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Is it OK to tell close people to you about a family member who is bipolar?
March 27, 2007
3:25 pm
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balancesekr
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I am wrong?

My brother is bi-polar, aka manic depressive. He takes medication.

He is annoyed at me because I told my boyfriend that he has a mood disorder.

The reason I told my boyfriend was my brother and I were working together on a project and we were fighting a lot, he kept missing meetings, and I had to fill in every time he dropped the ball. My boyfriend inquired as to why I was letting my brother get away with this behavior.... so I told him.

My brother feels it was not reasonable for me to tell my boyfriend. I should protect him and never tell anyone about his problem. Especially since we are not married. My bf knew something was kinda strange about my brother regardless.

Sometimes this is difficult to cover up. He is not employed and lives with my parents and he is in his 40's.

We have been arguing about this since December, he doesn't trust me anymore or as much.

My question is this: Is it wrong to tell someone you are intimately involved with that someone in your family has a mood disorder, was I way off base?

My brother keeps reminding me that I HAVE PROBLEMS too and just because he and I fight, he doesn't go around telling people about my problems.

So I feel like crap, a backstabbing sister, who is selfish or something. Not reasonable. I don't know how many more years we are gonna argue about this. And when it is OK to tell someone, to him the answer is never.

Anyone with a similiar situation or any advice on this would be much appreciated. Thanks!

March 27, 2007
4:49 pm
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taj64
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ummm this is your boyfriend meaning partner who you share intimate details with and that means your family. I think it is more his problem than to be yours. He should not show his jealousy so much. Why should feel so badly about having bipolar anyway? I think being that your brother is 40, still living with parents and no job and fusses over you regarind trust issues, he is not behaving like a grown up and is beign child like to blame you for his problem. Does he have any sibling rivling for you? Don't give him satisfaction here and not let this brother you so much. Just because he is your brother and just because you love him, doesn't mean you have to put up with crap either. This guy is your partner and it is your right to talk about whatever you want with him and your brother should try to respect that and not hold it against you.

March 27, 2007
4:55 pm
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balancesekr
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hey taj,
He is very secretive about his problem, and loves to tell me I have problems too and that he doesn't announce them to people.

I wind up feeling really bad about this. He makes it seem like he isn't bi-polar or something!

I think he is a little jealous of me and what I have accomplished. I am younger than him, have lived on my own for a long time and I have a good job.

I am not sure how to deal with this. He gets really angry if I say that he is in denial. He will rant and rave for days if I say that.

I appreciate your take on this Taj. It is difficult cause he's my brother and I do look out for him... but exactly, I can share with my parter. He just doesn't agree and yeah he is putting his problems on me.

March 27, 2007
5:05 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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balance,

my godsons have bipolar and one is also epileptic.

and basically their conditions are on a need to know basis.

in your case, I think your BF needed to know because he had complaints of how your brother was behaving and it was effecting you.

if you were only dating someone a week or two, I would think they wouldn't need to know.

but if your partner is a significant other...and long term...then at some point, it's ok to share it.

In the end, what is done is done...you can't change it.

So, knowing this, be careful who you share it with...and if you find you need to tell someone...talk to your bro first and explain what is going on and why you feel the need to tell the person.

In the end, I think your bro is embarrassed about his condition and doesn't want anyone to know...and I can understand that because there is such a stigma associated with the disorder. But in the end, that is HIS problem, not yours.

March 27, 2007
5:22 pm
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balancesekr
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hi rising,
so you have some experience with this. I swear I can let the situation drive me nutz sometimes.

My bro makes a BIG deal that I may not marry my boyfriend. Yeah, maybe not... but come on.

There is NO way I would be able to explain to my bro why I would need to tell someone, he just doesn't see it.

I didn't even tell my brother I told my boyfriend, he asked back in Nov, his doctor tried taking him off one of his medications, and it wasn;t pretty. He started raging at me one night and asked me if I told anyone about his problem. I wouldn't answer and he kept raging until I told him.

He is back on all the meds now... but still talking about it. I can't even say to him this is your problem, your issue not mine. He will go on and on and on about my problems....

I stopped spending as much time with him recently. I cut back BIG time. He constantly asks me to do things with him, almost every single day.

March 27, 2007
8:02 pm
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loverbee
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my mother is schitzophrenic and while I don't recommend going and advertising it, it is the right of you to be able to tell those you feel you can trust. IT is a part of you and you shouldn't have to hide it.

March 27, 2007
8:18 pm
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Anonymous
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Your brother should grow up to know that a secret is only a secret when only one person knows... If you ever have to tell anyone again, hopefully you wouldnt give in to telling your brother. Even if you live in a small town, people tend to be more informed cuz there are more people diagnosed. In the end no matter what your condition is, how you feel about it is probably how others will treat you. Maybe he needs to have a support group where this issue can be talked about without being stigmatized. I know I dont count on anyone NOT knowing about my depression and suicide attempts. But I dont bring it up either. I act as if I had arthiritis...

April 1, 2007
2:42 pm
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balancesekr
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I just wanted to respond you loverbee and sininho and just post an update on the topic.

Yes, I agree not advertising his problem is definite. He really expects me to tell nobody, not even my closest friends and with the way he frames it and makes his case, by telling me he doesn't tell people my problems is messed up and that successfully makes me feel wrong in telling a friend.

Next time he asks, did you tell your friend ______ I am gonna have to stay strong and just say it is not your business what I discuss with my friends. I do not ask you and I dont expect to be asked either. I am sure he will rage out of control about it, but yes it is part of me and my experience and something I need to vent about.

I wish he would go to a support group, but that is his choice.

I just have to stay strong and not feel guilty or bad about myself cause I shared with my boyfriend and a few close friends that he is bipolar.

April 1, 2007
3:25 pm
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loverbee
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It is your right in my opinion because they are people who are part of the family in a way. You should tell him that the only time it becomes a big deal is when he acts like he is ashamed of it. Its kind of like me being epileptic. For a long time, I wouldn't tell anyone, but now that I embrace that it is a part of me, I don't think its that big of a deal.

April 1, 2007
11:33 pm
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balancesekr
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lb and anyone who wants to read,
I find that admirable that you embrace who you are and accept who you are. You own it! And I know whenever I see someone confident about something about themselves, I buy it.

I totally understand were you are coming from with approaching him on that he is the one ashamed.

He has a laundry list of reasons to hide. And he will say well look how you react when I tell you, you've had problems!

He loves telling me about my past and makes his past and mine equal.

I was hospitalized once for depression. He has been hospitalized numerous times, for manic-d but will blame our family for misjudging his behavior and overacting.

I can't tell him dont be ashmaed, he will say you had problems and you still struggle with things.

Years ago, when I was a rebellious teenager, my parents wanted to lock me up and he "saved" me by refusing to go along with their plan. He has it worked out in his mind that "we" are equivalent. But he saved me from being hospitalized.

Sometimes, I think, my brother is OK, but he isn't. He was so out of his mind when he was off his meds. In a way its good that sometimes I think he is normal, I appreciate his opinion and treat him as "normal" but he is manic-d and without his meds he rages out of control.

I dont think he wants to be labeled and I dont blame him. I just need to have my own life and friends and ability to communicate my experiences to people close to me.

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