Can we just stop throwing around emotional diagnoses of people?
Homeschool Mom: Now even my teenager has uttered the dreaded, "So-and-so's ex is bipolar."
Just because you can't get along with someone (or have had a poor outcome with them), you don't suddenly have a psychology degree that allows you to pronounce his or her diagnosis.
I understand where the feelings come from. When my husband and I were in a definite pit of arguing and frustration and decided to seek counseling, I was sure that the counselor would confirm my analysis of the situation. (That being: My husband was crackers, and there was a padded cell waiting for him.)
Curiously enough, my husband had a similar intuitive scene playing out in his own counseling fantasies: They would cart me away while the counselor patted him on the back consolingly and said, "I'm surprised you lasted as long as you did, buddy." Fortunately, however, the counselor was a fair and unbiased man who pointed out each of our failings (and charged us lots of money).
The point is this: It's easy to look at someone you're in direct opposition to and pronounce him or her crazy. But is it true? I remember a good friend whose ex-husband accused her of having "borderline personality disorder" -- which seems to be one step away from "sociopathic maniac." (This from a man who, in years prior, had used nothing but loving and glowing terms to describe this woman and her amazing capabilities as a partner and mother.) Anyway, he was trying to get sole custody of the children and relegate her to supervised visitation. Thankfully, social workers and psychologists stepped in and gave her custody and him visitation on weekends. He is now cordial and even friendly. So: Was she magically cured of her psychosis ... or did he just get over his intense anger?
My own father and mother, while in the throes of anger and divorce, acted like two people who had emotional problems and possibly mental-health issues. My father said later, "Some people bring out the best in us and some bring out the worst. Your mother brought out my worst." Funny as that is, I respect my father for making a statement like that. I try to instill the same perspective into my own son.
People behave poorly when they are hurt and sad. That is just a fact. So I encourage all of us to refrain from armchair psychology while in the midst of relationship difficulties. "Bipolar" shouldn't be an epitaph; it should be a diagnosis from a licensed professional. I intend to teach my son that a girl who isn't right for him isn't a b***h, or bipolar -- or anything other than just a girl HE doesn't bring out the best in.
|Homeschool Mom Pam Heilman is a Calif.-credentialed teacher who once won some body lotion in a raffle at the Y. She is currently residing in Southern Calif. with her husband, Eric, and homeschools their three children.|