Note from my bi-polar Mom

I have been estranged from my Mother for over a year. She had been becoming less like herself over the past 8 or 9 years. About 6 months ago my brother too had become estranged as he too finally reached his breaking point.

I opened up the mail today and see my mother mailed me a birthday card and I was shocked. It was my birthday but did not expect the card. Inside she jotted down in very poor penmanship that she would like to attempt to put our family back together and wanted a meeting with my brother and I.

My brother and I will attempt to speak to her but HOW do you suggest we go about this. What should the guidelines be? I think we need to strike soon while she is on the reaching out side of the bi-polar cycle. This is probably a narrow window of opportunity.

How can we go about this so we can successfully get her to agree to put us on the HIPAA forms with her current doctors so we can weigh in on what is really happening so she can get proper treatment. We want to have her back but my biggest fear is that A. She is brewing and she just really wants to have it out with us. or B. I won't be able to attribute all of her bad behavior on bi-polar but she just had become a horrible person.

Ben's Answer:

Most mothers have a deep and unconditional love for their children no matter what their issues are. It is unlikely that she simply became a "horrible person" for no reason (especially if she was not always that way). Bipolar disorder can cause really horrible behavior that is very out of control. I think it is worth a try to get involved in her treatment. Just set a very clear boundary with her. Decide what you can accept or not accept in her behavior with you. Seeing a therapist with her (like a family therapist) would be a good first step.

Good luck.

Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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