Comic Donald Glover offers this joke: One thing I’ve learned from my last relationship is that if an argument starts with “What did you mean by that?” it’s not going to end with “Now I know what you mean by that.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if conversations between support people and people with bipolar disorder ended up as a comedian’s joke.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a little biofeedback, meditation, prayer, distraction like a shower would cool the heat of rage. Bipolar disorder does not leave a lot of room for “cool”.

When a person is living in a mood swing, either hypomania or depression, blasts of screaming, sarcasm, even burning silence takes over any sense of normalcy. Everyone is walking on egg shells. Every one knows the “dos and don’t” during this period. No one is perfect and reactions from all involved can ripe apart relationships for a long time.

Shame bleeds on all involved.

The reality is that anger is a major symptom in bipolar disorder. What can one do?

For people with bipolar disorder

First idea: Back off. Walk away. Put your hand over your mouth. Pound a pillow. Jog.

Second idea: Own your anger as a symptom of the disorder, not a character flaw.

Third idea: Understand that your anger results often in other people feeling attacked/afraid/angry/resentful.

Fourth idea: These episodes will occur again…maybe with less intensity and less often. Learn your triggers and then learn them again

Fifth idea: Believe that you are lovable.

For support people

First idea: Most likely your friend/spouse/daughter etc will not remember the incident as anything as a mild disturbance. You may have to find a way to live with this reality. They have a chronic illness…not a character flaw.

Second idea: Find support…other people, your dog/cat/bird/plant. Dealing with someone’s anger leaves many people with fierce internal turmoil. You deserve peace.

Third idea: Pray, take peaceful walks, read affirmation material, remember why you love this person. You are a brave person. You work hard.

Add a comment if you have found ways that have been helpful in “anger management” in your relationships.