In this blog, we will discuss why your partner is pushing you away and how it is related to depression.
We will also briefly discuss what you can do about it.
Why is he pushing me away due to depression
If your partner has depression and he has been noticeably pushing you away or been emotionally isolating himself away from you, it could be very much because of his depression.
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 depression lead them to 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
Inability to be present
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.
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.
Fear of being hurt or hurting others
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. Their need for space could also be because they are afraid of being hurt by other people.
Discomfort with vulnerability
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.
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 we are perceived when we are at a vulnerable place in our lives.
What to do when someone with depression pushes you away?
Now that you know the possible reasons why, let us look at some of the things you can do in this particular situation.
De-personalize the problem.
First thing you need to remember is that it is not personal. Your partner 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.
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.
In this blog, we have discussed why your partner is pushing you away and how it is related to depression. We have also briefly discussed what you can do about it.
FAQ related to why is he pushing me away depression
What does it mean when someone pushes people away when they’re sad?
Someone pushes people away when they’re sad; it could mean that they are afraid of being vulnerable in front of others. 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.
Why does my partner keep pushing me away?
If your partner keeps pushing you away it could mean two things- they are uncomfortable with intimacy or they are having a hard time and are uncomfortable with being vulnerable in front of other people.
How do you know if you’re pushing someone away?
If you are pushing someone away the most obvious sign would be your disinterest in their life and your uninvolvement in any part of their life. This means that you just stop caring about what is happening in their life, their plans, their excitement etc.
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