Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Mentally Ill Family

My husband has bipolar disorder. I am beginning to think his entire family is- in some way- mentally ill. The way they act just doesn't seem normal to me.

Maybe it's because I come from a very loving-huggy-kissy type family. We tell each other when something is wrong and we always try to help each other, no matter what.

Mr. Bipolar's family is not like that. They are unemotional and somewhat unloving. I am beginning to think it is unhealthy for him and us.

After he was officially diagnosed, Mr Bipolar called his mom and told her he was bipolar. You would think she would be happy to know there was a reason for all the erratic behavior she had put up with when he was younger. Apparently, she didn't tell anyone- not even his Dad. As a matter of fact about 2 years later the subject of hubby being bipolar cam up when both his parents were here ( a rare occasion indeed that they are at our house) and his mother denied knowing! But that is how his family is. They don't talk about people being sick. It's just not mentioned.

Earlier this year, when Mr Bipolar was in yet another car wreck, I went to his mom, without him knowing- because he was in a real bad way at the time- and tried to talk to her. I wanted them, his parents, to understand that I was NOT going to let him take my car to work everyday. He worked 45 minutes away. He getting ticket after ticket and now a wreck. I would take him to work and pick him up- even though that would be a burden- but he was not taking my car. The last thing we needed was him to wreck it too. I know it sounds mean. But in his state of mind it was the right thing to do. If he had been normal, him taking my car would not have been an issue. Anyway, I wanted them to understand why I would be doing this and I tried to talk to her to see if she really understood what him being bipolar meant. She said she did. I even sort of believed her.

I have never been real close to his family. But I do try. They are different from us. But they are his family and I have always thought that they really loved him. My babies- these are their grand kids. They love them right? I am beginning to wonder.

My mother in law- after my visit a few months back, actually called me a couple of times to check and see if Mr Bipolar was getting better. He was- for a while. The phone calls stopped. I try to reach out. I call to tell her when the baby hits a new milestone- what our oldest daughter is doing. I go to visit when her mom is in town.

3 weeks ago Mr Bipolar was fired. I called his mom to let her know. See, I think he really needs his family. He wants their approval. He wants and needs to know they love him. Everybody wants their parents to love them right? I tried to tell his mom, in my visit a few months ago, that hubby really needed to know someone, besides me, cared about him. I'm guessing it didn't sink in.

Since Mr Bipolar lost his job- they have not called at all to check on us. I told Mr bipolar that I called and told his mom- they were gonna find out and I knew he wouldn't call and tell her. He wasn't mad at all. She knows that he knows I told her. We have 2 kids here. Do they not care if we don't have money for food? I'm just shocked.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want their money. And I will say- they have money. They have helped us in the past. It always comes with stipulations and lectures. It's never "out of love." As a matter of fact- his mother, who makes a pretty good living on her own has never once given us a dime on her own. The couple of times Mr Bipolar asked her for anything she always says- Talk to your Dad. With Dad- everything is business, literally. He is a lawyer. Maybe it's just his nature. Anyway, right now. We are Ok. I don't expect them to call and offer over any money. That's not like them. I don't even expect them to call to see if we need money for food- I don't think they would. But you would think they would at least call to see if their son was ok. Maybe check on how the job search was going. At the very least, check to see if the grand kids were being fed. But no- No phone calls at all. They are on vacation right now.

I just don't get it. He needs them- at least he needs to know they care. Maybe they are afraid if they call then Mr Bipolar will ask for money. I don't know what the reason could be. I think it's sad. He needs someone besides me. He needs to know his family cares for him. Why don't they get that.

It's gotten to where I just can't stand it. I don't want to be around them. I think the relationship we have with them is toxic. When things are good, for us, they call occasionally. I guess they expect when things are good we won't need any money so it's safe to call. Things are bad- and we here nothing. I would have thought his mom would have called me- just to see how he was.

I feel I have to be careful what I say about all this. I don't think Mr Bipolar sees it all. Right now, I think he could care less if they or anyone else called. They are his parents. He wants their approval. I really hope one day he'll either truly get it or see how they really are. But I can't say much. In the past when I have- he always says "they are still my parents."

My parents- they don;t have any money, never have. But they would sell everything they have to help us. They would give us every extra dime to make sure my kids were taken care of- if that is what needed to be done. Hubby's parents don't even call........ It just blows my mind.

Maybe one day I'll get up the nerve to confront them. Until then, I just wonder what they are thinking.