Bipolar Disorder and Ghosting: It's a Big Problem
Bipolar disorder and ghosting is a big problem. I didn’t realize the extent of this problem until I saw the number of comments on my recent YouTube video, "Ghosting and Bipolar Disorder: Why We Do It".
What is Ghosting? The Role It Plays in Bipolar
Ghosting is a contemporary term used for when a person completely cuts off all communication with a friend or romantic partner by not responding to texts, ignoring calls and acting as if the person no longer exists. It is done without a reason or an explanation from the person doing it. One day they are a part of your life, and the next day they disappear from it without warning. It negatively impacts friendships and romantic relationships. Ghosting is done by many of us living with bipolar disorder, especially during bipolar depressive episodes.
"I’m guilty of this when I’m hypomanic and in a negative mood and I’m super sensitive and I get easily hurt or angry at people and instead of confronting them, I just ghost them when they try to contact me." ~Xoxofmw, YouTube commenter
Why Do People with Bipolar Disorder Engage in Ghosting?
Those of us living with bipolar disorder definitely have a problem with ghosting people. It doesn't matter whether it's someone we're dating or friends with. Unfortunately, sometimes we're even ghosting our family members.
I have bipolar II and yes, I've ghosted people. Why? It feels more comfortable for me to cut off all communication with another person when I am struggling with highs and lows. Secondly, when I am dating someone, the fear of being rejected due to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder is always present. That makes me push another person away when they get too close. Thirdly, the stigma of mental illness causes severe anxiety in those of us living with bipolar disorder. Although a person we are romantically involved with may not be showing signs of rejecting us due to bipolar, we feel as though it is inevitable that at some point it will happen.
"I just do this on a low episode. I see it as protecting friends from me dragging them down to my level. Plus, in all honesty, I can’t deal with feeling suffocated whilst in the low and just want to be left on my own. It’s easier that way. ~ Claire, YouTube commenter
Self-stigmatizing is another significant reason for ghosting as well. Those of us with bipolar disorder subconsciously believe that we are unlovable and undeserving of friendships and relationships, which causes us to act on ghosting. The stress and pressure to explain the reasons for pushing away creates anxiety; which is where ghosting comes into play.
"I do this a lot. I stop answering phone calls and texts, and avoiding any form of communication with friends and family. In my mind, I don't stop loving them or care for them. I just feel overwhelmed and I feel the need to create a distance between me and them so I can calm down. Now, unfortunately, this can take from a couple days to a couple weeks." ~ Katia, YouTube commenter
The Affect Ghosting Has on Others
Over the years, I have realized that regardless of what is going on in my life, ghosting is hurtful to another person. I have been on both sides of ghosting, and it is very harmful and causes extreme insecurities.
"I just lost a friend who deals with bipolar. She just cut me off. I tried and tried. Dealt with the ups and downs and dealing with my own depression and insecurity, it was very difficult. ~ Embree, YouTube commenter
Bipolar disorder is not an excuse for hurting another person. Although we deal with anxiety and depression and it leads to many of us isolating ourselves, we are still responsible for the way our behavior negatively affects friends, family, and romantic partners. There are people who care about us, and they deserve a proper response even though it is difficult for those of us living with bipolar disorder to do so at times. This is something I am working on as well because I severely struggle with opening up which leads me to ghosting other individuals.
My ex, who's getting well with depression and very positive about her progress, left me since I have bipolar 2 and I isolate myself every once in a while. She doesn't like it since it triggers her. So she broke up with me and told me I can't give her what she needs. ~ Chaz, YouTube commenter
Self-awareness is essential when it comes to behaviors like ghosting. Many people with bipolar disorder do not even realize that this is a problem. Building strong relationships without openness and communication is impossible. Acknowledging the problem is the first step to self-awareness and learning how to properly communicate with others to prevent anyone getting hurt or feeling ignored by someone they care about.
"When I feel like isolating, I "check on" the people around me, my friends in recovery. This way I am not alone, but I am not talking about ME, I am checking on THEM. Seems to help! ~ BipolarLightningBug, YouTube commenter
What about you? How has being ghosted by someone with bipolar disorder affected you? And if living with bipolar disorder and ghosting others has been part of your life, why do you do it? Also, helpful suggestions on how to end this type of behavior are welcomed.
Blum, H. (2019, January 28). Bipolar Disorder and Ghosting: It's a Big Problem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/living-with-bipolar-blog/2019/1/bipolar-disorder-and-ghosting-its-a-big-problem
Author: Hannah Blum
Thank you for all of your posts. My son is bipolar. today he was happy I was coming over for a bit, then when came back later to ask a question he acted like I was trying to put him away somewhere. it was a simple question and in the end he just told me to get out. all he had to do was say yes or no. I left. I apologized for upsetting him and left. I fear for him. but this is helping me, to read these posts, to let it go and try not to worry what he's capable of. I will try to go when he wants me to. he stays in the house staring and crying a lot and I am afraid. thanks for any advise.
I'm in the process of trying to figure out, how do we know this is the end or another episode? Will I just get a knock on the door and served with divorce papers? Would he text me I filed? He's not only ghosted before but.stated were done.
So it's my flight or.flight reaction triggering anxiety panic depression for me simply not knowing. I'm trying to look for different patterns, only difference is, he.was awared a large settlement.before he left, so.this.time he has money to play and spend.
Do bp ghosters ever come back? What actions can I take to make them see reason and contact me again?
HI Ann, I don't have this answer I to am waiting to see of someone with BP response. my husband and I have been married for three years he has bipolar 1 he has ghosted me almost seven or eight times never staying away for as long as he has this time which is now going on 2 weeks I have tried texting him telling him that I love him that I will help him that I'm not mad at him nothing seems to really help all I could do is pray cry and try to keep my own mental health together which is difficult and I do have three children not with him I have tried support groups I have tried online support this is the most painful experience I've ever felt in my life to be ghosted by somebody who I adore so much and I know he's not happy and I don't know how to make him happy I don't think he really knows and I believe he thinks that my children are his triggers which is even extremely harder as a mother especially since he met me knowing I had children so and I just want you to know I'm also praying for you and it really is not our fault stay strong. fake it until we can make it right?
Kim.. is there an email I can reach you at? Its nice to read that someone else out there is experiencing these bipolar episodes with their husband, i feel not alone in trying to understand!
When your down in that deep Bipolar low, your sensitivity is turned up and you just want quiet and be alone.,
Your also probably suffering from anxiety as well and there’s no off switch
..It may appear to be ghosting but you feel so low you just don’t want others to see you that way....eventually it will pass and you can move on again.
The danger when your high your prone to excessive spending, things seem funnier than they are, you may suffer from ADHD and obsessive compulsive disorder, like I do. You feel great and others probably think your on some illicit drug.
The biggest problem with BP people is if they are undiagnosed, in denial about their condition and not taking their medication.
I just wanted to say ❤️ I love you thank you for sharing
If they ever did come back could anything ever really justify how they treated you? I’m still dealing with the reality of living with a sociopath that targeted me as a source of supply and knew before we ever got serious how she would leave me and hurt me in all the ways she was supposedly hurt, it’s messed up to think about… you live with a person and spend so much time together and realize they were lying to you every step of the way. They promise you everything you ever wanted only to dangle affection, promises and fake wanting a future when they know you are only temporary and they will eventually use everything you ever cherished or confided in them to hurt you as deeply as possible so they can say you’re crazy and somehow justify years of lies, secret phone numbers and emails and randevous, when you look back at all the things you never bothered to question it’s disgusting and just soul crushing to learn they lied and cheated and basically showed you proof… but I mean you have no reason to examine pics or look at the location or anything because you just trust them and never imaged a person could lie about who they are from day 1… she sent all these cute first trip alone pics I never even questioned we were just falling in love, now it’s obvious she was lying the things in the background guy behind her… it’s so mind boggling… another time visiting a friend you can literally see in locations she switched houses her clothes are thrown around the room and she’s under s blanket smiling…. Little did I know there’s s reflection of a guy clearly with his head under the blanket like wtf,,,, it makes my skin crawl. She never went to work snd would come home reeking if oil, so bad she had to scrub it off her naked body, I was such s fool to believe her but they are so insidious it all made sense at the time.. she didn’t even go there or to her doctors or moms most of the time she ran off to do go knows what.. she spied on me and smoked and did all these things I can’t even imagine her doing, even loud noises, she was terrified of them now I know it’s because her other pals had motorcycles and loud cars and she was probably afraid they showed up while I was home… I could go on and and but it’s all the same and all the Marc abuse stories run together… I never imagined the sweetness person I’d ever known would be the worst abuser and do more damage than anyone ever has or could to my life but here we are… ptsd sucks, love stinks, I’m going to bed
This is an interesting. The associating “Ghosting” with bipolar.
It’s hard to say, if that truly is “exclusive to bp” or if it’s a commonality for other residual-issues in development with relations...ie: family, friends.
Ex: Early-Childhood Neglect, abuses etc.
But .. when you say, have narcissistic-relatives, who only emerge, when they need you.....and you tried to communicate, as best you can for years (ie: addressing issues, finding your voice, boundaries etc.)
When all that fails/falls on deaf ears...
Yes, choosing to walk-away.... Making a clean start. Going no-contact. Can be the healthy/safest thing to do!
Many use it as last resort. In some cases, it’s an outright BLESSING!
“Ghosting/Doorslamming/No-Contact” doesn’t need to be a negative.
In mental-health, you need to know your triggers/boundaries/balances.. it’s critical!
Some personalities are known for the “Doorslamming”. Ex: INFJ’s (me) are known for it.
Excellent.This exact journey of my life with bipolar disorder.It has really been so challenging but due to the moral support i get from my beloved immediate Family am living so positive with it.Thank you so much for this enlight.
I don't have bipolar disorder, but I have ghosted people after severe emotional trauma. I felt extreme anxiety towards them, but had repressed the memory of why.
My boyfriend has ghosted me a few time now, anywhere from 2 days to 7days. He asked me to marry him and told me how much he wants to spend his life with me then and I haven't heard from him for over a week again. Would you suggest its best to just give up on him? He also has had a lot of past trauma and has PTSD. I would like to hear from someone like yourself to what goes through your mind about the other person that loves you so much?
Gone thro' the matter. I like to know whether bipolar disorder can be cured with medication, counseling and proper homecare.
Bipolar Disorder cannot be cured but it can be treated and to some degree controlled with medication, counseling and good self care. I am living proof of this. Once I had the right medication combination, I stopped cycling and experience a normal mood. I also avoid triggers as best I can, go to sleep the same time every night with very few exceptions, don't drink alcohol (especially a bad thing with meds & not good for bipolar anyway), and control my thought life. I also got counseling when the cycles were most active. My husband got educated about bipolar and is very supportive and a great help to me. I no longer have hypomania and have only a slight dip in mood every few months which is probably normal for most people anyway and only lasts about 3 days. My thought life is a large part of my recovery along with the meds. If I allow myself to ruminate negative thoughts, I get pulled down into a depression. The more I focus on the negative things about myself and/or situations the worse I get. So now I have become very self aware and as soon as negative thoughts come I distract myself. If it's a situation I must take care of I do so as quickly as possible and don't dwell on the negative feelings. I give myself a reality check. Depression tells me I am unloveable and worthless but in reality I know I have family and friends who love me dearly so I work on telling myself the truth about that. I also have a deep faith in God so I focus on what the Bible tells me God thinks about His people (me included) and what He's done for me and my worth to Him no matter if I think or feel I'm a total mess. So this is how I get through my bipolar life. Self awareness and thought life are key along with meds and a good support system (counseling, family, friends who work at understanding bipolar), sleeping and eating right. I hope this helps. It took me a long time to find the right combination of meds with my psychiatrist (about 5 1/2 years) so don't get discouraged and don't give up.