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When To Walk Away From Someone With Mental Illness?

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Brenda Galloway , ABMS

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When To Walk Away From Someone With Mental Illness

However, there are occasions when the giver reaches their limit and cannot show anymore. Then what? You may always be told to never give up on a loved one with a mental health problem, but what about you? The indicators below can help you understand when to distance yourself from someone with a mental illness if you’re going through this internal conflict right now.

For those affected by mental illness and their loved ones, dealing with it is complicated and challenging. Compassion, understanding, and patience are necessary while providing mental health support. But occasionally, taking a step back and putting your well-being first might be essential. This article will examine situations in which it could be wise to think about breaking away from a person with a mental illness, highlighting crucial indicators and offering advice on handling them.

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Identification of Unhealthy Dynamics

1) Observe abusive behavior patterns

It’s critical to put your safety first if the person with mental illness frequently engages in aggressive behavior, such as verbal or physical assault. No one should experience emotional or physical abuse in a relationship, regardless of the difficulties the other person is experiencing with their mental health.

2) Not getting treatment or seeking help

A unwillingness to admit their mental illness or seek appropriate therapy might impede their progress and damage your connection, even if it is not your obligation to coerce someone into treatment. Encouragement of professional assistance is crucial, but ultimately, it is up to the individual.

3) Your partnership is physically or mentally violent

Perhaps the person in your life often invades your personal space or becomes intensely envious if you spend time with someone else. You frequently feel like their emotional punching bag because their love continually looks conditional and unexpected. Additional indications of emotional abuse include:

  • A failure to accept accountability. They’ll most likely try to make you look bad.
  • Manipulation and making excuses. They resort to extreme measures like threatening to harm or kill themselves to get their way.
  • Threats to harm you physically. If you don’t comply, they indicate that you might suffer harm in the future.
  • You only remain because you are sympathetic towards them. 

Mutual trust, respect, and honesty are the foundation of all enduring partnerships. Keeping someone with you out of sympathy disrespects both of you, even if your intentions are sincere. Consider for a moment what you gain from your relationship with this person. Does it make you happy, or feel compelled to stick around? It could be time to depart if the latter is the case. Staying with someone out of sympathy serves to lower their feeling of self-worth. It is much more compassionate to give them room to live and exist without you in the picture.

When should you walk away from someone with mental illness?

Safety must come first when letting go of a person with a mental condition. If physical abuse happens, it is critical to leave as soon as possible, especially if it is severe enough to make you fear for your or your children’s lives. That being stated, it is sometimes acceptable to leave a person who has a mental disease.

Someone does not automatically have the right to your time, attention, or concern just because they are mentally ill. Unfortunately, there are times when people will take advantage of other people because of mental health issues. Relationships with sick mental persons frequently involve enabling and codependency, which can harm everyone involved.

Here are several indications that it’s time to distance yourself from someone with a mental illness, whether you choose to do so permanently or temporarily.

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They are abusive physically, mentally, or emotionally.

A person with a mental condition may find it challenging to control a situation without hurting the other party. The likelihood of abuse is higher, particularly when the mentally ill refuses professional assistance. It is also less likely that they will recognize their mistake and how their actions harm their loved ones if they do not seek help from a mental health facility.

No matter how much you care for or love the individual, it is acceptable to leave the situation if they abuse you emotionally, mentally, or physically. Following are some instances of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse:

1) Emotional & Mental Abuse

Not being satisfied despite your best efforts or the amount of effort you put forth

2) Criticizing you for failing to complete things in the manner they request

When addressing things that offend you, they will insist that you provide specific dates and times as proof (and if you cannot, they may disregard the incident as if it never occurred).

  • They anticipate you to put everything else aside to accommodate their requirements.
  • Expecting you to share their viewpoints (i.e., forbidding you from having a different view)
  • Putting up irrational demands
  • When anything goes wrong, people accuse you
  • Calling you names and using foul words when they speak to you
  • Making fun of your fears or trying to make you feel bad
  • Withholding love to get even when they don’t get their way
  • Your cries, protests, and worries are insufficient to elicit an apology or expression of regret from them.
  • Pulling your hair, striking, slapping, kicking, biting, or choking you are all examples of physical abuse.
  • You’re not allowed to eat or sleep.
  • When upset, they may damage your property (by throwing things, pounding walls, kicking doors, etc.).
  • Preventing you from calling the police or getting help; trapping you inside your home, or preventing you from leaving;
  • Withholding hormones or prescription drugs
  • Damaging your kids

There is no justification for abuse, even when the person’s diagnosis could make it harder for them to handle some situations or cause specific symptoms that could fit into any of the categories mentioned above. You are not required to leave the person permanently if this happens. You can securely assist them in finding the care and assistance they need for their mental health from a distance.

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Considering the Effects on Your Health

Chronic emotional fatigue: Supporting someone with a mental illness can be emotionally taxing.It can be essential to take a temporary step back or reevaluate the parameters of the relationship if you find yourself perpetually weary, experiencing burnout, and unable to prioritize your self-care.

Ignoring your needs: Your well-being is essential as well. It could be time to reexamine the situation if you frequently find yourself putting other people’s needs, wants, and personal development ahead of your own.

Set limits for your protection. Creating sensible borders When assisting someone with a mental illness, it is essential to establish clear and respectful limits. Make sure people understand and respect your boundaries. If these limits are consistently crossed or ignored, it might be time to leave to protect yourself.

It’s crucial to put your mental and emotional health first while interacting with mentally ill people.

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Consulting a professional

Having competent mental health advisors on hand: Ask advice from mental health experts if you’re wondering whether to leave someone with a mental illness. They can provide guidance, suggestions, and assistance that are catered to your particular needs.

Thinking about therapy: You can find a safe place to process your feelings, gain perspective, and consider your options in individual therapy or counseling. You can negotiate the challenges of providing mental illness support while preserving your mental health with the aid of a qualified therapist.

You don’t need to feel wrong about ending a toxic relationship. After completing a toxic relationship, it’s simple to feel guilty—plenty of individuals do! But it’s crucial to remember that this feeling of internal blame and shame is a defensive coping mechanism to cover up the relationship’s unpleasant scars. It’s okay to be depressed, but try to focus on strategies to encourage and develop good feelings of self-love rather than self-blame, such as:

  • relying on your network of friends and family for assistance
  • Regular self-care includes engaging in your favorite hobbies and physical activity.
  • making new ties and friends
  • talking to a counselor about your experiences

The Bottom Line

It is a great endeavor to support someone with a mental illness, but it’s crucial to recognize when the situation becomes unhealthy or harmful to your well-being. You can decide if leaving is essential by being aware of abusive behavior, evaluating the effect on your mental health, setting boundaries, getting help, and contacting professionals. Never forget that putting your personal needs first is not selfish; it is necessary for your development and pleasure.

How we reviewed this article

Trend Of Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy

Banyan Mental Health
Mental Illness & Relationship



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