Do you ever take things more personally than others might? Has someone ever done something that is perfectly normal, acceptable, perhaps even reasonable and yet you still found it offensive to you in some way? Well bipolar brains experience that a lot. Here’s a very brief tale of how I went through that just last night. Enjoy!
So we were supposed to have movie and dinner last night as a family, minus my wife of course because she’s working two jobs and is gone in the evening, but the kids’ dad came over and we were going to settle in for a nice evening. We had all the kids at home and were going to make a nice meal.
You may be wondering where the bipolar part comes in, it always does, and in this case it’s about teens and their natural propensity to disappear to their rooms for hours on end. At some point in the evening, well past the dinner hour, I called the kids down to talk. They were thrilled at the prospect I’m sure but I felt it was necessary. To be fair, so did their dad. However, we took two very different approaches.
He had ready access to his rational mind and gave very reasonable explanations for why the children should be downstairs while we were having a family night and how they should turn off their screens. Then he spent the rest of the time helping to decipher what I was saying as mine was nearly all focused on the emotional aspect. See, I took it personally. Something my bipolar brain does A LOT. He helped them see that what I was feeling was valid and that it translated into thoughts, which he helped me put into words. He, and others, often help me see that a situation is not about me and help me step back and see it objectively. Once I’m able to do that I find that not only am I calmer but so are the people around me, especially my kids.
So, if a bipolar person in your world takes what you say and twists it try saying something along the lines of, “I think perhaps there’s a misunderstanding…” or, “Actually I perceive it as…”. Try using some ways of helping them reframe the issue without feeling attacked. It’s a hard balance to strike but one that is important when dealing with folks like me.