Bi Polar Disorder (BPD) (Part 2 of a 6 part series)
This entry will focus on the partner of the person who is afflicted with BPD.

In this section I will deal with:
• Anger and BPD
• The importance of self care
• Communication with a partner who has BPD.

If you are married to someone with BPD their “up” and “down” phases are draining, each for their own reasons. As a result of the both physical and emotional demands that occur because of the disorder, people with BPD can be difficult to live with.

Anger and Anger Management
Having a relationship with someone who is bi polar is very frustrating. If you are the partner of someone who has this order it is a sure bet that you are going to get angry. One essential area a person who has a partner who is suffering from BPD is, having a strong understanding and anger management skill set. Knowing how to develop “an early warning system” and then what to do when that alarm goes off is important part of having a strong relationship.

Many people make the mistake and think that the only thing they need is to be reasonable and to have patience. To have strong anger management skills means knowing exactly what to and what not to do when your partner is being unreasonable, difficult, or just a pain. Know the physiology of anger and how to be aware of your own anger patterns takes work.

Self Nurturing
The place to start for the partner is with self care and a sense of personal balance. Ask yourself:
“How stressed am I?” “How nurtured do I feel, not only by my partner, but by myself, and by my world”. One of the strategies for self nurturing is
Learning about stress management. There are many techniques that can be used to deal with the pressure that happens when you have a high maintenance relationship that is very demanding.

Communication
The next question to ask is: How well do I communicate with my partner. When they are going through their “depressive” or “manic” episodes? “Do I know what they need and the best way to help them?”.
For example when my partner is in a down place how can I help motivate them and not come across as nagging? Learning how to communicate well with a partner with BPD is a difficult task and will need a professional, so when seeking help to relate to your partner, it is important to ask the therapist their experience with Bi Polar communication issues.

“How do I not take my partner’s behavior personally?” is another skill necessary to cope with a partner who has BPD. Of course we are not machines so to some extent we will be upset by them excessively anxious or being more aggressive when they are in an “up” place. If my partner blurts out things when they are in the manic or a depressive stage, how much to I take that to heart?

My last blog for this week will be on: Triggers for BPD episodes; and addictions and BPD.

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