If there is one thing I have learned above all else when it comes to a Bipolar rant (or rage), it’s that it affects my entire family in dramatic ways. I don’t feel the degree of my mood swing matters; I think it is the act itself of losing control that has the most devastating consequences.
Shortly after my diagnoses, once I got on medication and started seeing things clearly, I noticed how my children lacked the ability to handle situations appropriately. They were not Bipolar, but I noticed that they were acting like me.
I was terribly ashamed.
By losing control, I was teaching my kids that losing control and yelling like a lunatic was acceptable, perhaps even normal. I started to realize that I was teaching them through my actions that screaming, yelling and losing it was the only way to handle stressful situations. One by one I noticed more yelling, more frustration and more arguing.
I made a decision that would change everyone’s life.
With my oldest, it was a little too late to completely change how he was responding to stress. He was the worst, probably because he had more time to witness my “moments” than the others. He was approaching 13, a critical time in his life.
I work very hard now with him; trying to give him the tools to make proper level headed decisions, but sometimes it’s pointless. Enough of my episodes and rants had been engrained in him; he’s just like me. I didn’t see it, I didn’t know what was happening. Not before it was far too late. It is still a major struggle to help him out, but my husband and I both work with him all the time. It hurts me a lot to know that had I known sooner what I was doing, all of his anger issues could have been helped if not completely avoided.
So now, with three younger ones, I have to really watch myself and my tantrums. I am not perfect, in fact, I am as far from perfect as anyone can imagine. I do, however ,strive for perfection and as long as I am trying my hardest, that is okay with me. My kids know my moods, they know that I do have times where I get really upset. The difference now is how I handle the aftermath of the rants I do sometimes have, and how hard I try to remove myself from their presence if I notice I cannot maintain control.
My husband is an adult and he is more than capable of writing off one of my episodes as just being a “moment,” but I know that doesn’t make the hurtful things I say hurt any less, it just means he understands. I try really hard to remember that all the people in my house are affected in different ways by the way I act. When I think about the way I have hurt my family, it makes self-control much easier. Well, maybe not as easy as I would like, but it does help.
I watch my kids fight and scream the way I do, and I have to remind them that even though I do act that way sometimes, that it doesn’t make it okay. I communicate openly with them and try so hard to help them understand that there are so many better ways to handle stress than how I have and sometimes still do, and that I should be the perfect example of what NOT to do.
It is very hard looking at my 5-year-old daughter as she is getting frustrated, and see her unraveling the way I do. I don’t want her to be like me. I have a steady reminder as to why it is important to maintain control.
Looking back, I wish I had seen earlier the way I was affecting my oldest son so that I could have stopped myself from causing so much damage to his ability to cope with stressful situations.
So after talking about my triggers in my post “On The Verge of A Bipolar Rant? Here Are My 6 Triggers and Tips to Help Avoid Disaster” I wanted to share the ways I have seen it affect my kids and my husband. Even if someone doesn’t have kids, or a husband, we all have people around us that it does affect in different ways, and that is really what it is about. Whether it is your closest friends, roommates, family, or co-workers, everyone out there has to deal with the hurt that can come from one of these rants. That is what should be considered before losing control.
For me personally, I think it comes down to one thing. When I go off on a rant, my kids watch in horror and they hurt. They will cry, or they will act up. Ultimately, they will respond to stressful situations the same as I do. The only way to avoid screwing up the only things I managed to do right in my life (creating beautiful and perfect children) is to consider all the consequences prior to losing control.
It doesn’t work all the time, but it helps me a lot. If I know that I can’t control myself, I will at least leave the room to be by myself. I don’t want them to have to be a part of it, or someday struggle with understanding how to handle situations.
Woman yelling photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 30 Jul 2012