I'm The Anxious Partner And I STILL Don't Think It's Your Job To Stay
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I'm The Anxious Partner And I STILL Don't Think It's Your Job To Stay

It should be made clear the difference between supporting someone through difficult times and staying with them when there is a toxic dynamic.


In a recent article that was shared around by Swoon titled "Even Though It'll Test You, Please Stay With Your S.O. Through The Worst Parts Of Their Mental Illness," the writer wrote about why you shouldn't leave your partner due to mental illness and what it's like coming from a perspective of the depressed partner.

I have a good amount of experience with being crazy and personally, many parts of this article rubbed me the wrong way. One thing that really bothered me about this was the frequent sense of backhanded guilt. It should be made clear the difference between supporting someone through difficult times and staying with them when there is a toxic dynamic. Your partner doesn't need to jump through emotional hoops at your expense. One example from this article:

"I'm always afraid that he'd leave because I'd start effecting his happiness, that he'd be embarrassed to have such a sad girlfriend and maybe that's my anxiety settling in but, they're actually my fears.

I know I'm not alone in this.

And if those fears came true one day, if he left me because he thought it would better me, and if he meant that. I can promise you–my depression and anxiety would never, ever let me believe that."

I fully understand these fears and where this person writing the article is coming from. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember and fears of not being good enough end up in my own head due to hours of irrationality and overthinking. I still have fears like this constantly. They're manipulative and painful.

But regardless, statements like these are prime evidence that there is a belief of an obligation. Statements like that would give someone guilt and that means there is an expectation of responsibility. In varying degrees, this is even abusive.

"You're all I have."

"If you left me I'd kill myself."

Statements like that? They're abusive and in the same vein. Which is why I felt the need to share my experiences and thoughts because sharing a message like that can be harmful.

I have been on both sides of this coin, as someone with a mentally ill partner and the mentally ill one. I remember listening on the phone as someone cried and talked about how they were suicidal and that's a horrible feeling in a relationship. I felt powerless, scared and like it was my job to stop it. It's one of the most difficult things to deal because no one has that power. There is never a question of love, but taking that responsibility on myself was harmful and something I should've identified as a red flag early on.

However, in my case as the depressed partner, I was so miserable. I had shut myself off from everything and enabled myself through my partner, making it his responsibility for me to be happy. My partner was brave enough to leave when I hit rock bottom. He knew that this wasn't good for us anymore and I was not in a place to ever make that decision. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, I didn't eat or sleep for two weeks.

But that was when I finally started to better myself because there was nowhere else to go but up. I realized I had nothing after that part of my life was gone and that's when I finally sought out therapy, medication and other outlets to try and be healthy for myself. This was something I never would have been able to identify continuing the relationship the way it was. It was making me shut down while my partner walked on eggshells to fix something out of their control.

You have to love yourself first. You don't have to be single with a mental illness, but you have to understand your own feelings and own them.There is nothing wrong with venting to your partner but know that's all it is. It isn't their problem. It is an extremely unfair and dangerous burden to put on someone to believe it's their responsibility to fix you or what's going wrong in your life.

This is one of the most crucial steps I have learned through therapy in order to have a healthy relationship. No one expects me to be happy all the time or to suddenly wake up one day with all my chemicals balanced. But if you choose to be in a relationship you still owe them parts of you if you make that commitment. If you love someone (and yourself!) you owe them what's best. You owe yourself what's best before giving parts away that should be kept healing for now.

And if you can't do that? It's perfectly okay to take a break. In fact, that's what made me better and I feel like coming back to my relationship now, it's stronger than ever. And I'M stronger than ever while still having anxiety.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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