Help!

by ez
(ww,wa)

I have a 15yr daughter who was dx w rapid cycling bipolar disorder/pathological liar/histrionic personality disorder. In addition to having severe depression.


My family has struggled with this for the last yr and a half. I am now at wits in regarding how to help her. She is manipulative and has lost her bonds w younger siblings. I find it very difficult to communicate w her and continue providing guidance and support.

I feel I can only keep her safe. She has threatened suicide many times and harm to our family. I have neglected my husband and 2 younger children because it is exhausting dealing with her everyday. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. she portrays to be uncaring but i know deep down she miserable too. What more can I do for her yet protect my family/myself?


Answer:


Firstly, let me say how sorry I am for the challenges you are facing with your child. Mental Illness is not something that is easy to deal with in a family, but it is important to realize that it is the illness that is causing your child to have these difficulties.

I believe that children and adults do the best they can to be socially adaptive. If people are having a hard time coping with stress sometimes they make poor behavioral choices. It’s because they don’t have the skills, not because they are trying to harm others. Often people diagnosing kids forget how harmful the terms they use can be, and how much damage they can do. I never use the word manipulative to refer to children’s behavior because the it implies malice. I don’t believe that this is the case. Kids who do not know how to ask for what they need directly, sometimes use creative ways to get their needs met. Looking at her behavior this way can lead to more productive solutions.

All of the behaviors you are describing are due to her mental illness, not her being a bad person. Although I know how challenging the behavior of bipolar teens can be, it’s important to keep in mind that these are just her attempts to function the best she can.


It is for this reason that good therapy is so important. She needs help, you need support and your family needs support dealing with the challenges this mental illness brings. If she is regularly threatening suicide, and to harm your family, she is not stable. She needs her medications adjusted or a higher level of care.

Neglecting your husband and two your children is likely to build resentment and unhappiness. Therapy can help you to learn how to balance this and how to be more realistic about what you expect from yourself.

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