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How do I get my girlfriend to understand?

Community Member

My girlfriend has a learning disability.

She knows I am on several medications for anxiety/depression.

There have been situations in the past where she has made a negative comment to me that had made me feel uncomfortable. For example, I admit to her that I had made a silly mistake and her response was to call me a 'goose' in a matter of a joke. I told her that I did not appreciate the comment and I need support, rather then negative comments.

She lives with her mum and told me her mum is going away for the weekend in a couple of weeks and invited me over to her place that weekend. I sometimes work sundays but currently don't have my roster for that weekend. So I told her that I'm unsure if i'm working that sunday but once I get my roster I will you know. Her response was 'well don't sound too excited' in a sarcastic manner. Maybe she didn't like the tone of my voice. This made me feel sad and upset as I'm having difficulty getting excited about anything in my life at the moment. I had told her previously that I don't need any negative comments from anyone no matter if they mean it or not.

I don't know how to get her to understand and support my mental illness.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hi Zoostar,

As your girlfriend has a learning impairment, helping her to understand your anxiety and depression will be more difficult. You could try talking to her Mum about it, as she may have some strategies to help her daughter understand certain situations or concepts. The sarcasm and silly comments are understandably frustrating. It sounds as though she doesn't swear or use outright offensive language though, which is a positive.
You could print out some simple information on anxiety and depression that she is more likely to understand. Try looking through the youth beyondblue site at https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/ for user-friendly info and real-life stories.

I hope your girlfriend is able to eventually understand your illnesses on some level.

Best wishes,


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Zoostar84, SM has provided you with some very useful advice and steps to help communicate your needs to your girlfriend.

From my experiences, l didn't understand about depression until l researched it and sat down with my depressed husband and asked him questions about his feelings, triggers, etc. We sometimes make assumptions about what our loved ones know or don't, but it might be useful to educate your girlfriend about your needs and not leave it when she hurts your feelings. Knowledge is so important to get the support you need, and compassion in those difficult periods of your life.

Choose a time you both are relaxed which could be at home or somewhere else quiet without distractions, and have the conversation with her. Can l suggest you inform her that the conversation is not being had because she is insensitive etc, just in case she takes it personally, and that is not the intent of the conversation. I had several conversations with my husband to understand the complexity of his mental illness. One session just wasn't enough. Even though l initiated the discussion as his carer and wife, it would have been just as welcome if he did so.

I hope l have helped in some small way. Please let us know how things go.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hi Zoostar, at the moment I don't have much to say after what SM and Carmela have said to you which was again very good, but perhaps if I could just ask you about her 'learning disability' as the range for this is quite extensive, but all which certainly deprive her of her ability to understand between a negative comment compared to a positive comment, and this also includes the reason why she suddenly turns a grateful, loving comment into something which you don't want her to say.
There is always a fine line when we talk about love and it's varies in so many relationships and what people want, so this is important for the both of you to understand, but it won't happen until you know what it is, and this is where we can try and help you, because you don't want to be hurt by her comments, but if we know more about her disability then we could pin point the reason, so then try and make you understand this.
I say this because she has asked you to spend the w/end at her mum's house, so there must be love in the air here. Geoff.

Community Member

Thankyou for your reply SM.

I found a link which I thought would be helpful that gave examples and what the person should say to someone with my mental illness. I text my girlfriend the link and she rang me to apologise for the comments she made and would try to say the right things. We had a bit of a chat and I gave her situations where I thought her comments were negative towards me. I also explained that the last thing I need in my life is to be put down. I don't need to be made fun of, even if people do it in a jokingly way.

She hung up and text me 2 minutes later with a message that read along the lines that she felt hurt and can only be herself and can't change who she is.

I feel like I am waisting my time!

I'm yet to speak to her mum about this situation

Community Member

thankyou for your reply Geoff.

My girlfriend has difficulty spelling and would most likely have difficulty understanding words with 4 or more syllables. I still don't think she quite understands how her comments can be seen in a negative manner. Even after telling her that the comments she made were hurtful towards me she doesn't fully understand. I think if she believes her jokes and sarcasm aren't hurtful..then they aren't.