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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


thanks for your posts- they make sense

Sleepy- what you have is self evaluation, not many humans have it.

eg. I had an 11 year marriage, 2 kids, wife was a narcissist using silence as a weapon. When I divorced her I blamed her for it all. Picking up the kids one day she made a remark “you worked too many hours- that’s why our marriage failed.”

Funny that because she chose to be the homemaker-stay at home mum. To do that, I had to work long hours shift work.

As I drove off with my kids for that weekend, I realised my error with my marriage...in marrying her in the first place. I made myself accountable for my error and moved on. Happily married now to my ex’s ex sister in law that I matchmade to my BIL .

Anyway back to you, yes we make errors in making friends that should not be on our radar in the first place.


Hi Em, thank you for your caring comments

I relate to what you wrote and discerning between safe and not safe, good and bad, caring and harmful, is part of living well.

Hi Tony, thank you for sharing your story. It's great that you learnt from the negatives in your marriage and moved on. Many people say their second marriages are much happier. (from someone here who has been married zero times).

I think we all make these mistakes. It's also i wasn't so well at the time, so can be more drawn to people for the wrong reasons. I liked friends who had time and liked to hang out and socialise because it would distract from my problems.

Now I want genuine people around. You learn that through crises, see who is really there.

Glad it worked out for you in the end

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Sleepy21 said:

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

Hi Sleepy21

I really think you need to forgive yourself for your choice of friends, ESPECIALLY when you're young.
They're probably not bad people at all! Though I am not belittling your experiences at all. It sounds like you have feelings of abandonment and possibly betrayal by these friends?

Maybe they're not "that deep".
Maybe they were scared.
Maybe they didn't think it was "serious" at all.
Maybe they were young and immature thinking you'd just "get fixed" and merrily be along again any minute. Maybe we could do our heads in circular thinking about what goes through other people's minds lol 😉

That was a little exercise to see how we can get on spinning our heads about other people's minds and to NO avail.

Ask them if you feel comfortable. If you don't, then there's a sign right there.

But "Horses for Courses" - we're all different.

It's so important to do our own introspection to a point and stop before we send ourselves crazy lol. But to reflect on our own words, actions, events is a very important thing for our own healing & self development.

I'm quite confident in the path of doing what you love doing. These are the places you're more likely to find other people who are more like you and at least, they like doing the thing - kayaking or whatever it may be.

But NO ONE is identically like us. Over time (and maybe already) you'll come to appreciate and even love how diverse others are. We can learn so much from our differences.

No matter where you are, you're good, great even. "Bloom where you're planted" was what was in our bathroom as a child. When we begin to accept where we are, love ourselves right here and now...…. THIS is when beautiful opportunities come - well that's what I've observed anyway.

Waddayathink? lol

Love EM

Yes EM, we here often say “be gentle in yourself” in essence forgiving yourself is part of that process.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


Thanks for your awesome post

I do have feelings of abandonment related to one friend in particular.
We were in touch regularly but when I went to hospital she couldn't support me.
Occasionally know she sends me long emails about herself....it makes me feel really frustrated. My mother used to do the same - she relied on me to listen to every detail about her day and never asked me one thing.

I think you're right about self-care, self-love and doing what you enjoy, with the good things following after. Thanks for sharing that.

I don't think anyone is a bad person but I feel like I was a little bit of an easy target for bad people for a while, and i'm just recovering from this. Thank you for reminding me to go easy. I hope you're doing well too, and finding these hectic times managable

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Sleepy21

I really get why you felt abandoned by your close friend and your mum. It's a horrible realization. Dare I say SNAP? I won't go into the stories of mine that match but I have gone NC with both a long time ago.

I think sometimes others may see us as the ones to help THEM.
The one who listens to THEM.
All being a one way street.

It was bad that at your time of deepest need, they just weren't 'there' for you.
I'm so sorry this happened. Big hugs.

IME this realization can shake us to the core. I've had paradigm shifts immediately after.

It's what you do next that is important and for ONCE the decision needs to have YOU as the centre.

From what I've seen, many people don't cut ties with narcissistic parents until their 30s or 40s. Being optimistic that things will change when....(this happens) or after …… (that happens).
They don't change, they can't.

It doesn't mean we CAN'T have a relationship with people like this, but I'm too old lol, I would never bother again. These relationships ALL end in the same way.

Narcs need empaths. An empath will spend SO MUCH time trying to work out the narc and how to make the relationship more pleasant, more equitable, different.
The narc is only interested in 'supply'.

I cut the supply off now before the extremely damaging 'narcissistic discard' phase. I don't think I have any narcs left now lol (except for a couple at work whom I can avoid most times). I exited from the last known one about a year ago.

Just remember that others are not mind readers, we do have to ask for help or communicate, if we feel safe enough to do so.

When we let these people "go" - even without NC but just to have zero expectations of ANYTHING from them - then we make room for the people who we DO want to have in our life. There may be an Autumn / Winter time in our lives before we see who these people are and / or even branch out further to our interest bases. But it happens and when it does, it's beautiful.

Lots of love EM

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hey EM

Sounds like you've sort of deflated the narcissists which is really the goal - you want the just get away from them and live and love your life

This is amazing and your points are all fire.... I'm in agreement with what you're saying and it is kind of a process.

Like we don't want these people in our lives - so it's not aa huge tragedy to let them go, it actually feels, in a weird way,, good

I have some better friends now so I think that's made me empowered to not take the "break-ups" so hard

I'm not sitting here thinking its my fault tht the friendshps didn't work, because I have evidence that I've got other healthy friendships. so i'm able to say a bit more fairly - "that person, for me, just wasn't good news," end of story.

These people, from my experience, tend to have a litany of amazing excuses. I'm so so tired of these excuses, none of them are good enough.

My Mum is wounded herself and I think she looks to me as someone who'se job it is to make her feel good about herself. I've been shocked before to hear how annoyed she is that I haven't been a better "friend" to her. She feels I owe her everything, and she owes me nothing.

I'm currently NC with her and trying to end this frustrating friendship.
The friend kind of revealed to me how she sees herself as a very good friend and has no regrets about the hopsital thing, so, end of story on my part. But yes of course it hurts.

We're only human and we don't like conflict. I'm struggling still sometimes to understand these narcissists and how they seem to have different standards and values and never waver from them.

Hope to get to the same point as you where I'm just too tired of their dramas. xx

Community Member
hi all I feel like in society mental illness still has a massive stigma people that have never experienced mental illness sometimes lack the understanding, the care or the empathy to try to comprehend what the person is dealing with. in my experience I developed mental illness when I was in my early adolescence and I had no clue what I was feeling I became overwhelmed with all these emotions that I didn't understand and no one educated me on what these feelings were that their normal that its okay not to be okay etc. my parents certainly didn't understand it and I felt judged. I just wanted to state my experience for everyone in the beyondblue community and point out that mental illness is still has a massive stigma and I wish some form of education program was targeted at schools to educate teachers, parents and students about mental illness so they form an understanding of it.

Good point Josh, more education.

There too much ignorance out there.


Trust me guys the education IS in schools. Whole programs from BB and Headspace and Black Dog and more....

The children going through this NEW World of education are so young, they're coming, but they're young and LOOK around you to see what kind of world they are seeing.... it's a MESS. What they see now is negatively affecting them.

Our youth have a DARNED lot of cleaning up to do, left by the messes of previous generations - I hold hope that these generations "did their best" but I've seen too much evidence of the contrary TBH.

"Education" is only as effective as the delivery and uptake by each individual. There is SO MUCH out there for people to search and find to help others..... it's that they can't bother is more precise.

So as difficult and as impossible it can seem to be for a person experiencing MI to cut ties or go low or NC with damaging people, it's essential to their future wellbeing.

The people who WANT to be there for you, who truly CARE for you and show you their love by their willingness to try to understand will stand out. It may take time but they appear out of the fog and soon it all becomes far clearer.

Ofcourse the major issue when going through the very rough path of seeking help, getting diagnoses and treatment, is that we need the most support THEN and afterwards. We've usually relied on these not so helpful / damaging people who have usually contributed to us becoming MI. We can end up far more damaged by our reliance on them and continued negative experiences with them.
You can be stuck between a rock and a hard place in these times.

Even with a clear path and effective treatment, living with MI is difficult.

That's why the BB forums are so important. A place where people understand through their experiences, there's no better way to gain empathy for someone than to have gone through what they've gone through. It doesn't mean others can't try to understand. This is the CONNECTION we crave. It's 1 piece of a jigsaw puzzle of support a person needs.