Honesty with a Bipolar Friend

by Vivian

I was recently getting to know a friend who would profess all sorts of niceties and even love, and then turn verbally abusive, manipulative, and cruel. After two episodes of dealing with this behavior, I added worry to my feelings of hurt, suggested he seek help, and I ended contact. He finally sought help and was diagnosed as bipolar with PTSD. He wrote to tell me this, plus he wants to know what he said to me during the aweful episodes, as he apparently blacked out. My question is, is this a good idea? Sure, it may help him deal with his actions, and it may help ME feel better to vent how he hurt my feelings, but I am unsure if it is truly a good idea, however constructive I am. I am worried it may spark unhealthy feelings instead of being a tool for recovery.

Ben's Answer:

If you have any desire to remain friends, or remain in contact, then I think this would be a necessary, and ultimately helpful thing to do - both for him and yourself. But if you really want to close the door on this relationship, then perhaps rehashing his hurtful behavior wouldn't be in your interest.

Venting your hurt feelings would probably help you to forgive and move forward, while also giving him a much needed reality check about his own unconscious behavior.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz

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