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Are You Familiar With This?


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I am not bipolar. I do have a family member and a few friends who are as well as having worked with some folks who are, so I feel comfortable saying I am familiar with bipolar disorder. A friend of mine exhibits a behavior I have not seen before, and not sure how to move forward.

I'll begin without details, but if you have questions, I will answer them.

If my friend, "Lisa," has been verbally abusive toward someone and pays a consequence she doesn't like, she is no longer abusive toward that person but will continue to be with others. Her family and I have found that when we either suck it up / move along, or try to reason with her, when she behaves this way toward us, it makes "the moment" worse, so we do scratch our heads when another person has made her pay a consequence and she then continually treats that person with respect (no outbursts, insults, unnecessary responses, etc.). As a side note, one such person now walks all over her, which isn't right.

I am asking about this, yes, because I've never seen this before, but also because I just don't know what to do anymore. Any insight will help me (and perhaps her family) better understand why the dramatic flip when she pays what she sees as big enough consequence. We don't want to do anything severe, and even if we did, we have no idea of what would constitute a consequence. I'm really puzzled.

Thank you for any insight you might have.

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4 hours ago, Grace62 said:

so I feel comfortable saying I am familiar with bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is complicated collection of behaviors characterized by extreme highs and lows of emotional moods.  It juggles the delusional states of mania and depression, and  fosters the tragedies of both.

Like you say, the Lisa you describe doesn't sound bipolar.  She is abrasive to all the people all the time, except the one's who've called her on it.  That's "bullying" behavior.  Bullies often want to be pals after people stand up to them. 

It doesn't sound like your friend has been seen my a mental health professional.  A diagnosis would help hopefully.

Best to you, Bulgakov


Like you say,

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Well, your reply speaks to one of those details I didn't mention. (And yes, I'm aware BD is complicated, multifaceted, and often unique to the individual.)

A few years back, I began believing that she wasn't diagnosed with it--as she says she was. It was this very behavior that made me question her assertion. I came to believe that it's an "out: for disrespectful behavior, to put it mildly. I agree, this is part of the bully personality, and other aspects of her behavior also jive with this.

None in the family have verbalized doubt, but they do have been stumped by the "flip,"

Thank you for taking the time to reply. 

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Forgot to add a remark to having been seen by a professional: Many years ago, her husband sent her to a psychiatrist. She returned with the dx BP, placed on meds for anxiety. I've asked her about her dx and management tools, but she always said "I don't know" to everything. She was sent to a psychiatrist about 1987, and that was about it.

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