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Dealing with Partners family problem

Community Member


I'm SuperKA, I'm 26 and recently I became unemployed due to workplace bullying. For the past six/seven years, I've been with my partner. Currently we are in a complicated relationship as we broke up earlier this year, but slowly working through things together. In the time I have been with her, there had always been an issue with her mother and her sister. They have always been the most nastiest people I've met and I've sort've had to be on the outside witnessing them abuse my partner. Whilst, yes it's not my problem, it is still something I have to deal with and quite honestly it is mentally taxing. Her family are not really the type of people that are easily comfortable because they are set in theirs way. So whenever I am on the outside, hopelessly watching them abuse her or when she comes to me all upset. I've had no choice, but to either take it in my stride and bottle up how I feel or take out my anger on my partner which is not fair on her. I don't have family or friends that I can talk to as they all hate her. I've tried everything, I've moved her two times, both of them fell through, I've tried saving money to get our own place, but we always went through my savings paying for her medical bills and other issues (She has kidney failure). So she wasn't able to work for some time. A year ago, I've taken up Martial Art as a way to deal with my anger, but that can only do so much. I am at a lost as to how to deal with them. My partner has told me that she didn't need me to solve her problem, but to be there for her. Six/seven years down the track, listening to her talk about what they do to her it is torture. Whenever I am at her place, it is just them fighting non stop, whinging, if it is about her they will constantly whittle her down and in turn, just being there it feels like they are hurting me in the same spot every second. It has gotten to a point where I hate them so much. I don't know what to do, I can't tell her not to talk about because as a partner I feel like it is my duty to be there for her through everything. She wants me to go to her place all the time and almost every time I have to work through the anxiety to go over. So yeah, it is complicated

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear SuperKA,

Welcome to Beyond Blue and well done for reaching out.

I must say that you seem like a very supportive and empathic person, who has strong relatable feelings for others. And I guess that is why when she is hurting, you too are hurting right along with her. Being an empath is exhausting; I say this because I too can feel the pain of others, even when I am not at all going through what they are going through. Even just being an apparent 'observer' is so much harder than those who are less empathic realise.

I know this next bit may seem weird, but sometimes us women don't need to be 'fixed' as much as we need to be HEARD. And yet I also understand that it's a perfectly natural desire for men to want to fix things ..... because that is just the way that men and women are made. Men fix and women vent. And yeah, I know I'm being a bit 'general' here and perhaps a bit stereotypical, but hopefully you get what I mean?

Perhaps the next time she's venting to you, instead of trying to fix it for her, try using empathic words such as things like "Oh yeah, that would annoy me too" or "Yeah, that's awful" and then once she's said her piece, then if she has some female friends, you could recommend that a catch-up with a girlfriend or two could do her a world of good. And if she doesn't want to catch up with the girlfriends, then perhaps you could suggest putting some sort of a time-limit or 'boundary' around how long she can vent to you for. Say you give her 15 minutes to really vent and get it all out, and then explain that you would like to move onto another topic, or put on some music or a movie or something.

If you are honest with her about the anxiety that it gives you, and focus on yourself, and how her behavior and her family's behavior affects you, rather than stating what is 'wrong' with her family, that may be a more effective approach for her to realise that the situation is difficult, but the 'blame' will be somewhat removed from the conversation, yeah?

And remember, it's okay to say no. It's okay to tell her that 'today is not a good day for me' and that you just need some space for the moment. It doesn't mean you love her any less, it just means that you are looking after yourself a bit more. After all, you want to be the best 'you' that you can, in order to be the best 'you' you can be for her, yeah?

I'm running out of room now, so I hope that helps at least a little. Take care. I'll be thinking of you. xo

Thank you Soberlicious96,

I do try my best to let her vent and like you said as a typical male. I want to fix it, but sometime there isn't a magical fix especially with her being being chronically ill. It's hard, all I can feel rage building up inside of me everytime she vent. Everytime I watch her get belittled, thrown around like a rag doll, cursed and screamed at. I care about her immensely and absolutely despise watching her get hurt by her own family.

Today she wanted me to come over to help with house cleaning as her family had another inspection (5th time this year). Her sister had just returned from hospital, I could feel my anxiety rising at the thought of having to be there and put up with them. So I told her, I couldn't bring myself to come when I am literally on the edge of my seat. Said that I can't be there for her if I am not okay myself. Probably made her upset, but I had to take care of myself first