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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My best friend is bipolar who takes her meds regularly, and a recovering alcolic. Most of

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My best friend is bipolar who takes her meds regularly, and a recovering alcolic. Most of the time we get along very well . About once or twice a year she becomes distant, demanding, very critical, and manipulative. She is very intelligent and a masters level counselor, so she knows all sorts of psych language and traps to keep all attention off her.
Can you give me any advice? About how to manage my own feelings of failure and anger when we are in the midst of one of these episodes?
Thanks, CB
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 2 years ago.
*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.
Hello, I am very sorry that you are having this issue with your best friend, I can understand how distressing this can be for you. The easiest solution would be to not interact with her during these episodes as they are typically short-lasting (1-2 weeks on average). Other solutions that you can do is to use a particular mode of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you not focus on the negative thoughts these comments and behavior your best friend generates. Here are a couple good CBT techniques that you can use to help you during these situations.
So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.
http://psychology.tools/cbt-thought-record.html
In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping to lessen negative type thinking. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.
http://psychology.tools/decatastrophising.html
http://psychology.tools/what-if.html
This worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your symptoms better.
http://psychology.tools/trap-trac.html
Overall what you are trying to do with CBT is to acknowledge the negative thought, but work on focusing on the alternative and more logical/objective thought so that you are not overwhelmed by these feelings of anger and failure like you described.
In addition, there is a relaxation technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation that is very effective in helping you achieve and inner calm and peace to not let what she says influence your mind and thought process towards internal negativity.
http://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/MuscleRelaxation.pdf
I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.
*****If you are satisfied with my answer, I would truly appreciate it if you can take the time and provide me with a positive rating so that I can receive credit for helping you. Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I was checking in to see if you have any further questions or concerns that you would like me to address on this issue?
*****If you are satisfied with my answer, I would truly appreciate it if you can take the time and provide me with a positive rating so that I can receive credit for helping you. Thank you

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