Let’s rephrase this question. Does a person with bipolar disorder lie?
The simple answer is yes. Somewhat the same or a bit more than a normal person. However, the difference is that they believe in their lies.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition involving manic episodes and depressive phases. Lying is not part of the diagnostic symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, we can conclude from anecdotal evidence about lying. A person with bipolar personality disorder has a higher tendency than a normal person to tell lies.
Why does a person with bipolar disorder lie? Are these intentional? Can you trust a bipolar person? What effect do their lies have on your relationship?
This article explores this tricky topic and comes up with some incredible answers for you. The more you understand bipolar disorder and the mental workings of a bipolar partner, the better you can manage them and their episodes. You may gain the ability to trust a bipolar person and enjoy a healthy relationship with them.
How a person with bipolar thinks?
Being a mental health condition, it is obvious that the thought process of a person with bipolar disorder is different from that of a normal person. A person suffering from bipolar personality disorder may think differently from a normal person, especially during manic and depressive episodes. However, the bipolar thinking patterns of each person are unique.
Bipolar disorder has an impact on every aspect of the life of the person. Their emotions, thoughts, moods, and behavior gets affected. The thought processes of a person with bipolar disorder are different when they are going through manic and depressive phases.
These are some of the thought patterns commonly associated with bipolar disorder.
Racing mind: This involves thoughts that are fast-moving and repetitive. These thoughts race through the head at lightning speed and make the person feel overwhelmed and out of control.
Flight of ideas: This involves the mind moving from one idea to the next too fast. A person with bipolar disorder may connect up things and see meanings in a way a normal person doesn’t.
Pressured speech: This is the tendency to speak rapidly and in a frenzied manner. The speaker may feel some urgency that their listeners can’t figure out. The speech may be fast, irrelevant, erratic, tangential, and hard to interpret.
Tangentiality: This refers to a disturbance in the thought process that causes the person to connect excessive and irrelevant details. This makes them deviate from the point of a conversation or answer to a question.
Poverty of Speech (Alogia): This is a lack of conversation seen during the depressive phase. A person with bipolar disorder becomes quiet and doesn’t say much. They keep the interaction to a minimum and refuse to elaborate.
Rumination: This involves pondering on thoughts about annoying and distressing past events.
Suicidal and negative thoughts: This is commonly found in bipolar people in their manic and depressive phases.
While the first four thought patterns are seen during a manic phase, alogia is a typical sign of a depressed mind. Rumination and suicidal thoughts are seen during both manic and depressive phases.
Does a bipolar person know right from wrong?
When a person with bipolar disorder is experiencing a manic episode, they tend to think too fast and follow it up by acting impulsively. Their ego and grandiose feelings compound the problem further. All these may make them lie to impress others.
On top of this, if they are victims of substance abuse, they may have impaired judgment. This may make it hard for them to know right from wrong. However, when they are healthy and feeling normal, they fully understand the difference between right and wrong just like a normal person.
When a person with bipolar disorder has trouble differentiating right from wrong, it is incorrect to see it as a character flaw or moral failing. It’s a mental health condition and not to be viewed as immoral or evil. It’s their mental illness that is making it difficult for them to think clearly and causing impairment in their judgment.
Is there a link between bipolar disorder and lying?
Though lying is not a diagnostic symptom of bipolar disorder, there is anecdotal evidence of it. The convoluted thought patterns a person with bipolar disorder experiences during their manic episodes may be to blame for this.
During a manic episode, a bipolar person may experience:
- Disturbances in memory
- Rapid thinking and speech patterns
- Impulsive behavior
- Poor choices in decision-making
Here are some examples of lies a bipolar person may tell themselves.
- “You’re doing great. Don’t slow down.”
- “You should drive faster.”
- “You’re not going to get hurt.”
- “You should show your anger.”
- “What you see is real.”
- “You don’t need to sleep.”
- “You don’t need medication.”
- “Your doctor doesn’t understand your problem.”
What makes a person with bipolar disorder lie?
The anecdotal evidence points to increased lying instances among people with bipolar disorder. Though no link has been proven clinically, we can understand their reasons for excessive lying.
1. As a fallout of manic episodes
During a manic phase, bipolar people may experience hallucinations. This includes seeing, hearing or smelling things that others can’t. They will believe these to be real.
People with bipolar disorder also experience delusions of grandeur and excessive ego. They may develop an inflated sense of self. They may believe that they are immune to liability, harm, or injury.
They also believe that it’s acceptable to magnify and overreact when they’re upset, to express their anger excessively, and to speak in nasty and hurtful ways.
These thought processes may get a bipolar person into trouble. And, like any other person, they try to cover up their wrongs and convince themselves of their innocence with lies.
2. Different perspective
A bipolar person sees and experiences the world around them through tinted glass, sometimes rose-tinted, oftentimes not. They know that they’ve mental health issues and they’re unique and different from others. It is their constant endeavor to fit in. They may resort to lies to make themselves seem normal to others.
As their senses and emotions are heightened, others may accuse them of being overdramatic, faking, or attention-seeking even when they are truthful. What others perceive as lies may not be lies but are real to a bipolar person. When they exaggerate incidents, this is how they recollect those events.
Their mental health challenges like racing thoughts, flight of ideas, and pressured speech can only make things worse for a bipolar person. Even when they are telling the truth, they may appear as lies to others.
How do their lies affect their relationships?
In other words, can you trust a bipolar partner?
When a person with bipolar disorder says something that may appear as a lie to others, it’s important to understand that they are not trying to fool or deceive anyone. However, if people close to them aren’t aware of this, they may brand the person as a liar and deceitful person.
The lack of trust in their relationships with others may result in the bipolar person feeling unloved and abandoned. This may also affect the help and support they get from others and the quality of care they receive for their mental health condition. All these may lead to low quality of life for a bipolar person.
Even as medication, counseling, and therapy can help a bipolar person manage their mental illness, counseling and support are highly recommended for their family and friends to develop empathy for the bipolar person.
A bipolar person who is undergoing a proper treatment regime and is getting adequate help and support from their near and dear ones will not lie as much. They can lead normal lives and have healthy relationships.
Final Thoughts: Trust and Bipolar Disorder – Finding a Path Forward
A person suffering from bipolar personality disorder may resort to lies to fit in and make them appear normal to others. They may lie to cover up their wrongdoings or when they are in trouble.
As a normal person, you should have the mental capacity to understand the limitations of a bipolar person and act accordingly. Coming back to the original question – Can you trust a bipolar person?
Probably you can trust a bipolar person more than a normal person. Even if they may lie more than others during their manic episodes, they don’t lie intentionally when they are normal. As long as you’re aware of their tendency to lie, take their statements with a grain of salt.