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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 08/07/08
How do I talk to a person with bipolar without upsetting them?  My husband is so sensitive about how I speak to him, that it is difficult at times to help him. He is "untrusting" of his brother, his wife and me. I tried to explain that other people don't face the same issues as we do with him. Friends are social but don't have to help with his mother's care, where most of the "issues" come into play. They also don't tell him the truth about how irrational his thinking is. If any one can help I would appreciate it.
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Name: Laura
Location: Florida
Date: 08/07/2008
Time: 08:01 AM


I can relate to your situation very well. I am frustrated by the similar imbalance of accountability in my communication/relationship with my brother. He is a good person who makes many good things happen, but chronically complains of being overwhelmed and feeling used. He seems programmed to reject change and aspects of reality, with memory problems, difficulty managing time and boundaries. He has only considered his mental health issues in terms of how he is feeling, not through any impact it may have on others. Many of the issues revolve around the family and caregiving for an elderly parent. He is often suspicious, with a very limited attention span to hear information or feedback. And who really does want to confront a difficult person unless you really care and are invested?(not counting simply reacting/arguing to get one's point across) He fears criticism and isolation, yet his approach is often loud, intense, demanding, negative. I have had to let go of many of my expectations of "agenda" when I communicate with him, and try and focus on expressing little bits of truth as I see it. I have appealed to him to consider that the "me" he cherishes and wants help and support from needs to tell my truth to be real. He may not change but it helps keep me focused on staying "intact." I think I have had to grieve some for the ongoing loss of this person I had hoped could be there for me more, cooperating at a different level. It is hard work to adjust your own communication to meet someone else's needs and ability, especially when you are trying to accomplish something. Keep time and space for honoring your own spirit, since you're in a situation that puts your boundaries at risk. Rethink them to keep yourself healthy and safe, and to reduce the stress. It has helped to describe what's happening to someone outside of the actual "drama." I am planning to reach out for some support from local group of for families of those with mental illness, perhaps you could check into this. Good luck to you

Name: Mildred Gittelson
Location: Miami, Florida
Date: 08/08/2008
Time: 02:26 AM


It is not always possible to avoid making a bipolar person angry. However, if you remember not to try to teach or educate him about helps. I have been dealing with the problem for over 30 years....Instead of getting into an argument it is best to agree or not respond to the nasty part. Some of their behaviour is manipulative to make you angry and have that power. Do not show your anger as it gives him a tool to show his power. "I am sorry that you feel that way." may calm him down....try it He needs someone on his team... Good luck. If you make yourself your own best friend it is a step in the right direction.


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