When someone with depression pushes you away

In this blog we will discuss what you can do if someone with depression is pushing you away. 

We will also take a quick look at why people with depression tend to push others away.

What to do when someone with depression pushes you away?

Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marr... x
Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marriage

If someone you love is depressed and has begun pushing you away, the first thing you need to know is that this behaviour is one of the symptoms of social withdrawal and one should be mindful to not take this personally. 

What you can do is to educate yourself about depression and it;’s impact on relationships, be mindful of one’s thoughts, communicate expectations and set healthy boundaries. 

Sharing a relationship with someone who is depressed can also be emotionally taxing which is why we advise you to seek support and professional help as well. 

Let us take a closer look at what can be done when someone with depression pushes you away

De-personalize the problem.

First thing you need to remember is that it is not personal. Their behaviour of pushing you away has nothing to do with you. 

Social withdrawal is one of the symptoms of depression which is one of the major factors that lead to dysfunction in relationships for people who have depression. 

The problem in this relationship, where someone with depression is pushing you away, is depression. This particular mental illness that he is struggling with is causing him to behave in ways he might not normally.

So you should understand that they are pushing you away because of the internal battle that they are going through- they might push you away because they feel like a burden to others, they carry guilt etc.

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, guilt, and shame- leading them to push people away. 

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.

Educate yourself 

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 social withdrawal which is a common occurrence in people who are depressed.

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 they have begun to push you away. 

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. 

If their social withdrawal or them pushing you away causes much anxiety and distress, 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

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. 

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.

Respecting boundaries

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. You have to understand that it is not their lack of wanting rather it is simply because it comes harder to them because of their condition. 

Iit 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 their behave differently. 

Respecting boundaries also includes you being aware of what lies in your boundary- for example your emotional needs. 

If they are unable to meet your needs- as a parent, as a friend, as a sibling, as a partner- seeking out ways to meet them through other sources of comfort can be one way to deal with the stress or anxiety that this predicament causes in you. 

Respecting their need for space and solitude can be another thing you can work on, and if it causes much anxiety when they withdraws- this means that you focus your energies on other things such as your interests and hobbies (you tend and nurture the things you love within your boundary) while they take time to recover.

Talking 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. 

Why do people with depression push people away?

One must understand that depression causes people to withdraw from their social circles and their social life. They might choose to stay in for most days, refuse invitations, as well as break off relationships etc. 

There are many reasons that could explain why they do this, some of them include:

Lack of energy 

Depression tends to cause fatigue and low drive so one of the reasons why they are pushing you away could be because they have no physical or mental energy to keep up with your conversations or your needs. 

When they are struggling psychologically, he could choose to recover his energy by resting or being alone- this often happens without explanation which might make you feel left out

Loss of concentration: 

Another symptom is the inability to focus or pay attention- basically to be present in the moment- and thus, they may not be able to keep up with your conversations because of their inability to concentrate which might often lead to misunderstanding and fights. 

It can cause the person who is on the receiving end of this lack of attention to feel undervalued and dejected. When this is expressed, the partner might feel guilt and shame which when mixed with feelings of worthlessness can lead them to withdraw from others. 

Feeling like a burden

Another reason why they push others away is because they feel a huge sense of shame and often feel like they are a burden to their loved ones. 

This shame and guilt often arises due to their irrational belief that they are unlovable, worthless, and they are not deserving of support. 

Scared of hurting someone or being hurt: 

They may be at a very vulnerable point in his life. This vulnerability may cause them to retreat and protect themselves from the world because they are afraid of being hurt.

They may also be afraid of hurting you because of their mood swings since most depressed individuals find it especially difficult to be mindful of their behaviour when they are having a hard time. 

They are uncomfortable with vulnerability

We live in a world where the strong are appreciated and the weak often disregarded. People are applauded for their courage and strength while the vulnerable are often looked down on. 

These social pressures are often internalised and often stop us from getting intouch with our emotions which make us seem vulnerable. This can threaten the way we see ourselves and make us fearful of how others judge us in times when we find ourselves threatened and vulnerable. 

Their discomfort with being vulnerable could cause them to push others away simply because they are afraid that others will see them as flawed and reject them. So to protect themselves from the hurt of rejection, they might willingly push you away.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what you can do if someone with depression is pushing you away. 

We have also taken a quick look at why people with depression tend to push others away.

FAQ related to What to do when someone with depression pushes you away?

Why do people push people away when sad?

Their discomfort with being vulnerable could cause them to push others away simply because they are afraid that others will see them as flawed and reject them. So to protect themselves from the hurt of rejection, they might willingly push you away.

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Does depression make you pull away from people?

Yes, depression makes you pull away from people. This is often seen as a symptom of depression and has many causal factors. Some of the reasons why people tend to do that include guilt, shame, fear of being hurt, lack of energy and inability to be present in their relationships. 

How do you deal with a depressed person?

One way you can deal with someone who is depressed is to communicate. This can be a 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. 

References

Depression: Why We Push People Away. Blurt it out. Retrieved on 30th March 2022. https://www.blurtitout.org/2018/02/08/depression-why-we-push-people-away/

Why Depressed Partners Push You Away (and What You Can Do). Charleston therapist. Retrieved on 30th March 2022. https://mycharlestontherapist.com/blog/depression/why-depressed-partners-push-you-away-and-what-you-can-do/

My Depressed Boyfriend, Partner is Pushing Me Away: Try This. Healthy Place. Retrieved on 30th march 2022. https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/my-depressed-boyfriend-partner-is-pushing-me-away-try-this

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