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I'm really exhausted psychologically and emotionally. I think I'm setting a deadline in my head for things to get better, or I'll have to leave.

Community Member

Sometimes I think I'm codependent. How do we tell the line between caring/supporting codependence, absorbing their emotions, and letting it totally affect us? I'd really like to hear others' thoughts on that.

So I'm here I suppose for a venting sesh. My partner is on a waitlist to see a psychiatrist early next year for an assessment to see whether he has ADHD. All signs indicate that he does. I am praying that we can afford that appointment when it comes, which is really iffy, and that we can then also get medication - and, that the medication makes serious improvements. Because... I'm so tired. I'm so over this.

I love him. I do not blame him. He did not ask to be this way. But I also did not sign up for this. I think that if the medication doesn't work out, and if he then doesn't actively try in therapy, I might have to leave for my own sake. The emotional rollercoaster, his inability to self-soothe, just everything... It sometimes feels like there's not enough oxygen in this relationship for me. It feels like our relationship has become one where I anticipate and manage and react to his moods, and he feels guilty and hates himself for it but nothing ever changes. Every day since the pandemic last year that kicked this into another level, I feel like I wake up and my day depends on his mood. Will I get to get some work done, maybe think about myself for a few hours, get some housework done? Depends if he has an emotional outburst or not and tells me he hates himself and wishes he had the guts to end his life. It's at least 3 out of 7 days a week lately. I can't do it. I'll wait to see if the medication helps but if it doesn't I'm going to have to leave. How I'll do that knowing he'll be suicidal, I have no idea. But I can't give up my life to sit next to him on the floor.

9 Replies 9

Hi Violet12,

Welcome to the BB community and thank you for reaching out tonight. We hope you have find the support you are looking for here. We are so sorry to hear that you are feeling so exhausted and are considering leaving your partner, this must be such a difficult time for you. It sounds like there is a lot going on right now, so please know that you never have to go through this alone, and support is always here for you.

If you would like to talk to someone we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

It might also be worth having a look into an organisation called Relationships Australia (1300 364 277). They provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities and aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships.

Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.

Community Member

Hi Violet12, I want to acknowledge your compassion for your partner and for yourself. I hear you. You so deserve a loving life.

I'm learning I need to keep myself centred and cared for first. That's my responsibility. I have to provide a safe and loving home for myself and my children. I'm in a situation where my husband is going through a new heightened episode now, and that safe and loving home environment is threatened. How do I support his healing if he is being emotionally abusive to my son who is also struggling? I feel my responsibility to my son, my other children and myself come first. Is that wrong?

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Violet

You definitely sound exhausted and so incredibly frustrated. I feel for you so much as you've tried so hard to make a difference to your partner. You're such a beautiful person.

With you having mentioned absorbing other people's feelings, I can't help but wonder whether you're a highly sensitive person in the way of being able to feel other people's feelings. What I mean by that is can you feel someone else's excitement, stress, sadness etc like it's your own? If so, this can definitely present as a major challenge. Being able to pick which feelings are your partners and which are yours can be helpful.

If you're someone who consciously tries to get a feel for how others are feeling, this is actually exercising your ability to feel. You can kind of exercise/strengthen it so well to the point where you're feeling everything and don't fully realise to what degree. It's kind of like if basically feeling others feelings is basically natural, feeling on a super heightened level could be described as super natural. If you have this ability to feel so intensely, the question comes down to how to switch it off at times or at least turn the volume down on it.

Emotional detachment in favour of pure analysis is a challenge but, when achieved, can prove highly effective at times. Could go a little something like

  1. What feelings am I sensing?
  2. Is what I'm sensing my feelings or his? Is this my anxiety/hyperactivity or his?
  3. What can I feel it doing to me? For a start, it may have changed your breathing pattern without you perhaps realising
  4. How am I going to calm it down, out of me? You might find you naturally begin to create long slow breaths out. Imagining each long out breath as venting that anxiety/hyperactivity, this can also take you out of overthinking. It's impossible to give 100% focus to consciously breathing and think at the same time. Strange but true
  5. While imagining you're now calmer, you might then lead your partner to try the same thing. He would 1st need to be open minded to the possibility of it working. He might actually come to find a different breathing pattern works better for him. If you feel calm and then suddenly light headed a little, it's time to stop 'venting'/breathing out so intensely

Taking time out from feeling so much from others is so very important, as things can get exhausting. Feeling this much is a physical experience, impacting your nervous system for a start. How to manage feeling your thoughts is also a challenge.

Community Member

Hey Herbie1. Thank you for acknowledging me, it felt needed... I actually had to read it a few times to help it sink in. From what you've shared, I can imagine you understand the feeling of not having your feelings acknowledged. It sounds like you are juggling a lot of conflicting feelings, including that of your husband and children. I wish I had more answers for both of us, but what I do know is that it isn't wrong for you to put yourself first, and to put your children 1st before your husband. If it feels right to you it is right.

Hi therising.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I have heard about highly sensitive people, and have often thought I might be one because of what you've described. I might look more into that. I definitely do find that it's unconscious sometimes, and others' moods come directly into my awareness without my having a chance to consider it first, and next thing I know my body is tense, my mind is scattered, my breathing is shallow, and my own mood feels sad or anxious. Other times I find myself reading his body language to determine what mood he's in. It's become so clear, that I can tell from his face, posture, the tone of his voice, certain body-checking behaviours he does like rubbing his chest, and then more obvious things like him staring into the distance or getting angry out of nowhere. I do not want to be receptive to all of this. It's too much of a burden.

I really like your suggestions, thank you. I haven't tried asking myself what feelings are mine and what aren't, I will definitely be doing that. I do breathing often to try to get grounded, and it does help. My partner is completely unreceptive to suggestions, he won't do breathing with me and doesn't think that mindfulness or breathing techniques are useful. He hasn't responded to any suggestions and so I've honestly stopped making them. It's too much effort that I don't have.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Violet

It's definitely tough when you can sense what would make a difference to someone but they refuse to open their mind to the possibility. My husband fits into this category and it does my head in sometimes. When he proclaims 'It's just a part of getting old', him feeling tired or achy, what comes to mind sometimes is 'Just tell him he's right and that he should continue getting old'. On occasion, this is exactly what I do. I think it's easier for him to 'get old' than it is for him to put the effort into generating more energy and stretching out the kinks.

Sounds like you can read your partner incredibly well. Can you read what he does consciously and what he does subconsciously? For example, is he conscious of rubbing his chest. If not, maybe it's a natural form of self soothing he's not aware of, something he could expand on.

There are times where I'll say to my husband 'How's not doing what I've suggested working for you?' He'll typically roll his eyes and then continue on with getting old 🙂 I think we can only do so much before reaching the conclusion 'Nothing I say is going to change my partner's mind'. Have actually had my daughter say to me 'Mum, you're sending yourself insane putting so much effort into a man who just doesn't want to change. Focus on yourself instead'. My kids are natural born sages.

So, what kind of effort do you want to put into yourself Violet? How do you want to evolve?

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Violet,

As stated by Sophie_M, if you need immediate assistance I would reach out to the following support networks. There are many kind people in our Australian Communities who can give you professional advice. Understand you are worthy, strong and brave for reaching out;

If you would like to talk to someone we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

It might also be worth having a look into an organisation called Relationships Australia (1300 364 277). They provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities and aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships.

You are on your own journey and we are all here to guide you positively. If you feel and know what your best decision is going to be, go with it and trust it. Reaching out can be so beneficial whether you stay or leave your husband. Just know you are worthy and are capable of anything you set your mind to.

Wishing you all the best, keep safe. Thank-you for sharing.


Hey therising,

Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

To answer your first question, I can't really determine what me partner does consciously or subconsciously, but chest rubbing could be self-soothing, I hadn't considered that. I think I've become accustomed to feeling stressed and apprehensive when I see him doing things like that, because historically it's meant panic attacks or meltdowns that have taken over the whole day. But if I think about it, a lot of the time he'll do it and nothing will come of it, so I could probably stand to let go of that apprehension.

Lol, I've said the same to my partner, jokingly, 'you know I'm usually right, right?'. And sometimes he'll do something on his own and then tell me how beneficial it was, like going for a walk or getting out of the house or just talking. And I'm like, 'told ya so!' but ultimately, he won't do anything because I tell him to, he will only do things on his own terms. Me fighting that is useless, and your daughter's words are very on this point and very wise.

To answer your other questions... What effort I want to put into myself, and how I want to evolve? I want to get better with my boundaries, so that I'm not fooled into thinking I can change his behaviour. He's shown me over years that that'll never be the case, and I've shown myself that whole time that it only makes me resentful and tired. So.. I want to start letting go of control, and allowing him to live his life, even if I don't agree with it and even if he doesn't like how it is- that's more likely to motivate him to change than I ever will with words.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Violet

Letting go of control or letting go of helping someone manage construcively is definitely a tough one, especially when you can see where things are heading.

When my husband says he's 'just getting old', he's actually only 55. So, you could say he's getting old before his time and I can see where this is heading. Him not doing much to help himself is actually speeding up the aging process. Add to this how he's looking forward to us 'growing old together', I've said to him before 'Oh no, you're not taking me with you. I actually plan on us growing young together and if you're not on the same page that could be a problem' 🙂 If there's one major thing my past history in depression has taught me it's...I never want to reach a point in my life again where I can feel myself slowly dying. My goal is to come to life more and more with each passing year. Of course, this comes with challenges in the way we reform who we are.

It's not that we want to let our partners suffer or that we want to desert them in times of need so the question becomes 'How to remain a positive influence in their life?' While I've largely let go of trying to lead my husband to find the best in himself (I can clearly see it in him), I can't completely let go of leading him to become more conscious. When it comes to his behaviour, I may simply say 'Can you see where this is going/heading? Why do you want to go there?' Often, his response is 'I don't know', to which I respond with 'It's your job to find out'. At this point he shuts the conversation down. 'Can you see where this is heading?' is actually a valid question I've come to use in my own life. I feel like a little kid having a minor tantrum, in some cases. I can also resemble a somewhat insane person having a internal 2 way conversation that can sound a little like

  • Can you see where this is going (a particular behaviour or habit)?
  • Yes, I know. I have to change but I don't want to
  • You know what will happen if you don't change
  • I know, I know! But it's hard. I hate change, it's such hard work
  • Make it gradual and try not to be too hard on yourself in the process
  • Fine! I'll change!!!

And then you do change, gradually, and it leads you to where you are today. Of course, this is an over simplified dialogue of what it takes to change. There's so much more to it than this but it's a start.

I think one of the most challenging aspects of a relationship involves you working incredibly hard to evolve and your partner refusing to.