Am I Difficult to Love or Like?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I was diagnosed Bipolar II in 2007. My family and friends have had a hard time accepting this and most of my friends stopped talking to me and said I was faking it for attention and my mother told a family member that I could be different if I wanted to. I try so hard to be “normal” but sometimes it’s hard for me not to be overly anxious or very talkative.

When I’m around my family, I feel like they don’t like me very much and I don’t know if they love me anymore. Before my diagnosis and my “break down”, things were fine but after, things changed drastically. Even the way they speak to me has changed. There are times I feel anxious and I talk a lot and I try not to but my sister will admonish me in front of the entire family and tell me to calm down and stop cutting people off (my family is very boisterous and everyone speaks at the same time but she singles me out, even though every one is doing the same thing). My brother will shake his head and walk out on me and my father calls me a drama queen. I don’t know what to do anymore. I try to ignore it while I’m there because I don’t want to make a scene and ruin the evening but it makes me so sad and then later on, when I’ve had time to reflect, I get so angry and I want to cut them all out of my life. Last time I was there, I had such an awful time that once I got home, I had such an emotional melt down that affected me for hours just from the stress of the family get together. I don’t know what to do anymore and my family is one of those families that feels justified in their actions so no family therapy, no rational sit downs to tell them how I feel because they’ll turn it around on me and call me a “drama queen”. I know not all of this is because I’m bipolar II. I can usually recognize when I’m having issues but I get this treatment even on good days when I’m fine and quiet. Maybe it is me? Maybe I just don’t see it? I don’t know anymore but whatever the reason, being with my family makes me more miserable than any other time. Thanks for listening.

A: I am sorry you are having so much trouble with your family and friend relations. It was unclear from your email if you are in therapy and if you are being prescribed medicine for the bipolar II. If you are not in therapy and have not had a medication consultation I would strongly recommend finding a therapist and a psychiatrist who has experience in treating this condition. Being in the care of people who are trained to help can be an important step in coping with this.

On the good news side it sounds like you have some internal sense of when an episode is happening. This can give you options in dealing with your responses. I believe the strongest vehicle for learning what these options are is through group therapy. The find help tab at the top of this page can bring you to a person in your area that may be able to help. Often your local community mental health facility has an outpatient program where groups are available. In a group you will learn how to deal with your internal activation as well as how to come with feedback and confrontation from others. It can be a powerful source of support as you find your way.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 May 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Am I Difficult to Love or Like?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/12/am-i-difficult-to-love-or-like/