A friend who takes a cynical view of things American, despite being as mainstream American as one can get, including having some American Indian blood, remarked that in America everyone and his dog has gone bipolar. And wanted to know is if she is Bipolar. She does have a giant anger problem.
I quipped with her that she is “Tripolar”. I had heard that one from a patient who was expressing her contempt for her boyfriend by saying, “He is not a frigging bipolar but a flaming “Tripolar”. For when he flies off the handle there is no stopping him.”
To these two women bipolarity basically meant having a giant anger problem. An easy irritability which escalates into rage at the slightest contradiction. They are people who get “pissed off” on the slightest slight and when the storm of emotions is discharged, they revert to their normal self, which is generally apologetic, contrite, even ingratiating. It is this switch from being a devil to an angel that makes the term bipolar seem so apt in describing them.
But the phrase “pissed off” immediately makes us wonder whether we can trace such an excessive emotional reaction to some phase of development where the function of urination was of great importance, and, perhaps, it is a failure to deal with this psychosexual milestone properly which sparks this disorder. Here a number of concepts want to make an entry into our thinking without any particular order: uretheral eroticism, enuresis (bed wetting), fire setting, inordinate ambition (setting the world on fire), cruelty to animals (father substitutes), and infantile masturbation
Uretheral eroticism is sexual pleasure from the act of urination. It is a “burning pleasure” and intimately connected with penile and clitoral masturbatory stimulation of Oedipal phase.
So what goes wrong during this phase and how does it turns the person in to someone who goes ballistic at the slightest put down?
Such a wild reaction could only have been a result of an interference with infantile masturbation. A high sexual drive would induce the child not just to touch the genitals in privacy but also when around other people, especially his favorites ones, like the parents, with the wish to seduce them in to the act. A punishment or slight by the parent/s for the behavior may make the child fly off the handle. Most of the temper tantrums, defiance, oppositionalism which though derived from anal-sadistic phase shows a reinforcement during this age, becoming a permanent part of character, and appears to be a direct result of this stoppage of infantile masturbation.
Human ambition itself appears to owe heavily to this phase development. In its cruder form it becomes oppositional and defiant behavior towards parents – and later to other authorities – who have punished him for playing with his genitals and have not shown interest in getting seduced in to his game. In its more refined and sublimated forms it becomes a burning ambition to change places with the parents. A relentless striving to achieve so much, and rise so high, that one is in place of the parents and the parents are at one’s mercy.
This desire to turn tables upon the parents which would become the blueprint of how one would conduct one’s life in pursuit of excellence in the beginning necessarily has to be just fantasies. And these fantasies can become extraordinarily hot – intense – to the point that they have to be extruded out of one’s system. Here we run into the explanation of enuresis.Brittle mood. And here we naturally come to the raises our suspicion touch of fire. Extrusion of a burning introject. Infantile masturbation. Not wanting to give up that mode of sexual satisfaction. Conquering that sexual impulse leads to massive rise of self esteem, triumphal attitude, humbleness, slipping and indulging in it leads to flying off the handle. The treatment lies in helping the individual move from infantile form of sexual satisfaction to more mature forms.
The term Bipolar became popular in America because of a concerted effort by the touts of drug companies to sell it as an alternative to manic-depressive illness. The term had been used in Europe for a long time. The term was used more to describe the subtypes of schizophrenia than mood disorders. But Americans looking for a way to eliminate the harsh tone of the word manic and ominous connotation of depression hit upon the idea to sell the word Bipolar which the ordinary Joe Blow would not find offensive as having it.