Living with a Bi-polar Sufferer: How to Stop Being the "punching Bag"

Recognize what being a punching bag is.

WAKE up this is not a nightmare, this is your life and it is happening right now. Your shaking your head in disbelief as to "what just happened"? You're confused because it just doesn't make sense. What in the hell is going on in my family?  Well, you know and it is time to take back control of your life as well as your families and stop allowing yourself to be the "punching bag" for your bi-polar loved one. It is time to say I'm going to  stop being the "punching bag".

Let me explain my definition of "punching bag"; have you ever wondered, Why is everyone yelling at me? Why am I always being blamed for their mistakes and problems that they have encountered?  Why does it seem that I have to clean up their mess again? Why am I always opening my pocket book so they can go out with friends? Why am I always paying off their fines, their debts? Why Why Why???? Well let me share with you why.  You  love them.  You want to save them.  You would give your life for them.  Well I'm sorry friends it has to stop here. It stops today. You are doing them no favors by bailing them out over and over.  You are doing them no favors by allowing them to miss treat you, disrespect you, steal or borrow from you. Now listen, because I know what I am talking about. I have been bailing people out for years. Not only my teenage loved one but her father, my soul mate, my husband. It didn't work. It never got better even when I would here those words "I'm sorry, I won't do it again". You see he had not come to accept his mental illness and I thought I could control it. I was so wrong, I made so many mistakes back then.

Believe it or not, but now I believe that those were not mistakes that I was making.  They were learning lessons for a much bigger project that was  heading my way. Our daughter. I must admit that I have made plenty of mistakes with her as well. The only difference was that I accepted the truth of be-polar disorder. I knew the dangers to their behaviors, but I didn't listen to my head.  I didn't listen to my gut. What I did was listened to my heart.  I felt responsible for her mental illness, I felt responsible that I could not save her father. There were so many feelings that I had to come to grips with. I was angry, lonely, poor, stressed, so many feelings. What and how am I to do the right thing? I failed before so maybe it would just be easier to give in.  Well that was a mistake you  what I ended up doing was what I call passiving the immediate need.  Not a good thing because as we all know this type of personality has the tendency to want more and more until you get to the point you just can't do it anymore.

Now is when the night mare begins. You see I now have created a monster. Well not really as I have so much love, but yes she's a monster. She will not accept the word no. She will not follow house rules. She curses, destroys and retaliates to the point that you just want to give up. Well wake up you're turning into the "punching bag". Don't let them get away with it. Don't let them pressure you to the point of breaking. Keep your cool and pick your battles. In doing this I found it very helpful to put things in writing. This avoids any attempts at them manipulating the situation or rules. You see now your putting on the "punching gloves". Just to clarify, under no circumstances am I referring to any type of physical activity. I am referring to you standing your ground, holding your head up high, looking them in the eye's and making them follow the rules. Remember, soon they will be 18 years old and our job is to provide them with as many coping skills as possible.  They may fight, kick and scream but remember you no longer are the "bag" your the "Gloves".  The gloves which hold our hands of compassion, love and strength. Stay strong, stay consistent but you must also stay real. This is a disorder where they do not respond well to authority figures. They respond to softness, love and closeness. You may find that hard to believe, but remember "you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make them drink".

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