A commenter mentioned how s/he has “loose boundaries” when manic.  Sharing too much about your life and thoughts with casual friends, acquaintances, even strangers. I think we all recognize that phenomenon in our lives, manic or otherwise.

Some theories do exist as to why this happens to those with bipolar disorder.  One is that in our manic state, everyone is our best friend.  We imagine ourselves the center of attention in every crowd.  We think of ourselves as coming across as extremely extroverted, happy, seductive, or attractive to other people.  Everyone ought to be interested in hearing everything about us because we’re such interesting people!

Another is the phenomenon of impaired insight.  This syndrome is when you don’t know you’re sliding into a manic state and you simply don’t realize how you’re acting.  You think everything is fine and normal, especially if you’re just coming out of a depressed state.  You may feel relieved that you finally feel like yourself, but don’t realize that you’re already switching to the other mood extreme.

I personally think another reason is that if we find someone interested in listening to our story, we tend to go overboard.  Most folks with bipolar disorder have difficulties maintaining friendships, so when we find someone interested in being our friend, we tell it all just like it is.  This trait can be a double-edged sword; the person we’re sharing with may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by an instant level of emotional intimacy they aren’t yet ready for.

I’m generally very guarded with people, manic or not.  I’ve learned enough about people that the best friendships develop slowly.  A friend is not a dumping ground for all your idiosyncrasies and neuroses and insecurities.  There needs to be a mutual aid relationship where you can support and uphold each other without being all about you.  What are your experiences with boundary issues?

5 thoughts on “Boundaries

  1. GREAT post, accurately sums up a common scenario. I also find that besides over sharing, while in my heightened sense, I’ve interjected too many opinions (unsolicited at times) in someone else’s business, sometimes with strangers and with friends, to the degree that I’ve run them off. Live and learn though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, yeah. For me, the boundaries disappear in the depressive state, because at that point, I become pensive and contemplative. As my pastor used to say, I would overthink things. If someone is around, I dump on them all that thinking. Some of it would be negative. You’ve done a great job explaining this part of bipolar. In spite of my age, I’m still working on blurting out too much detail from time to time.


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