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Their false but strong belief that they have accomplished nothing or that they have little to live for can leave you feeling helpless, and confused as to how to respond.These all-or-nothing, black-and-white thought patterns often illustrate depressed thinking.You can’t “fix” the depression any more than I can fix my partner’s Crohn’s disease.When you offer care in hopes of helping to treat (or fix) your partner’s illness, you will become frustrated.However, you can offer care in the form of support: Being empathic, sympathetic, compassionate, and accepting are all ways to be supportive of your partner without trying to change how they feel.This kind of care or help may be received more positively than the things you’ve tried in the past.You will never be able to cure your partner’s depression, so it doesn’t serve you to try to fix it or change it.
You can even learn how to get your needs met, even if you can’t imagine how someone who is depressed could meet your needs when they’re working so hard just to be OK themselves. In relationships, we must continually assess whether we should meet the needs of our partners, our own needs, or the needs of the relationship.
We put their needs first and forget about ourselves.
This is absolutely necessary and appropriate for a while.
Think about when it might be OK to put yourself first, and make conscious choices to promote more balance in your relationship. Learn how to support your partner in their suffering.
One relational need is to care for our partners and to feel good about that care.
This is more likely to foster closeness and connection because you’re no longer trying to change their minds.