I realize this is long and I thank you ahead of time for reading it. To shorten it up, I have posed questions at the end of each of my thoughts. So you can just read the last sentences of the paragraphs to get at my basic questions if you wish to.
I have been dating a man for almost a year now. His ex-wife has bipolar disorder and I was wondering if anyone could help me with a list of common traits. My bf has 2 children, ages 15 & 18. I would like to understand her more, for their sake, and for better communication with her. He tried very hard to save the marriage (spending hours reading books, talking to doctors, and studying brain functions, etc. In the end, it was she who wanted out. She blamed him, and still does, for her unhappiness. Is it normal to blame others?
Some of their "mutual", close friends have taken one side or the other. I believe she lies to some of them and they truly believe her. My bf has proof of her instability and I respect him so much for never showing this stuff to anyone but me .....letters from many, many of her coworkers describing her mood swings, irrational, angry/controlling behavior. Bursting into meetings, being paranoid about everyone ou to get her. Breaking in to her office at night and searching files for this proof that they were out to get her, but never finding it. Does paranoia play a role?
Some of the things I notice the most about her are: Her sense of entitlement. For example, prolonging the divorce because she doesn't want to pay medical co-pays, even though she receives $12,500 a MONTH (my bf is a Dr.) Why isn't she embarrassed about fighting such a point? She isn't angry about it....just matter of fact. Like it's the most rational thing in the world to do, when everyone else is shaking their heads, saying "huh?" Is such irrationality a trait?
I've noticed inconsistencies in her stories. Such as inviting herself along on a trip with someone and then telling everyone how that person invited her to go with them. She doesn't offer to pay for things and people get upset, but then she tells everyone how so & so treated her. Usually "so & so" are just shocked that she hasn't offered to pay and annoyed. If there are lies like this, and they are BP traits, does she truly believe them?
I notice her love for her children, pets, etc ---> but on a level which doesn't require too much responsibility on her part. An example would be having her children stay with their dad and me for weeks, but visiting them here or coming over to take them out to lunch. Unless we suggest that she take the children for visitation, she doesn't. Sometimes I feel taken advantage of. Do people with BP disorder not like responsibility?
Most recently my bf took his children away for the weekend. I opted to stay home, bc I think they deserve some alone time, and I like the break too. They have 2 dogs, but their mother would rather that I keep them/watch them. They are "her" dogs. I have my own. Her son said to me that she can't handle the stress of taking care of them, and that they go to the bathroom all over the house. (I believe this is because they are not on a regular/consistent schedule, and not let out enough.) They do not do that when they are with us. Again, she doesn't want the responsibility, but does not letting her dogs out suggest that she can be harmful/neglectful sometimes? Forgetful?
I notice that she has no problem speaking to me, and she is friendly, yet she will rarely look me in the eye. I hear (thru the grape vine) that she likes me because I am "good to her children" and "the children like me". Is she uncomfortable with me in particular, or is this a BP disorder trait?
Also, if she is leaving one of the children off at the house, she will sometimes come in, grab a glass --> help herself to a drink ....open a cupboard, eat something, etc. I sometimes feel as if she is "just one of the children."
I get a little angry & I feel disrespected ....but, I am able to let it go because I truly do not think she is doing this to hurt anyone (not a jealous, "cat-fight" girl-thing going on). I feel she just doesn't know better and I find her harmless. So I don't make a huge issue of it with my bf. I know that she does not have as rational thoughts as a so-called "normal" person. I understand that getting angry at my bf is the wrong thing to do, because we are here to support each other and if an issue is raised it will probably hurt the children and our relationship as a "blended" family. Is she being purposefully disrespectful to me or is boundary setting a true problem associated with her disorder?
If anyone can help me to understand if these are common BP traits I would appreciate it. Or any advice, suggestions that you may have for me will help. I'm not sure if I am insightful or totally wrong about her. I want to protect myself and be a good person at the same time. Sometimes I feel the ups and downs of her disorder.