Having a bipolar parent- nature or nurture

Sometimes I get a comment that really makes me examine my life experiences with bipolar disorder. This is one of them.

I want to start out by saying thanks for sharing this — it’s a really personal thing to type out on the internet. First off…id love to find out more about the point you mentioned about not feeling as though your mom was ever proud of you. What was your experience? That rings true in my head as well. Sure my mom was there as I was a child and was seemingly supportive of me but there were never any signs that she was specifically proud of any accomplishments…and she certain usually wouldn’t bring them up after they happened. To this day I don’t know whether my mom likes what I do or how I carry out my life. I could do some more work trying to find out by talking to her more — but I usually try to avoid that kind of thing. Second, about you feeling super independent and strong willed, etc as a result of being raised the way you were — how do you see this play out in your life?

I learned from a young age that I had no “cheerleaders” in life. I didn’t feel supported through my formal education, life experience education, or what might consider average parenting education. As a child, this manifested itself in what I would consider a “checking out” way. I didn’t care about school because why should I? I wasn’t exactly given the pep talk that I could do or succeed at anything in life. I think, looking back and being a girl, it was expected that I would be married off and….I don’t even know.

How did this turn out for me long term? I learned to be my own cheerleader. I developed a STRONG sense of self. How strong? I rarely succumb to peer pressure and obsess on making the right decisions. If I had to water this down into one word, it would be control.

A therapist once said I react with control because this was a coping mechanism that I learned from living in chaos. I created my own order, rules, goals, and ethics. When those decisions were received with positive results, it fed the control part of my brain into thinking I was/am doing the right thing.

I’m told that there is more than one way to do something and while I realize this is true, I retort that with there’s also a best way to do something.

Do you know someone who seemingly can’t let go? This is me.

I am not the easiest person to be married to, friends with, and maybe to be even a child of.

I have a really hard time trusting people enough to be easily vulnerable around them and to let them in. I’ve always been described as a nice guy that nobody can seem to get to know.

I don’t trust people. I especially don’t trust women. Is that directly correlated to my mother? Probably.

When the people who raise you betray you, it places distrust deep within you. As a child I was easily a loner not wanting people to witness the chaotic home life I had. As an adult, I force myself to be “semi-social.” I have to make deliberate decisions to put myself in social situations. It doesn’t come natural for me but I do it because I’m weird enough without living in a troll hole.

How does this affect me as an adult? I don’t open up to people and have been told I’m intense and it’s like I have a wall around me. Want to really get to know me? Good luck. You’re more likely to learn about me online with my (controlled) words than in person.

These make me sound bleak but there are flip sides to these potentially “negative based” traits. I was most likely born with quick wit humor but learned to rely and develop it as a coping mechanism. I’ve been told it’s amusing. Mostly.

I started writing as a child through poetry to cope with emotions and thoughts. It took many years to find those words again and even a few more years to find the courage to put them together. Writing is still a very useful result of my childhood.

In the end, I got lucky. I was born with certain traits that make me who I am and developed a few along the way that aren’t all bad.

I’ve never done drugs and rarely consume alcohol. (Control)

I don’t have a million friends but the ones I do have I’m fiercely loyal to (Trust)

I have a quick wit humor that is almost 2nd to none. (Thank you Grandpa)

I have been able to process my childhood and write about it in a way that I hope helps others. (Including you)