We often have a crisis in my family, linked directly or indirectly to my illness.
After reflecting on it for quite some time now, I came to the conclusion that it was all about the perception of our own empathy and truth and the incapacity on both sides to reverse the roles. To be fair, it is impossible to ask a normal person to wear the shoes of a bipolar therefore the exercise by itself is relatively hopeless. This fact aggravates the crisis and rarely solves the issues at hand. This results in unsettled matters that linger and pollute the household environment and add a layer of unnecessary reoccurring problems.
I firmly believe that we all are telling our own truth and reality as we feel and see it and we also are entirely empathic towards the others. But the “real” reality must be different since the crises occur too often.
I am fully aware that my illness is tiring, if not exhausting for my wife and two teenage boys. I was told that my mood swings, my irritability, not being able to anticipate what needs to be done, my incapacity to deal with my boys, not being present, active and connected with the family even though we are under the same roof (I spend the vast majority of my time in my office home), not remembering what was asked of me and the list goes on.
Objectively, I think that all the points listed above are legitimate. Unfortunately, I am not able to deal with some, if not all of them. I believe to be empathetic to everyone but it doesn’t seem to be perceived as such. In my books, I do my fair share and the very best I can.
These confrontations are very painful and taxing for me and must be for them too, I don’t know how to avoid these clashes maybe I don’t realize the damage I create, sometime, when I speak and by the deeds that I do and don’t. But from my point of view I have basically nothing to be blamed for, as I try to do everything that is asked of me, but according to my family, I don’t.
They voice their unhappiness at times and on how difficult it is to live with me, they try the very best to make the situation livable and peaceful. I believe them on the empathy they claim having for me.
My conundrum is; how can I improve the situation? I’m 53 and have been followed by psychiatrists since 1992, I possess a bunch of effective tools given to me by my doctors along the way. I am well informed and aware of my illness. Nevertheless, we all of this I am still unable to function adequately within the family unit.
The bottom line is that we have two genuine different truths and empathies that do not reconcile. How to make them one?
My open question is; what can I do to improve my family’s dynamic? I welcome all comments, ideas, suggestions and so forth.