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Guilt and reconciliation

Community Member

I have been told that my chronic depression and anxiety has made me act entirely selfish in relationships or my behavior is construed as selfish. And that I blame my illness for my shortcomings.

I never did anything destructive or severe although Im often on the receiving end of verbal abuse in the instances that come to mind.

Selfishness as being dependant upon someone financially. As well as being emotionally neglectful and introverted with my partner. I go into a survival mode either out of habit or to attain respite.

This has got me questioning my own ethics. I had feedback from one such ex and I had a breakdown as a result accompanied by overwhelming guilt and selfloathing. Im not a narcissist nor do I wish to inflict any injustice on others but I fear that I might be what I detest.

4 Replies 4

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi M, welcome

Im very intetested in this topic.

Mental illness adide for a moment, I had a step son once, a teenager and I noted his dependence on his mother from 14yo to 19yo. His attitude was that he was not and never would be- respinsible to earn his keep, to pay his way through life...after all his mum would fo that.

Obviously I and his mum worked on that to achieve a good outcome.

So generally the philosophy is that everyone on earth should contribute towards the expense of living. However often there are common goals that form an agreement like stay at home mums and dads. Also earning level is not or should not be the issue as some earn more than others. Some are more vlever and educated, have inherited a business etc.

With having a mental illness it throws a spanner into that theory. Its an injury others cant see. If you had an amputated leg they'd be more, much more tolerant.

So, we sleep more, dont feel motivated, moody. We need patience. But the carer or friends and family are working hard to make the income and have to work even harder if the ill arent earning a wage. This puts financial pressure on the household. So they get frustrated.

So how best to assist you to approach this?

Please find below a few threads to read. Use google

Topic: who cares for the carer? - beyondblue

Topic: the balance of your life- beyondblue

Topic: the timing of motivation- beyondblue

Topic; the definition of abuse- beyondblue

Good luck, post anytime

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi there,

I have both had an emotionally abusive partner and lifelong depression - so hopefully I can help.

It's hard to know from your post the extent of your relationships and what has happened, and the dynamics - so I'll give general advice.

If you suspect a partner was verbally or emotionally abusive, it's worth talking about their behaviour to a counsellor. Sometimes I would even write down conversations or what happened, and my psychologist would help me identify what was not appropriate, and some things did end up constituting emotional abuse. This way, the next time you (or I) go into a relationship - we know what a healthy relationship should be and set standards by which we can be treated.

I would also recommend spending some time alone to work on yourself and managing your mood disorder and get yourself in the best place possible, which is what I did, by seeing a psychologist and exploring medication options - both significantly helped. There was mention of financial independence - so perhaps seeking treatment so that you can work, if you're not currently working, or find a way you can be productive, like volunteering. When I was trialling medications I was knocked about so much I couldn't work - but now I work four days a week with a goal of getting to five day weeks! So it's possible.

Next, think about what and how you contribute to relationships, and ways you can improve. And what the other person needs from you. This will change with every relationship you are in and is also an area that my psychologist helped me with.

But from the sounds of your conversations, it sounds like you had some partners who were very cruel in their delivery of criticism and perhaps even unfair on you. Try not to dwell on the past or those haunting thoughts of what they said. You have a future and you can work towards creating it in the way you want - and there are people to support you with both identifying how to have a great relationships and improving the way you manage and live with your condition. Good luck !!!! I've come out the other side of an abusive relationship and leaving him was the best decision I ever made - and I'm scared for my next relationship, but feel safer now knowing I am treating myself kindly and managing my mental health as best I can. And hopefully a future partner will support me too 🙂

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Mephistopheles

Welcome to the forum. Glad you been able to post here. As Tony has remarked it's an interesting subject, but more than that it's a topic that worries many people who have a mental illness.

Can I ask you first if you are receiving any professional help and/or taking medication. I would think you need to be talking regularly with a psychologist or psychiatrist about this. I checked to see the difference between chronic and major depression. It seems that chronic depression is not as severe as major depression although the symptoms of both are similar. It can manifest itself as stress, irritability and and not being able to gain pleasure from activities. Does that sit well with you?

Depression sends us off in all sorts of directions including the more disastrous paths. It's a fine line to walk between recognising your illness can fool you into acts or comments you would otherwise not take and which horrify you afterwards, and deliberately hurting others and laying the blame on your illness. There is no one size fits all so we all need to learn how we act and react to others and compare that to socially acceptable norms.

It is also common to believe we are undeserving people unworthy of the love and affection of others. None of these thoughts are entirely true. We take our place on a continuum of behaviour and thoughts and we are invariably different in some way to other people. It's not a judgement call it's an acknowledge of our respective differences.

For the person with depression it means we are more likely to veer towards low self esteem and need more support than those who are more confident. It's not good or bad, it just is. To put it into another context, are you a good athlete? Can you paint masterpieces or paint anything? If you are at the top of these activities that's great, but no one looks down on those who cannot win races. Does that help?

Being financially dependent on someone because you cannot work does not make you lazy or using your illness as an excuse. What you can do for example is to grow your own vegetables and contribute to the household in that way. Whether you like gardening is not the point. It's an example of how you can contribute. Perhaps you can think of other ways such as doing household chores. I understand how depression leaves us feeling like a jellyfish, no ability to move under your own steam. But if you put your effort into activities like this it will also aid your recovery. What a bonus.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

HI Mephistophele,

When we have anxiety/depression I don't believe we are selfish in our relationships we simply do not have the ability to give much when we are struggling with MI because it consumes us.

I have also been on the receiving end of verbal abuse and yes we do become introverted because it is like being hammered into a hole which is hard to climb out of.

People who dish out verbal abuse do have us questioning ourselves and our behaviour, they are masters of manipulation. The person who verbally abused me did so when i questioned his actions or motives. Instead of giving me straight, honest answers he verbally abused me and twisted things so that i was the one in the wrong. It is part of their mind games.

Don't let them convince you that you are something you are not by using your MI against you.

Are you receiving counselling for your anxiety/depression or have you seen your dr?

Wishing you the best.