Depression affects many people at some point or another in their lives. Causes may include unresolved past trauma, grief, current life challenges, and/or brain chemistry issues. However, one contributing factor that is often overlooked is the health of the relationships we are involved in. If your intimate relationship is emotionally and psychologically abusive, it can leave you feeling demoralized, hopeless, and depressed. Here are 5 signs your depression is linked to your relationships:
1. Your partner puts you down, publicly or in private. These put downs may be as blatant as name calling, or they make take a more subtle form such as criticisms about how you do things, your character, or your mental state.
2. Your partner attempts to control your activities. He or she may expect you to relay a summary of your day's activities, then offer criticisms about what you chose to do. You may feel defensive or a need to justify your actions.
3. Your partner discourages or prohibits you from spending time with friends and family outside the relationship. This may be expressed in obvious form, such as saying "I don't want you to see so and so," or it may be more subtle, "I can't believe you are choosing spending time with her over spending time with me." The abuser gets a couple of benefits from this tactic. He or she isolates you and gains control over your activities, but he or she also reduces your exposure to the positive messages your loved ones might give you about yourself. It also reduces the chance that one of your friends or family will criticize your abuser and get you thinking.
4. Your partner utilizes sex as a weapon of control. This may manifest in a demand for sex regardless or your needs, desires, and mental state. It may also emerge in the form of deliberate withholding of sex, leaving you feeling rejected, vulnerable and again at the mercy of your abuser's whim.
5. Your partner threatens you with non-physical consequences for not complying with his or her demands. These threats and punishments may be interspersed with occasional acts of contrition, kindness, or generosity, however the kind behavior is short lived. Once you are lulled and drawn back into the relationship, the cycle of emotionally abusive behavior begins anew.