Relationship has reached very toxic levels, but I'm too afraid to leave.
I [24M] been with my partner [also 24M] for just over 5 years now, and we've been living together for just over 3 of those. In that time my partners depression and anxiety has escalated to pretty severe levels. He has been seeing a psychologist for over 12 months, and has also been taking medication. He also uses daily marijuana to try and curb his anxiety.
I have supported him the whole time we live together. I work two jobs, but still don't make enough money to sustain us. I'm in heaps of credit card debt and stressed all the time. The way that stress manifests itself with me is I become very quiet, sullen, and I pull back. I'm also constantly exhausted, and find it hard to stay awake.
My partner has noticed this change, and he's reacted negatively. He sometimes says hurtful things about me, which really bring me down, but mainly he tells me that I need to do more to show my affection to him, and often gives me a list of things I should be doing (eg take him on a weekend trip - something I can't do because I have to work). I try and take this feedback on board, and I really try to shift my behaviour to give him the love and attention he needs in his dark times, though some days my stress is too much and I just want to be in bed alone as soon as I get home. I've also started to be more honest about why I'm stressed, hoping it clears things up. Recently he's started to say that my closed off behaviour is emotional abuse, me saying I'm trying to change is gaslighting him, and that I'm guilt tripping him by explaining things. It was never my intention to hurt him ever, or do any of those things, but I understand that my behaviour has and I feel horrible.
Over the weekend we got in an argument. I tried to take responsibility for my behaviour but also explain that I'm under too much stress. That set him off in a scary way. He said that I refuse to take responsibility, want to place it all on to him, called me ugly, vapid, privileged, insulted my family, said that I'm solely responsible for his depression. He screamed in my face, threatened to fight me, he stole my phone and tried to smash it, and most distressingly texted my housemate saying that I told him to commit suicide so that if anything happened I would take the blame (I did not and would never). He then broke down crying saying nobody loved him.
I do love him. I love him a lot. But I have never felt this low before. I am scared to be in this relationship, but I am scared about what leaving might do.
Sorry to hear this, however I think there is hope, lots of it.
Neither has had affairs nor been badly biolent and the emotional violence can, in many examples, be cured.
For example -sleep. Not getting enough sleep will hinder harmony.
Communication- we listen to each others words but interpret them differently. A counselor will likely fix this issue. They will also address the gaslighting claims
Expression of love- he might feel abandoned. Just not quite enough showing of affection imo that leads to that hollow feeling.
Try being spontaneous. A gift, an extra hug but it can feel like abandonment if he isnt getting that extra bit.
You love him. Break out of the rut by showering him with it. Then you can be logical in explaining your work restrictions on weekends
That fight must have been very distressing for you, and it is certainly not acceptable behaviour from him. It sounds as though you are running yourself ragged trying to please your partner. But is your partner doing the same for you? I just want you to make sure that it isn’t all a one-way street. A relationship is about two people mutually supporting each other, and helping each other, and it doesn’t sound like that is happening much at the moment. It may be that your partner’s depression and anxiety is taking a toll on him and he may be trying to get you to “fix” things. But the reality is that you can’t bear the burden of his problems, he needs to seek treatment from a professional for those issues. Regarding your last sentence “I am scared to be in this relationship, but I am scared about what leaving might do”, may I ask what scares you about being in this relationship?