When to Walk Away From Someone With Mental Illness

It takes a lot of tolerance, empathy, comprehension, and acceptance to love someone who suffers from a mental illness, and occasionally you will have to give more than you receive. However, occasionally the giver reaches their limit and is unable to provide any more. Then what?

When to Walk Away From Someone With Mental Illness
When to Walk Away From Someone With Mental Illness

You might always hear advice to never give up on a loved one who has a mental health illness, but what about you?  If you are experiencing this internal conflict right now, perhaps these indicators of when to leave a mentally ill person will help put things in perspective.

Relationships and Mental Illness

Loving someone who faces challenges related to mental health issues, be it a friend, spouse, parent, or wife, can be challenging.

It can be difficult to empathise with someone who is experiencing something unlike yourself, especially if you have never gone through a similar situation yourself.

Furthermore, early in a relationship, mental illness is frequently easy to hide. Sometimes, especially in a new relationship, the high-functioning person can temporarily control their symptoms.

Their date might not even be aware that they are dating someone with a mental illness, let alone know how it might impact the relationship in the future.

Unfortunately, the person whose spouse has a mental illness will suffer from financial, emotional, or physical abuse, particularly in romantic relationships.

This is not to argue that mental illness causes abuse in any way, but difficulties like abuse are more likely to arise in many situations, particularly when the person does not want to receive professional treatment.

While choosing to support someone through their difficulties and accept their mental illness is a sign of love, you also need to acknowledge that you are not to blame for the person’s condition.

In the end, only that individual has the power to decide whether they want to ask for assistance, learn effective symptom management techniques, and take responsibility for their actions. Knowing can help make it clearer when to leave a person who is mentally ill.

Giving Up On Someone With Mental Illness: When It’s Okay

When it comes to letting go of someone with a mental illness, the priority is safety. If there is any level of physical abuse, especially abuse that is severe enough to make you fear for your own life or the safety of your children, you should leave the situation as soon as possible.

That being said, there are circumstances in which leaving a person who suffers from a mental illness is acceptable.

Someone does not automatically have the right to all of your time, consideration, or care just because they are mentally ill.  Sadly, there are times when people will take advantage of others by exploiting their mental health conditions.

Relationships with mentally ill people frequently involve codependency and enabling, which can be detrimental to all parties.

The indications below indicate when to break off contact with someone who is mentally ill, whether you choose to do so permanently or just to distance yourself from them for a while.


They Abuse People Physically Mentally or Emotionally

Someone suffering from mental illness may find it challenging to handle a situation in a way that does not harm the other person. Abuse is more likely, particularly when the mentally ill person refuses to receive professional assistance.

It is also less likely that someone who is not receiving treatment from a mental health facility will recognise the harm they are causing to their loved ones and recognise their mistakes.

If the person is abusing you emotionally, mentally, or physically, it is acceptable to leave the situation, even if you love or care about them. Here are a few instances of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse:

Mental and Emotional Abuse:

  • Being unsatisfied despite your best efforts and greatest contributions
  • berating you for not finishing assignments the way they want you to
  • requiring that you spend all of your time with them
  • seeking specific dates and times from you as evidence when you talk about things that have upset you; if you are unable to provide this, they may treat the incident as if it never happened.
  • expecting you to sacrifice everything to attend to their needs.
  • expecting you to hold the same views as them; that is, that you are not allowed to hold differing views.
  • Making irrational requests
  • laying blame on you for any mishap
  • calling you names and utilising foul language in conversation
  • Making fun of your fears or attempting to make you feel inferior 
  • Withholding affection to punish you when they do not get their way
  • Your cries, complaints, and concerns are not enough to produce any apology or remorse from them

Physical Abuse:

  • choking, biting, kicking, slapping, punching, or pulling your hair
  • preventing you from consuming food or resting
  • When they are upset, they may throw things, punch walls, kick doors, and cause other property damage.
  • threatening to harm you or yourself with a weapon or harming you or yourself with a weapon
  • preventing you from leaving or imprisoning you in your house
  • keeping you from contacting the police or going to the doctor
  • denying hormone or prescription medication
  • damaging your kids
  • leaving you behind in strange places
  • When you are in the car with them, you should never drive carelessly or dangerously.
  • compelling you to consume alcohol or drugs (particularly if you have a history of substance abuse issues)

There is no justification for abuse, even though the person’s diagnosis might make it difficult for them to handle particular circumstances or result in certain symptoms that could fit into any of the previously mentioned categories.

It is safest for you and/or your children to be physically away from the abuser, even though you are not required to leave them permanently. You can safely assist them in locating the mental health care and resources they require to recover while you are away.

Regardless of the Risk They Do not Want to Seek Help

It makes sense to be upset when someone refuses to receive help for a mental illness that is impairing both their quality of life and your relationship.

Receiving treatment for anxiety or depression is essential for maintaining their well-being and relationships, particularly if their mental illness leads them to mistreat you, themselves, or others.

It is acceptable to take a step back if they have been abusive or hurtful to you and refuse to get mental health treatment to learn healthy coping mechanisms for their symptoms. Hopefully, they will see the value of professional support.

You Are Sorry for Them

If you are in a romantic relationship with someone who is mentally ill, you should not prolong it simply out of sympathy for them. Individuals with mental illnesses are not deserving of sympathy because they are perfectly capable of achieving extraordinary things despite their disorder.

Having sympathy for them may mean that you no longer see them as equals but rather as someone who is less strong and in need of help. This can gradually turn into codependent and enabling behaviour if you are not careful.

As an alternative, you could continue to be a friend to them and be forthright about how you feel. If you are worried about the impact on them, encourage them to attend family or couples therapy sessions with you to resolve issues.


It is Clear That You are Resentful

Living with someone who is mentally ill can be extremely challenging. Let’s face it. The person’s primary carer is frequently a loved one, which can put a lot of strain on them.

It usually happens that the person’s function as the person’s friend, parent, or spouse changes to that of a carer, devaluing other aspects of the relationship such as intimacy, love, and good times.

The person suffering from the mental illness might also become unduly reliant on their carer, which could lead to a relationship resembling that of a patient and a nurse rather than a marriage or friendship.

Being the carer for a loved one with a mental illness can often lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness. Unresolved feelings of this nature frequently result in a great deal of resentment.

Take a step back and consider other caregiving arrangements for them if you find yourself becoming resentful or viewing them as a burden. This will help you remember the true nature of your relationship.

Locating a Nearby Mental Health Facility

You must seek help right away if you or someone you love is experiencing mental health issues. To treat mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, and others, health facilities provide inpatient and outpatient programmes. 

Through evidence-based therapy, they have supported thousands of clients in their pursuit of long-term recovery.

Comments (1)

  1. I was recommended this website by my cousin I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble You are amazing Thanks

    January 31, 2024 at 5:29 am

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