my evil twin?
the idea of accountability seems to be coming up a lot in different contexts.
XBF gave me a very long talking to about accountability, making the argument that “people” don’t really get the sense that i take responsibility for my behavior. he said this after i was bitching about my aunt telling me she wanted to say “fuck it” to our relationship. imo, she could communicate anger and frustration without saying something like that. he tried to tell me that she was trying to communicate that what i had done (not talked to her) had hurt her. i wasn’t sure i bought that story so i asked for a different example. he eventually gave me one that seemed to stick (although i don’t really remember it at the moment, and he’s not answering his phone to remind me).
my take home message: he felt i need to understand the role i play in situations and to take more responsibility for interactions.
(i still don’t buy the bit about my aunt. that’s a load of crap. perhaps somewhat disturbingly, XBF seems to side with my family members more often these days. i wonder if he realizes how dangerous and stupid that is.)
i’ve also been thinking about responsibility in relation to mental illness because of the realization that some people have tried to use bipolar in an insanity defense. how successful they were, i don’t know. but it seems to open a whole can of worms. is there a case to be made that bipolar episodes are periods of insanity? and this brings me to my next question.
one of my commenters brought up something i have secretly felt but so far have been unable to admit to anyone, myself included. it is that being diagnosed has been accompanied by s huge sense of relief. being bipolar (possibly) means many of the failures that weigh heavily on my shoulders can be lifted.
(yes, i do recognize that this feeling does lend support to XBFs earlier comment about my lack of accountability)
it begs the question: am i responsible for my behavior during a bipolar episode?
while that sounds scary, i’ve never been one to argue in favor of free will anyway, so it just meant losing more control i didn’t have in the first place.
i keep reading about the distinction between behavior resulting from the illness and behavior resulting from the self. to be honest i think these are hokey terms and ways of thinking about it, but i’m picky. but how easy would it be for you, if something you did or something you said could be explained away as a symptom of illness? would it not be tempting to put all of your less desirably characteristics in with your bipolar evil twin, while you yourself are a normal and lovely human being? where and how do you draw the line?
not that i endorse this guy (he is selling a gimmick, as far as I’m concerned), but maybe tom wootton had it right when he wrote about being able to “harness” depression and mania (or hypomania). rather than distinguishing between illness and self, learn how they interact and be able to manage behaviors that way.
and rather than setting a goal to suppress those characteristics, embrace them because they are a part of you regardless. to manage them is not just about stuffing them into your broom closet and pulling the china cabinet across the doorway.
is this a possibility? what is more manageable? embracing one “you” who is always sick, or splitting yourself into one “sick you” and one “normal you”?