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Stubbornness and relationships

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

We read it often, a carer writes in about their desperate situation of their ill partners rejection of any medical assistance, a review of their already diagnosed illness or perhaps basic relationship counselling.

Let’s look at why. Why would anyone in a living together relationship risk any harmony of that relationship simply because they wont (in a nutshell) seek help? Let’s examine some reasons.

  • That meds aren’t working as expected

  • The meds have side effects

  • With men mainly, they don’t like doctors

  • They don’t like the way their partner “tells” them to visit their GP

  • They feel little obligation to their partner's wishes

  • They don't care (depressed?)

You can add to that. What I’m concerned about with many posters here is the lack of regard for the relationship by not seeking help. To put a relationship at risk is to gamble with it. To gamble with it is to say “I’m not seeking help and if she (he) leaves me well I’ll be alone and that isn’t so bad.

This is, IMO, a reflection of not so much stubbornness but a realisation that all people are a hurdle for the sufferer or rather no people, no obligations, is another answer. If this is true then the real problem isn’t solely based on the carer. i.e. there are other factors involved. This can give some comfort to the carer, to realise they aren’t the only reason for such an attitude. Anybody that is a carer of your ill partner might end up with the same challenges as- you! Take heart- it isn’t likely you that is the problem regardless of the blame you might get.

If your ill partner refuses to seek any help then I’m afraid the future isn’t rosy. Most carers will have a choice in the end as things deteriorate, stay and endure the symptoms or leave because arguing will not change their mind. We call it stubbornness but a better description might be- “no faith in treatment and a need to feel normal”. If that results in a marriage split then how strong is the marriage? Does it have to get to a split up before he/she seeks help? By that time the resentment from the carer is at an all time low, damage has been done. This logic often escapes the ill.

I have a friend with bipolar1. After 25 years of marriage he sort diagnosis and meds. I said to his wife “at least he finally got help” to which she replied “at what cost?”.

Ask your partner how far he/she is prepared to risk the relationship for you to endure the symptoms of mental illness? Are you aware of the effort needed to live with you unmedicated?

Tony WK

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