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The Broken Record Response
http://www.bipolarcentral.com/articles/articles-937-1-The-Broken-Record-Response.html
David Oliver

David Oliver is the nation's leading experts on helping and supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder. You can get learn about many of David's little known, yet effective strategies to cope and deal with your loved one's bipolar by clicking here right now.
 
By David Oliver
Published on 08/11/2010
 

Many of us (supporters) have found it difficult to communicate with our loved ones when they aren't in an episode, much less when they are in one.  Because of the unpredictability of their responses, many of us have even given up trying to communicate with our loved ones when they are in an episode, which just leaves us frustrated and sometimes angry, among other feelings.


Many of us (supporters) have found it difficult to communicate with our loved ones when they aren't in an episode, much less when they are in one.  Because of the unpredictability of their responses, many of us have even given up trying to communicate with our loved ones when they are in an episode, which just leaves us frustrated and sometimes angry, among other feelings.

There is a method, however, that has been proven to be effective in response to the verbal "attacks" of a bipolar loved one during an episode.  It is not only effective in responsiveness, but also in decreasing the stress level for the supporter.

This method is called the "Broken Record Response."

The origin of the "broken record" name refers to a scratch in a (now old-fashioned) vinyl album which would cause it to repeat one section of the record time after time after time.

The method is simple.  When your loved one repeats their request to you, you simply repeat a chosen phrase of words back to them.  Each time they repeat their request to you, you continue to repeat your chosen phrase of words back to them.  Each time, on and on.

EXAMPLE:

Loved One:  "I need you to help me do this.  You know I can't do this by myself.  You have to help me."

Supporter:  "We've been over this several times, and you know you can do it by yourself.  I'm not going to help you do it."

Loved One:  "No we haven't!  I really need you to help me!"

Supporter:  "We've been over this several times, and you know you can do it by yourself.  I'm not going to help you do it."

Loved One:  "You're just being mean to me.  You know I can't do this by myself."

Supporter:  "We've been over this several times, and you know you can do it by yourself.  I'm not going to help you do it."

NOTE:  You may add a few words in response to your loved one's request (such as: "I understand what you're saying [or I love you], but we've been over this several times, and…"), but it is very important that you still repeat your chosen phrase repeatedly.

When you say the same words repeatedly, the pattern-recognition ability in your loved one's brain will eventually notice that something is being repeated here, and they will start to take notice of what you're saying. When they realize that they're bashing their head against a brick wall, they will eventually give up.

It may be difficult for you to continue to repeat your phrase no matter what your loved one says, as they can get very manipulative in their response, and even hurt you with their words trying to get their way, but it is very important that you not react emotionally, and that you continue to just repeat your chosen phrase.

As you practice this technique, it will become easier for you to do.  In the beginning, it may be difficult not to react emotionally, but even that will become easier with time, as you realize that your loved one is using your emotional reaction as a way to get what they want.  It is very important that you keep your emotions out of the mix – the more you are able to do that (at least on the surface), the more effective this technique will be.