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My Cousin has bipolar disorder and is a life threat to his parents



New member
May 31, 2021
My cousin has been suffering from Bipolar Disorder for eight years. He has been seeing a psychiatrist and taking medicines. He often suffers from depression and has suicidal thoughts. Even while suffering from this illness, he managed to get a MBA and is now working as an (overqualified) insurance agent.

He is 30 years old and has been mostly living with his parents, but he is now living with a girlfriend. His aunt, on the father side, had also bipolar disorder and pretty much let herself die. He has developed a gambling addiction, so that his parents and girlfriend are forced to keep his own money from him -he somehow agrees.

Anyway, the worst problem is his alcohol addiction. When he is drunk, he becomes very aggressive and life-threatening to his parents, that are in their seventies and pretty fragile, while he is pretty strong man. He does not have the apartment key, but they always open the door for him. Some episodes in no particular order:

  • about 7 years ago he was arrested for public disturbance, he had a scuffle with policemen, wounded a couple of them. His sentence was suspended and settled for payment of damages (around 10k euro), with the requirement to get psychological assistance. It was then that he was diagnosed.
  • in the same period he had an altercation with a neighbor. He crashed into his house and had a scuffle with him, which resulted in both being hospitalized. They neighbor did not press charges for battery, he settled for payment of damages (around 5k euro).
  • He once beat up a friend of his, who was hospitalized, but did not press charges
  • Several brawls in bars, where he is usually the one that ends beaten up
  • He has beaten up his father several times, although never hospitalizing him. In one particular case, he was wielding a knife, because he was planning to go out and stab his girlfriend's father, but his father managed to stop him.
  • He has been drunk driving and crashed around three cars. At the moment his driving license is suspended. This means that he depends on his father and friends to drive him around, as his job as insurances salesman requires a lot of travel.
  • He also often beats up his mother. He holds her neck and threatens to strangle her. In a very recent episode, while he was drunk, it seemed that she would actually kill her. She shouted for help and neighbors called the police. He left before they came, the police filed a report, but she did not press charges.
His parents are also violent with each other. Once the father broke a couple of the mother's ribs, after she had scratched his face. Both of them, and especially his father, confront my cousin verbally, even when he is an aggressive state. After each episode, they often blame themselves, because they think they provoked him.

My cousin is a handsome guy and he has had several girlfriends, presumably found over Tinder, who have all ended up ghosting him or dumping him with lame excuses. As of now, he is actually living with a new girlfriend of his, who suffers from anorexia. As far as I know, he has never been aggressive with his girlfriends. His parents don't feel the need to warn his girlfriends, as they think their son is aggressive only towards them, because they think that they have been bad, oppressive parents (he is an only child).

Surprisingly, he is successful at work, where they seem to tolerate and even joke about his drinking excesses. It seems to be common in the sector.

Now, my aunt is pretty desperate for advice. My aunt has been sacrificing herself for her son, covering him and taking abuse. She is afraid that any hostile action (leaving the house, press charges) would escalate her son's illness. The only outside help they get is their son's psychiatrist, who is aware of the situation, but thinks that this is all part of the healing process and must be tolerated. Once my aunt went to a social worker that advised her that she at least should press charges when her son beats her, possibly to withdraw them later, but she would not take that advice.

My understanding is that he is aware that he is not able to control himself when is drunk, but under peer pressure and creeping depression he ends up drinking and getting smashed anyway, and then goes on a rampage.

My question is, where do you draw the line, when you are on the receiving end of this ?


Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
Sure he is taking his meds. I take quitiapine for bd. Its an anti psychotic it calms me down, makes me feel sedated. OK he has bipolar disorder but that doesn't make it OK to be violent.

Sounds like he needs to be sectioned under mental health act. You can call the local psychiatric unit if need be. Probably drug him right up.


Well-known member
Sep 14, 2020
Assuming he a) has the right meds (which is a big question) and b) is consistently taking them, then he need to cut down on the alcohol. And his parents needs to set some very clear and firm boundaries about taking his meds, cutting down drinking, and no violence.


Well-known member
Apr 20, 2019
Bad situation. The "Is he taking his medication?" question is the big one, because if he isn't then he needs to be, clearly. I could say he shouldn't be violent but I've experienced the Bipolar rages myself and I know first-hand that what you say and believe when you're normal is just light years away from when you're in that kind of episode: it's when the illness has taken over and needs intervention if people are at risk. The drinking has to stop, there is no question about that; 100% stopped, never to drink again.