Letting go of a family member with bipolar is a very hard thing to do but it is not as hard as one might think it is. Your household will go from chaos to peacefulness somewhat in just a few short weeks, once you all have adjusted to it. The first few days if you have children will be hard, as they will miss the other parent but they will soon figure it out, that the chaos that parent created is gone now as well.
Once your household settles down you will wonder what took you so long to let them go, you will feel the peace that has returned. You will sleep better, and feel better in so many ways after the initial shock is over.
Letting go of the bipolar parent means totally letting go, not accompanying them to counseling appointments, the store or letting them do anything for you. By having anything to do with that bipolar parent, you are giving them false hope of getting back together, if you do not have any plans to let them back into your life.
Cutting off all ties means all ties, and I mean all of them. Sign off any joint accounts if possible, get the house switched into your name only, and walk away with your head held high. You owe this to your children, who should not have to see their other parent take a downward spiral into mental psychosis that is so deep and very to scary for any children to see.
You owe it to your children to give them the best childhood possible and it is far better for them to remember their bipolar parent the way they before the mental illness began changing them in such a profound way. Children deserve as happy as a childhood that we can possibly make for them, and this does not mean trying to be two parents. Sugar coating the other parents' actions or behaviors for your children should not be done, nor should you put the bipolar parent down in front of the children in any shape. Trust me those children will see much more from the bipolar parent and they will draw their own conclusions. Children often clearly see which parent cares more for their safety and well-being.
Our family, as in the kids and I had to let go of their father because of his bipolar illness. He would often skip his medicine, thinking he no longer needed it, this became a huge problem for all of us to deal with, and I speak for my self as well as my children.
My youngest child is the only one who currently had anything to do with their father, but after many broken promises, he too is seeing that perhaps he needs to let go as well. As sad as it might be, he realizes that his father cannot really care for him or be the type of father he wishes him to be. That is what happens when you promise weekend visits and only actually show up once a month to get a child for visit time.
It is harder for this youngest son, because he was really too young to remember how his father was before the illness took over. My older children remember well, how this illness has taken a decent hard worker who had little time for them because of work, to a mean spirited man who yelled at everything they did.
He could not keep a job in the last few years we spend together as a family, so he took any job he could find, often sitting home collecting unemployment, and drinking. He would leave a job within a year because he did not like it often leaving the family without an income.
It seemed as if he thought he could come and go from our lives easily, often leaving for a few months and wanting back in to be a family. After the third time in as many years, I put my foot down and began a new life, a new life that did not include him. He was shocked to say the least when I told him no the last time, but he quietly went away and started his own new life.
I realized that by trying to keep the family together and helping a bipolar patient who did not want help were the wrong things to do. Once I cut all personal ties with my ex husband he also by choice cut all ties with our children, which is a shame in many ways, but now they are able to have friends over and are able to enjoy a peaceful home.