as the people that have it - the states may be simular from person to person but the behaviour can vary a great deal. 

      There is an interesting 8 week course called bipolar IN Order, based out of the US and facilitated by someone who is bipolar himself. I just completed the course and have re-enrolled - it focuses on "functionality in all states". It may be equally as interested to you and your daughter as it was to me as a bipolar person.  If you are interested you can contact me.  Or go online and try Bipolar Advantage. 

      As one works through the course weekly there is a live lecture and live group - the time difference may not work for you (Pacific time zone - but the site outlines the course. I think it is reasonable price wise and insightful - it's not for everyone. A person must be ready to practice mindfulness & CBT if they are going to get anything out of the course. However you may meet people willing to share their experiences with you or your daughter.

      It's admirable that your daughter still wants to be friends with the lad and support him. We can't use email addresses or websites on this forum which is why I couldn't just give you a link.

      Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the email address details as we do not publish these in the forums. If users wish to exchange contact details please use the Private Message service. This is also true if you want to exchange links to websites that are not suitable for posting.

      http://patient.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/398331-private-messages

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    • Posted

      Thankyou for your response and again I will apologise for my insensitive spiel.Lesson learned-do not write when tired and upset and without engaging brain.Bipolar is hard on everyone;obviously the person with the illness but also the people who are around them who also suffer- albeit in a totally different way-as they go through the ups and downs too, quite often blaming themselves and not understanding what's happened.As it's a mental illness, bp is not talked about so unless you already know someone who has it you have no idea what is going on and are totally unprepared for how this lovely person now seems to hate the very sight of you or tells you he loves you and then a few hours later tells you it's not working and you're the worst person ever! Tough for anyone to deal with. I stand by what i said;I do feel for this new girl because if she doesn't know about bp -and who does outside the sufferers- then she is in for a shock. Yes people with bp do need support but  what? Everyone is different and has different needs but it would be more helpful for sufferers to say what they find helpful and supportive so at least those of us who do care and want to help have some ideas of what to do or try. Thats why I'm on this forum , to learn.Support groups are not available in our area;nearest is over 50 miles away, not undoable but not practical when working full time and getting in late.I will certainly try bipolar advantage as you suggested so thankyou for that.
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    • Posted

      Thank you! Im sorry I was harsh. I am bipolar and I did many things I am not proud of. I lost people I loved dearly because of it. Many times I hear people who are not bipolar talk about what they lost and what they went through. They often forget that the person with bipolar can't run away from it. We are often judged and misunderstood. I had to find my way alone. People I thought would be there for me walked away. It was when I knew I didn't want to live that I went to the emergency room. I have fought my way out of mania and take medication and attend group therapy. I take it a day at a time and today life is great. I went to it alone with no one to hold me while I cried. It was a very scary place. When I read your story it read that you were interested in only helping your daughter which is fine if that's what you want to do. I just wouldn't write about it because although some people are not sensitive to it, it reminded me of my darkest time alone. I apologize for being so harsh but many people don't know what it is like to have this illness. Thank you for your note and I wish your daughter the best.
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    • Posted

      Please don't apologise ,you have no need and I regret it bringing back bad memories for you. I am genuinely pleased that life is better for you now and I hope it continues that way. No- one should have to go through the things that you, and others, have especially not alone.I am not long back at work after being signed off with stress and mild depression- nothing remotely as serious as bp- but it highlighted to me how far as a society we need to go to ensure people with mental health issues get the care and support they deserve. On return to work, some colleagues were lovely, some ignored me and some passed comments. The most memorable of which are, "Are you sane now?" and "....when you lost the plot." If I had been diagnosed with cancer or some other equally dreadful illness the response would have been much different i'm sure. I'm only saying this to show how we all need to make the effort to support people with mental health issues and educate ourselves so we can at least not make judgements but instead show some understanding and compassion for what is a devasting illness.I truly wish you well.
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  • Posted

    I agree that perhaps you need to educate yourself about bipolar disorder, especially if you want to support your daughter. It sounds like the relationship was a rough ride but it's likely that she can get counseling at college and gain a better understanding of the illness.  Most likely with parental and professional support you daughter's self-esteem will return to normal. 

    Remember that this was her first romantic relationship and she may lack confidence in her ability to have a relationship. There are support groups for families of biopolar people, if the two of you attend a few sessions together you may gain insight into this illness and realize that every biopolar person is different although some behaviour is common. 

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  • Posted

    I don't think that you were totally insensitive, people come to this site for various reasons. Due to the nature of BPD it may be difficult for someone to lend you help when they have been trying to pull themself up by the boot straps. This is why I suggested a support group for family and friends of BP's.

    Like other mental illnesses bipolar disorder is stigmatized and with sketchy knowledge by most. Being BP I am comfortable talking about it and I work constantly to try to be self-aware and modify my behaviour. For me it's a difficult path. I'm 64 years old and have managed to totally alienate my sons, detroyed two marriages...I feel like my life has left a hurricane swathe. 

    I think that your daughter will likely recover from her heartbreak. Is seems that she has to deal with her first broken heart and a rough relationship with a man that was bipolar. As a mother I sympathize with you desire to support your daughter and cushion her landing from a difficult relationship. 

    I want to share a humerous situation from my first attempt to attend a bipolar support group for myself. My husband had attend a few support groups for family members, held by Canadian Mental Health.  I went feeling nervous and self conscienous. Short after arriving I was told that the group leader would not be back for a while, he was in a manic phase and was told not to attend the group. Then a young woman began acting inappropriately, it appeared that she was psychotic, and was subsequently removed from the meeting. Another young woman spoke up about her boyfriend, who was sitting next to her, he hadn't eaten or slept for four days. In the end I drove the couple to Emergency and sat with them until a mental health team could come and relieve me.

    I thought that the whole experience had the making a comedy, my husband did not, when I came home 5 hours

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    • Posted

       Darn, I keep hitting the return key with my little finger. ...when I came home five hours late (from the trip to the hospital)  I never returned to the BP support group - I found it too disfunctional for my needs. 

      I hope you will find the support you need to help your daughter, you obviously love her alot.  karin

       

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