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My Depressed Partner Blames Me for Everything. Should I Put Up with It?

Do you feel like your depressed partner blames you for everything? If so, you’re probably hurt and unsure how to react. Here’s what to do.

Does your depressed partner blame you for everything? If so, you may be wondering if you should put up with it to try to help your partner and preserve the relationship or whether you should leave to protect your emotional health. While the symptoms of depression are nobody's fault, that doesn't mean you should put up with unpleasant or abusive behavior. Your mental and emotional health should be your number one priority, however much you love your partner. Setting boundaries is easier said than done, so here’s what you should do if your depressed partner blames you for everything.

My Depressed Partner Blames Me for Everything: Should I Leave?

If your depressed partner blames you for everything, you probably feel unfairly victimized and tired of being used as an emotional punching bag. You may even contemplate leaving the relationship to protect your own emotional health, but is this the right thing to do?

Depression often makes people act in ways that seem entirely out of character. It also manifests differently in everyone. Some people will be sad, tearful and lethargic, whereas others may be angry and irritable. Your partner may even flit between moods, and there may be no telling how he or she will wake up. Know that these sudden mood changes aren't necessarily permanent – they may be symptoms of the illness that will fade with the right medication or treatment.

Whether your partner's depression is a new diagnosis or a lifelong struggle, there is no "right answer" to the question of whether to stay or go. Just know that blaming a partner for everything that goes wrong is a form of emotional abuse, and you don't have to accept it.

“If they keep hurting you, love them and stay or love yourself and leave.” – Sonya Parker

How to Set Boundaries with Your Depressed Partner

Depression is an illness, but that doesn’t make it okay for your partner to blame you for everything or abuse you emotionally. Here’s how to set healthy boundaries with your partner to protect yourself, help your partner and (hopefully) preserve the relationship:

Remind your partner that while they can’t control how depression makes them feel, they can control their actions.  

Ultimately, your partner is the only one responsible for his or her actions. No one can help being depressed, but they can control how they treat others. According to Steven Stosny, Ph.D., no matter what happens in life, the person you love and trust will always care about your wellbeing and will never intentionally hurt you. When your partner acts against this and you let them, you both violate the “implicit promise you made to each other that gave you the courage to love in the first place,” Stosny explains.

Say, “I understand you’re hurting, but talking to me in that way is unacceptable.”

In this instance, it may help to explicitly state what is acceptable to you and what is not. For example, when your partner feels angry, suggest they go into a room and scream and shout into a pillow rather than taking their frustration out on you. Explain that if they shout at you or use abusive language, you will calmly close the door and walk away until they've calmed down.

Let them know that you're always there, but only if they treat you with respect.

It’s tempting to tell those we love that we will be there no matter what. However, unhealthy patterns are present in the relationship, making unconditional proclamations of love is not helpful. Instead, tell your partner that you are there, so long as they treat you with the respect you deserve.

Know when to seek help or walk away

Depression does not make people abusive. However, stressful life circumstances can bring out abusive tendencies in people that, until now, have been dormant. Depression also leads to drug or alcohol addiction in roughly one-third of adults, studies say, which is one of the leading causes of domestic violence.

If your partner becomes threatening or violent, you must seek help immediately. It's understandable to feel that this behavior is entirely out of character for your partner and to want to protect them. However, you could be putting yourself in danger by doing so.

If you’re concerned about someone with depression, you can call the NAMI helpline at (800)-950-6264 for advice and support. If you believe your partner is acutely suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or your local emergency services without delay.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2019, March 25). My Depressed Partner Blames Me for Everything. Should I Put Up with It?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/my-depressed-partner-blames-me-for-everything-should-i-put-up-with-it

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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