Growing Up With a Bipolar Mother: Childhood With a Mentally Ill Parent

Important Note

Recommended for people 18+  due to graphic & traumatic content!

It was Australia day, 1989 and I was 2 and a half years old when my father came home from work to find police cars surrounding the small cottage where we lived. My mother was sitting in the back seat of a police car and I was being rushed away in an ambulance.

I can still vaguely remember my mother sterilizing the knife in boiling water, then laying me on the sheepskin rug...putting my hands up in front of my face to stop the falling knife. My mother slit my throat from ear to ear and held me for 40 minutes as I bled. After awhile she realised what she'd done and called 000 - fortunately for me they didn't think she was a prank caller.

My mother was in her late twenties and this was her first psychotic episode. She was the oldest of seven children and had a history of mental illness and bipolar disorder in her family. This episode was going to start a long and complicated saga in our lives.

Do you no longer have contact with your mother because of a mental illness? Drop by and like Women Without Mothers.

My mother was rushed into a mental ward and I was to spend 3 months in a hospital and then live with a tracheostomy tube in my throat for a further 11 years. After a year my mother was discharged from hospital and came home to live with us. She was originally diagnosed with Schizophrenia and it would be years before she was re-diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She wasn't allowed to be alone with me at first, so by the time I was 6, we had built a house with a granny flat so we could live with my father's parents.

As a young child I didn't have much of an idea about what had happened - I remembered it and knew my mother took medication, but never really grasped what it meant. That was why it was such a shock when my mother had her second breakdown when I was 10 years old.

This time my mother didn't hurt me, but during our morning prayers and bible reading, she started talking about seeing an angel and tried to help me see the vision. At this stage I still looked up to my parents and believed they knew more than me - so I tried my best to go along with what she was saying, despite my confusion. But, after a little while, she began to scare me. I finally managed to ring my father who was working five hours away. He immediately realized what was happening and instructed me to go straight to my grandparents. My father drove straight home but by the time he got there, my mother appeared fine. It wasn't till years later that we realized this episode had begun her downward spiral.

Till the beginning of year 8, I had been homeschooled by my mother. By the time I got to year 6 and 7, she basically left it up to me, just handing me books and then returning to such occupations as the phone and spending money. My mother never held down a job during this time - except for a 3 month part time job at a nursery.

I've seen her more than once control a manic episode, easily fooling a doctor or someone she wants to impress before letting her bipolar disorder loose once she is in 'comfortable' surroundings.

By the time I was 13 I knew there was something wrong with my mother but was still too young and scared to figure out what it was. When I tried to tell people they labelled me as rebellious or told me that I was rude. My father was running his own business so often didn't see or hear all that my mother did.

When I was 13, we travelled to the other side of the country for my youngest uncle's wedding. I found out later that my mother had been talking to relatives while there about my father's 'abuse' of her. Within a week of returning home my mother told me to pack my bags so we could stay at a nearby family friend's house. Upon arrival I found another uncle that had driven a long way just to pick us up. I was upset and surprised when told that we'd be travelling back across the country. The adults kept telling me that my father was "volatile" and "like a volcano". No one asked me what I thought.

After a long drive - full of verbal abuse about my father - and then a plane ride, we were finally at my Nana's place. Of course my mother told stories of my abusive father and spent hours buying things, meeting new people and telling all sorts of lies. I tried to interject but my mother simply explained that I hadn't realized the full extent of my father's abuse.

Thanks to having a tracheostomy tube in my throat for 11 years, I developed the uncanny ability to talk without taking a breath in between sentences. (See video).

At this point I will say that my father wasn't completely innocent - he'd been running his own business and often came home late, tired and stressed. However my mother would often bait him and arguments erupted about things such as money, wearing pants (she believed that they were biblically considered cross dressing) or the fact that she'd spend all day out and then run home to do a quick clean (leaving my grandmother to sneak in and clean up after her). I think my father may have hit my mother once or twice but never hard - usually he'd break a plate or glass when she pushed him too hard. I remember her throwing things at him and shouting verbal abuse at him.

We spent more than a month at my Nana's house, my father frantic with worry. I was allowed to write to him but never to reveal where we were. During this time my mother was socialising all day, every day, and had at least one affair. Finally my Nana started to get worried and called my father. Once my father arrived I went to pieces - so glad that someone else realized how sick my mother was and that it wasn't all just in my head.

My father left a voice message on the phone and my mother must have heard it - she disappeared that evening wearing nothing but a tiny dress that barely covered her undies. The family spent hours looking for her and finally the police found her, taking a taxi to one of her various new boyfriend's houses. She yelled and screamed, claiming the right to be taken to the address she'd asked for in the taxi and threatening to sue the police and everyone else in sight.

My mother spent several weeks in hospital there and then we finally returned home. Before this episode, our house had almost been fully paid for - only $1000 left on the home loan. By the time we got home, between plane tickets, living costs and lost work time, we were $50,000 in debt. My father had had enough - within a few months I was enrolled for the first time in school and by the school holidays my parents announced their split. I was overjoyed.

Between then and now I've had various run ins with my mother - each time reinforcing the fact that she doesn't deserve my help or a relationship with me, since she isn't willing to get better or even take medication. At time of writing I haven't talked to her in nearly two years.

I have nothing against mentally ill people - I've suffered from depression myself - I do have something against people like my mother who cost both the public health system, friends, relatives and even helpful strangers thousands of dollars and invested emotions without a thank you or a sorry.

I still haven't reached a resolution - in fact I'm sure that as long as she lives my mother will always be somewhere in the background, ready to cause more trouble for me. But I can't hang around and wait for her to cause trouble or decide that she wants to get healthy again. There comes a point when it's no longer my responsibility as a child to care for a parent who won't help themselves. And I know she can - I've seen her more than once control a manic episode, easily fooling a doctor or someone she wants to impress before letting her bipolar disorder loose once she is in 'comfortable' surroundings.

Like a drug addict, my mother enjoys the rush, the lightning speed of her brain when she has a manic episode. If I don't like her I have learnt the hard way to warily respect her - during a high she can remember things no one else can, win any argument and convince anyone of anything.

I may not have come to terms with everything - but for now I just need to get on with my life - my work, family, university and hopefully one day, a book. To anyone out there who has stood years of abuse at the hands of a parent, sibling, child or lover, that's all I can say. There comes a point when you need to move on with your life, no matter how selfish you feel doing it.

Update, 2012: I have daughters of my own now, and it has made me question even more how she could do what she did. I am seeing a therapist who is helping me deal with PTSD symptoms and losing a mother because really, that's what's happened.

Comments 96 comments

Amotherswar 7 weeks ago

I would like to thank you for your story. My twin sons are bi polar and one of them refuse to speak to me. My heart aches and all I can say to him is that I love you. Although he is during better...not longer on the street going from state to state. His bio-father makes sure he gets the help he needs. My prayers are with you and all people who suffers with mental illness and their families.

HELP ME 7 weeks ago

I live with controlling neglecting parents who was never loved by there parents and the cycle is continuing.

troubled daughter 7 weeks ago

Talk about bi polar both of my so called parents is bi polar one is veteran and the other is a bi-polar stick it from all her bad shit that happen in 1944.I have never had a normal relationship with them except them controlling everything and then buying me things to cover it all up I went to a counsler to seek help lord knows I don't want to be like this but I just wish everyone would see it from my point of view . I could tell you some stories I mean STORIES man and strange one that don't make sense and in my gut I know its so wrong but I have no one to tell they have made me look like a bad person to all my friends and every single day they are always yelling at me for something now yes they put a roof over my head but I have to pay them back from SSI we are all on SSI and the sad part is that's not even a stable income I wish I could explain to where its not blah blah blah but you have no idea what I go thur I cant write it all down.

un-normal 7 weeks ago

my mother is bi polar and I am to my wits with it every single day she goes and starts drama because of what her mom did to her way back in 1933 and she wont get help her coping skills is pills and making my LIFE a living hell and my quote unquote father is a loose cannon to I"m for real loosing my hope on my own family!! and the sad part they have NO SHAME!!

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Jacky Blue 5 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

I have Bipolar I. Made the decision to have a tubal ligation at age 27. My own illness, i grabbed the bull by the horns at 25 and have aggressively stuck to my mess and a healthy lifestyle with minimal problems. My brother took his life when I was 21 from this disease. I am now forty and mourning the loss of not having kids. My dad died in December and only now realize my mom has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the inconsistencies and instabilities of my upbringing were correlated to that more than budding mood disorder. Since Duke died, he is not here to run interference and she's been fucking vicious especially to me Cuz I am her only child and easiest target but she's burned bridges with family members and friends ships of 5 decades. I'm not sure if I can feel sympathy for her now. That's not like me. ....i can't imagine what some of you have endured with unmedicated, uncontrolled bipolar mamas. I'm so sorry.

Karla Rebecca Campos 12 months ago

Hi there,

I just wanted to thank you for sharing this with the world. I'm 30 years old and my mom was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 7. These 23 years have been hard on me. Your story is almost (if not) identical to mine and I find it comforting to see that I'm not alone in the world. Someone else is able to understand and put into words exactly the way I feel.

My mom also refuses to take medication and she is getting worse and worse. I've started to show symptoms of PTSD myself and last year I had to get a sick leave from work because I just couldn't handle it anymore (I'm a school coordinator - can you imagine having to deal with teacher, students, parents and my own mind?).

I really wish I could move on and not care anymore. Everytime I think I'm being successful at moving on, my mom gets sick on purpose to call my attention and reaches to me again. She uses the emotional part of being a mom to try and get me back before another episode of abuse. It's been a vicious cycle.

I feel so hopeless at times, especially because I'm an only child and I know that if I walk out on her she'll have NO ONE to look after her. She can't deal with money, food or anything. And I can't feel anything but guilt.

I know I need a life of my own and right now I can't see a way out.

Thank you for sharing your story! It's nice to know we're not alone in this world.

pain 16 months ago

I'm sad that you've gone through what you did. My other comment is that I disagree on your point of view about mental illness and the "help" that you and others think is readily available for these types of illnesses. I myself have many different mental problems and trying to find a psychiatrist that actually wants to get to the root of problems is few and far between. I have lived in many different states and have seen countless amounts of psychiatrists and the majority of them spend maybe 10~12 minutes of their time with you and hand you many different prescriptions and send you on your way. The way that people with mental illnesses are treated is actually quite terrifying. If we were treated in the same respect as someone with cancer imagine all of difference that could make for the millions of us. We are not being taken care of properly and when something takes a turn for the worse then we are labeled as monsters who didn't do what we should have been doing to get "better". Until the medical professionals start seeing us as a"sick person" and take the time to actually diagnose us properly and stop handing out scripts like tic tacs, and trust me I hate to say this, but we really have no hope for ourselves. Imagine a "normal" person feeling these feelings. Now imagine a mentally ill person knowing this is their really.

Amelia 2 years ago

I am 15 years old, and my mother is also bipolar. These past couple weeks, she has been at an ultimate low, taking most of her anger out on me, my older brother, and my father. She looks for comfort and reassurance that she is not wrong in any way possible, most often with my three younger brothers, who are still too young to understand her disorder. The other day she both physically and verbally abused me. I went to my father, but he insists that I just take it, simply because she is my mother and that I love her. But the problem is, I can't even say that I love her anymore, she has hurt me too much. I love and respect my dad so much for still being able to handle my mother after 20 years of marriage, but nothing hurts me more than to see how she is breaking him. I don't want to see her do the same thing to my beautifully innocent younger brothers. I know exactly what you mean when you talked about your daughters. I love my brothers so much, I don't understand how someone could be so horrible, despite her condition. I know she can handle it too, seeing how she can easily manipulate her doctors and any of her friends to believe that she is perfectly fine. She even convinced one of my best friends, who also has a bipolar mother. I turn 16 in two days, and she hasn't even pretended to care. I also started my first day of junior year of high school on Thursday, and what did she do that morning? She yelled at me for "poisoning the minds of my brothers into believing she is crazy" and threw me into my bedroom wall. It is comforting to know that others have a similar problem to mine, but I don't know how much longer I can bite my tongue. Is there any advice you can give me?

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WryLilt 2 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Hi Bill,

I am in Australia so I can't help with the legal side. However here, once a child reaches an age where they can refuse to see a parent, their decision is taken into account. Does she have a say?

Bill 2 years ago

I sm the granddad of a 12 yr old girl & she is verbally harrassed &sworn at constantly by her mum. No dad in the picture. Just my wife & me. It would be so much better of we just had custody. Have been to an attorney who says there's nothing we can do. Any suggestions? Thanks. Bill

SandCastles 2 years ago

WryLilt, I'm so sorry that your mother did those things to you. In my opinion, I think it is best to stay away from your mother. She's crossed the line too many times. I don't think it is safe for you. Just because she is your mother does not mean she owns you. I think if you don't get on with your life, it will affect how you cope in the world. The memories will come crashing back and so will the anger and rage that is often pent up, drowned out by a person's sense of duty, guilt, and confusion. It could affect your relationship with your daughter and I don't think your mother should come between you and your daughter. And if she isn't safe for you, she isn't safe for your daughter either. I would move on and I would steer clear of wishful thinking. I do not think you are abandoning your mother; you are saving yourself and you are being a mamma bear and are protecting your daughter. Take care.

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Sulabha 2 years ago from Indore, India

My father always said, " Truth is stranger than fiction!" Today, I realize it's the ultimate truth.

But one thing , I wish to ask God - why are such people made? There are weeds around, but they remain weeds. Then why don't these abnormal people remain insignificant too?

tsmog profile image

tsmog 2 years ago from Escondido, CA

Good for you. Sad for your mom. Life is tough? Compassion is tough too? I understand, really I do. Science says without a doubt and is proven that when a coin of two sides is flipped it is always 50/50 to be one side or the other. The question is at times if the same face is on both sides. What then? My hope is you do discover healing and you do deserve to have that. I mean that from my heart and with sincerity. And, you do know whom I am.


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NateB11 2 years ago from California, United States of America

This piece truly hit home for me. My mother is not, never has been, sane. She was treated for depression, but I'm certain she's always had more than that, some other kind of disorder; she's delusional and abusive. You are right, it eats at you to have a parent like this. And many people around you either don't know what to do about it or are in denial. A parent with a mental illness causes much pain and anguish for the people they are entrusted to give care.

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WryLilt 2 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Thank you for your story, Venus. The guilt is certainly one of the hardest parts of dealing with these kind awful illnesses that impact our lives in so many ways.

Venus 2 years ago

Please don't mind my misspells or bad grammar I am dyslexic, preggo, and emotional all at the same time. Lol. I have been at a cross roads for the last year. Not until my 20s did my mother finally get a medical diagnoses. Until then I just claimed her issues with the toxic abusive relationship that she had with my stepfather as the reason for her moods. From when I was young (before my stepfather) I can always remember my mother always calling me mean things. From the age of 3-5yr. Dumb stupid she should have gotten an abortion etc. when I turned 5 she meet my stepfather (the man I call my father). He took me in as his own and helped raise me. My father was born in A very small town in Puerto Rico. Not very educated but always seemed to always know more then the a doctor. Lol. For the next 18yrs my life was a yoyo ride. My parents would be in love then they would fight to the death. As the abuse got stronger between so did my mom. She would be happy one min then the next she would be calling me a slut a bitch a ho and I would get beat for whatever the reasons where. I was my moms right hand. My sister was born when I was 7 and my brother was born when I was 12. I took care of them both and when my mother would start having her moments I would jump in and take all the verbal and physical abuse for them. I would but them in a bedroom to play and I would take the abuse. I would have to also jump in when my mother and father where fighting because if I didn't I would get it from my mom later for not defending her. Even with my crazy home and my learning issues I managed to Finnish high school and graduate college. I really had no choice as it was my job to prove to all that my mother made the right choice to keep me and not abort me. My last yr in college I choice to live on campus (I paid for school 100% myself). I knew by leaving my bro and sis would be alone and my mom and dad would not have me jumping in. My first month gone my parents got into the biggest fight yet. My dad beat my mom and left her with no hair and my mom got a knife to kill him. My father left for ever and mom for the first time got help. They gave her meds and a diagnosis of bipolar. For the first time I knew what was wrong. And for the first time mom was "normal". It was the best time of my life. And I believe for my bro and sister. As my mother meet a new wonderful man who would take them on trip and he was not from a violent home. But that was short lived. After my mom remarried she stopped her meds and she went back way down. Now my mother has become the abuser as her husband would not and had not hit her. I am 35ys and six ago my mother and I got into an argument that resulted in her hitting me. I made a choice to walk away but now that I'm preggo it has been hard I feel this guilt. We did have good times but for one good day ten more where ahead. I know the best thing for my growing family is to not have her in my life. It's almost like accepting a death of someone without seeing or saying goodbye to a body. I didn't look back at what I wrote as it was hard to write and I never shared my story with anyone. Sorry once again for the misspells and grammar.

alexa 3 years ago

im sorry i got to emotional but thank you for your personal story i can easily and sadly sad its almost identical to mine but the abuse wasn't just ith my fater it was multiple family members even my grandmother and actually landed people in jail and now i have a juvenille record because she taints this image of me just as an ver rebellious disrespectful child and all im trying to d is let people know what's really going on in my home but yet she some how has convinced them that im the " crazy one" and i have the problem and they're giving me all the psych evaluations ans honstly its just so much ive been to over 30 different schools in my life because when people finally get to see who my mothr really is she wants to up and move weve left our own homes just to go live in shelters because my mom convinced them we had nowhere to live or she was being abused and soght after my some old boyfrind just numerous amounts of unstableness i can describe its just s deppressing and yes i do have deppression but its really just getting worse like i can understand adults can get away but when your a minor and your parent is bi olar its their word against your in amerca and 9 times out of 10 theya are always right to officers or officials and judges like i cant just leave i would be considered a runaway and i would look like i fit the description of a eebel child and yes ive tied getting social services inolved but she has shredded the images of all of our family member on accusations of drug abuse sexual abuse physical abuse no one wants to get involved because unaturally they are afraid of her and what she will do or say about htem and when i say shes so good they will easily believe her anyday its just so over whelming i jjust don't no what to do where to turnim completely lost and about to give up hope on life.

alexa 3 years ago

i would personally love to thank you im 17 and my mom was diagnosed bi polar when i was about in the 6th grade but i always knew i guess to sum it all up that my mom was different (beware i have no one else that understand my moms condition the way i feel you do so i just want to tell you my life story) ok since as far back as i can remember my mom has told mei i was produced by a sexual assault from my dad when she was sixteen mind you these are my parents but my mom has been a single parent as far as i know not by choice also i would like to include that i am the oldest of 7 children with four different fathers but any way my dada denies the whole fact that he assaulted my mom and as far as i know the courst didn't believe her either because he never served jail time for it when the case was presented before thembut any way i feel this story was just all made up you see my moter despite her educational flaw of not graduating highschool and not a day of college under her belt she is very intelligent not just because shes my mommany high class people have just had conversations with her and was just so surprised and awwedin amazementso it would be perfect for me to say that my mom can leave an astonishing for impression and she would hardly ever come of that

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WryLilt 3 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Just Giving Up at 33 yrs old - Thank you for your comment. That was my goal - if I can just help one person realise it's NOT their fault and that they need to look after themselves too...

Motherless - Great to hear. If she isn't willing to get treatment then you don't owe her anything.

Sarah - I discussed everything with my husband before having children. Because of growing up with my mother, I'm always very careful to monitor myself too, and often overreact to completely normal things. If I notice any kind of emotional change I'm quick to jump on it.

Kierstin Gunsberg - I agree. I'm working on a site at the moment (link near the top of the article.)

Just Giving Up at 33 yrs old 3 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. As I write this I am on the brink of tears. I, too, have a mother who is bipolar. She is also an addict. She recently attempted to kill herself and called me in the process to tell me that I was the reason why she was doing it! I've been so hurt over this and everything over the past 33 years. I made the decision to go a separate way. I never knew this site existed but am so so glad I stumbled upon it. I can't say think you enough. Just to know that there are ppl out there that have the same issues and feelings as me. I hope your life continues to treat you well.

Motherless 3 years ago

After reading your story it has given me the courage to say goodbye to my bipolar mother. I realize now it is best to move forward and eliminate the toxicity in my life which is her. I' ve tried to numerous times to get her the care she needs but she refuses to comply. She's very mean, selfish and a liar. I now know that I have to stop living my life for her and start living it for myself.

Sarah 3 years ago

You are truly an amazing person. My mother is bi-polar but shes never tried to harm my sister and I *directly*. My father and his house is another story. She's done so many things that...well, here's an example:

Around 11:30 pm sometime in January 2013 on a Thursday night(you'd think I'd remember and I don't quite remember the exact order at them end but I'm close), my fathers house; I was downstairs watching something on my laptop when I heard a large CRASH at the side of the house. It happaned again and thinking someone was trying to break-in I ran upstairs(leaving my precious laptop behind)and was met by my sister who was still awake. After my dad had woken up and had left his room to (sleepily) meet us by the stairs, the front room window shatered like someone had thrown a rock or a brick at it. My dad then walked halfway down the stairs to look outside and said, 'It's your mom.' and I felt relieved. Relieved that it wasn't some stranger trying to kill us but my crazy mother doing something crazy again. My mother then got back into her car and drove away like a bat out of hell. Dad called the cops to report her and it turned out that they had just arrested her. Apparently she was drunk and so I'm guessing she drove like 'a bat out of hell' all the way to dads place and that's why the cops acted so fast. What had happened was that my mom got drunk, drove to my dads house and WHILE we were inside(before she always tried to do things that(she thought)my sister and I wouldn't *see*)drove her car into the garage door. Got out and with one of those huge shovels shamshed the window and hit the wall leaving a dent and then got back in her car and drove away.

After telling the cops what happened and showing them the damage one of them commented how surprised he was that we were all so calm.

It may have been the fact that it was around 1-2 am in the morning and that the person responcible was in police custity but imagine what must have happened in the past for us to be so blasé about the whole thing. But I like to look at the brighter side of things. Such as 1) the garage door would stop working ever now and again and due to lazyness on our own part we had never cleaned that window so it was pretty dirty so thanks to my mother destroying them the insurance paid for new ones and put in a new curtin for it(I didn't like the old one); 2)Since she left that dent in the wall outside so the insurance also paid for a new outside coat of paint and re-painted the front room which was great since when mom lived still lived there she had painted some of the walls red which did NOT go with the rest of the house(just your typical going-through-mania bi-polar parent surprising you when you get home from school 'event'); 3)She spent a week in jail away from us; and the best one 4) One of the cops commenting that the life-size cardboard cutout of Louis from OneDirection I had bought my sister for x-mas and placed next to the front door kept freaking him out whenever he had to go through the door(it looks very realistic and it wasn't the first time I've heard that XD).

Wow, this is long. Didn't mean it too. Anyway...I can't find the right words but...I'm surprised/confused/wondering how/amazed (but still happy for you) that you had kids. I'm not quite sure(would love to) but I don't think I'm going to have kids or get married since I don't want to put anyone through what I've been and since my mother's first depression happened when she was 30 and mania at 37 it would occure after I've gotten 'my life' together. I don't want to put my future kids through that or lose a (potentially)great guy. Not to mention there's a chance that while might not get it my kids would and I don't know how I would deal with that(I'm a sensitive person). But it seems that you've but that behind you and I congratulate you and wish you the best of luck in everything. And I'll add a hug because hugs are great and everyone could use one.

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Kierstin Gunsberg 3 years ago

Oh my gosh. Everything you said...thank you. I actually just wrote a hub about my own eperiences with bipolar disorder. I grew up with a bipolar father and I so sympathize and understand the focused hatred you have received from your mother. Just tonight, as heavily (AND I MEAN HEAVILY) medicated as my dad is, he spent the evening chastizing and swearing at me me about dishes (whaa?) and the church I go to. I'm so sorry for your experiences, especially that first one you mention. I wish I could give you a hug. I think it's time us kids of bipolar parents start a movement for the wholeness and healing of the children.

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busillis22 3 years ago

Thank you so very much for your vulnerable honesty. It is so important for people to hear about real struggles in their families so they can find something to identify with and begin to seek clarity and peace. It is very courageous of you to write this all out.

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WryLilt 3 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Hello ME,

I hope you find the solution that's right for YOU, not for anyone else. I know how hard that can be.

ME 3 years ago

Simply devastating:( Yet your final statement gave me hope... I am a 42 year old strong, talented, independent woman (that feels like an 8 year old miserably stressed out, depressed, scared, guilty child) when I am around my bipolar mother. As I read all of these comments, I feel a sense of validation that it is not me that has been the problem in our mother-daughter relationship all of these years, it is, was and always has been her & her illness.

My mother was diagnosed with bipolar, paranoia & a whole gamut of other mental disorders about 18 years ago after a psychotic breakdown... but if you ask me or my brother, we could tell you she was "crazy" our whole lives. Amazingly enough, she could turn it on & off with the drop of a hat the minute anyone else was around especially my father. The poor guy killed himself working 6 days a week to provide for us & my mothers out of control spending. So the minute he walked through the door, she was a completely different person, like June Cleaver or something! If i were in my room crying because of some verbal lashing i had just gotten from my mother, he would ask her what was wrong with me when he got home & she would lie & brush it off as if something happened with school or a neighbor kid. I didn't dare tell him what she was like because she would threaten me & manipulate me into believing that he would never believe me over her. As I look back, it was like she had these super powers of manipulation over everyone. She could make anyone do exactly what she wanted, one way or another. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my brother whom was 4 years older was just a silent witness to all of the mental abuse i endured. Years later he said he was sorry for not defending me, but that he was just as afraid of becoming her victim as i was, so instead he would just console me quietly after it would happen. i don't blame him. He was actually not as tough of a character as i was. i think i got it the worse because she hated the fact that i was so close with my dad. He was my everything. As i got older friends would coment that she actually seemed jealous of me when i was around my father. Crazy, right? If we were all together & my dad & i would be talking, She would say things like "You think your father is just so perfect , don't you?' or to him "Why is it that you are so good to your daughter?" what kind of a mother says things like that??? Yet she never minded when he would spend time or be close to my brother... In short, my mother was kind to the outside world if they did what she wanted for her but what i got behind closed doors was a mean, nasty,mentally abusive, sneaky, manipulative, self centered mother that had no regard for my thoughts or feelings. And unfortunately, my father through the years realized all of this on his own once i moved 1500 miles away because i couldn't take it anymore. (I just didn't like who i was when i was around her). My brother moved 1500 miles away as well. So thats when my father met the REAL woman he married.. with me not around to abuse anymore, she had to pick a new target & he was it. Through the years he lost his zest for life & only because he took his vows so seriously did he stay with her and basically "contained" her illness so that she could live as normal a life without being committed. She tried numerous attempts of suicide, was an alcoholic, spent $ like it was water & so on & so on... Until one day less than 2 years ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. With only a 1-2 year prognosis of life, i flew home once a month to tend to him throughout his chemo treatments. I don't regret a single second of the time i gave to caring for him. While i was there i would witness the lack of compassion & shear cruelty my mother displayed towards my ailing father & it sickened my. My father only lasted less than a year.. I cry & miss him everyday. He was to me, my father & my mother because he is the only parent i felt connected to.

Now you would think that that would be enough for someone to deal with but no... My mother showed no remorse for his death, instead it festered into a complete psychotic breakdown & she was hospitalized 3 times within 3 months of which i had to tend to her & leave behind my husband & job. Upon conclusion, the hospital would not release her unless she was to go to an assisted living facility because she needed to be medically managed. So my brother & i moved her to the town we live & believe it or not, she is at it again, but this time she's doing it to both of us. Our spouses are beside themselves with what a toll she has taken on both of us in such a short time.. it is ruining our lives . But after reading that one sentence,"There comes a point when you need to move on with your life, no matter how selfish you feel doing it", i finally see a light at the end of this tunnel... Its a choice i have to make. I can either circum to her manipulation & give in to feelings of guilt & anger, or i can choose ME.

Thank you all for helping me see the light:)

BlueSkye profile image

BlueSkye 4 years ago

Thanks for this post! My bipolar daughter just had twins. Needless to say, I'm very concerned. My admiration to you for sharing your story. xoxo

allaboutmy3 4 years ago

To the posters that told their stories I commend you. As an adult who also has a bipolar mother, and now is a Mom of three very little children , I relate so much to your experiences. In fact I found this blog because I googled "living with a bipolar parent" after yet another disappointment and hurt when my Mom came off her high today and failed to show up to visit my sick 7 year old in the hospital.

Monday she was my best friend (heck she was everyones and I mean EVERYONE!) and would have swam through shark infested waters for me, today could not even talk 5 minutes on the phone when I asked for an explanation of why did she not show up to visit her granddaughter. Thank goodness I have learned as a Mom-I don't tell my kids what is happening until it happens! But sick or not, if she doesn't want to take meds to behave normally, I will call her to accountability for her actions!

What is the saying "Kick me once shame one you, kick me twice shame on ME!" Why did I let it make me cry tonight. like duuuuh. I am searching to mature to a place where I quite getting my hopes up and I quite getting disappointed. I am a sloooooow learner I guess!

I so respect some of your choices to put boundaries in your relationships with your ill parents. That is good for you and also is their only hope. I am praying for clarity on where mine need to be with my Mom. The grandma factor makes it extra complicated.

I am on a journey as I raise the 3 little precious and amazing souls God let me borrow for the time I get the privilege of being their Momon this earth. They are my saving grace.

Open Houses do sometimes remind me of the ones no one came to for me though, and how nobody stood in awe of my pasty glittery art on the wall at school. Sometimes something like kissing a boo boo and giving a hug to my kids to make the owie go away causes a memory I have of being little and hurt and "Mom in bed sick" or back in the hospital after yet another suicide attempt come rushing back.

BUT-sounds like a lot of you have made the same choice I am trying to make daily, if you stole my childhood you WILL not steal my future and this is my chance with my family and no one is worth missing that for! Not if they wont fight for themselves and for their own well being. Not "her", not your Mom, not my alcoholic Dad who even with cirrosis wont quite after 40 years of drinking!

I pray you all stay on a path of peace. I have been on the path of BITTERNESS and I have been on the path of resolve. Both are hard, but they only deserve one of them if they refuse to get well.

Nonnie 1 4 years ago

I have custody of my 5year old granddaughterbecause at 6weeks her mother [who was main-lining crack] brought her to me and said she didn't want her, my daughter is bypolar, and has been for many years, I would get on meds, she would run away, this started at 13, it was back and forth for many years, I would get her on meds, she would run away, finally she stayed gone for almost a year, I found her in a crack house, I gave up, then she called me @21 and said she was pregnant could she come home, of course I said yes, she was fine until the baby was 6 weeks old, I noticed a big change in her and started keeping the baby in my room at nite, then she left after 1 year I got custody, but would let her see her at the house, now she be gone a year, no more, when the baby gets old enough I will let her see her only if she wants to but right now all she does is cause her pain, if I'm wrong then so be it! but my daughter is so selfish she doesn't realize she hurts this little girl every time she comes and then disappears. This has gone on for 5 years, and we have tried to help her over and over, we keep her on our insurance just so she can get help but she won't. Now she has a 3 year old that the daddy has, I just pray she has no more, she won't be around long enough to raise then.

cr 4 years ago

for years i suspected my mom was has worsened with advanced age and is almost impossible to deal with.Ive recently become unemployed and mom asked me to come live with her and dad. I had great reservations for i knew what "eggshell" existence this would be and it is,sorry to say. the worst of this is my brothers cant put lable on this.since ive been here its been unbelievable how worst she has become.she constantly rants and raves about me to my brothers and how sorry of a daughter iam.she verbally and physically attacks me.ive never raised my hand to my mother those who feel at a loss ,i feel you.threr is nothing i can do but leave as soon as i can for my own sanity.i could go on and on except i have to MOVE on before i become a total basket case.

Anonymous 4 years ago

And to this posters mom... my heart is with you but you slashed your child... and you are posting all about you. You're irrelevant unfortunately.

Anonymous 4 years ago

Wow Ican't believe your mom is actually posting on here... she sounds just like my mom... wow...

graceomalley profile image

graceomalley 4 years ago

I also grew up with a bipolar mother. I commend you on being such a thoughtful and caring mother yourself - breaking new ground, being something you had no role model for.

lindalou1963 profile image

lindalou1963 4 years ago from Texas

WOW, what an amazing story! I admire you for being so strong and for living your life as a survivor and not as a victim. Stay strong!

tzar markus 4 years ago

im 17. my mother has had many breakdowns. im the only child and honsetly ive saved her live so many times from herself. i understand bipolar. and i love my mother to death. im scared to move out now that i have my inheretence. i don't want her in the hospital. but it would be the best for her. she is on disability cuz she cant hold down a job and she has already tried to go back to skool and she dropped that too. she has a husband that i have never trusted sense they married.. ik many secrets in this family that i cannot tell. not that im afraid to get hurt. but cuz im afraid my mother will go balisctic. im not here to ask for help. im just here to say bad things happen to good people. i have now develeped a fear of having relationships with people. due to the fact that im scared that i will not have the power to save them from watever there curuption is.

haleyhaleyx 4 years ago

I am dealing with the same problems you did as a child. Very well written and you are very brave for sharing this! Could you help me out on my own story? thank you! xx

Geraldine 2 4 years ago

I'm the mother of the daughter who has been maligned, visciously hurt and incredibly insensitive and wanting revenge. How do I go about it - because I'm so with this daughter's article - I'm against people with mental illness too... Can we possibly write together? I change my name just like my daughter - so much alike and yet so far apart... One Day (And she will see what is Truth)

Geraldine 4 years ago

I was privy to some old comments - while I am a little against Mental Illness per sau - I do have a Question - which I deem important to others.

DLAndL 4 years ago

Please take down your rubbishy many times do I have to tell you? If it's a medical reason - go and put it on medical files... If it's money... Ask someone to give you a $1,000 and you will have a smile on your face for once... Why don't you smile child... you've got lots of reasons getting your "stuff" out in the open world... So what - who cares - get over it... Your 26 years old -- move on and leave the crap in the past where it belongs... Stop having a Pity Party all the time... you've had your pit and compassion - so fix the account up...or do you want to go and drag it out and put more stuff that's will make others feel sad for you... I'm a mothre not a hanky... hurry up.. I'm Impatient.. Now do you want me to do the crazy toppo version so others will feel sorry more for you? Publish I dare You..! just somethings your mother says to You...Scaredy cat alright...Afriad to have a low class mother.. I'm actually in a class of my just don't realise it... Run away and change yoru name again... But bloody... stop the crap... you were bought up better than that... to be caring of others and not to have have prejudice all in you and over you... Tooo scared to publish... no journalist worth their salt is ever matter what!

survivoroflife 4 years ago

My mother is bi-polar and currently mad at me again. She makes life hell when she is mad at you...she will tell you off and call everyone you know and tell them all about it your boss and try and get you fired. I will probably be bi=polar as well, but for now I have PTSD and cry all the time, especially after speaking with my mom. It's been 2 days so far this time and I just cant understand how a mother can behave this way to their daughter. She is in her 70's and I'm in my 40's.

Deborah 4 years ago

I am your Mother. Nothing I did was to be accusing - you took it that way. I am no longer able to hold a job in any industry, No one will have me because of your accusations whether in child or aged industries. For that I must thank you. I believe that without prejudice is what I taught you in an honourable way. Please understand I do swear when I am provoked and you daughter have provoked me more than most. Your legitimite claims are seen through less than rosy blue rimmed glasses. May your refrain be - "Fantastic - I wrecked my Mother's life - like she wrecked me and mine..." And then if you think you are really switched on - please be aware your account keeping sucks - you really have not done justice to your education. I gave you six months of choosing any book in the library once you were 13. I said you were now old enough to make your own judgements. Well it seems someone did not carry on my principle and I am ashamed that it was your Father. --- (more)

Chortle profile image

Chortle 4 years ago

I really identify with Luna's scenario with her mother. Ever since my mom quit her job when me and my twin brother were 10 years old (currently am 21), she has not been the same. She quit her job because of back pain and was able to receive Disability from it; however, she also received various assortments of pain medication which she soon became addicted to. Countless nights I can recall her going outside to chain smoke cigarettes. I would go out to check on her before I went to bed or would find her asleep outside in the morning. Sometimes she would even fall out of the chair... onto the hard concrete patio. She spends money that she does not have and is the only parent I know that asks her children for money.. even though I am between jobs and in college.. i can't afford to give her money anymore and she burst into rage when I tell her "no". We have lived with my grandmother since my parents got divorced when I was 6 and it doesn't help that my grandmother enables her to do whatever she pleases. I feel bad for my mom and my grandmother. My grandmother knows there is no helping no matter how much she tries, and my mom is depressed all the time and does nothing to change it but instead hinders her progression to happiness. Me and my brother were stuck in the middle.. until my brother moved out with his boyfriend one year ago. I feel like I live in an insane asylum. I mostly stay in my room simply because every trip that involves seeing or talking with my mother or grandmother results in conflict. It is simply easier to stay hidden than watch my grandmother be walked on by her daughter and to watch my "mother" take advantage of everyone she can. Moving out is currently my number one priority. Thanks for your posts, they really encourage me to move on with my own life.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Thanks for the comment Peter. I was recently shocked to find out my mother had been given a foster child. I don't know what types of checks they do, but they aren't very good.

Peter 4 years ago


I have read most of the comments above and can honestly say that I experienced most of the same issues. My mother was bi-polar but the biggest joke of all was. Some silly bastard allowed her to adopt me as a six week old baby because they thought responsibility for a child might help her. What a shit life that gave me, I was 44 before she died and only found out the trust after almost a lifetime of lies and abuse. Since she died my life has become my own and I have never looked back. Bi-polar people shoud not be allowed near kids.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Artattack, think about what could happen if the daughter takes a dislike to you or feels threatened by you for any reason?

artattack 4 years ago

What about dating someone who enables a bipolar daughter who won't take her meds. When he asked her to she threw her cell phone across the room and broke it. she is violent. He is wonderful but he enables her. I think he both loves and is afraid of her.

He is serious about me but he seems tied to her 24 - 7. I am afraid of her too. She is also demanding.

bipolar too 4 years ago

Hi Wrylilt,

Thanks for sharing. Her mental state isn't your responsibility. It is your mom's. I understand how she has much difficulty dealing with being bi-polar. I have bi-polar 2 myself. It is a long and hard road with no end in sight sometimes. But then I do think it is unfair to compromise other family member's happiness for the sake of my mental stability. Especially since you are prone to depression yourself and her mental state is obviously very dangerous to people around her. Please do what you can to create an environment where you can feel loved and grow beautifully. I am sure she wants to see you do well deep in her heart. Her situation is best left in the care of mental health professionals in a full time mental care facility. This is to prevent her from harming herself and others. YOU MUST MOVE ON or it will mean a vicious cycle and more people affected. Set your boundaries with her and stick to them. Good luck....and look forward to the book.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author


There is no rhyme or reason why a severely sick bipolar person chooses a person to fixate their hate on. In my mother's case it was always the nearest people.

It is not your fault and you can never live your own life or help your children unless you get out - you know it's never going to change. You need to realise that it's not your fault and not your guilt to bear.

Mz..T 4 years ago

I am now 30 years old. My mom was diagnosed bipolar right after my brother was born, he is now 18. She stayed in mental hospitals. I raised my brothers at the age of 12. I became pregnant at 16 and my mom almost made me lose my daughter several times. She made me walk 5 blocks to an aunts house because she kicked me out of a moving car and i was 8 months pregnant on bed rest. i forgave her. When my daughter was 4 months old she tried slitting her wrist and threw furniture. At 19 i had to bail her out of jail for disruptn my dad at work because she caught him cheating. She was high when i got her putting our lives in danger by trying to jump from a moving car. There has.been hostilty towards me my whole life.She blames me for all and i don't know why when i am always there for her. I live with her currently with my 13 and 3 year old. She recently punched and.beat me and kicked me out even though i do all house work and cooking. my question is why does she pick me to be angrybtowards. she is 46 and had me at 16, she married my dad. i have depression but i don't want to be like her and my siblings are like her. mean, violent and all. please help

Escobana profile image

Escobana 4 years ago from Valencia

Dear Wrylilt,

What a strong person you are! And how sad it is when people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, don't see the importance of getting treated for it as soon as possible.

Being Bipolar myself I have to admit it can take quite some time to accept the illness, find the right treatment and get lucky with the right medication.

I'm living a very stable life for years now and decided for sterilization at the age of 30. I had been through such damaging episodes, that I didn't dare to have children and have them exposed to future episodes and trauma's because of it.

As a Bipolar woman I agree very much that it's once own responsibility, to get yourself treated and make your life and the life of those who love you, a healthy and stable one.

I had to link your Hub to mine: Thank God, I don't have children! The more people who read your story the better.

You are an amazing person for having had the power to write down such a heartbreaking story. Your life.

Be well. Blessings!

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author


Hope everything works out for you. It certainly took a lot to make me reach that point.

LAJ 4 years ago

"There comes a point when you need to move on with your life, no matter how selfish you feel doing it."

I am 18 and my mum has bipolar, I feel I can relate a lot to that quote! Sometimes I feel that I need to get out of this house because I need to keep my sanity. Although I have nowhere to go, because although my mum and dad are divorced, my dad would never let me live with him. I feel that if I did move away that she would just be all alone, and as much as I hate my mums personality, she is still my mum. I just hope one day I can be strong enough to have less contact.

Although my mum has never lashed out to me whilst having bipolar, I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. My mum can never keep down a job and spends most of her time talking to her sisters on the phone. Bitching about my brothers and sister, saying we don't contribute which is a lie! Her bipolar means that she isn't the most hygenic and I am usually the one who is tidying up, cooking and clealing. My mum has also bad mouthed my dad to us, making us believe he isn't a good dad, although he probably isn't. I would really like to know how to live with someone who has bipolar and I am grateful I can relate to other people's stories. Thanks! And i feel i have ranted on here ha ha

akeejaho profile image

akeejaho 4 years ago from Somewhere in this beautiful world!

On behalf of all bipolars, thank you for sharing this moving account of what little child hood you had. And I am touched and moved by the countless stories that evolve in not only your Hub, but in all I have seen in other and mine as well. It really makes you wonder if we will ever get the better of this "Epidemic"

You are indeed a strong person, and I loved this Hub, as sad as the story is. Voting across the board, thumbs up.


Luis Miguel 4 years ago

dude im also a 13 year old bipolar kid.I don't really know what to do when a bipolar manic happens.I just feel like i should stop,but my body and my surrondings are keeping me away from controling myself.Is not cool at all cause during that period people will think your "annoying"or disrespectful".And I feel uncormftable cause i really don't want people thinking im a "maniac"or whatever. thanks for that passege it really help me a lot!

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

My goodness, you are a survivor! I am so sorry for your suffering, but am glad you reached a point of moving on and being able to talk/write about your experiences. My mother also has this disorder, but she has accepted help so it's a totally different scenario. Thank you for sharing with us.

Luna Fria profile image

Luna Fria 4 years ago

I have a mother who is bipolar but has never come to terms that she is. She would get angry at pretty much anything, and become verbally/physically abusive. I don't really say anything back to my mom during her "episodes". One time I did, it was only one word, the b word. She got a belt and two brown melon sized bruises formed on both my thighs it hurt so bad I couldn't sit down, I wouldn't normally do that I guess I snapped, I don't want to be like my mom... The other time I called her crazy because when she get's drunk she goes outside and sleeps on the ground, I've helped her get to her room only to go outside again I feel bad for she cries when she's drunk and I don't really know what to do...I feel like the parent dealing with a adolescent...... I guess I'm over most of the things though, like you now,I don't even argue with my mom I just tell her ok, and not get angry, and stay in my room all day. She say's I don't care about her, I feel bad for her but I can't do anything to "help her" I think she needs professional help. I see her only for breakfast/lunch/dinner, I think she has caught on. I don't hate her I just feel like not being around her she's can get the most patient person aggravated. Then other times she's really nice, and I believe it and get close, I've learned not to do that anymore it seems she wants someone to blame, and let out her anger on... I don't want to follow in her footsteps just thinking about it gets me angry, of course I have never told her how I felt she'll have a fit and no matter what I say, she'll never change. I love my mom but why beat a dead horse? I'll always be there for her but I give up on trying to help her, only she can change herself.

Luna 4 years ago

I have a mother who is bipolar but has never come to terms that she is. She would get angry at pretty much anything, and become verbally/physically abusive. I don't really say anything back to my mom during her "episodes". One time I did, it was only one word, bitch. She got a belt and two brown melon sized bruises formed on both my thighs it hurt so bad I couldn't sit down, I wouldn't normally do that I guess I snapped, I don't want to be like my mom... The other time I called her crazy because when she gets drunk she goes outside and sleeps on the ground, I've helped her get to her room only to go outside again I feel bad for she cries when she's drunk and I don't really know what to do...I feel like the parent dealing with an adolescent...... I guess I'm over most of the things though, like you now,I don't even argue with my mom I just tell her ok, and not get angry, and stay in my room all day. She says I don't care about her, I feel bad for her but I can't do anything to "help her" I think she needs professional help. I see her only for breakfast/lunch/dinner, I think she has caught on. I don't hate her I just feel like not being around her she's can get the most patient person aggravated. Then other times she's really nice, and I believe it and get close, I've learned not to do that anymore it seems she wants someone to blame, and let out her anger on... I don't want to follow in her footsteps just thinking about it gets me angry, of course I have never told her how I felt she'll have a fit and no matter what I say, she'll never change. I love my mom but why beat a dead horse? I'll always be there for her but I give up on trying to help her, only she can change herself.

theotherside 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing your story. I have a 13 year old boy who lives with his bipolar mother and grandmother. I have been fighting a legal battle for more than 2 years now to claim the custody of my son. Not easy, probably will take another 2 years. She does not let me see him, I use legal procedures every weekend to see my son. I spend more than 50,000$ a year, all legal fees, expenses, etc. I will not give up, I will not abandon my son to these sick women...

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

If you want to contact me, you can do so by clicking on WryLilt on the comments or at the top right of the page. There is a contact button on my profile page. =)

brittish22 year old 4 years ago

no, thank you for your story. I couldn't sleep last night thinking of your story. There are so many similarities I am also female my father also ran a successful business(he was no saint but she goaded him into arguments,throwing plates, physical fights) which was ran into the ground resulting in our house being reposessed. She has barely worked her whole life. It saddens me that someone else has had to endure what I have. Last night when I commeneted I never realised I had had the validation I was looking for not to go today. Maybe if when I googled "living with a bipolar mother" a story as similar with a girl close age hadn't come up I'd have gone. The last line of ur story haunted me and I will not be going today no matter ho upset,lonely or angry she becomes because I owe it to myself. Thank you x

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Thanks for the comment, British.

I think with me it was just reaching the stage where I just couldn't take anymore, for my own life and sanity. You may one day reach that stage to. But whatever happens, good luck and stay safe.

british22 year old 4 years ago

my mother has had bipolar for more than half my life and for my little sister full life. Although I love her the constant selfishness becomes almost unbearable leaving me with a constant battle inside feeling immense guilt or anger towards her. I do not live with her she moved to be with her boyfriend however i visit every friday she phoned me tonight explaining how people have stole from her, how everybodys in the wrong and how she has fell out with her boyfriend and that all too familiar tingling feeling entered my gut. In her manic states she has attacked me and threatened to kill me. I do not want to go tomorrow i googled this looking for validation and a reason not to go...but we all know i will go and i will probably end up regretting it. If i don't i will fell guilty the whole night. What im trying to say is...I understand the immense guilt and hopefully one day will get over it like u seem to have xx

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Hope everything works out, CSH!

Child seeking help 4 years ago

I would just like to say thank you to all the people who have commented on this page as it has been a great insight. I also have a mother who has bi polar and I am 11 years old. I have just made the choice to leave her and move in with my dad full time. Thank you it has opened my eyes. I now have a better insight on how to deal with my mother.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 5 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Hi Brian,

Based on my experience, if a bipolar person is unwilling to get help, then they've made their decision - the illness is more important than their family and other commitments.

If I were you, I'd get full custody - growing up in an environment like your daughter will have to, even part time, can be quite traumatic, especially at a young age.

Just remember - bipolar people are very good manipulators and liars. So make sure you have enough witnesses/medical proof/affidavits/legal help to make sure you win the custody. If you don't she may take it out on your daughter or you. Bipolar people also seem to like holding grudges.

Of course, if your wife wants to take medication and seek treatment, then tell her you'll be happy to share custody. All girls need a mum - I just wish mine had decided I was more important than my illness.

Good luck.

Brian 5 years ago

My wife is bipolar, and we are separating as she is currently living in a basement with a man she just met. We have a 2 year 4 month old girl. I am torn about whether to go along with joint custody or seek sole custody. She misses doctors appointments (expensive!)doesn't take her prescribed medication, lost her job, crashed her car (she did a hit and run), and refuses to let me see the new living space that she wants to bring our daughter into. Perhaps your perspective could help me decide what's best for my daughter?

Thank you.

Karen N profile image

Karen N 5 years ago from United States

Its never selfish to protect yourself from a toxic parent, so don't beat yourself up over it. She may be mentally ill but she also made the choice to not treat the illness.

JSParker profile image

JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

You should not feel selfish at all! It is the parents responsibility to nurture the child, and whether she could help it or not, your mother failed at this. Bravo! for your courage to move on and create a meaningful life. My mother was mentally ill, too. But I was fortunate that she was sometimes nurturing as well. Then, I worked for a bi-polar employer, who was accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife!

Anyway, best wishes for a rich and satisfying life! You deserve it.

Mena 5 years ago

Some of this reminds me of my own mother, the last part made me cry -There comes a point when you need to move on with your life, no matter how selfish you feel doing it.- I have been trying to cope with this idea for awhile now.

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amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

Your story brought tears to my eyes. You are so brave for sharing your experience. It's hard because we love our parents unconditionally and it's confusing as a child when your parent hurts you physically and emotionally. I don't believe your mom should have ever been allowed near you alone after what she had done. Especially unmedicated. Mental illness runs in my family. It's frustrating because most people who have a serious mental illness won't take meds or seek help. They are convinced everyone else has a problem but not them.

I'm glad your dad finally had the courage to leave her. I truly hope your mom gets the help she needs.

Stay strong!

kikkibabe 5 years ago

Wow this had my on the edge of my seat and i was shocked by what you went through that's horrid. I think my mum had bipolar as i have been diagnosed with it but i not as bad any more as im now on med's but my mother never cared how we got treated she use to beat us especially when she was drunk. I would never hurt my kid's they are my world they keep me going and im the opposite to my mum and would never treat my kids badly. Im glad your moving on but your right sometimes you need to move on which i have done and i do not have any contact with my mother as when i do all i get is grief off her and im sick of it. Thanks for sharing this. =) x

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sunitibahl9 5 years ago from India

This is one of the best hub i have read here. Wrylit i am happy that you have over come all that you were going through. Regarding your mother she was suffering from the disease so even she cannot be blamed. But i appreciate the way you have written this hub and taking inspiration from you i now wish to write more on this topic so that people can understand this disorder better. You have gone through so much, and i wish you a happy life ahead.

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kimh039 5 years ago

thanks so much for sharing your story WryLit. In your profile pic, you look so innocent and childlike, that it's hard to imagine that you experienced those horrors. God bless you.

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Nan Mynatt 5 years ago from Illinois

God bless and keep you. You had a trip to hell as a child and God did deliver you. Your mother is sick and will probably never get well. A good thing to do is to keep your distance from her, you deserve to be happy and from she has done in the past, you can't help her. It is time you found some happy time in your life. Write a book there are a lot of people who could benefit from your past.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 5 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Hi Diva, the original incident happened before mum was diagnosed. And it's my life story, not my attempt to give 'a bad rep'. I strongly believe that anyone who has bipolar and does not take steps to have it treated or follow the guidelines set by their doctor should not have the same rights as someone who is proactive about their illness.

diva1972 profile image

diva1972 5 years ago

I am Bipolar mom and you know that is a misdiagnosis on your mother's doctor's part. Stories like yours well make other children that have bipolar disorder parents scared. You give our diagnosis a bad rep.

fetty profile image

fetty 5 years ago from South Jersey

A truly amazing journey that brought you much pain but also true wisdom. You have written a beautiful description of what the horrors of your daily life were during this period. I fully agree with you that it is time to move on and and am thrilled that you have. Don't feel guilty for even one moment. I have lived with a mentally ill mother, a schizophrenic sister and a bi-polar brother but have never experienced what you have gone through. You are an amazing person and I wish you every happiness. Your positive spirit shows through in your writing. ( I follow you in the forums!)

salt profile image

salt 6 years ago from australia

Sadly, I understand this and do also feel that the medical system helps create some of the problems. With one professional admitting that they don't treat the illness, but contain the patients until the crisis is over and they can send them home.

Dawn Kurtagich 6 years ago

Wow. Thank you for sharing your experiences—truly amazing. Please do keep me updated about the progress of your book, as I would like to read it.

A la carte profile image

A la carte 6 years ago from Australia

You have done it tough but from what I have seen you have survived with a talent for writing. Sometimes there is nothing anyone can say but thank to whatever spirits or gods out there for helping you through this.

Dallas 6 years ago

It takes much courage to tell our stories. I found this posting when I was reviewing my blog. I have found that I still have lingering issues that I am dealing with as a result of my mother' bipolar illness and overall abandonment. I am not only passionate to help others break free from the emotional prison of the affects of mental illness, but to finally release the pain I was not even aware still existed. It is a daily choice.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Alethea 6 years ago

I think it is so sad that human beings would place a person who attempts to murder a child back in the same home with the child. That is like placing a child rapist back in the home with the two year-old child he raped and telling the family that the child is safe now because the rapist is on medication --that the family would accept that is beyond me.

I bet if you penetrated your subconscious mind, you would find that the little one inside of you, who was terrorized by her mother with a knife, has a lot to say about being left alone with that woman. The unconscious mind is very powerful and very real. Depression is caused by repressed anger. The mind has the ability to alter chemicals and hormones in the brain and in our body. This has been proven scientifically. So when doctors diagnose people with "depression" and hand out little pills to "treat it" they are doing great harm to people. Anyway, I wish you well on your journey in life.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 6 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

Thank you very much for the comment, Alethea. I don't hold any grudges against my family or father because they had very little experience with mental illness at that stage. They believed the doctors when told that medication would fix my mother and everything would be fine. However as noted in the article, we did live with my grandparents who also provided an extra watch.

Alethea 6 years ago


I am continually amazed at the strength of the human spirit. Your courage and willingness to tell your story and to LIVE is truly remarkable and inspiring. I am blown away that -even in the late eighties- authorities would place your mother back in the home with the child victim she tried to murder and would allow you to be with her alone and would allow her to take you away to live elsewhere with her. Your story is compelling, but the side stories are also worth more than a few words.

The first 'side-story'is what I mentioned above. The second side-story I speak of would be your father. Have you dealt with the anger you must have for him for allowing you to be alone with her and for his obvious denial and what I read as his self-driven need to not fully protect you or to see what his wife truly was? I'm sorry, but only a demon surrounded by human flesh can take a knife, sterilize it and then slit the throat of a two year-old child. I personally do not believe in "mental illness" in many cases of child abuse. You can read why I feel this way by reading these articles I wrote on this subject, here:

The other side story is your relatives who also allowed you to be alone with that woman, and the ignorant nincompoops who called you rebellious or rude when you spoke the truth about your mother.

I love the photo of you as a little girl. It captures your drive to live, to fight, to beat the system that authorities kept you in, but it still shows your innocent and very vulnerable side.

I wish you all the peace and joy in the world.

By the way, depression is merely anger turned inward on the self. Our subconscious mind can retain an enormous amount of hidden rage --misdirected at ourselves, and done so without our conscious knowledge.

Good wishes,


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Hmm...awesome and may I say graphic, as you warned... Hub. What you have had to endure! I suppose I am stunned you were sent home after you had been so severely injured. It is a tribute to you, that you have survived and risen above such circumstances. It indicates that you are a very strong woman. May you keep that strength and know selfish has nothing to do with moving is survival, you have endured enough! It is an illness,yes, but you do have a life to live as well. It seems she has lived her life just as she has wanted...Your turn! Bravo.

WryLilt profile image

WryLilt 6 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia Author

No Ignenira, I admit I have not. In fact I rarely if ever read self help books. I know they help some people but I'm not one of them. :-)

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

WryLilt, did you read any of the books from Amazon above to learn to cope with a bipolar mother ?

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

You are so strong despite the turbulent experience with your bipolar mom. Awesome hub !

rachael 6 years ago

i was brought up by a bipolar mother, nobody knoew or cared at the time, no one knew how to treat or diagnose it, england in the 50,s to 2005 when she died, a very moving story to which i can totally relate to, x

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purpleangel47 6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

Now I understand .... and I'll repeat my comment from the forum ... you didn't deserve her anger or her various manic moments. Kudos to you for not only surviving her attack when you were two, but for continuing to live your life as a survivor - not a victim. Thank you for sharing ...

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johnshade 6 years ago from Pandora

My mom was an alchoholic for most years of my childhood, she had severe mood swing due to the drinking, more like borderline personality disorder rather than bipolar.

However im diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, i was afraid of what i may become so I attempted suicide.

Now ive got better control of it and living fairly normal, apart from destructive and bizarre behavior at times.

I understand where your coming from about your mother and the guilt that comes with it.

And i understand her being reluctant to take medication as the effect are too horrible to bring to words, i can also relate to her not being able to control her actions sometimes the voices are so much more powerful than what's real.

Im looking forward to your book and thanks for sharing

AimeeN 6 years ago

Fantastic to hear that you are dealing so well now and have become stronger and wiser as a result. Thumbs up!

lbagwell profile image

lbagwell 6 years ago


I too have a Dad that is bipolar and was told by another Doctor that he is schizophrenic as well. I recently started taking care of him and saw exactly what you were talking about, controlling his mania at the Doctors office and then resuming his old ways afterwards. He did such a good job last time that the new Psychiatrist wanted to actually take him off his medicine and did not believe me at all. I had to get his medical records from the hospitals to prove that he was bipolar. In the meantime, my Dad didn't want to take the medicine anymore because of what the Doctor said, and he still believes he doesn't need the medicine after all that he has been through in his life. It is so difficult to deal with and I can't imagine going through what you did.

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

Wow! I admire your courage. I am glad that you recognize it as your mother's problem and not yours! Have you read anything on narcissism - sounds like it may be a fit? I now a few young adults that have grown up with bi-polar parents and I think your upcoming book is going to prove to be very helpful and insightful! Good for YOU!

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Ms Chievous 6 years ago from Wv

Very well written hub. This must have been an accomplishment to put down on paper and possibly a relief. Thank you for sharing and do take care of yourself...

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mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

I'm glad you've moving on in your own way now, LarasMama. Thanks for sharing this very personal account.

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