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At What Point Does Helping a Person Become Enabling a Person?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

It's a fine line between helping or enabling, and yesterday a month-long stressful period blew up even though I continued to be patient and calm. If a person isn't willing to do what is deemed to be in their best interest, well, sorry but I'm outta here with helping. It breaks my heart, and I'll still do a small something behind the scenes occasionally, but this has been 24/7 drama since 8/26 and I've begun getting physically ill over it.

If you have ever dealt with anyone bipolar, you know that you never know which person you are going to get. Or when they will disconnect from logic. There was just no talking to her yesterday, so she pulled everything I was storing out of here and is now homeless. So be it. My heart is so broken over the entire month and fear for her future. To protect identity, I've just referred to her as a family member. But this is a very close person and, again, my heart is so very broken.

But no matter how much I did (a lot), or gave (a lot), it would never have been enough to pull the situation through all that needs to be done. The bottom line is that if a person doesn't want to get mental help, that is really the foundation on which everything else rests. So, now I have to figure out how to live with this incredible sadness and fear for her future.

But, alas, friends... I know how to figure it out. And I will. In the meantime, there will be some tears and lots and lots of prayers (as always.) Wishing all a lovely day.

"I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you come home." Groucho Marx
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have a step-son and a nephew who are bipolar and paranoid. It's tough to know what the right thing to do is.

    The step-son has also been diagnosed as schizophrenic; I have never witnessed any evidence of that, although the extreme paranoia can make him seem like a different person (because he is normally very kind and sweet). My other step-son had planned to have his brother move in with him and his family, but they came to realize that they weren't skilled enough to deal with extreme acting-out, and they couldn't afford for the wife to resign from her job to physically stay at home to monitor the situation (not to mention lacking the requisite angelic evenness of temperament), nor could they take a chance with leaving him by himself at their house. After decades of living in State-provided group housing, in which a convicted felon was also placed, who drove the step-son to jump out of a window to escape, he is now fortunate to stay at a private "halfway" house, with structure and care; while staying there he dropped from 350 lbs. to a fit 170 lbs., and seems rather happy with the arrangement. The old question: "Are you paranoid if they really are out to get you?" The good news is that the step-son is now more capable of realizing when he needs to check into a hospital, and asks for an ambulance to transport him.

    The step-son would like to come live with us. We don't want to be imprisoned within our own home. That may sound cold. Maybe it's cold, maybe not. Most family visits are best limited to 3 days or less - that's my experience. When he comes to visit, he knows there are certain guidelines he needs to follow. We're old already.

    As for my nephew, I have no idea how he is doing. My brother has decided the less said about it, the better.

    Prayers all around. I don't have all the answers either, and I know the situation can be heartbreaking. These dilemmas are challenging. I have to take them to Him in prayer for guidance.
    7 days ago
    I have a brother in law who is bi-polar. Sets me crazy. No matter what you do they are never satisfied
    26 days ago
  • LSIG14
    My prayers are with you - and with your family member. I understand the pain you are going through, but it is not your job to fix someone else. You can only take care of yourself and let God handle the rest. You have done everything you could (and should!) Sending lots of hugs because I know how hard this is for you!
    26 days ago
    My daughter is bipolar. I have been seeing a counsellor for years trying to cope with it. My counsellor recomended a book, which I will now recommend to you. It helped me tremendously. (My daughter also has borderline personality disorder) Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder
    by Paul T. T. Mason MS (Author), Randi Kreger (Author) Even though it is not specifically about Bipolar, I think you will gain a lot if you can read it.
    The other thing the counsellor taught me is that it is the mental illness, not my daughter who is acting that way. She is not her diagnosis.
    Praying for you. emoticon
    26 days ago
    Have you done what you think is right to the best of your ability? Then let your mind be at peace.
    26 days ago
    Very tough situation. But you cannot help someone who does not want to accept the help. I had to walk away from a long term friend after repeated incidents of her going off her medication (she was schizophrenic, not bipolar). She became volatile and scary (on medication she was totally different)
    27 days ago
    Sorry that you are suffering Jesse. Please know that you tried your best
    and there's nothing more you can do. Just pray for that person.
    27 days ago
    you have done so much now you can only pray we all will too and maybe she will get strong enough to see the light and get help, mental illness we all deal with it and it is harder to deal with since covid my hugs and love
    27 days ago
    I also have bi-polar relatives, so I can relate. One keeps going off his meds because "everything is fine so they're not needed anymore." Then everyone else lives in fear until reality is faced once again. The promise is always to never quit the meds again, but the cycle remains.
    27 days ago
  • EISSA7
    Nothing...I repeat....nothing more that you can do! If an adult refuses mental health help, when they clearly need it, you are powerless to affect change....SO...Take care of you and mend your very broken heart. You certainly gave your very best effort to assist in this situation. emoticon
    27 days ago
    You have done your very best and at this point . . . that's all you CAN do while sustaining your own health. Not an easy decision but a very simple and clear decision: you KNOW.
    27 days ago
    GF. we can totally relate as we have a couple of relatives who are schizophrenics and 3 who are bi-polar. We don't deal with any of them any more and won't in the future. They sucked the life right out of us and made us both sick. We feel sorry for them but can't allow them to ruin our lives.
    27 days ago
    I understand a little what you are going through. An ex dil has that and it was very difficult to be around her.
    27 days ago
    What a horrible situation! I'm so sorry that she didn't accept your help in a productive way. It's hard to watch people you care about self-destruct, but very important to have those boundaries :/
    27 days ago
    Probably the hardest lesson I've ever had to learn - you can't help those who don't want help.
    Hugs, and prayers. You're not alone.

    27 days ago
    27 days ago
    ((((HUGS)))) You have done what you could, and then some. You cannot sacrifice your own health for someone else's, especially if they're not willing to do THEIR part in getting better.

    I am so sorry. Bi-polar is a very thing to deal with, for sure.

    Hugs and prayers.
    27 days ago
    Helping versus enabling is a tough question in many parts of life. I had to go the "tough love" route with my son. It brike my heart and was a terrible 6 months but he came out the other side a strong person and a wonderful son. I can only pray your outcome is as good.
    27 days ago
    I am Bipolar, and so is my boyfriend and some good friends. I have always been the kind of person to ask for help and to seek help when I need it, so I have never been in a situation in which I have been homeless because I have always had the resources I needed, either from my doctors or from my family. There have been rough times, of course, and my case is not as serious as others I know. I have never gotten psychotic, for instance, which I am eternally grateful for. My Bipolar manifests as mania, but mostly mild mania that is manageable through medication, counseling, and exercise. I of course do all three and have been find for many years now, though my meds are adjusted regularly to keep up with things. COVID has been a game changer and I have found myself more moody and irritable recently, which is one of the reasons I decided to go back to the office part time. I simply need the social stimulation and interaction. I am doing SO much better now a month later having made that choice. It is hard because I have a long commute, but I am always so happy at the end of the day on the days I work at the office. And that spreads over to the days I am not there. I will continue to pray for your family member that she will "wake up" and seek the help that she needs one day. That is all anyone can do at this point.
    27 days ago
  • 1BLAZER282005
    I feel your pain and prayers for you and the person needing mental health.
    27 days ago
  • READY201811
    I Know the pain! I allowed my son to live here for 9 years being abusive, destructive, mean and cruel because I was too afraid to allow him to pay the consequences. I had the Christian perspective if someone needs food feed them, shelter give it. The guilt of a mom, the shame of the illness and the list goes on.
    Since he’s moved I have not seen him for 3 weeks. He feels rejected and I’m dealing with that too. He can’t or won’t or doesn’t accept my love and it’s like a divorce. His girlfriend tells me how he’s not eating, how much weight he’s lost, and his severe depression and I cry, pray, get down in spirit, can’t sleep but I keep going. The pain, worry, and care is real!
    27 days ago
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