Thankfully, b/c of some very effective, though very expensive, drugs, his mood swings are not all the time -- but when he gets tired or otherwise stressed, he just doesn't deal well with anything relationship-wise. And by deal well -- I mean, I've seen behaviors most people would never put up with from another adult. Tantrums, self hitting, etc. It's like his development in handling stress stopped at the toddler years.
My question is, what advice have you given others about dealing with spouses who are struggling with their own emotional issues? What I'm MOST concerned with is trying to control my frustration at the situation -- my anger and acting out -- b/c I want my children to grow up learning to better way to deal with this. I don't want them to enable someone who has issues, but I want them to be compassionate. And sometimes I lose my patience and am not very compassionate. But the way my husband reacts to my frustration or my compassion, when he's in these moods, is to provoke me even more. Eventually, all comes to a head -- after several hours of silent treatments and passive-aggressive behavior (before he had meds, it was violent behavior), I raise my voice to tell him to stop his behavior, I then force him to share his feelings (which takes several tries as he continues trying to either apologize or more likely pass blame), and then he crumbles in my arms, sobbing and hanging on for dear life. And then it's over, he apologizes, and is back to his normal, stable self. Again and again -- say, about every 10 to 14 days for a major episode with a couple minor episodes in between (before meds, he had a mood swing multiple times a day, so this is a huge improvement). I'm not sure if this process he seems to force me into (I'm certainly no fan of doing it over and over again) is healing to him, or simply an unconscious repeating of what happened when he was younger.
Do you think this is healthy for him? Do you think it's healing? Is there any other way I can get to the end (where he comes back to his stable mood) without having to go through the whole thing? Or, if I do have to go through the whole process, will this eventually resolve itself? Any advice would be much appreciated.
And how can I work through my own frustration? I didn't get married thinking I'd be my husband's mother figure. How do I come to terms with the way life has worked out for me? (We've been married 7 years, and the most severe bipolar symptoms came on shortly after we began having children).