In NAMI (National Alliance the for Mentally Ill), my girls and I are being educated, not just on Bipolar, but on mental illness in general, and on how to love someone with mental illness. One thing we learned is the importance having strong, immovable boundaries in the areas that are important to us. I applied that strategy on Friday, admittedly unaware that I was doing so, and amazingly, it worked well. I informed my loved one that I would no longer listen to suggestions or intimations that, if I did not respond in the way he wanted, he would harm himself. I let him know that I am not responsible for any harm he might do to himself and that if he was truly feeling self-destructive or suicidal, that he should call his therapist immediately. I said goodbye and allowed myself a few hours to calm down. When he called back a few hours later, he was easier to talk to and we were able to address the issues at hand.
I am aware that it won't always be that easy but I believe in celebrating victories whenever possible. My fragile ego needs to hear "Well done," even if it is just from me.
My self talk is getting better. In those moments when I start to say, "If only I had"........had what? Made sure I was watching more careful. Made sure that his every need was satisfied. NO ....don't go there. We can't change the past and I didn't cause his addictions anymore than I cause my mothers cancer. I am not responsible and I will own my own behavior and nobody else's. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had and I will continue to improve myself, each and everyday.
While I am trying to be kind to myself, you do the same♥