Something that really grates my carrot is how everyone wants to point the finger when all I mention is the word, “bipolar”. My partner being bipolar apparently means that he hits me, that he’s manipulative, and a jerk. What the actual fuck!?
Okay, things are not always rosy gardens in the world of making a relationship work with a bipolar partner… but bloody hell, are things always rosy in a world with autistics? Um. No. I mean, we are the ultimate in “special attention needed”.
I am so sick of people stigmatizing my partner because of his bipolar!
I am so sick to death of all this bullshit stereotyping and judging!
A Lifeline crisis worker told me today that bipolar means you are manipulative and dangerous and unable to have a relationship. Then, with my WTF reactions, this worker said he had to end the call because I wasn’t listening to him and “becoming agitated”. Of course I’m fucking agitated. You’re telling me something completely untrue about the man I love!!
Is he manipulative? No.
Is he dangerous? No.
Is he unable to have a relationship? No.
He’s just bipolar.
In fact, “bipolar” and “I’m upset about a disagreement we just had” was really all the Lifeline worker knew about him…. and suddenly, my partner is now some monster? Talk about stigma! And on a mental-health help line, nonetheless!
Okay, so this isn’t my first stigma rodeo. I have encountered so many bullshit responses to “my partner has bipolar”. Like, when I have told close friends about him, and they say fucked up things like comparing our relationship to a highly abusive one….
- He doesn’t hit you, does he?
- Ohh, so he’s always angry.
- He’s manipulative.
- Sounds like a dickhead.
- Should you two really be together?
- You deserve better.
I deeply appreciate a Devil’s Advocate response from a friend, or a concern being aired, but to jump to the extreme conclusion is just…. well… if I may: it’s bipolar.
It’s as if I said my partner was Iraqi, and you were to say “He’s not a terrorist, is he?” or if I said my friend was gay, and you were to say, “Does he talk with a lisp?” or that I’m autistic, and you were to say, “You can’t be autistic, because XYZ“.
I have an idea.
How about when you hear something you just take a deep breath, think your first thought but don’t say it, critique that thought and then take another deep breath, and keep listening to that person?
And maybe as the time passes as you listen to that person, you start with a simple sentence:
“I have an observation. I have listened to what you have said and I am still concerned about [stigma/ stereotype]. I may be completely wrong, but have you thought of that?”
And then listen.
And truly take in what the person says.
If they say their partner is not a manipulative jerk, believe them.
It might make your relationship better.
Just a thought.