10 Depression Symptoms & Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Making You Depressed
Depression can come from an imbalance of power. If you are feeling powerless in your relationship, 10 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Making You Depressed either in general or because of a particular problem, odds are high that depression will creep into your emotional state.
Depression can feel like you’re under a perpetual dark cloud. It also causes uncharacteristically negative thoughts about yourself, others, and your future. If you are feeling powerless, experiencing dark moods or noticing unusually negative thoughts, it might be time to check out the patterns of communication in your relationship.
Here are 10 relationship warning signs to note. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to combat each of these dangers—they’re not necessarily the kiss of death for a relationship. They do, however, warn you to take adequate safety measures. (Also, be aware that women and men are equally likely to experience depression in relationships.)
1. You feel dominated.
Depression can emerge when you feel smaller and less powerful than the person you’re interacting with. Not all power differences create depression, though. For instance, while a parent has most of the power in a healthy parent-child relationship, as long as the parent uses this power to nurture, all will be well. Similarly, employers have more power than employees. In love relationships between two adults, however, shared power is healthier.
2. You feel criticized.
Criticism like “You shouldn’t have bought that new sweater” is a put-down. Constructive feedback is a not problem, but criticism is. Feedback lets you know in a gentle way that something you have been doing is problematic, and it usually starts with an “I” statement: “I felt uncomfortable when I saw your new sweater because I’m worried about whether we’re going to have enough money to cover our bills this month.” By contrast, critical words and a judgmental tone of voice make criticism problematic.
3. Your partner tells you what to do.
Bossy attitudes are demoralizing. Even a benign order like “Go get the paper for me, honey” is likely to trigger either irritation or depression in the receiver. No one likes being told what to do. It’s better to ask. Requests allow for yes or no as an answer.
4. Your partner tries to control you.
Dictating what to do with your time, finances, friendship choices, or your family is likely to invite feelings of depression. Remember: depression can be a disorder of power. When your partner takes away your power to make personal decisions (or at least to contribute jointly to decisions) depression can be imminent.
5. Your partner is “always right.”
It’s fine for your loved one to be right, as long as they don’t require being right all the time. If your partner’s being right means that there’s no ability to admit mistakes, that’s a problem.
6. With your partner, it’s “my way or the highway.”
In a healthy relationship, both of your concerns need to count. That’s true whether you’re wondering what to eat for dinner or deciding where to live. If your voice doesn’t seem to matter, you’ll be at risk for feeling powerless.
7. Your partner is depressed.
Depression can be “contagious”. When someone is depressed, they tend to see the world—including you—through dark glasses. If you adopt your partner’s view, you’ll sink down emotionally, too.
8. Your partner is irritable.
Anger spreads toxic negative energy. This toxicity can induce depression in the person on the receiving end. Anger is disturbing to witness, even for onlookers.10 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Making You Depressed For direct recipients of anger, the toxicity is even more unpleasant.
9. Your partner is abusive.
Abuse can be expressed emotionally in a partner’s critical and controlling attitude, verbally with name-calling, or physically by pushing, throwing things, or hitting.10 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Making You Depressed All of these forms of abuse are incompatible with a loving relationship.
The impulse to hurt someone is the opposite of the impulse to love, nurture, and be intimate. Any form of putting you down can engender depression. Any form of appreciation adds to good feelings. It’s pretty simple.
10. Your partner doesn’t do their share.
A partner who takes an active role in the project of living and loving together is a joy to be with. Whether they scramble eggs for the two of you in the morning or scurry around with a quick clean-up before visitors arrive, helping is loving. By contrast, a partner who does not do their part is passively provocative. 10 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Making You Depressed The irritation or anger you will feel in response signals that you’re not getting a full adult partner.
So, if you don’t want to feel depressed because of your relationship (and who would?), pay attention to these signs. Discuss them with your partner, but do so carefully. Complaints and criticism might invite your partner to either feel depressed themselves or argue. Use your best tactful communication to agree on new rules for being together that replace darkness with sunshine for both of you.