Husband blames me for his depression: What do I do?
In this blog we present to you a few steps you can take if your husband blames you for his depression.
We will also briefly discuss how depression impacts a marriage and relationships.
Husband blames me for his depression: What do I do?
If your husband and partner has depression and has been blaming you for his mental state, here are a few steps you need to take:
De-personalize the problem.
First thing you need to remember is that it is not personal. Their behaviour of blaming you does not mean you are truly the cause of their depression.
Depression is no one’s fault- not yours and not theirs either- it is a condition that occurs for a myriad of reasons and blaming each other is not going to help either of you nor the relationship.
In this case, the problem in this relationship and the fact that depression that he is struggling with is causing him to behave in ways he might not normally.
While you might not agree with what they are thinking, you have to understand that to them- their negative beliefs are all too real which causes them the most distress, anger, and resentment and in most cases they are not even aware that depression cannot be blamed on other people.
Patience and kindness is what you need not only towards them but also towards yourself. This means putting blame aside and choosing to work together to overcome the problem.
You have to understand that depression is a serious mental health condition where a person who is affected by it experiences persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness- this is different from feeling sad or dejected.
Crippling clinical depression can make it very difficult for the individual to carry out their day to day tasks, maintain their relationships, and manage their occupational responsibilities.
One of the major markers of a diagnosis is the deterroritation in social relationships due to depression caused by various factors such as shame, anger, guilt, resentment etc.
Depression is a serious illness and it can aggravate and become deadly if not treated. If someone has been pushing you away because of their diagnosis, take time to learn about the problem itself.
Having awareness about the disorder can help you understand what can be done to boundaries through open communication and work together to meet each other’s needs.
This means respecting their need for space as well as being a present figure in their life that offers support without smothering them.
Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings
It is extremely important for you to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings not just for your partner but also for yourself. This means that you are mindful of any assumptions that they might take because of what they are telling you or blaming you.
Taking the time to nurture optimistic and hopeful thoughts as opposed to thoughts that instil fear and worry can be a good place to start- focus on the good while being mindful of the thoughts and feelings that hurt you as well as them.
When their blaming behaviour picks up, taking the time to reflect and understand why you are feeling this way- being mindful of what goes on inside you can be very helpful as well.
Communicating and allowing them the space to communicate can be another step that you can take after you have educated yourself about their condition.
This means that you let them know that you are open and supportive of them without the expectation for them to engage with your open invitation because you have to understand that they already have too much on their plate.
An open and honest conversation is what is needed to begin seeking clarity. Sit your partner down and tell them exactly what you are struggling with. Be honest about your doubts and your fears.
When you are being open, seek to be assertive and take responsibility over your feelings, do not blame or criticise them nor yourself.
Though it might be weird and uncomfortable at first, especially if you both have never done it. However, creating a safe moment and space to open up about how you feel and how you support them can be a good place to get things moving forward.
You can also take this moment of open communication to clarify their needs, what they would like you to do for them, and their limits and boundaries so that you can be respectful of it.
Assessing and evaluating the relationship means taking stock of a few things
- What has worked in the relationship
- What has not worked out
- Both your emotional and physical needs
- What can be done differently
Working around these issues can be overwhelming, it will require patience and kindness from the both of you to discuss them objectively and in a realistic way.
It is also crucial that both of you are mindful of each other’s needs and limitations- especially the effects of depression that hold you back- setting realistic ways and goals to meet each other’s needs can be helpful to help each other feel loved and supported in the relationship.
Once you have had a discussion with them about each other’s mutual needs, you have to be mindful of respecting their boundaries as they should yours.
Respecting boundaries can be challenging, especially when depression can cause them to struggle in engaging with you to form meaningful moments. It is here that you remain mindful and focus on yourself instead of focusing on what their behaviour means.
Respecting boundaries can also include understanding that the disorder could be making them behave differently. Respecting boundaries also includes you being aware of what lies in your boundary- for example your right to be treated with dignity.
One should bear in mind that a spouse blaming another partner for everything that goes wrong and his/her depressive mood is a form of emotional abuse, and you don’t have to accept it.
Talk to someone about it
Sharing a relationship with someone who has a mental disorder can be challenging. It often causes stress and emotional distress for the person who loves them or who lives with them.
The distress might also cause a sense of hopelessness if there is no joint effort to help the relationship grow and it can also cause much anxiety and stress to the person on the receiving end of them pushing people away.
Speaking to a professional or a therapist can help you make better sense of the situation, help you develop techniques and skills to take care of yourself while also working on the relationship.
If there is a necessity and your partner is open to it, seeking out support for couples like couples counselling can also be a way to deal with the issues relating to communicating, boundaries, fears and anxieties.
Deciding to move on from the relationship does not have to make you feel guilty or selfish. However, if you find that his constant blaming is taking a lot of your own mental health and it is borderlining on abuse, it is time to move forward.
There are times in life that are faced with the decision to put ourselves first which might hurt others. If you, after communicating with your partner and having taken time to try again, find yourself unable to keep up with the relationship and believe that being alone as your recovery is what you need then go for it.
It is all the more important for you to remember that this is a choice you are making to focus on yourself and your healing, so seeking out support- professional or not (family, friends, support groups) can help you transition to being alone while also coping with depression.
How does depression impact a marriage?
A depressed spouse can challenge a marriage. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a leading publication used for diagnosis of mental disorders by mental health professionals, Major depressive disorder or depression is a serious mood disorder.
Depression symptoms also include extremely low mood and fatigue and is often accompanied by thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness which can lead to suicidal ideation and even attempts.
Depression related symptoms such as inability to focus, lack of energy, and hopelessness can impact a person’s ability to work and meet the demands of their daily lives.
People with depression often struggle with low self esteem and self worth which can cause them to negatively assess themselves. They may fear rejection and abandonment from other people which may cause them to isolate themselves in a bid to protect themselves.
This social withdrawal can make it difficult for them to maintain social commitments and relationships as they might choose to push people away especially when they do not have the skills to communicate and manage their emotions and thoughts.
Depression can make one feel like you don’t love someone because of the inability to feel interest and pleasure in anything or anyone you once cherished.
One of the criterias of diagnosing a person with depression involves dysfunction in their social relationships. They might become distant, withdrawn, and may even struggle with the inability to feel pleasure or interest in anything- anhedonia.
Depression makes it difficult to care for oneself let alone someone else- you become unable to attend to the needs of your partners which can cause problems in the relationship.
This reduction in energy- both mental and physical- can often cause a person to retreat and isolate, sleep more, and become less active over all which can impact a person’s ability to meet the demands of their daily life- including the demands of their relationships.
Depression can also make it difficult to engage in life- going out for dates, having a little fun, trying out new things- all of these things seem impossible especially on days when you are unable to get out of bed.
These beliefs can impact your emotions, thoughts, and behaviour as a result of which you might choose to retreat from your partner and cut off people from your life as a bid to protect yourself from the hurt of disappointing others or rejection.
Basically you reject the notion of love, or even convince yourself that you do not love your partner. You may even fear being abandoned as a result of which you might try to leave your partner before they leave you.
In this blog we presented to you a few steps you can take if your husband blames you for his depression. We have also briefly discussed how depression impacts a marriage and relationships.
Ashley Matskevich, How to Deal with a Depressed Spouse, thehealthy.com, retrieved on 12, august 2019, https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/depression/how-to-cope-with-a-depressed-spouse/
Tracy, N. Depression in Men: Understanding Male Depression, HealthyPlace. Com Retrieved on 20, April 2022 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/men/depression-in-men-understanding-male-depression
Smith, E. My Depressed Partner Blames Me for Everything. Should I Put Up with It?, HealthyPlace.com, Retrieved on 20, April 2022 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/my-depressed-partner-blames-me-for-everything-should-i-put-up-with-it