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"Because of what you do, I don't want to be alive any more" - Carers UK Forum

"Because of what you do, I don't want to be alive any more"

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi all,

"Because of what you do I don't want to be alive any more." This is what my partner has said to me a few times recently and I am finding this very hard. It normally relates to some area of care which has not been adequate, or I have been asked to do something with my partner's possessions and not done this as required.
Does anyone have any experience of anything like this? Being made responsible for someone else's mental health?
I don't feel I can take on that responsibility; on the other hand I feel I am not helping myself or my partner, I am not doing the best things, and also it is difficult to deal with.

Thanks very much,

That sounds an incredibly unkind thing to say. I know very little about mental health, but I'm sure that as a carer you are doing your very best, in apparently difficult circumstances. Sometimes it's easier for people to blame someone else for their own failings. I had a family member that never ever accepted her own responsibility for things which happened in her own life, always blaming a partner. Eventually, he just gave up. Maybe this would be a good time to have an updated needs assessment from Social Services, or counselling perhaps?
Hi Dragonfly

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. You sound like you are doing your very best. I may be reading this wrong (and apologies if I am) but it seems to me that your partner's behaviour is a form of emotional blackmail. It is outrageous to suggest that your caring actions affect her so drastically. I'm guessing that if you reduce your help she 'ups the ante' to pull you back in, and so the game continues. It is quite likely that she does not recognise what she is doing - it may be a behaviour she's seen in her family.

My mum can be quite manipulative to make me feel sorry for her - she puts on a mousey little voice and says things like 'I depend on you totally', and of course I am consumed by guilt. I don't blame her; it's just something she learned would produce results.

In a previous post you said you'd had therapy - I would urge you to get some form of counselling now.
Dragonfly, glad you saw my post to yours in the New to Forum section. If you read it again, I think you'll find the answer to your post now. As Starfish says, she's 'reeling you in' by any and all means - however despicable. And believe me, telling you it's 'your fault' that she doesn't want to be alive any more is most DEFINITELY despicable.

The dreadful thing about MH is that it turns decent human beings into immoral monsters. I guess it's because they are drowning themselves that they ruthlessly seize on anyone or anything around them, and that happens to be you......

Think about it - if anyone else said that to you: "Because of what you do, I don't want to be alive any more" you would instantly recognise it as an appalling and unforgiveable and despicable thing to say. But, because it's being said by someone who is 'helpless' and 'wounded' and 'in emotional pain' somehow that means we should 'excuse' it, should we?

Well, in so far as it is the 'output' of someone with mental illness, I guess it can be 'said' just as, say, someone with physical illness may, perhaps, hit someone when they are having a seizure. ie, the person having a seizure is flailing around, uncontrollably, and their flailing arm may happen to impact someone trying to help them. In mental illness, the equivalent is the kind of 'hitting out' that your partner is giving you with that appalling and utterly intolerable accusation. If someone with physical illness hit you during a seizure you would not see it as 'intentional', or that they were even aware they were doing it, and I would surmise that it is the same with someone with mental illness verbally 'hitting out' at you.

So, really, it's a question of totally and absolutely NOT taking it seriously. As in, the accusation is not only void and obviously untrue, but that it is essential you do not actually 'feel' the accusation.

However, that said, should your partner, even when mentally ill, be saying that to you? I'm not so sure they have a right to do so. It's a very, very, VERY difficult question, that of the interaction between mental illness and morality. How much moral right does someone have to hurt and humiliate and falsely accuse and emotionally blackmail another person, even when the accuser is mentally ill?

These are deep and difficult questions. I am not even sure of my own answer, let alone what 'the' answer is.

Personally, I suspect I would simply turn on such an accuser and tell them that they have absolutely no right to say such things, and that being mentally ill does not excuse such appalling behaviour. But, then again, is it really 'them' saying it, or is it the 'demon' (for want of a better analogy!) of their mental illness saying it?

One thing I do think, however, is that by tolerating that behaviour, you actually enable it. Pity and compassion and love can be exploited and perverted. Ask yourself whether letting her 'get away' with accusing you is helping her, or simply confirming her 'deranged' state of mind.

If your long term goal is for your partner to recover from her mental illness, then whatever it takes to accelerate that recovery is good, and whatever allows her to continue with it is not. Is tolerating her behaviour the former or the latter??? And how much effort 'should' (by moral standards) she be making to extricate herself from this malign mental state she is in? Do you think she's making any effort at all? If so, then that definitely earns her some extra compassion!

(I'm pondering this very question right now in respect of my SIL with GAD - Generalised Anxiety Disorder - which makes both her own life a misery - because she spends her life terrified of bad things happening to her and those she loves - and, grimly, simultaneously makes other lives a misery too because she is so 'self-obsessed' about her own pain. To what extend should we 'pander' to her, and to what extent should she exert her own effort to control her endless fears? I just don't know .....)