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Has my relationship turned toxic because of depression?



"Stay with me. Don't leave me!!!" She screamed from within, yet her words were too hurtful for him to bear. He walked away thinking this is the best for her. Both didn't know that depression had slowly creeped into their relationship and it was poisoning them every single day. Yet another love story unfinished and two more hearts broken.


I have met hundreds of couples where one partner is going through depression. Depression not only affects the one who is battling it, but it also affects the loved one. The partner does not understand what hit them and go through their own internal struggle to not only help themselves, but their loved one. This article is for someone who is battling depression and is willing to make their relationship work. 


If you start asking people around you, who are lonely and depressed, "What do you want?" Their response would mostly be "I just don't like this loneliness. I wish I had someone who loves me and cares for me." A lot of people crave attention, care and affection from someone else. They feel worthless if they do not have these needs fulfilled. In order to fulfill these needs, they usually engage in meaningless relationships as well, hoping that it would give them some solace during their loneliness. 


If someone is already in a relationship and is depressed, he or she will cling on to their partner for the fear of losing them. Even if the relationship is not working out and even when the relationship is absolutely toxic, they tend to attach themselves to their partner. Their level of insecurity is extremely high and they cannot face losing that one emotional connect that they experience. However, this insecurity is displayed in the form of toxic behavior. There will be fights and make ups, followed by another fight. This pattern continues till one of the partners decides to end it or both get used to it, which is worse. Sometimes, the worst happens and their depression rubs on to their partner, who also gets addicted to this entire game of trauma drama and toxicity. In this case, both partners are miserable, yet addicted to the game. 


Here are a few signs that you can recognize in yourself if you are battling depression and are turning the relationship into a circus of trauma drama:


1.Negative attention seeking: 

You feel worthless at times, and think that you are not worthy of being loved. You may start seeking your partner's attention every now and then. This attention seeking involves picking up fights over simple issues like "You didn't answer my calls!" , falling sick often so that your partner would show how much they care for you, constant messaging or calling your partner despite the fact that they are busy.


2. Insecurity and jealousy:

You feel insecure. You do not feel good about yourself, therefore you feel that there are other people better than you that your partner can find. You are aware of all the mistakes you are making in the relationship, and you are scared that your partner will leave you and go away. This insecurity usually backfires when you start doubting your partner's faithfulness and commitment. You start fighting with them every now and then, hoping for a confirmation of their love for you. 


3. Constant break-ups:

You try to drive your partner away because you feel you are no good. This can be dangerous because if your partner genuinely loves you, you might end up hurting them. You convey that you are best left alone, while internally feeling that you need your partner.


Your partner, after a while gets used to this toxicity and tries to either stay in the relationship, while remaining aloof, or tries to walk away from the relationship. If they stay in the relationship, there is a chance, they also might start acting aloof or worse, end up abusing you because they too are going through hell. This behavior confirms your belief that "I am not worthy". If your partner walks away from the relationship, it confirms your belief "I am not worthy". Do you see how you can cause your worst fears to come true? 



What can you do to avoid this toxicity?


STEP 1: RESPOND NOT REACT


This is the easiest way to handle most of the signs mentioned above. Most of the times, you react to your partner's mistakes. Suppose they don't call you when they said they would, your emotions start building up from disappointment to suspicion to worthlessness to anger. Recognize this pattern within you. When you quickly react because of your anger, your partner automatically goes through a range of emotions from being confused to alarmed to angry. Now, if your partner also reacts to their anger, we have a huge fight to deal with. 


Reaction never helped anybody. Learn to RESPOND to the situation. Let's say your partner did not call when they were supposed to, and you feel disappointed, take a deep breath. ACKNOWLEDGE your disappointment. It is natural and perfectly normal for you to feel disappointed. 


If you feel like crying, go ahead and cry. But don't send a text message to your partner while you're crying. Learn to self-soothe. However, if you can't, talk to your friend, someone you trust and someone who wouldn't add on to your insecurity. Be careful of who you interact with, during this phase. However, you are your best friend in any situation. The key here is to discharge your emotions so that you are more in charge of your self when you do convey a message to your partner.


When you get a chance to speak to your partner, tell them "I was disappointed when you did not call me when you were supposed to." 


STEP 2: GIVE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT


Which thoughts start running across your mind when your partner doesn't give you enough attention? In the same example mentioned above, when your partner doesn't call you when they are supposed to, your mind automatically thinks the worst. "He/she is ignoring me." However, is that really true? There are a number of reasons why your partner did not call you when they said they would. Give them a benefit of the doubt and instead of imagining the worst, try to picture him/her in various other situations. 


The same holds true for other situations as well. Let's say your partner is having fun with someone else at  party you both have been invited to. Add to that, that someone else belongs to the opposite sex. You feel ignored, jealous, worthless again and then angry. Can you for once, actually see the real situation? Your partner is having a good time and that is all there is to it. You are the one who is adding meaning to the situation, where there might be none. 


However, be careful to not turn a blind eye to what is happening around you. There is a thin line between giving benefit of doubt and turning a blind eye. You will have to eventually discern and then decide.


STEP 3: DO NOT MAGNIFY THE SITUATION

It is we who give meaning to everything happening around us. We keep projecting our fears and insecurities on the environment around us. For example, when it rains, you might feel sad and say the weather is so gloomy. This is because you are projecting your unhappiness on to the weather. The rainfall is merely that- a rainfall. It is neither happy nor gloomy. However, you are the one who is perceiving it as gloomy. Some people feel happiness when it rains. They too are projecting their happiness on to the environment. 


Learn to perceive your partner's actions the way they are and do not look into any further meaning. For example, if your partner forgets what dish you like, it is just that - he/she forgot. However, you get into a thought process of "He/she doesn't even remember what I like. He/she does not love me anymore. How can they forget what I like?" and so on and so forth. You are magnifying the whole situation in your head. Learn to just perceive reality the way it is. It will save you a lot of pain and hurt.


STEP 4: WORK ON YOURSELF

Working on your self takes a great deal of effort. It is a never ending process. However, in the long run, this is what makes you feel fulfilled. You do not need external attention, love and warmth. You have the ability to feel fulfilled. You may not see it just yet. But believe me, when you start working on your fears, insecurities, loneliness, pain, you will find this amazing quality within yourself. This is the time, you can not only feel fulfilled, but also try to achieve a fulfilling relationship. 


It is easy to fall in love with someone who loves oneself. When you have the energy of self love, you will automatically attract love in your life. Every single part of you radiates this energy and people around us are sensitive to this beauty. 


Your partner is valuable to you, and so are you to them. You both have the ability to turn this into a fulfilling and beautiful relationship. You both chose each other over millions of people around you. There is something between you that made it happen in the first place. Do not let depression spread its ugly claws over this relationship. Be committed to overcome depression and lead a fulfilling life. You most certainly can!

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