How To Handle Someone Experiencing Bipolar Anger
Updated August 14, 2019
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Bipolar Disorder causes many struggles for the person that is living with the disorder. However, it also causes many challenges for those that are living with someone with the disorder. Being in a relationship with someone that has bipolar anger can feel impossible to deal with at times. You may feel like you are losing some of yourself in trying to handle someone experiencing bipolar anger. But, there is hope if you know what to do.
- What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder that causes people to have extreme shifts in their mood and behavior. This shift in mood can occur suddenly and interfere with daily life activities. It makes it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks and has an impact on their energy and activity levels.
People who are living with bipolar disorder experience periods of time when they are "up." During these times they are full of energy and can almost appear "too" happy and easily excitable. On the other side of it, they experience extreme "lows." These are also known as manic episodes. During these times, they can feel hopeless and extremely down.
While most people in life aren't always even-keeled and do experience ups and down, people that have bipolar disorder do it on an extreme basis. Their highs are very high, and their lows are very low. People mistakenly think that those with bipolar disorder tend to shift from high to low with the snap of a finger. There is a belief that their moods shift back and forth very quickly. However, it's usually long periods of highs followed by long periods of lows. One of the lows that many people with bipolar disorder experience are anger.
- What Is Bipolar Anger?
Bipolar anger is not like normal anger. Experiencing anger from time to time as a human is normal. However, bipolar anger is not like that. When someone living with bipolar disorder is experiencing a time of extreme lows, irritability and anger often come with it. Things that would not typically make a person mad will make someone living in this period extremely angry. It could be something as simple as a messy room in the house, the waitress getting the order wrong at the restaurant, or feeling like they are being treated unfairly at work.
Being in a relationship with or living with someone who experiences bipolar anger is not easy. However, it is also not easy for the person that is going through the situation themselves. At times they even recognize that their anger is not justified, but have a difficult time being able to control that when living through a low. That's why it's crucial that you learn to recognize bipolar anger and learn how to handle when they are behaving in this way.
- The Impact Of Bipolar Anger
When left unchecked, many negative side effects are caused by bipolar anger. When they are constantly out of control, irritable, and angry, it takes a toll on them and on all the people that are living with them. If left unchecked, bipolar anger can cause people to lose their most important relationships, like those with their spouse and children. It can also cause them to lose their job if they show that they are unable to control themselves in the workplace. And, it can have a negative impact on their health.
- Tips On Dealing With Someone With Bipolar Anger
If you are in a relationship with someone that has bipolar anger you need to be proactive in knowing how to deal with it. While the problem is not your own to handle, if you are in a relationship with the person, you will need to be prepared on how to handle it from your side.
If you are unprepared in knowing how to handle your loved one with bipolar anger it can leave you to take up some negative coping mechanisms. Those living with Bipolar Disorder also uses many negative coping mechanisms, but they can also be what the loved ones turn to when trying to handle the situation. These include things like the following:
When a situation seems out of control or the stress seems overwhelming some people are tempted to turn to alcohol. It usually starts as something small, like needing a glass of wine at the end of the night. But, this is dangerous behavior that can quickly spiral out of control if you are using it to help you get through the day. And, it will not improve your situation or your relationship.
Most people can only put up with someone's uncontrolled anger for so long before they have to disconnect and pull away. If you are in a relationship with someone with bipolar anger and you find that you are withdrawing and isolating yourself from them and others it's important that you get help. While getting away from the other person, especially when they are angry, might seem like a good idea it is a temporary solution.
Overspending to make yourself feel better for the moment is never going to fix the problem truly. There is nothing that you can buy that will address the negative feelings and confusion that you are experiencing. Overspending can just add to the problem by causing your significant other to have one more thing to be angry about.
If you are in a relationship with someone with Bipolar Disorder, it's very important that you continue to manage your self-care. Do not allow the problems that they are dealing with to pull you down as well. Make sure that you are eating right, getting the rest that you need, exercising, and participating in activities that you enjoy. If you are sacrificing your enjoyment to help them, it's not going to help them in the long run. It's important that you take care of yourself.
People living with bipolar anger can tend to take their anger out on you. If you are doing things to take care of yourself, they might try to make you feel guilty or bad that you are not taking care of their situation. But, you cannot help someone when you have worn yourself out.
Dealing with Abuse
If you are in a relationship with someone that allows their bipolar anger to control them, you may find yourself in an abusive relationship. The abuse that you experience could be verbal, physical, or emotional. Verbal abuse consists of things like name calling and belittling. Emotional abuse is where the person is constantly controlling you or blaming you for their behavior.
The abuse could also be physical. This would include things like hitting, kicking, hair pulling, and the like. No abuse is acceptable. Many people in abusive relationships find themselves justifying the behavior of the other person. It is never okay to justify abusive behavior.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, you need to seek help immediately. If the person is physically abusing you, it is important that you remove yourself from the situation right away. You may need to remove yourself from the situation if you are experiencing verbal or emotional abuse, or it may be something that you can work through if the other person is willing to seek help.
But, whether the other person seeks help or not, it is important for you that you get the help that you need. There are licensed therapists at BetterHelp that can counsel you through your situation without you ever having to step foot into their office. If you are living in a relationship with someone that allows their bipolar anger to control them, then it's important that you talk to a professional.
Remember, You Cannot Fix Them
There is a chance that the other person is placing blame on you for their anger. It's important for you to read this and understand that you are not responsible for their anger. Bipolar disorder can be a horrible disorder when not properly managed. You are not able to "fix" the other person. But, you can encourage them to get the help that they need and even attend counseling with them if they prefer. You can help them manage to take the medication that they should be taking and encourage them to follow the instructions of their therapist and physician. But, in the end, it is their responsibility to make sure that they are following through.
There is a treatment for bipolar disorder. This includes options like counseling, medication, self-care, and anger management. This is a disorder that can be managed with the proper care.
Having open and honest communication is crucial for maintaining a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder. Life might not look normal while you are working to help them get the disorder managed. Your relationship may never look like what you thought that it would. But, if the other person is willing to do the work to manage the disorder and their anger you can have a good relationship.
However, it's important that you are aware of the signs of bipolar anger and that you don't take responsibility for it on your own. It's important that the other person gets the help they need, and if you are taking responsibility for their anger, this will not happen.