I have had ample experience with parents suffering from mental health disorders and frankly, it can be quite frustrating. The worst mental illness that I have experienced as a social worker is Bipolar Disorder. There is absolutely no way to predict if a parent will treat you like the messiah or curse you into tears. I recently received a case in which the mother suffered BPD, which immediately raised my excitement level because mental disorders are intriguing. There are just no words to describe how much I enjoy interacting with people whose cognitive processes are disrupted due to environmental or biological influences. I say environmental influences to substitute for the words "substance abuse" and I use the word biological influences to substitute for the words "born crazy." In either instance, unpredictable behavior is expected. The new case I received with Bipolar Mom had proven challenging in regards to my level of patience and ability to remain professional. There is just so much disrespect a person can take, even for professionals who have adapted to the confrontational nature of irate clients.
Not only does Bipolar Mom suffer from a horrible, cognitive distorting condition, she is also a pathological liar. "The judge court ordered" this, and "the judge court ordered" that. Does Bipolar Mom understand the verification process that all Social Workers complete before taking the word of mentally ill clients. Although I have repeatedly informed the client that I would verify information befor e starting any process, she continued to give me these ridiculous court orders that no judge in this world would put on a court document. In stead of calling her a liar, I always respond by stating "we have looked into your claims and you must have been mistaken." This is the most non- combative method of calling out a manipulative pathological liar suffering from BPD.
When this particular mom leaves my office each week, I find that she serves as an educational tool that will eventually help me during my journey as a Social Worker. Maybe I should thank Bipolar Mom next time she visits my office, since she is providing me with a hands-on education into the realm of insanity.
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