Our expert says:
Hard to know what may have been happening --- people with true Bipolar Disorder can reach states, especially when they are high, when they are unthinking and show very poor judgement, and are temporarily unable to be sensible. But of course, like all disorders, it can also occur in people who are just not very nice, or who have an abrasive personality disorder. And the existence of Bipolar Disorder, even if expertly diagnosed, should not be used as an excuse for being unpleasant at all times.
The message is outrageous --- remind her of her debt to you, and that this means you can't afford to buy her anything for her birthday. And she must not be able to use that shallow excuse of "leave the past in the past" which is generally only used by people who have been irresponsible or worse in the past, and want their bad behaviours to be overlooked, and to be left free to repeat them.
Its understandable that she might want to try to make amends, but it sounds as though even if some of her promises might be sincerely meant at the time they are uttered, they might not be anything to rely on.
If she truly has Bipolar Disorder, she needs to be under the continuing care of a good local psychiatrist to monitor her condition and her medication which she will need long-term. And you could then ask to discuss this issue with that shrink, who could advise you and her on how to try to improve this relationship for the sake of the child
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