Writing this post I kept thinking, jesus, I could be describing Donald Trump. So that’s the level of awful we’re dealing with here albeit with better hair. Unsurprisingly, X thinks Donald Trump is a good listener(!) and thinks he wouldn’t do that bad a job as president. (Also, I’m trying not to be completely doxxy here so the pronouns are a bit weird.)
I work for X, who is bipolar. This is brought up every time there is any sort of issue. X rails at a harmless person taking orders over the phone, because X is bipolar. X screeches at me for and hour and a half for not canceling another client and taking care of X’s needs immediately; then sends me home as X can’t even look at me, because X is bipolar. (I should point out that I work for X’s company so the clients I’d be bailing on literally earn X money.) X drives drunk, because X is bipolar. X cheats on their partner (brazenly and for years without apology and refuses to stop when asked/begged) because X is bipolar. X treats other humans in general as if they are accessories to picked up or discarded on a whim. Which makes X’s business a bit of a mess really. And makes X’s home life a bit of a mess too.
X has many of the standard manic behaviors, like compulsive shopping. X will, in the same breath express regret that they squandered their inheritance (millions) and then shrug and gaily click “place order” and buy $5,000 worth of shoes. X doesn’t ever want to give workmen a budget to work with, because then X might not “hear all the options” available. Inevitably X goes with a wildly expensive and often totally unnecessary option and then throws fits until the price X had in their head is honored. Frequently X will agree on a price and then renege and insist on a steep discount for some random reason (usually a delay which is usually caused by X changing their mind about something) Unsurprisingly, X does not work with most companies more than once.
Because X almost got a MSW years ago X believes themself an expert on their disease. (To be fair, they are not ill-informed, it’s just that X always knows better than umm, science) X will happily ignore the meds prescribed and self medicates with cocaine, alcohol, Xanax, Adderall, sleeping pills etc. When X decides they are tipping into mania X will then take lithium/effexor etc in high doses for a few days and believes that will fix things. In reality X is manic most of the time. What X calls manic is more psychotic episode.
X attributes most of their mental illness, and their behavior in general to having a terrible childhood. Which sounds reasonable until X explains the sum total of that terrible childhood: X’s parents got divorced when X was under 10. That’s it. No abuse, no abandonment (parents shared custody amicably), no neglect, no poverty, no bullying, no addicts. X legitimately believes the divorce has damaged them so severely that X will never be healed. (I don’t want to diminish childhood trauma here, but from what I’ve been told by X, repeatedly, everything was handled incredibly well by the adults. What X really seems to be pissed about is that X’s mother went back to school/work instead of staying home tending to X’s every need. And yes, the word “damaged” is used by X in every conversation about this.)
X goes to a psychiatrist more than twice a week. Plus X has a psychopharm (whom X hates because the man won’t prescribe things X wants, hence X asking their children to pretend to be ADHD so X can get Adderall. Kids refused, X is silently holding that against them, well one of them, the other, as is made blatantly obvious in every way, is X’s favorite). However, X told me the shrink would never try to point out when X is bullshitting because X would just walk and find a new shrink. So much for gaining any insight from therapy then. Honestly I kind of feel like the shrink is committing malpractice here, because what’s the point of letting someone come and whine about their damage and never pointing out the huge red flags waving everywhere? And the shrink never pushes back against X’s self assessment of their condition either.
All of this is possible because X has money. Most bipolar people literally can’t afford this level of I want to say delusion, but that’s probably not quite the right word. X’s family pays for the shrink & meds. X’s family pays most of the household expenses, including nannies/au pairs, house cleaners, home improvements, cars, vacations, kid’s activities, clubs, clothes, upcoming college etc. X’s spouse (they are half separated but staying together for the kids officially, unofficially X doesn’t want to tell their family because the money might stop) pays the remainder of the expenses. The family has debt, but because X’s shopping is always covered it’s not that bad. (X’s shopping, fyi can run over $15k/month, much of which is never used).
X has never had to face any consequences for their actions. Always someone is there to clean up the mess, apologize, and make it all go away. Had X ever worked for anyone but family or for themself they would have gotten fired. Had X ever bankrupted themself they wouldn’t have access to unlimited credit cards (X gets new ones frequently, or rather X’s spouse does). Most people who are so fucking blatant about using illegal drugs would have been arrested by now. Granted X is white so probably would have been able to make the charge go away even without their resources, but still.
The thing that is so mystifying to me is that X is at this point abusive to pretty much everyone in their life. And everyone EVERYONE, seems to think this is ok. Most people who work for X’s company have done so for years and just act like X is somehow the victim because X is mentally ill. Same for spouse and kids. I feel like I’m in an alternate reality where assholery is OK. It’s even more infuriating to me because I’ve noticed something: X never goes full batshit on people who matter. Like their parents who control the money, or a teacher at the kid’s school, or an important (aka filthy rich) client. X always, ALWAYS punches down, which tells me that X can control much of their behavior, even while manic. X just doesn’t care enough to bother. Or actively enjoys this kind of behavior, like kicking the cat whenever X’s fave kid isn’t around to see(cat is too fast, and savvy for X to actually connect thank god).
I’m looking for a new job, obviously, but since X is known for fucking with people who speak truth to them I can’t just go all table toss and walk out in righteous fury. And honestly, the behavior of everyone else in X’s life is starting to make me think I might be the delusional one. Can I really be the only one who looks at X and thinks their behavior is unacceptable on every level, and mostly NOT due to mental illness (at least not due to bipolar). Do they all really think it’s OK to give an abuser an out because of mental illness? Maybe growing up with a bipolar parent has prejudiced me? I mean I know it screwed me up (mainly because it wasn’t diagnosed until I was 17 so as a little kid I internalized the idea that parent’s mood swings and other behaviors were my fault and that if I worked hard enough/was good enough/smart enough etc I could magically make things better), but I don’t think it blinded me.
I hate watched an episode of Parenthood recently where Max the autistic kid went off to try and go some museum by himself and the whole family goes into a tizzy, but then when kid is delivered home safely the parents don’t take him to task(the sister does but hopelessly because she knows mom and dad are fucking useless). And then the end shot of the episode is the whole family having a great day at the museum. (I’m not familiar with autism really, but I cannot believe that no discussion was had about right and wrong responsibility etc. Like that’s a recipe for creating an asshole right there.) And that episode made me so irrationally angry because all I saw in that little kid was X merrily smashing their way through life without a care. And I hate that people who deal with X come away thinking all bipolar people are assholes. It’s like X is running an anti PR campaign designed to make society that much less accepting of mental illness than it already is.
I’m kidnapping the cat when I leave. Hell, I’d take the kids too if I could.