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Feeling like an animal with my foot caught in a bear trap, but it's him.

Community Member

I am worried I'm going to blink and another 10 years will have gone past and there's my 30s gone. I keep waiting for him to go through some kind of evolution, to have like a life changing moment or a sudden realisation, and for him to start standing on his own 2 feet.


He leans on me, and that's ok, but lately (and if I'm being honest, for years now), it's too much. I can feel myself cracking under the pressure. 


He acknowledged that there's no space for me in the relationship to have my feelings, because he takes it all up. I didn't tell him this, but he's right. And I have no idea what to do about it. I'm holding onto the same life raft I've held onto before, which is that we get him back in therapy and he starts leaning on them and not me and makes progress. But it's the 4th time around, at least, and I'm just so traumatised to be honest with you. I can't keep doing this. I can't leave. I feel completely trapped, afraid and anxious and tired and resentful and full of dread. 


I can't even enjoy "good days" anymore like I used to, because I used to mistake those for signs of change, and now I feel like I've lost that hope. It's like I'm starting to believe him when he says there's no hope. Bad days can spring out of nowhere. He can be laughing and talkative and engaged, then later say it was all fake and an act. I don't care how this makes me seem, but I wish he'd fake it all the time. I do. Because I just can't handle being emotionally hostage like this. I have no idea what to do to get out of this feeling.

6 Replies 6

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome,


After 4 long term relationships each over 7 years long and now married happily for 12 years, at 67yo, I'm reading your sad story and feel empathy. 


There is two of you in this together. His mental health struggles, sad as it is, is an important consideration but your life plans, happiness is as important and should be his priority. Unfortunately it seems this may not be the case. Some mental health issues and indeed some people are self centred and don't have the capacity to walk in another's shoes.


My first relationship was one of her having psychiatric problems that resulted in lack of being able to commit to long term. I had to be brave and leave. I'm glad I did.


I hope you're OK. Post more if you have questions.



Thanks Tony. I'm glad you're now in a happy long term relationship. 


In response to some of your points, I don't think that he doesn't empathise with how his struggles affect me. At least once a week, but some times multiple times a week, he tells me I should leave him; that I'd be better off without him; that things are uneven; that he doesn't have capacity to take care of me the same way; that he is a PoS, and so on. I told him I hate when he says things like that, he told me it's just how he feels and he wants me to know he knows and he doesn't feel good about it.


I told him my wellbeing isn't his responsibility and I mean that and believe that. I'm an individual and I take care of myself and get ok by myself with support from him and others. But with him... it feels like he's genuinely not capable of self-soothing whatsoever, or any kind of consistency in any area of his life that might allow him to self-care or develop other coping mechanisms other than just alternating between unloading on me and smoking weed everyday to numb out his feelings.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Violet12


With you mentioning waiting for him to go through some kind of evolution while meeting with mind altering and life changing revelations, I can't help but wonder whether this relates to what you've experienced for yourself. I wonder whether you've gradually changed over time thanks to key revelations and hard work.


I think we can act as a guide or leader for our partner for years. Whether they follow our lead is an entirely different matter. The lead can be deeply caring, with suggestions of counseling, facing the tougher emotions in order to get to the bottom of what's seriously depressing, suggesting ventures to add (adventures) as opposed to repeating the ventures that make zero difference. We can even lead our partner to self questioning. We can try our hardest to lead them to higher levels of consciousness in many ways yet they may simply choose to rely on what's easiest. This way of managing may be depressing for everyone involved.


Can recall asking someone months ago 'How do I lead my husband to see differently?'. Her advice was 'To some degree we each choose our own path. You might choose the hard path at times, working hard on yourself when it comes to greater self understanding and significant change. This is far from an easy path yet it remains the path of evolution. Your partner may choose the easy path. At some point, your paths will begin to separate'. She wasn't implying the easy path is pain free. It can actually be deeply depressing. It's how they choose to manage that relates to what's easy. Can be easier to drink or smoke weed, rather than explore the painful telling emotions that arise without any form of numbing agent. As an ex drinker, I can tell you 'numbing' doesn't lead you to feel what you're emotions are trying to tell you. Sometimes it's the intolerable feelings that lead to change, when we're forced to develop greater self understanding and new skills/strategies out of desperation.


I've said to my husband in recent times 'Keep drinking, keep ignoring all the feelings that tell you something's gotta change, continue not questioning yourself and not seeking a difference, if that's what works for you. Me, I'm on a different path'. 

Community Member

I don't really have any advice but I do have empathy. I feel like I could have written most of what you wrote, myself. I'm in my 30s. We've been together nearly 6 years. We had plans to get married, have a family. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to be his girlfriend. And in a heartbeat it all flipped upside down. Initially I battled to keep us together, and now my battle is making our relationship meaningful. In my own head I constantly ask myself how long I should keep doing this, what else is out there for me while I'm struggling with this, will it ever get better? Will we become what we said we were going to become? How can we make a baby when he never wants to do it? Should we be trying to make a baby while he's like this? If I keep waiting for a better time, I'll be too old to conceive....the list goes on.


He doesn't really do anything to help himself. He stays physically active and doesn't do drugs, only drinks for an occasion, is a delight to be around outside of our home....But he has bailed on two psychologists, refuses medication because he won't be able to do his job, stays glued to his phone looking at depressing content and doesn't talk about any of it with me unless it's a "joke" about wanting to die.


I've never been so confused. Do I stay or do I go? It's a see-saw. There isn't much support for those of us living with this. So I just wanted you to know that you are not alone, even if you feel it as I do. 

Community Member

Thanks for posting this-took the words out of my mouth. I don’t feel so alone but I’m really sad to hear you are in the same position.


I have been with my partner for nine years. He was always quite delicate and needed a lot of support. This was not initially a problem, as I have always been extremely self-sufficient and am reluctant to rely on others for emotional support (which is a problem in itself). Over the years, my husband’s anxiety and depression, has gotten steadily worse. It was gradual and I was often preoccupied by his needs- I really didn’t notice just done much I was giving up. Over the years I feel like I’ve been slowly disappearing -they just isn’t space for me to have wants and needs.

He denies that he has any mental health issues and refuses to receive help, I have been successful at getting him to go to a therapist, but that is sporadic, and it does not seem to be helping him as I suspect he is not being truthful in his sessions. He still has panic attacks every day, and talks about killing himself.


I thought I could go on supporting both of us because I love him so much. I didn’t realise that it was taking a real toll on my own mental health until after we got married, and he has said he wants a family.

I had a miscarriage, and I ended up having to take care of him -it was a really really hard time because I needed him to be supportive of me and he just couldn’t.

He wants me to try again but I don’t think I can take care of him and a child. 
I love him so much, and I just want him to be okay, but I feel like I’m drowning with him. 


Wow, I just joined this forum and reading this is like everything that is going on in my head and with my partner. 

I am in my 30s and she is 40. We do have a kid that she carried. This depression is harder to deal with when trying to make sure my kid is not effected. I feel like I am taking care of 2 kids sometimes. I strongly recommend not having a kid whilst partner is still in the throws of depression. I also tried to have our second child and have had 3 miscarriages and I have not had one bit of support from my partner. I had to support her through her grief and depression rather than mine, and she was expecting me to be up and cleaning the kitchen and things the same day I had the surgery to remove the contents. And I would think you only need to have that argument about it not being helpful or supportive once, but no every single time. We are taking a break from baby making with me. I don't think we will have a second child, it just adds so much more stress to her depression. I think I am starting to come to a realisation that its not fair I don't get to do things that I want to because she can't handle it. I also have a I don't want to leave her because she can't help it sometimes and I also don't really want my child to be without 2 parents. Irving22- drowning is just a good descriptive word for how I am feeling to, I couldn't put my finger on the feeling, but that is exactly it. These health problems have been with us since the start of the relationship about 9 years and now I wish sometimes I could go back to my younger self when it was the start and stop it all. But I can't and there is lots of love and care there.