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They just wont understand, why?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion
We hear those words often. The trouble is, there is a word in that sentence that doesn’t
fit, it shouldn’t be there. It’s the word “wont”

“Wont” means they have a choice to understand your emotional struggles. It should, in many
cases, be replaced with “don’t” or "cant"

For these people are the people we love and they love us. Would they, make the choice of not understanding? Understanding…what does that entail? Do we expect our partners, children, friends and parents to understand what its like to have our minds as if it’s in a cloud? Or throbbing like a migraine? Or whysome of us sleep for what seems endless hours?  What about when our carer partner has been so long without
love making and their frustration explodes and we chant “you just don’t understand”!!!

I put it to you, that it is us also that doesn’t understand what its like to be a partner of a mentally ill person. In respect to this an article I wrote a long time ago now can be googled- “Topic: who cares for the carer- beyondblue” In that thread I mentioned that if you can walk to the toilet, answer the phone and get yourself something to eat during the day while your partner is at work….you can also greet him/her as they walk in the door, have a cuppa and a chat asking how their day went before you slip back into bed if you must.

Some cant, understandably. But some wont! A choice (note the word “wont”) is made. In
these cases they are hurting the ones they love.

I’m lucky, my wife has depression, it comes and goes. We never say “you wont understand”. We both do understand. However my last partner and before her, my first wife, never understood my struggles. Those days I believed that they chose to not understand. I was wrong. They had little hope of understanding. Why?

Simply  because the other person doesn’t “feel” the effects of the illness. And there might also be the blaming effect to, to blame others through our own expectations of what we are pleading for.

Whatever sooths you and comforts you from your partner – tell them what that is. Think about your needs whether is a daily hug, a hand on the shoulder or an ear with the occasional comment or question. For your partner or loved one likely has no concept of what they can do to help. And that in itself can be agonising.

We should never get the feeling or not being loved mixed up with a lack of ability to help us. It’s not
that they wont understand-its more likely they cant understand so they don’t.

Tony WK

153 Replies 153

Hi Sleepy,

you show so much courage.

Many of us with disorders have a lack of protective measures that come naturally without the disorders. We can also have immaturity for our age and out of control emotions and moods.

This lack of self protection I highlighted in the following thread

beyondblue topic fortress of survival (also part 2)

Id be interested in your thoughts Sleepy.


I had a friend for 18 years. We were that close we called each other “bro”. It has all come to an end.

My now ex friend slowly became an alcoholic and so religious that it became intolerable for this atheist. He’d ring at 11am drunk and incoherent. I’d drive the 80km to his place and listen to his ramblings, because I loved him.

But alas, he wasn’t listening to me, he wasn’t taking into account my last relationship included an alcoholic partner and he was causing lots of stress.

Sometimes you have to believe that “birds of a feather stick together “ and seeking help to confide in same.

Its ok to figure out why friends and family don’t want to talk about our challenges after all... that gives us free reign to limit our own interests in theirs.

One way streets don’t work


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tony,

I have been working through similar things in therapy recently.
I have a friend who has never shown any interest in me, really. My therapist really helped me realise I wasn't mean to acknowledge that, and to not like it.
I remember when I moved into my new home she came to visit. I had just purchased a few new furniture items and said - see I got this cool stuff - and she wouldn't get up and look at it. She wouldn't even move her eyes in that direction. I'm realising now, she was completely not interested. I had just got out of hospital for being suicidal... she didn't care. She told me I shouldn't go to hospital and probably just needed a hopsital. She also said I looked fine, healthy, from the outside, making me feel like I was making it up. In the weeks after I came back from hospital she never contacted me again...

It is beautiful to be there for a friend, hold their hands through weak times etc, but it is not selfish to consider if maybe they are using you or would have no interest in doing the same.
I find it hard sometimes to criticise people and identify that they aren't treating me right, I always assume that I'm the flawed one.

If something feels wrong in a friendship, it probably is wrong.

So true sleepy

have you got guilty thoughts?

sometimes even though it’s justified, I feel guilty breaking off the friendship.

maybe your friend was jealous?


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tony,

I do feel guilty, yes. It feels like I am maybe the bad friend for not liking the way she treats me.
I could see her potentially being jealous.

I'm not sure that the guilt is helpful - I remember on that day with the furniture i didn't understand why she was being so disinterested (like didn't want a tour of the place, didn't ask any questions etc...) and I would've made excuses or thought I was imagining things.

Now I just think that was unkind, and I also think she was using me as someone to go out with, as I used to (before I became ill and suicidal) enjoy going out a lot and she probably had not many others who would go with her).

It feels weird to be so critical of her, like i'm being nasty. But it's reality sometimes that people are not well-intentioned

Hi Sleepy

Im 64yo. As a young man I was naive and trusted too many people, this was regardless of working in a major prison as a warder.

So these characteristics can be part of our nature and our nature we cannot change in the short term at least.


beyondblue topic the frog and the scorpion

A friend once told me “when you can’t work out peoples behaviour- think jealousy”

My guess is your friend was jealous.

Beyondblue topic fortress of survival

Beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tony

Thanks i will try and check out those links

I also would trust people too much for many years.

I believe my friend was also using me for social "fun" as she was keen to meet me once weekly and go out somewhere new each time> i enjoyed socialising and was happy to have a regular friend.
In my head, I felt somehow that she was showing her friendship by hanging out with me regularly. Really she loved going out and it was more about going to new places and her self.

I think she probably was jealous which is a hard pill to swallow, because while I was excited to have a new place to show her, I had just come out of hospital after being suicidal. The "stuff" i was showing off had been donated by the salvation army to help me so I could settle home after being unwell.

It does take a while to learn to really see people as they are, and not ignore the messages they send you.

Like they say - when someone shows you who they are - believe them

ie - don't make excuses for bad behaviour - note it - and either demand better, or walk away

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Maureen said:I've been very lucky in that my close friends and family have all been very supportive and are very understanding. Mind you, the family is now starting to push for me to get back to work. It's been over a year. I'm 55 and they're worried ill never go back.

Hi Maureen

Your "work" is what you're doing now.


white knight said:

Hi vox

Great reply, so true.

As long as they make effort. Very apt.

I just severed a friendship. This guy I've known 10 uears had a mother and two brothers take their own lives. Yet because he believed he couldnt understand them, he took the view that there is no point trying to understand me. Hence no effort.

Hence no friendship. And thats the thing with us mentally challenged, if there is no effort to take interest at all in our struggles then thete is no middle ground IMO.

I have more important people to give to.

Tony WK

Indeed TonyWK

I call this the "bushfire" event. I strongly believe that when we have an 'event' whether it be a divorce, loss of job etc, experience MH issues etc etc etc (there are so many 'events' in life) then it's healthy for us to TAKE STOCK of what detracts from us and what gives to us which can be sustaining and healing.

Simply spoken - GOOD friends are there for us. WE are there for them too. When we CAN'T be there for them, they totally understand! These are the people there in the 'new landscape' after a bushfire who regenerate WITH us in new understandings, compassion, love, empathy and synergistically provide HOPE for each other. Just as the landscape does after a bushfire. IT IS NOT THE SAME. ALOT was lost and we can never go back to the way it was.
But we CAN and must observe what is 'here now'. Appreciate it all for surviving! Love every aspect of our new landscape as hard as it is to cope with the sometimes devastation. But KNOW there is a future and accept what's been lost.

Others are not like this. End of.

Discerning who IS and who is NOT helpful to us during this time is a very surprising journey some times.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

so true em

My life will never be the same after my hospital stay

to see friends pretend it was'nt really happening and not even be able to acknowledge i was in hospital, really shook me to my core

but again , i dont blame them, i blame myself. blame me for choosing such idiotic friends. blame me for not knowing earlier that they were fake.

It still hurts and i struggle to see people who left me when i was in hospital