Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

by Donna
(Medford, NJ USA)

I am a mother of a 4 1/2 yr old son and I have two older daughter's from a previous marriage. At first I blamed his aggression and anger on male hormones but I began to watch his behavior more closely and saw a similarity to his father's behavior(his father is bipolar but did not find out until just recently).

My son is what I refer to as either a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde because he would be saying how much he loves me and than within minutes just the opposite and would say I hate you. Although he doesn't seem to be depressed but at times he would cry rather than get angry especially when he was told he can't have that toy or else he would lash out at me and hit me. I also noticed that if you correct him he would insist that he was right and would wind up screaming at you repeatedly. He rocks his head back and forth so fast and furious that I get concerned that he will injure himself.(this occurs several times on a daily basis.)

I also noticed he has aggression fits coupled with unwarranted anger and has broken a number of toys in the process. How can I have such a loving son and yet be so completely opposite?

Hi Donna.

As you know , there is a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder. It is more likely that you will be affected by bipolar disorder if someone in your family is.

Your question about how you can have such a loving son who can act completely the opposite is a good one. First, let me say I do not know if your child is bipolar and I cant make a diagnosis for you.

I can tell you , that among families with children that are bipolar this is a common question. When children are unstable, they become different people, their behavior and actions are symptoms of the illness, not who they are. Just like children who are affected by illnesses that are more clearly visible ( in a wheel chair, or with cancer). The disability or illness is not who they are. This " Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde description is something I have heard frequently.

Parents will often say when their child is finally stabilized," my child is back" . The child that is sweet loving kind talented etc.............

Good luck to you with your child.


Kristen McClure

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