Let’s discuss the above subtleties of dysfunctional parenting. In today’s Not Crazy podcast, Gabe recalls the relationship he had with his parents when he was young. As a teenage, he judged his mothers were being exceedingly stern, but now he participates they were trying to punish symptoms of his undiagnosed bipolar disorder — and were doing the best they could.
Join us for a great discussion on how the parent-child dynamic can go wrong when undiagnosed mental illness is involved.
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About The Not Crazy podcast Hosts
Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and loudspeaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the favourite volume, Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observances, available from Amazon; signed reproduces are also available directly from Gabe Howard . To learn more, please visit his website, gabehoward.com.
Lisa is the producer of the Psych Central podcast, Not Crazy. She is the recipient of The National Alliance on Mental Illness’s “Above and Beyond” award, has worked extensively with the Ohio Peer Supporter Certification program, and is a workplace suicide prevention trainer. Lisa has combated dip her entire life and has worked alongside Gabe in mental health advocacy for over a decade. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband; enjoys international excursion; and fiats 12 duos of shoes online, collects the best one, and transmits the other 11 back.
Computer Generated Transcript for” Dysfunctional Childhood” Episode
Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.
Lisa: You’re listening to Not Crazy, a Psych Central podcast hosted by my ex-husband, who has bipolar disorder. Together, we created the mental health podcast for people who hate mental health podcasts.
Gabe: Hey, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the Not Crazy podcast, I’m your legion Gabe Howard. And with me, as always, is the sparkling Lisa Kiner.
Lisa: Thank you, Gabe. Hey, all, today’s quote is by C.S. Lewis, you can’t go back and reform the start, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
Gabe: But is that true?
Lisa: Yeah, of course that’s true, it’s never too late until you’re dead.
Gabe: That exits together with my excerpt, It’s never too late to have a joyful childhood.
Lisa: No, that’s not similar at all.
Gabe: Are you sure? Because I think that memory is one of those funny things. The direction that we retain things modifies dramatically as additional information sounds into our mentality and now it should be no surprise that we’re going to be talking about Gabe’s infancy, solely how poison my mothers were.
Lisa: Ok, but, yes, your rememberings are constantly being re-evaluated by your psyche, but the actual truth of what happened is not. If you had a video camera that wouldn’t change, you could just go back and watch the video. What actually happened is the same. It’s just how you interpret it or been thinking about it has changed.
Gabe: But that’s a terribly esoteric thought and have you ever watched.
Lisa: You don’t use the word esoteric correctly. No, it’s not an esoteric abstraction. You mean to say nebulous,
Gabe: Fine, it’s a nebulous hypothesi, I
Gabe: Think it’s esoteric, you think it’s nebulous, let’s call the whole thing off. The
Lisa: No, the words have actual meaning.
Gabe: Do they?
Lisa: Yes, that is the purpose of words.
Gabe: Do they?
Lisa: Oh, for God’s sakes. Ok.
Gabe: The point that I’m making is, is that the channel that we experience things alter as additional information becomes available, for example, around the world, literally, the whole world believes that there is a line in the movie Casablanca that says, continue it again, Sam, that
Gabe: Line doesn’t exist. And we all remember it. We all believe that it’s true. Now applying this to our own lives, I very much retain my childhood in a certain way, but it advances as I kept myself in the shoes of my mothers. For pattern, when I was 15, my parents were idiot morons that were just trying to keep me from living my best life. And when I was 25, they were grisly abusers that were trying to kill me. And now that I’m 43, they’re boring and they just bicker a lot. But I’m remember the same.
Lisa: We need to go back to that twenty-five-year-old thing, oh, my God, actually?
Gabe: Well, I knew you at twenty-five, that’s.
Lisa: And that persuaded you that your parents had been trying to kill you?
Gabe: Somebody had to be trying to kill me. It was either that.
Gabe: Or made up stuff. If it wasn’t them, who was it?
Lisa: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, back up. You thought your mothers were trying to kill you “when youre” 25?
Lisa: Like, wait, wait, wait. Were they trying to kill you when you were 25? Or looking back on it, you thought to yourself, gee, they were trying to kill me 10 years ago?
Gabe: I, probably all of it. Remember back then, I are of the view that beasts were hiding under my bunked, I was nervous. I thought that something was trying to kill me and I very much accused them for all of my questions because I had to blame somebody and my world was very small. In fairness, I also denounced my ex-wife, civilization and probably several personalities. It was a chaotic day. But recollect, those who are closest to you take the brunt of the condemn. It’s no amaze that when you and I got married, it transitioned over to you.
Lisa: There is so much there.
Gabe: Here i am. There’s an incredible extent there.
Lisa: And all of this is coming up because we received an email with a question and the question is, Gabe, how age-old saw you when your bipolar indications saw and when were you diagnosed? Did you have a relationship with your immediate family members then? And how did they help or hurt your recovery?
Gabe: Obviously, we’re going to discuss this a lot more because, you know, we need to fill a longer show, but the hurrying round refutes were the indications were kind of ever with me. Nobody really recognized them. Right? I thought about suicide as far back as I can remember. Like literally from birth. Yeah. It was just always part of me. I depicted indications of bipolar affective disorder in my teenage years. Yeah, it was always there. I was 25 when I was ultimately diagnosed and my affair with my immediate lineage was damaged when I was diagnosed, I.
Lisa: Before the diagnosis or because of the diagnosis?
Gabe: Oh , no, before. It was strained because of the
Lisa: So at the time of diagnosis, your relationship was tightened?
Gabe: Yeah, it was strained, it was, it was questionable, I don’t want to say bad because we were still in touch. I consider bad like I haven’t talked to my mummy for five years. Like, that’s bad or like extreme defamation. Like your family is stealing from you or,
Gabe: You know, I don’t know that.
Lisa: So, it wasn’t as good as it is now. So, strained.
Gabe: Oh , no , no , no , now , now it’s fine.
Lisa: Now, do you think that was damaged because of your behavior and your evidences?
Gabe: Oh, yes, yes, without a doubt, my behaviour was very problematic, both in the way that I plowed them and in accordance with the arrangements that I perceived they treated me, that’s like the real bitch about bipolar disorder, right? It sort of warps what you determine. And that’s very hard to get over. Even after treatment, it made years to reflect back and recognize, oh, what a mysterious reason to be angry.
Lisa: You say that you had evidences of bipolar illness in your teens. What each type of symptoms are we talking about?
Gabe: When I was diagnosed with bipolar illness, my mother said to me, after she learned what bipolar disorder was, she said, oh my God, I always described you as my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde child. And I said, Mom, that’s literally what bipolar disorder is. How did you not think that something was wrong? And she was like, well, I only I thought it was hormones. I thought it was boys will be sons. I thought it was the teenage years. I. In my mothers’ defense, I’m the oldest. This was their first teen. They didn’t know what the hell was going on. And teenage sons are ridiculous. We’re. Watch any coming of age movie, and I don’t know that my behaviour was all that atypical. If you get your mental health education from pop culture, they just thought that I simply needed direction.
Lisa: I’ve often are of the view that, especially about parent education teens, you know, like if you have a kid who’s crippled by anxiety. Well, the pitch of a mother is to say , no , no , no, you can do it. Going to be okay, try the thing. Well, at a certain point, they can’t. Your parents precisely, like you said, you’re the oldest. Adolescents are moody. You were moody. Teens are stunning. You were dramatic.
Gabe: See, here’s where I think it’s a good idea to talk about the veiled indication of bipolar disorder, and I’m trying to be like, genuinely spectacular, like dun dun dunn. See, everybody believes of bipolar affective disorder as the two poles, right? Suicidal depression and God-like mania. And those are absolutely indications of bipolar disorder. But what parties get wrong is that it’s a spectrum illness, mean suicidal feeling is the lowest you can smacked and God-like mania is the highest that you are eligible to reached. But you’re going back and forth on this range. That’s what comes me to my repeat unquote, obstructed symptom. It is reasonable and probable and likely and possible that through doing nothing, you will end up in the middle. You will be terminated paraphrase unquote , normal, just fine. And in my teenage years, that’s when I would excel in my after-school works. That’s when I would excel in institution. That’s when I “wouldve been” the charismatic, smart, charisma Gabe that my parents were trying to raise. And when that middle ground fell in the vicinity of a reward, we now know that that was just luck. That was just random. But at the time, my mothers used to be like, well, Gabe acted up. We ground him. And now search. Now look, he’s doing great. He assembled a club. Look at all his friends. He’s mowing the lawn like we questioned. That was just luck. I was just asymptomatic, but I wasn’t actually asymptomatic. I was just in the middle of that spectrum.
Lisa: That is asymptomatic.
Gabe: Well, sure, but this further drove residence to my mothers that what they were doing was working, but it was actually really the disease process arbitrarily relating up in the vicinity of my mothers’ discipline.
Lisa: I’m confused. You save announcing it a hidden manifestation, but that’s not a indication, that’s a period of normality. You’re saying that at times you had a regular humor nation because you were in between the two extremes. That’s actually the absence of symptoms. That’s not a conceal evidence. That is a period of ordinary humor position. That’s not a symptom.
Gabe: I understand what you’re saying, and I don’t mean to be flustering, but the reason why I call it a conceal indication is because it still has negative consequences. So, you’re described him as being manifestation free, but you’re still on the bipolar range. It’s not like because I am asymptomatic, I am not having symptoms.
Lisa: Yes, actually, that’s what the word asymptomatic means.
Gabe: Ok, you’re right. Let me, let me, let me clarify further, I’m trying to spin an resemblance, and it’s clearly not working well. Let’s take an example. So, I get suspended from school because I’m dancing in the front of the apartment and I’m being the class comic because that’s what mania looks like. Right? So, I get suspended from school. I come home, mom and dad sit me down and they say, OK, Gabe, OK, well, we have to curb this behavior. This is bad behavior. So, my parents ground me, they ground me. And for the three days that I’m suspended, I have to work in the plot. And then I go back to school a week later and unexpectedly I’m good, I’m perfect. I’m submissive to my parents. Everything is fine. In my mothers’ brain, the punishment wreaked, flooring me cultivated. That is a reasonable thing to think. But in reality, had my parents done absolutely nothing, the coming week when I went back to institution, I wouldn’t have been manic. The malady process would have altered and I would have been perfectly fine.
Gabe: But they didn’t realize that. And here’s why that’s a problem, because the next time that I was the class comedian, they fantasized, OK , no problem, we’ll ground him for a few weeks and we’ll stir him work in the garden-variety. But that didn’t work the next time and that simply passed them the option to be like, OK, we have to push harder. We have to ground him for 2 weeks and prepare him work in the neighbor’s garden. I don’t know. And they anticipated I was being obstinate.
Lisa: What you’re saying is that your mood would cycle in and out of a period of normalcy, as is the way with bipolar disorder, but your mothers would attribute it to something they did
Gabe: Correct, yes.
Lisa: Like he was acting all out of control. We footed him. He stopped doing it. Therefore, the instruct operated. Therefore, next time he acts all out of control, we will ground him again. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll exactly escalate and escalate and escalate.
Lisa: But in reality, this was just the ups and downs of bipolar affective disorder. It actually wasn’t related.
Gabe: Yes, exactly, but there’s another little insidious slouse there, and that’s what I actually want people to focus on, my mothers believes that I could do it. You’re asking why would they try to ground the indications of an illness out of their child? How sick is that? Could you imagine if I came home with a transgressed limb and they’re like, well, you’re grinded until your forearm is not broken? We’d order Children’s Services. That’s sadistic. You anchored your lad for having a broken arm? But remove violated weapon and put in mania, dip, fury. That’s what they tried to time. They literally tried to punish the indications out of me. And you’re asking why on earth would they do that? Because it directed. At least they believe that they looked it wreak. They knew that I could be good. They’ve seen it. It’s like an periodic problem with their lad. It’s like when you make the car to the mechanic. What’s that saying?
Lisa: Oh, each time you take the car to the mechanic, the problem is gone.
Gabe: Yeah, their lad just happened to have an intermittent problem, so every time they made me to the mechanic, I loped fine.
Lisa: Their thinking was that because there were times whatever it is you did behave normally, “where youve” asymptomatic, they remembered, OK, clearly, he can control it. If he’s capable of doing it sometimes, he’s capable of doing it all the time.
Gabe: Exactly, exactly. But here’s the thing that suctions. I thought that, very. I wanted to be a good kid. I think that’s important to understand. My parents illustrated me as intentionally malicious, intentionally acting up. That’s what they discover. I was not trying to do that. Well, I thought that my parents were bearing and, well, stupid. And I didn’t want their life in any way because of the aforementioned boring and stupid thing. I did respect my parents. They done a lot of work. They paid their statements. They were active in their community. And move no mistake, even in my angriest minutes, if I got in hardship, I called them. There was never a go, never a era, that I got in agitate that I reputed, well, I can’t call my mothers. I always knew that I could call them. But yeah, yeah, I yeah, I don’t even know what to say. I time I. I felt.
Lisa: I “ve always known” I could count on them.
Gabe: So to summarize, did I have a relationship with my immediate family members? Yes, but it was incredibly strained because of, well, all the things that we just talked about.
Lisa: We’re talking about did you have a relationship with your immediate family at the time of diagnosis, that was when you were 25. You must have left home at 18 or 19. What happened in those intervening years?
Gabe: I moved out when I was 18 and still in “schools ” because I simply had to get away from them, I really, I couldn’t stand them.
Lisa: But you moved in with your grandparents, right?
Gabe: Yeah, I could stand them, I like them.
Lisa: It’s not like you moved out on your own, you precisely went to stay with other family.
Gabe: Yeah, I was willing to go out on my own, I, I just.
Lisa: But your mothers thought that was a terrifying idea.
Gabe: This is where caches reform, right? Here’s what 18 -year-old Gabe saw happened. My parents were assholes. I can’t take them anymore. I’m not dealing with this shit. I’m out of here. Grandma saved me. Right? That’s what Gabe thought was happening. Here’s what actually happened. Gabe was ready to run away from home and do whatever it took to be away from them. And my parents called my grandparents and said, OK, we need to work together to made to ensure that he graduates “schools ” and save him from himself because he’s getting ready to run face first into fire. And he’s too stupid to realize it. And they all taken together for the next two years to made to ensure that I got a high school diploma, to make sure that I grew, to make sure that I obligated friends, that I was in mock trial, that I had something to fall back, that I learned computers. My parents still paid all my statutes, even if they are, you are well aware, under my breath, I called them assholes all the time and they knew that I call them assholes. They’re not stupid, but I ran away from them. That’s what actually happened. That’s a really big difference. So, it’s hard to be mad at them now that I verify the complete picture. But I was so mad at them when I left, Lisa. So mad.
Lisa: But why saw you fucking crazy, exactly what we they doing wrong?
Gabe: They were penalizing the evidences of bipolar disorder.
Lisa: But none of you knew that. You thought it was bad behavior and so did they. Why would you be angry about that?
Gabe: Because I really felt so strongly that I was trying and that they didn’t recognize it. I don’t think my mothers realise how hopeless I was to attain them joyous. Who wants to be a bad kid? I did want my mothers’ respect. Hell, I still crave my parents’ respect. I never considered my parents were bad parties. I thought they were birthing. I’m not trying to rework record to where I unexpectedly mulled might , no. I envisaged my, hell, I still think they’re boring. If I have to hear about one more episode of Ice Road Truckers, I may scream, but who helps?
Lisa: Your leader has regaled me with numerous floors of the cinematic masterpiece that is Ice Road Truckers. Yeah.
Gabe: Oh, that’s awesome.
Lisa: It never gets more interesting. Never. But your parents weren’t entirely forgetful that there was more than normal teenage nervousnes going on now, since they are did take you to a psychologist.
Gabe: That’s true.
Lisa: This would have been in the early 90 s, the idea of how you plowed children and mental illness in children was just completely different. It would have been extremely unexpected to take your boy to a child psychologist.
Gabe: You’re right, in the early 90 s, it was completely unexpected to take your teenager to any sort of therapy. But wait, there’s more. My father is a truck driver. He’s blue collar. He believes that all problems can be resolved by rubbing silt on it. And he took his child to a child psychologist. In the early 90 s there were white collar professionals with MBAs that wouldn’t do their kids to child psychologists. My mothers were actually just so ahead of the arc. My mothers admitted that they weren’t able to handle this and took me to a therapist. We came family advise. Are you kidding me? The report contains families that struggle with that in 2020. They were progressive.
Lisa: Well, it couldn’t have been easy, there weren’t very many child psychologists running around, it was probably quite a lot of effort to even find someone.
Gabe: I “ve no idea” how they found my child psychologist, but yes, we went to see household counseling.
Lisa: What originated them decide to do this, what was the breaking point?
Gabe: I frankly don’t know what the breaking point was, but, yeah, like what a question that would be, you know what I necessitate? I’m.
Lisa: We should call your mother and question. That might be the next episode.
Gabe: Maybe I don’t want the answer.
Lisa: Well, I demand the answer.
Gabe: It just when it comes to like rewriting autobiography or retconning, as the girls like to say today. My mothers did not fit the molding of parties that exploited mental works, care, child psychologists, we were very stereotypically blue collar. My father drives the 18 -wheeler semi, honks the tusk for kids. He says things like, we’re going back to the house. He couldn’t be more of a stereotype if they tried. My mom, a housewife with a part time job when the kids went older. I convey, it’s like Americana. You merely want to vomit. It’s so stereotypical. We eat dinner together as their own families, just like.
Lisa: It’s Leave it to Beaver without the white-collar income.
Gabe: Yeah, mostly, how on earth did these parties be so progressive that they admitted that they needed help with their baby? Like, is that how messed up I was that I was able to break that mildew? Like, that’s messed up, right?
Lisa: Was your papa start for long periods as a truck driver?
Gabe: No , no , no. Not extended periods of time, he left one day and came back the next day. So, he would be gone like every other night.
Lisa: So, he was gone every other night, he was absent from residence quite a bit.
Gabe: Yeah, yeah, three nights a week he was not home. He had a awfully motley schedule, extremely when I was younger and he was newer.
Lisa: Yeah , not high up in the union yet. Meaning that it was even more of additional burdens for him to go to the therapy appointment.
Gabe: Yeah, yes.
Lisa: Because it’s not like he could just send you with your mom, you all had to go.
Gabe: Huh, you’re kind of blowing my thought because I didn’t even think of that.
Lisa: Well, yeah, it couldn’t have been easy to planned around him.
Gabe: I. Do you want me to give them a medal? I time appear, when I was diagnosed at 25, I was positive that they bolt me up.
Lisa: Because you thought that bipolar disorder was the fault of inadequate parenting?
Gabe: Yes, I too are of the view that I could have been violent at a few moments and that I was dying and that I needed to live in a group home, retain . . .
Lisa: So we’re doing myths of bipolar here.
Gabe: But they weren’t myths at the time, but.
Lisa: Well, they were always myths you precisely didn’t know that.
Gabe: Ok, yes, yes, but knowledge becomes reality.
Gabe: When I was in the mental institution, I was fastened behind the doors. I was staring at a doctor. They diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. And all I could think of was, thank God I didn’t kill my family and I need to live in a group home and I’m going to die soon because everybody with bipolar illness was murderous, lived in a group home and eventually killed themselves. That’s all I understood. And then, of course, I learned more and more and more and my recognitions altered. Things changed.
Lisa: Gabe, you’re hop-skip back and forth a lot, it’s kind of confusing.
Gabe: What do you need clarified? This is just my life, it’s all confused in my brain as
Lisa: Well, let’s go back to the part where your mothers are taking you to the child psychologist, so clearly, they’ve discovered “theres something wrong”. This is more than really has become a ordinary boy. We can’t handle this. We need to reach outside for professional promotion. What happened? Did it act?
Gabe: I don’t know.
Lisa: Did you get better?
Gabe: I don’t know.
Lisa: Didn’t you go there for, like, times? I mean, it’s not like they made you once and stopped.
Gabe: I honestly don’t know if it cured me understand them, but in some ways, I think that it facilitated my parents understand me. My family believes in paddling. My dad had a paddle, it had a handle and he thumped me on the buttock with it. And I was terrified of this thing and it was demeaning and cheapening. And plus, it’s violence. I see it very much as violence. And I, I said all of the things that I just said in the therapist’s office, and he said, you are well aware, Gabe’s really old. Why are you still threatening him with violence? And my dad’s like, well, it’s just waddle. And he’s like, well, but, but it’s brutality. You’re saying that the way to work out problems, if you don’t like how your lad is behaving, is not to talk to him, but to threaten him with brutality. And this produce my parents get rid of not only the actual paddle, but security threats of it. And it magnetism them, whenever there was behavior that they didn’t like, to discuss it with me. There’s this little patch of me that still pissed off that I had to endure this shit for 13, 14 years. But my brother and sister, who are younger, it disappeared immediately for them, very. So, you’re welcome.
Lisa: Hang on, we’ll be right back after these messages.
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Gabe: And we’re back, talking about my teenage years.
Lisa: Your mothers had a specific way of disciplining their kids that they probably learned from their own parents and this is what they did because this is what they knew. But what you’re saying is that as soon as someone else, a professional, a child psychologist, said to them, yeah, that’s a terrible feeling, don’t do that, they stopped immediately. They didn’t indicate. They didn’t try to equivocate. They were like, huh? All freedom. Well , now that we have better information, we’re going to not do that anymore.
Gabe: I don’t think that it has in the past occurred to them how it searched from my point of view, because from my point of view, what you were saying is I’m not interested in your laughable little belief. Do as I say. Do as I say. And the therapist was able to point out, your son is a few years from being out in the world and he’s not going to be able to threaten people with cruelty when he doesn’t get his action. And if he is unable to articulate his needs, demands, passions and unable to argue with parties, then you are stunting his progress. I don’t think my mothers has recognized that. I think they were taking the path of least resistance. We told you to do it. You said no, we’re going to threaten to whack you on the ass and now difficulty solved. But it never arose to my mothers that this debate had value. They merely envisioned the debate as contempt. And the healer was able to say, appear, discussing something with your children is not back talking and it’s not them being impertinent. It’s them learning to use their voice and articulate their wants and needs. I think that was a big game changer for my dad. Again, I’m sure that its own experience get to be much different from mine. But I certainly was almost like in those conferences was the first time that my mothers actually heard me, sounded my messages, rather than simply discovered it as a behavioral question, that I had the rudenes to question them.
Lisa: You’ve told me in the past that your mothers’ vogue of parenting changed dramatically once they made you to a child psychologist
Gabe: Yeah, yes.
Lisa: In part because the psychologist demonstrated them all sorts of new advice and, frankly, told them that a good deal of what they were doing was either wrong or at least not working. That they have begun making parenting first-class, that they just made these huge changes in how they gave you and your siblings once they had this information.
Gabe: One of the things that my parents learned, and it’s really one of the only instances that I have that my mama told me when I was an actual girl because she told everybody that she could find. It was don’t maneuver your adolescents, the don’t prepared your girls up to fail concept. And the lesson that she always ill-used is if you know that your child didn’t go to Molly’s house, even though they said to go to Molly’s house, when they come home, don’t say where have you been and set them up to lie. When they come home, say, I know you didn’t go to Molly’s house, get wise right out of the way, and that this setting up your children to lie is just exacerbating the problem. Your children are going to mess up. They’ve already messed up. You’ve already got a problem. Just solve their problems that “youve had”. Don’t appoint brand-new ones. This made a profound impact on my mother. So much so that she precisely told everybody that she could find. And again, I learned that when I was a teenager, that’s how big of a lot it made to her, that she talked about it openly in front of her kid.
Lisa: Because most of the things that changed for them, they did not discuss the matter with you until countless, many years later when you were an adult. There was a lot going on behind the scenes that you didn’t know about.
Gabe: Yes, one of the things that I learned as an adult is that my mothers actually expected the therapist only if they are bad mothers. I was not in the office, certainly. It was, for those who have not been to family counseling, they talk to the child alone. They talk to the parents alone. Then they talk to you all together. And one of the things that my parents merely flat out queried is, are we bad mothers? And do you know what kind of humility?
Lisa: Yeah, that must have been difficult for them.
Gabe: It takes to be able to sit in a chamber with a doctor or a healer and invite frankly, are we bad mothers? And then sit quietly and wait for the answer? If you would have asked me at 15 if my mothers had any doubt that they were awesome, I would have been like , no, they’re horrendous. They don’t give a shit. But we are really had this self-doubt, this care and concern. I did not know at the time that they were capable of that because after all, I just attended them as this overarching force that got to make all the rules and had all the power. When in actuality they were struggling.
Lisa: And they did not let you know how much they were struggling and how much they changed in response to this,
Gabe: Yeah, yeah, I had no idea.
Lisa: When you’ve talked to me about this in the past, you’ve always described things as going a lot a lot better after you started going to family therapy. But of course, things certainly were not perfect and it didn’t really work in that you continued to struggle. You continued to be extremely symptomatic and get in all sorts of trouble, quitted out of high school, exactly on and on and on. Does that aim it didn’t work or does that means that time, hey, you were still bipolar?
Gabe: This is where my dad is very angry, my papa feels very strongly that the child psychologist should have realized that I had bipolar disorder and diagnosed me with it and got me help before I really got into a lot of disturb. We have invested a lot of term, my family and I, my father and I, debating and discussing this point. For what it’s worth, I was understood that my pa said that he hoped that I would have gotten help sooner. He’s not wrong. And I understand his thwarting because he’s like, sound, I did exactly what I could.
Lisa: Right, what more was I supposed to do?
Gabe: Right, but 15 -year olds only weren’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder back then, they’re not really diagnosed with bipolar disorder now. I don’t denounced the child psychologist for not diagnosing me. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’ve gone back and forth a lot. And I am 100% confident that diagnosing me with the information that he had with what he sounded from my parents and what he saw would have been utterly irresponsible and would lead to way more false-hearted positives than it would actual positives. So, I want to say that unusually, quite clearly. But yeah, my dad is still frankly, he’s pissed about it. It comes up pretty much formerly a holiday.
Lisa: Well, but again, that just isn’t how it was done at the time.
Gabe: Yes. But to your question, yes, things got a lot better. But of course, the underlying issue of bipolar disorder was not actually resolved. The pretentiou feeling, the wizards under the bunked, the temper, the mania, the depression. My mothers started doing things more effective and having more composure and more understanding and moving forward in a much healthier room. But eventually, if you don’t resolve the core problem, you’re sort of handcuffed on how much better you can do.
Lisa: So things get better, but certainly were not fixed or totally medication because certainly your parents’ behavior towards you might have spawned things worse, but you weren’t behaving like this because of their parenting, you were behaving like this because you were bipolar.
Gabe: Yeah, I was still an untreated bipolar. That’s probably an oversimplification, but it’s more chastise than it’s incorrect.
Lisa: But at the time, you were very angry with your parents and thought that they were doing a cruel racket, and you continued to think that for a long, long time, right? When did that stop?
Gabe: When I reached convalescence with bipolar disorder, I started to see life very differently and I started to see the world very differently. And when I was on my second divorce, Lisa, which was ours, the world inspected truly differently, very. Like it was it was much more difficult to be an egotistical, cocky being facing my second divorce and facing rebuilding “peoples lives” from the bipolar diagnosis. And I had messed up so many things that some of the pride of, oh, I’m better than you is away. I realized that a lot of what happened to my parents wasn’t an example of them being geeks. It was an example of circumstance and them being nerds. I, I.
Lisa: There were mitigating circumstances.
Gabe: I did not investigate any of those mitigating circumstances when I was a kid. Some of the things that really gave me a great amount of suspension was expend more duration with young children. You know, young children are difficult. I’m going to go with difficult. I started mentoring a girl. And the stuff that would come out of his lip in the four or five hours that we are to be able waste together were frankly, just like, what is wrong with you? What are you? What? And then I would indicate back on me doing the exact same thing to my parents. And then the more I understood about my illness and it resulted to me formerly I contacted recuperation that my perspective was skewed by symptomology, my point of view was skewed by bipolar affective disorder. The mode that I was remembering the tale is incorrect. I would always say me and my papa went in an contention, but in reality, that’s not what happened. What happened was, is my dad get in an arguing with a person with untreated bipolar disorder experiencing grandiose contemplation, bipolar violence, who was actively delusional. That’s a quite different recognition. And what, of course, was even worse is that neither one of us knew. I are of the view that I was perfectly fine and had 100% complete control of my faculties. And my pa thought that he was in an reason with his youthful son who was being a brat. The situation that we thought that it was was not the situation that it actually was. That alters things, alters things dramatically.
Lisa: In the spirit of the original question, though, that’s how you felt once you were in recovery or that’s how you feel now. How did you feel at the time you were diagnosed?
Gabe: That they did it, it was their fault.
Lisa: Ok, so you had a lot of anger still
Lisa: By the time you were diagnosed
Lisa: And it was this process of contacting convalescence that helped you get rid of a lot of that.
Gabe: And here’s the sick segment, right? I was so angry at them. I was so angry at them for letting me languish and not coming me cure, they’re my mothers. It’s their undertaking. But I called them five times a day from the hospital.
Gabe: I still craved my momma. That’s all I can be argued. I, it was both my mother’s fault and I missed her so desperately. And my mothers, as you know, they came here later after I came out of the hospital and they cured me move. There was a lot going on in my life, etc. And they like swooped in and resolved all of these problems for me while I mainly sat in the area crying. And I was still pissed at them as I was watching them carry my stuff.
Lisa: As they were fixing your life, you were still angry.
Gabe: Yeah, since they are shambled me up.
Lisa: And at this extent you were an adult with your own home, etc.
Gabe: I was twenty-five. Yeah, I was going through my first divorce. Isn’t it huge that we can, you know, chop up Gabe’s life into brides?
Lisa: Yeah, yeah.
Gabe: Like those were during the Megan years. Those were during the Lisa years. Now we’re in the Kendall years.
Lisa: But those are the years that they are able to never end.
Gabe: I know. I want, I know.
Lisa: So, your parents at the time you were diagnosed, they’re come over themselves enabling you to, you needed a lot of help because you were a wreck, but you were still terribly angry and your relationship was difficult.
Gabe: It was, but there was. There was some moments and I didn’t realize how stunning they were at the time.
Lisa: Even adult children are selfish when it comes to their parents. You feel like they various kinds of owe you.
Gabe: I was a jackass, I was moving out of the house, it was the house that my first partner and I lives in and I was moving into an suite. That has a whole long back story. But let’s just describe it as a shithole.
Lisa: It wasn’t that bad.
Gabe: It was pretty bad, especially moving out of a real nice house.
Lisa: It was a nice house,
Gabe: Come on.
Lisa: It was a is an excellent house.
Gabe: And they had got me all moved here and I was at the reces of the apartment house just kind of trying to stand out of the way and hide.
Lisa: As they did all the manual labor.
Gabe: As they did all the manual labor, while I “ve done nothing wrong”. I should probably point out, you know, at this quality, my dad is like 60, and my grandpa, who was like 70 at the time.
Lisa: So the healthy 25 -year-old stands off to the side so that he can watch his elderly relatives encourage him with manual labor.
Gabe: I think they would both object to being called elderly, but, yes, that is that is correct. But there’s, there’s instants in this mess. One , nobody ever shrieked at me for this. They just did it. So, I only want to put you in the mindset of my father, who has literally ran the working day on this material. And I’m stands at the corner of the apartment house because I you are well aware, I don’t want them to see me cry or be disturbed. I don’t even know why I was hiding. And my father comes over and asked me if I’m OK. And I’m like, you are well aware, yeah, I’m fine. And, you are well aware, he’s kind of sitting here. It’s kind of cumbersome. And I said, you are well aware, I don’t, I don’t like it here. It’s not delightful. And my daddy looks at me and he said, Well, but this is just a footnote in your fib. It’s not the end. You’ll be out of now before you know it. And then he precisely walked away.
Lisa: He’s just sink ability and then leaves you in the dust.
Gabe: Yeah, like, literally, and I only, he, it was kind of a strong instant because all I could think of was this is where I’m stuck. This is where I’m stuck. And my dad’s place was , no, this is just where you are. That’s a huge difference. I do remember little things like this, but I didn’t know them at the time. I don’t want anybody to think that my life got dramatically better after my father said that or I didn’t devote the next, you know, four years fighting mental illness and I didn’t suffer a great deal. Or I still recalled, you are well aware, my mothers are moronics, and they did this to me on and off. And there continues to fought and had problems. But looking back now, they knew damn well I was “re pissed at” them. They knew damn well that their son was an idiot. They knew and they were scared of bipolar disorder because it’s a terrifying illness. They didn’t know what to do and they had to drive 700 miles with old people to carry my bastard. And hitherto here the issue is. Now they are. And I didn’t carry anything. I carried nothing.
Lisa: Well, also, they both had responsibilities at home, they both still had errands, your father was caring for grandchildren and they fell everything and drove to another state
Gabe: They did.
Lisa: To try to rescue you.
Gabe: I necessitate, when you say it that way.
Lisa: Yeah, well, to be fair, I did not see it that way at the time either. At that extent, every tale you’d ever told about your childhood was more horrifying than the last.
Lisa: It was just constant shocking. You told me this horrible story about how your mom actually beat you unconscious once.
Gabe: Ah, the softball story.
Lisa: The direction I hear this story is, Gabe was a teenager and was being difficult, as girls are wont to do, when his mother couldn’t take it anymore and threw a softball at his face, thumping him instinctive. And then you’re like, oh, Lisa, meet my mummy. What? Oh, this will be great.
Gabe: You know what a fish story is.
Lisa: Ok, fair, fair.
Gabe: A cock-and-bull story, of course, is true in that the person was fishing and the person or persons did catch a fish, but the six-inch fish becomes a two-foot-long fish. The fib is true. My mother did, in fact, pitch a softball. And it did made me and it smacked me down. Don’t I didn’t lose consciousness. I don’t and I don’t remember saying that, to be honest. I think that might have been inferred. But it doesn’t matter.
Lisa: You told me that you got fuzzy and that you had a abominable headache for the next got a couple of daylights, and I thought to myself, well, that’s a concussion.
Gabe: That’s, that could be true. But the devil’s in the details, right? Let’s get a little more of the stage. At this item, I would have been almost 17 years old. I weighed 400 pounds. I was six paw three. And I was screaming at my mother. I was just screaming at her, shrieking every statement that I could think of because, frankly, I was antagonized. Now, remember , not only am I twice as big as my mother, a hoof taller, I also constitutes an untreated bipolar who is clearly symptomatic. And upon the cry back and forth, my mother picked up a softball and hurled it over my foreman. I want to be clear. I knew she threw it over my premier at the time because I didn’t even duck.
Lisa: So she wasn’t throwing it at you.
Gabe: No, she wasn’t throwing it at me at all, of course not, but it thumped the wall behind me and returned off and made me in the back of the top and it knocked me over. And at that point, I became even angrier and precisely left. I just got in the car and drove off.
Lisa: What did your mama do?
Gabe: I don’t remember. I don’t think she did anything at that point. Obviously, when you tell the story, hey, mom and son get in an statement. Mom lost her temper, propelled softball. Yeah, my mama comes off really bad in that story. And I come off looking like the innocent child. When you tell the story, giant enraged somebody screams at wife. Woman protects herself by hurling softball above thought that happens to do contact. Well, that starts to move the needle a little on culpability. I’m not oppose my mother. She never should have thrown the softball. She doesn’t think she should have thrown the softball. Nobody thinks that she should have thrown the softball. What my mother should have done was walk away. And we know that now. But it’s a little bit biased to hold my mummy 100% accountable for the aftermath of dealing with somebody with untreated bipolar affective disorder. It’s a chaotic incident. Again, do not throw anything at your mentally ill loved ones. My mother was 100% wrong.
Lisa: Or any of your loved ones.
Gabe: Yeah, that’s, that’s a good point. Lisa.
Gabe: I am not advocating for shedding softballs at their own children, but I am saying that.
Lisa: Or anyone outside the context of a softball game. I can’t believe I need to clarify this for you.
Gabe: Likewise, good admonition. Can I oblige my extent now?
Lisa: I really, whoa.
Gabe: Yes, this was obviously not my family’s finest minute, it was not my mother’s finest instant. But when you start to dig into the details a little bit, it’s a little more tragic from my mother’s perspective than I recognized. I don’t know what she was thinking. I don’t know why she did it. I don’t know why she lost her temper. I don’t know what was going through her head. It’s really easy to Monday morning quarterback now and say that that was a mistake, but
Lisa: Well, it was a mistake,
Gabe: It was.
Lisa: It’s just.
Gabe: But in the moment, hell, maybe that was her simply move. It did, in fact, discontinue the question. I left. So, who are familiar with? Maybe if she hadn’t thrown that thing. I can’t even belief. I’m just. You know, sometimes things only happen that don’t turn out the best. And it’s not because your mothers are bad. It’s because of a momentary lapse of rationale or a mistake. I imply, Lisa, you got in a car accident. You don’t consider yourself a operator that needs to turn in your license or you would not drive for fear of killing yourself or others.
Lisa: I had examined this story about your mother. I heard it before I satisfy her, and it obviously determined my impression of your father for a very long time. And it does not leave a positive mark of your baby. And it actually wasn’t until we were discussing this show last-place night and you started giving all of these other details, all of this further information, that I started belief, huh, maybe that isn’t fairly developments in the situation I had initially recalled, especially as you started saying, regard, she was dealing with an untreated bipolar who was much bigger than her in a full on fury. Do you think she was scared? I entail, was she physically scare the crap out of you? Was she afraid that you would become violent?
Gabe: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think my momma thought that way at all. I do think that there was an element of her losing her temper. I think there was an element of her wanting to shake things up. I think there was an element of her wanting to break my remember pattern. You know, I was, I was just in this cycle. You’ve argued with me when I’ve been in this, it’s everything leads-in back to the same thing. No matter what you say, it’s
Lisa: You get on a loop-the-loop and you can’t break out of it.
Gabe: And she divulged that curve by throwing the softball.
Lisa: So you’re thinking that she just got so frantic and likewise who knows how long this had been going on?
Lisa: That she just envisaged, oh, God, we got to do something now?
Gabe: And of course, in the moment, I was extraordinarily symptomatic, I was enraged. I was a person with untreated bipolar illness. So, you’re asking me what happened? But the only recollections that I have are heavily have an impact on untreated bipolar illness. So, you know, there’s got to be so much more that we are not taking into account now. But you’re right. When I was angry at my mother, I revolve the story.
Lisa: But you didn’t realize “youre gonna” do it.
Gabe: I didn’t. I spun the narration even for myself so that I could maintain my fury at my mother.
Lisa: There were a lot of extenuating environments to the problems you had when you were a adolescent and looking back on it now, especially from a position of recovery, you’re willing to give your parents a lot more slack than you were when you were a teenager or even when you were diagnosed.
Gabe: A watershed time for me, Lisa, was when I was in a supporter group and I started complaining about my parents and a couple of the people in the support group started talking about theirs. Their genealogies had abandoned them, like literally one lady talked about how she hadn’t talked to her father-god in a decade and her mom was not allowed to talk to her, but been set up a private email account in order to be allowed to email a little bit. But her mother impelled it perfectly clear that your father is not on board with this and I will never pleased to meet you in public and I will not support any providing assistance to you in any way. And other people talked about exactly frightful defection and name calling and.
Lisa: And abuse.
Gabe: Yeah, and I’m sitting there gues, oh, I’m mad at my parents because they didn’t move me into my brand-new locate fast enough and of course, my parents made a ton of mistakes. And I want everybody to listening to this to know, ton of mistakes. I could write a book on all the mistakes that my parents moved. But you know how you represent mistakes. You’re there. You’ve got to be there. These other parties, their parents determined one mistake. They abandoned their boys. That’s it. That’s all they had. They vacated their teenagers. Whereas my parents, they are only impeded trying bullshit. And the stuff that they tried was awful because they didn’t have, you know, steering or understanding. And they are of the view that the delusions of mental illness were real and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. But you have to be there in order to screw up. It never even resulted to me that my parents would leave. I like, I didn’t know that was possible, Lisa. I precisely, I did not know it was possible. I just. And you know what’s messed up about that? My biological father abandoned me when I was a baby, and it still didn’t occur to me that my moms and pops could vacate me. Like, what’s up with that?
Lisa: If you haven’t listened to other occurrences or know Gabe’s back narrative, your baby got pregnant with you in high school, she and your biological father had a shotgun wedding,
Lisa: And within a year
Lisa: Of your birth, he’d to take away never to express themselves from again.
Lisa: And eventually she met and married your father
Gabe: Who adopted me,
Lisa: Who borrowed you.
Gabe: She met and married another man who adopted me as his own and is the only person I’ve ever known as Dad. But he is not my biological father, he’s just the man who invoked me as if I were his own, which is entertaining because I’m six hoof three, giant and have bright red mane and he’s like five foot three, insignificant and has black mane. So, yeah, anybody that thinks that he’s my biological father is a moron.
Lisa: Your dad has some fun with that, too,
Gabe: He does.
Lisa: Because parties will ask you all the time, where did you get that red fuzz? And he’ll run, Oh, he got it from his dad.
Gabe: My dad’s a dick.
Lisa: He time stares at them. Like, what?
Gabe: It is funny, it is funny to think about, but but yeah, it didn’t occur to me that people could lose their parents. I precisely, I are of the view that I was abandoning my mothers because they were bad and I was penalizing them. But I always knew that as soon as I forgave them, they’d come back. Like, you recognise that I remain saying that my mothers did all of these things so horribly wrong, but the foundation that they improved was that I knew that I could count on them 100%.
Lisa: To come and do the wrong things.
Gabe: Well, right, yes, yes,
Gabe: I would evaluate them implicitly. This is why mental illness is so messed up. My parents are good parties. I want to be very, very clear. But they felt all of the superstitions of mental illness. That really is the take away here. They accepted the pop culture representation of mental illness. Mentally ill parties aren’t smart-alecky. Mentally challenged beings don’t own residences. Mentally challenged parties don’t get married. Mentally challenged people have bad parents, exclusively bad moms. It was a moral appraise. And why wouldn’t they? That’s all they were learn. That’s what they were learn growing up in “peoples lives”. That’s what I conceived. That’s what pop culture, video establishes, movies, that’s what it all registered. Mentally challenged parties were in a corner, rocking backward and forward, salivating and murderou and came from broken residences. I’m not mad at them anymore for not realizing that I was sick because culture kind of set them up to fail in this way. It’s one of the above reasons I became an advocate because I guessed, you are well aware, my parents cherish me. They urgently tried to do the right thing at every single turn and they missed this glaring thing.
Lisa: Well, everybody missed it, including the professionals they took you to.
Gabe: Right, I want to talk to all of the person or persons with mental health issues and mental illnesses who are mad at the families of such. Listen, I don’t know your families. There’s certainly lethal houses. There are certain families that have done unforgivable things and on and on and on. I’m not profes that every single family is my family. That is complete and deliver stupidity. But I am saying that I recognise along the way that my family was in the same hopeless situation that I was in. So, it’s, I want people to forgive me for the things that I did when I was symptomatic. Why would I not forgive the people around me for the things that they did while I was symptomatic? I should be extending the same forgiveness to them that I miss society and my family to extend to me. And I think that’s a very powerful message. Your contexts pending. But then there’s sort of a turd or get off the pot mentality now. Look, you got to decide. If you’re not going to forgive your family, then trimmed them off and never talk to them again. Call it a daylight. Only, only don’t torture yourself. And if you crave their own families in their own lives, persistently remind members of all the mistakes that they represented five, 10, 15, 20 years ago is not the way to build a positive relation moving forward. And that all ties back to your excellent excerpt, Lisa.
Lisa: You can’t going to be home and vary the start, but you can start where you are and change the ending?
Gabe: Exactly, so with your family, you can’t going to be home and reform the start, you can’t fix all of the things that your mothers, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents have done. But if you prepare the decision right now to forgive them, radical following, revolutionary forgiveness, you can change the end. The reality is, is that my parents messed up. That’s fine. I messed up. That’s fine. I’d much rather talk about what we’re doing this Christmas than worry about what they did 20 Christmases ago.
Lisa: Well, and are talking about regrets or messing up, your parents have apologized to you.
Gabe: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, on video.
Lisa: Yeah, good point, your father extremely was like, well, yeah, we just tried to punish the evidences of bipolar disorder out of him and he feels very badly about that now, even though he couldn’t possibly have known.
Gabe: Yeah, and we did not get there overnight, my family and I didn’t have some Hallmark movie moment where music toy and it started to snow and we all hugged each other and the camera washed apart, depicting the half a million-dollar house that we can afford on the kindergarten teacher’s wage. No, it didn’t work that route. We time started building new remembrances and that’s what we did. And as we started building new recognitions, the older recalls kind of either faded away or have become increasingly in focus.
Lisa: But, Gabe, you do have joyful caches from childhood.
Gabe: Aat the time that I firstly satisfied you, Lisa, the answer to that question would have been no. I would have said no. I have no happy memories of children. But now, yes, because formerly I started looking at the entire situation, I has recognized that my mothers is to be able to have made a lot of mistakes and have done a lot of things right. I was very much in black and white thinking. Either my parents have to be all good or my parents have to be all bad. And at the time I congregated you all bad, all bad, 100% bad. They sucked.
Lisa: Yeah, it made it difficult. You have a much better relationship with your family and your mothers now than “youve been” did when we were together, and it’s made a big difference for you. It’s “ve brought you” a good deal of happiness.
Gabe: True that.
Lisa: And now you are changing the ending.
Gabe: Hey, next week, we should do you and your family.
Lisa: Oh, I would like that. I have a lot to say, and they’ll love it, extremely. So everybody wins.
Gabe: Yay! Thank you, everybody, for listening to this episode of the Not Crazy podcast. My name is Gabe Howard and I wrote the book, Mental Illness Is an Asshole, available on Amazon. But if you pate over to gabehoward.com and buy the book there , not only will I sign it, but we’ll send you a assortment of Not Crazy podcast stickers. And that’s really awesome. You can keep them on your vehicle, your laptop, give them to your friends. And retain, where you are downloaded this podcast, delight subscribe. Also, use your words and rate it. Write a review, give us as many virtuosoes as possible and tell all your friends.
Lisa: Don’t forget the outtake after the ascribes and we’ll be back next Tuesday.
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