Depression strikes a large number of people at some point in their lives. It robs us of joy, contentment, and fulfillment in our relationships. Sometimes, however, it is the relationship we are in that provokes the majority of our depressive symptoms. If there is an element of emotional and psychological abuse in the relationship, the effect on the victim can be significant. It is in the nature of this type of abuse for the victim to believe the abuser and determine that the problem or "weakness" is the victim's fault. Here are 5 signs that it may be the relationship causing the problem:
1. Your partner puts you down, in public or in private. The insults or criticism may be obvious, or they may be more subtle. The point or purpose of this from the abuser's point of view is to demean you, make you feel inferior, or even cause you to question reality and wonder if you are crazy.
2. Your partner attempts to control your activities, access to work or education, and desires to limit your access to friends and family. You should not feel obliged to give an account of your daily activities or justify them. If your partner is discouraging you from pursuing work or furthering your education, this may be in order to keep you more dependent on him or her. If your partner coerces or pressures you to spend all your time with him or her, and forgo time with friends and family, this can be a method of isolating and controlling you, and a sign of emotional abuse.
3. Your partner uses sex as a method of control. This may manifest in your partner demanding that you comply with his or her demands for intimacy, regardless of your comfort level or state of mind. Your partner may also take the opposite approach, and deny you intimacy when you express your want and need for affection. This is different than the normal difference in sex drive that can occur between two people who are intimately involved. This is a deliberate and habitual action.
4. Your partner implies that you may receive non-physical punishments or consequences if you do not comply with his or her requests and demands.
5. Your partner may occasionally give you random "rewards" or behave kindly or generously toward you once in awhile. However, this does not come from a place of love and caring, but it is a tactic to draw you back into the relationship, and give you a sense of false hope that "things will be better now."