Depression is caused by many root factors, including unresolved past traumas, grief, current life challenges, and/or issues with brain chemistry. One issue that is often overlooked, however, is the impact of our intimate relationships on our feelings of self worth and consequently depression. An emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship may not be completely obvious, even to the victim. Here are 6 signs your depression may have its root in your relationship dynamic:
1. Your partner puts you down, in public or in private. The insults may come as blatant name calling, or they may be in the form of more subtle critiques about how you do things, your character, and even your mental health.
2. Your partner attempts to control your daily activities. You may be outright prohibited from doing certain things, or it may be pressure to act differently coming from your partner. You may feel as if you must give an account and then defend and justify your actions. You may even feel it is easier to just do things that you know your partner would "approve" of.
3. Your partner discourages or prohibits you from spending time with friends and family. This isolation technique gives the abuser a couple of benefits. First off, it affirms his or her control over you, and it prevents your form receiving positive messages about your worth. It also limits the criticism you are likely to hear from your loved ones about your partner.
4. Your partner attempts to restrict your access to work opportunities and education. This helps keep you dependent upon your partner.
5. Your partner uses sex as a form of control, domination, or manipulation. This may happen in the form of demanding sex and intimacy regardless of your wants and desires, or it may manifest in the opposite manner, in which your partner deliberately withholds affection and sex from you, leaving you rejected, vulnerable, and feeling further subjected to your partner's control.
6. Your partner implies that there will be other, non-physical consequences for not agreeing to his or her demands. This may be interspersed with occasional acts of kindness, but these are sporadic events designed to keep you hooked into the relationship so you won't leave. As soon as you are safely back under your abuser's control, the abuse cycle begins again.