Found this online. I think it has some good points to take into consideration. I deal with this all the time, but I still need reminders of what NOT to do. I don't know about telling the "rager" that what they did was wrong afterwards. I'm pretty sure my husband knows it was wrong. Well, take from it what is helpful and forget the rest, that's what I did.
Dealing with bipolar rage
It can be like a war zone: trying to cope with a loved one who is in an unstoppable, uncontrollable rage.
Mania in bipolar one can express itself in many ways, rage probably being the most destructive and hardest for others to deal with. How do you cope?
Get away. If you can do it, the best strategy is to simply remove yourself from the vicinity of the raging person. Just leave. The time to do this is when they overstep the mark, such as threatening physical violence (or being violent to objects or walls); screaming; or actually trying to hurt you or someone else. They might try to bully you into staying, but keep in mind that they are in a destructive mood anyway, and staying is not going to help. Your number one priority is not to make sure that the rager is okay. Your first priority is always your own safety. Everything else follows from that.
Second, wait it out. Rages do not last very long. Fueled by emotion, they burn themselves out. This is a physiological reality. It is physically impossible to rage for several hours continuously. Once you remove yourself, you may find that two hours later the raging person is quiet and contrite. In some cases, their rage might morph into an ongoing “cold rage”, but that is a completely different phenomenon.
Third, Don't rage back. It is easy to get sucked into an angry, raging response right back. Don't let this happen. Don't yell, scream, swear, or get violent. if you do, then there will be no resolution. When the time comes to talk about it later, the rager will simply say that “you were pretty bad too,” and point out all the terrible things that you did.
Fourth, don't make threats like “I'll call the cops,” or “if you keep this up, I'm going to have to remove you from my life.” These things may be on the table, but don't say them. And definitely don't say them now, in the middle of a rage.
Fifth, if you or someone else is assaulted, call the police. Don't be put off by threats about “I'll tell them it was you.” That's blackmail. Even if they do try that, it is your duty to yourself and indeed everyone involved to call the police. If you are injured, get medical help. Again, don't threaten to call them. Just make the call.
Take all threats seriously. This includes threats of harm against themselves, against you, or against other people.
Talk about it afterwards. Don't be too quick to forgive and forget. Of course you are relieved that the rage is over and the person is ashamed and contrite. Naturally, you want things to be good again. But that calm after the storm is your only opportunity to really let the person know how much damage he or she was causing. Often ragers are in denial. Tell them that they were out of control, tell them that the way they were behaving was wrong.
Great article, wife! I'm going to sticky this one so it stays at the top. I think it's good for everyone to read.
And I, for one, do confront my hubby after his rages. I make him accountable for what he does. That's just me, tho. Although I will say that if I was full of anger for what had happened I might be in the wrong frame of mind to do it. Just thinking out loud here. lol
Oh, I believe you HAVE to confront--calmly and from a place of love-- the raging person afterwards. In fact, I think that is really essential. Bipolar rage, in my very humble and limited opinion, results from some common sources--1) feeling out of control or impotent (in every sense of the word), 2) feeling misunderstood, 3) feeling judged by people who have not an ounce of empathy in their veins, 4) frustrations caused by med reactions, meds not working, side effects, a long wait to get the right med combo...[Think about it. A bipolar person wants to be stable, goes on meds, then...the OTHER rollercoaster happens. It must be totally demoralizing.] 5) feeling unable to articulate what s/he is feeling. But in my experience, my husband needed to hear me tell him what he said and did and how that affected me. He was not capable of processing how his rage was affecting other people. He was not being selfish or evil, he was just not capable at the moment. I was capable, and no lying to you guys, he did not take my input well at first and maybe I was insensitive and blunt, but we worked around all of that and I really really believe you have to tell your bipolar loved one what s/he did while in a rage, and how it affected the family. It is not easy, but it has to be done, in my opinion.
Post edited by: marriedtoit, at: 01/16/2011 10:36 PM
My husband hasn't raged yet. But if he does, I know I will have to discuss it with him afterward for me to be able to put it behind me.
01/17/2011 07:19 AM
Posts: 4891 VIP Member
I know what you're saying, married. I guess what I was saying is that I didn't tell him what he did was wrong, because that's the first thing he said to me. He knew he "f-ed up" in a big way. I didn't want to add insult to injury that way, but what I did do was point out the harm he caused to my daughter and ask him if he remembered what he said to her, multiple times. He couldn't remember, so I told him. I think in our case because he already hates himself so much, even before this even happened, it's better for us to discuss the rest of it at our counseling session. I feel more comfortable with that and I really don't know for sure what state of mind he's in after an episode like that. He is usually the one to debrief after these incidents, it's interesting to hear his take on what happened. He was telling the dr.'s that he took the 2 bottles of pills because "my wife and I were arguing". Huh. Pretty warped view of the sequence of events. Goes to show how his mind processes this, granted he was so groggy when he said this, he didn't even know what the questions were half the time when the dr.s were talking to him.
01/17/2011 11:06 AM
Posts: 11201 Group Leader
Wife, you know best how to handle him, and I think your idea of waiting till counseling is a great one. While I have always confronted my husband, I did not always do it the next day. Sometimes I waited weeks to do it, because I was not going to tell him how he had hurt me when he was in a depression. The things I bring up the next day tend to be words. So, here's something that happened two days ago. My husband was heading for bed and said "I love you" and I said "Well, except when I am a mega-bitch" (which he had called me that day because I wouldn't let him traipse through the house with his snowy boots on). "You know I didn't mean it," he says back. I said "You meant it at the time." He said "I'm sorry I was such an a$$hole." I think I do this as much for me as for him. I am worried that I might ignore a huge mood change if I don't ask him rather quickly about these nasty comments...and I don't want things to fester inside me, either.
01/17/2011 11:20 AM
Posts: 4891 VIP Member
That's good, married. "you meant it when you said it". I love that and I am using it next time (99% chance of that happening) I have heard the phrase "I didn't mean it" so many times that it has lost it's meaning. I've also heard "sorry I'm an a**hole", too. sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, etc., etc. etc. (sigh)
I'm all for not letting things fester! (that's my nature) It's been a real struggle for me to let things settle down for a while before I put my 2 cents in. But I have to say, it's a healthier way to be vs. letting things build up inside!
01/17/2011 10:21 PM
Posts: 11201 Group Leader
Wife, don't get jaded. I think you have to believe the apologies when they seem earnest. I think the nature of this disease is that people with it fairly often find themselves saying things that they wish they hadn't. The alternative is to live like a hermit, which is not good for most people, and would certainly be terrible for my husband.
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