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When I Realized How My Bipolar Disorder Affects My Daughter's Behavior

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There are days when my daughter really seems to be pushing my buttons. Days where I feel that she is deliberately trying to trigger me.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I recently realized… she is 4! And yes, children certainly do push boundaries and test limits to see how far they can get. But for us, it seems to be so much worse on my bipolar bad days. And then I noticed one day — she was behaving that way because of the energy I was spewing out into the universe. This… negative energy that only those around me could feel without having a biased reason for such an awful demeanor.

Those days, I am a little less patient. OK, a lot less patient. Those days, I use words I wouldn’t normally dare say aloud. Those days, I am withdrawn and snappy anytime she asks for my attention. I mean, I have no energy to give, so why is my child deliberately misbehaving?

Woah! Hold on a minute, can a 4-year-old be malicious on purpose? Can my sweet child who loves to be helpful and cuddle and be a “big girl” really be so vindictive by choice?

I started to notice a pattern. On my bad days, even if she is behaving badly, it’s because I’m not giving her the attention she needs. I’m not being nice and attentive enough, which are all the things she craves. So, why am I placing the blame on an innocent child who doesn’t understand why Mommy doesn’t feel good? She so patiently tells me, “Mommy it’s all OK, if you’re nice to me I will be nice to you.”

Then I try to actively put away my distractive objects I use for escaping reality, like my phone or a book. I pay attention to the words and actions I am exhibiting to her and hope to control them a little better.

After all, on my bipolar good days when she seems to be the most pleasant little human I have ever encountered, randomly telling me I am the best mommy ever or that she loves me, those are the days I live for. Those are the phrases I long to hear for the rest of my being. Because if all I get out of this life is a happy and healthy child who knows how much I love her, even on my worst days, my journey on this earth will be complete.

Getty image via Spivak222

Originally published: March 25, 2021
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