Relationships are one of the most significant aspects of our lives, yet we can often forget just how crucial our networks with other people are for our physical and emotional well-being. There is no doubting the fact that relationships are complex. Healthy relationship can sometimes become a blame game as it seems so easy to point fingers at our partner, but can we blame our mental conditions of our partners? While relationships may extrinsically appear to be enriching experiences, they do have the prospective to be unhealthy and harmful from the inside due to our mind health condition.
Mental illnesses often tend to be very complicated, with manifold conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder or generalised anxiety disorder. For instance, while you might not have been born exhibiting the features of a certain mind illness, it may be lying dormant inside your mind till the condition is triggered by a major traumatic event. Your love although may be intense from the outside, but it is prudent to know that your mind can have an impact on your relationship.
If this is pertinent to you, be conscious of the many challenges you and your partner may face, and make use of the resources and strategies that will facilitate you in
growing and nurturing your relationship. Below mentioned are ways by which mental illness can affect a relationship.
The issues enclosed below are common within couples impacted by an unhealthy mind. No two relationships are exactly the same, so it is vital to take into consideration your unique relationship in order to enable you to be able to categorise where you may need additional guidance.
Shame, guilt and antipathy: Undergoing an emotionally unhealthy state of mind is challenging enough, but the stigma linked to mental health conditions can add an additional layer of anxiety for both the partners. Mentally unstable partners may feel shame, awkwardness, may feel guilty about their condition and may even try hiding their symptoms.
In some cases, a person with depression or anxiety may have a limited emotional inability and may lack the desire to socialise. These behaviours and challenges can put a stress on the relationship which may lead to feelings of disappointment, denial, and disconnect. When couple relationships are under extreme stress, partners start physically and emotionally distancing themselves from each other. When they do come together, the strained relationship results in controlled or surface-level conversations. The basic quality of dealing with the problem together as a unit will be torn apart as both partners feel a bigger level of frustration.
Intimacy problems: Having a mental instability is bound to make a person disinterested in physical intimacy. This is due to stress that tends to decrease one’s libido. Alongside people with mental health conditions may feel insufficient and may have performance anxiety and low self-esteem. For both partners, this can lead to a reduced opportunity for bonding and can result in unmet needs.
Risk of co-dependant behaviours: Co-dependency is an unwholesome behaviour pattern that manifests as one person supports another person’s faulty mental health, addiction or coping strategies. The partner of a person with emotional illness may start to descend their self-worth from the degree to which they are needed or how much they are capable enough to take care of their loved one.
In extreme cases, co-dependency can surge the peril of unmannerly behaviours, encompassing manipulation other insalubrious dynamics. Knowing how to differentiate between the need to encourage and support from the co-dependant nature of upholding the other person’s symptoms will help.
Having a partner impacted by an emotional health condition can be steered in a relationship if both partners have the required skills and awareness to cope and interconnect through these challenges. This is exactly why a paradigm shift is needed. People should feel enabled to seek professional help if they or their loved one has been battling with mental health. Mental illness is not a character flaw nor a moral issue.
Although people need to be held accountable for their actions and behaviours patterns, but they also deserve an appropriate context, understanding, and guidance so they can learn to uphold their mental well-being, heal from past trauma and above all honor their partner’s experience.
(The writer is an Emotional and Mental Well-being Coach, and the Founder of Let Us Talk)