By: Tamara Ince
As a little girl she put pink ribbons in her hair and dreamed of the future. She planned to grow up and become a doctor or a movie star. She held no fear of the future. That was before she met John. He was handsome, often kind, and the love of her life. Yet, he experienced moderate to severe depressive episodes, and this touched every aspect of not only his, but also her life. The effect of caring for him caused her to live in a virtual cage and neglect her dreams. His moods dictated her behaviors, activities, and forced her to limit both her growth and the depth of her life. She could not even spend time with her family or go to college, because it would upset him. He would threaten to kill himself if she left, so she felt like she had no choice but to sacrifice her quality of life for his life. Then, one day she asked herself “Why am I fearing the future?”. She made the decision after much thought to leave him. To her surprise, he did not attempt suicide. More importantly, she began to live again. She once more found personal growth, joy, and love. Sometimes, if your partner has a mental diagnosis and will not seek help, the best thing to do is strategically vet other options, including seeking emotional support for yourself.
Sometimes, it does hurt to love, and just as much to exit such a relationship, especially in cases in which the non-offending partner has his/her co-dependency concerns. However, research has found that people who have either parents or a significant other with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Depression, severe Anxiety Disorder, Substance Use Disorders, PPMD, PTSD, sever cases of ADHD/ADD, or other mental disorders that are untreated likely endure pain and suffering similar to those in physically abusive relationships. They may be constantly and systematically controlled from fear of upsetting their parent or partner. Constantly walking on eggshells, analyzing their every word choice, and isolating themselves from friends and family in efforts to avoid setting off their partner can weigh heavily on their own mental health and quality of life. People in emotionally abusive situations may find that they are constantly avoiding activities they enjoy in order to prevent conflicts. Typically, they can not even voice their thoughts or opinions, because that could set off their loved one. This constant internalization of feelings, analysis, and avoidance can undermine a person’s confidence, worthiness, growth, trust, and even life. One option is to get professional mental help for the ill person, another would be to seek support for yourself to mitigate the impact. However, this is not always an option. Sometimes people will refuse treatment and you need to realize that you can not help them, as such is beyond your capacity, or readiness. Instead, you need to start helping yourself live a better life. This article is not to convince you to leave a toxic relationship - only you can decide your capacity, or readiness. This article is simply suggesting that you strategically weigh out your options, and in most cases seek out a professional to partner with as you flush out the feelings associated with detaching and doing such safely.
If you feel that you are drowning in a toxic relationship, and your loved one refuses to begin the process of seeking out help, it is not like things can never change. You can exit the relationship, thrive, and get stronger. Things can get better.
"Emotional Abuse in Children." World of Psychology. Psych Central, 27 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 May 2017.
"Psychological abuse." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 May 2017. Web. 24 May 2017.