Emotional instability in your partner can mean a lot of different things, but for many people, it means that you constantly feel on edge about what your significant other is thinking … or is going to do … or say. You feel responsible for their moods and actions—good or bad.
In fact, the problem you could be facing is codependency.
Codependency is a behavior pattern wherein you are acting responsible for another person’s emotions, feelings and behavior. This often involves enabling, wherein you allow your partner to be controlling or abusive. In essence, you hand over part of yourself to another, and in doing so, you perpetuate the abuse of the codependency. It’s not a good place to be in.
If you are unsure whether or not this is a situation you’ve found yourself in, good news: You can find out. All you need to do is look for these warning signs:
The Warning Signs of Codependency
- Everything Is Them, Not You
You feel like your whole life revolves around your partner, and you don’t share the focus of the relationship. You might have a bad day, but you don’t say a thing whereas when your partner has a bad day, it’s the topic of discussion for days and weeks.
- Hiding Your True Feelings
You feel conflicted about how your relationship is playing out, but you also feel that you can’t voice that opinion to your partner.
- You “Can’t Leave”
You’ve thought about leaving the relationship but feel guilty just at the thought. Instead, you sometimes stew about being stuck and forced to stay. You don’t realize you can leave any time, and any malice your partner may have about it is their problem, not yours.
- Lots of Stress
In general, you have a lot of stress and anxiety, which leaches into other parts of your life. For instance, you may feel that you are more stressed at work or with your friends and family members even though those areas of your life are pretty fine. Everything revolves around the relationship and tinges how you feel.
- Their Mood Dictates Your Mood
Again, when they are happy, you feel relaxed and thankful: This means you can be happy! But when they are sad, stressed, angry or frustrated … you match their mood.
- Pretend Happiness
You try to put on a bright and happy face even though inside you feel torn up.
- Aiming to Please
You have adopted an attitude of pleasing this person no matter the consequence—and the expense your happiness is often the consequence.
- No R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Your partner is not respectful toward you even though you respect their every whim and choice.
In general, you feel shameful about what’s going on inside your relationship. But you’re so caught up in it that you can’t detangle long enough to see that it’s not your fault. You are allowed to want to leave, but you can’t see that, so you just feel shame.
Do You Stay or Do You Go?
If you’ve noticed many or all of the warning signs of being in a relationship with an emotionally unstable partner, you have an important decision to make right now: Do you stay or do you go?
You know that if you stay … you still may need to enact some changes. And this will mean sitting down with your partner to have a serious talk about what you want out of your relationship. Just because your partner has some emotional issues to work out, that does not mean that you have to endure feeling scared, depressed or nervous in your own home and in your own relationship. Your life should revolve around you, and your relationship should be a part of that, but you should not be catering to every whim of your mate.
If you decide to leave the relationship, this will also be challenging … but in the long run, it can really be the step you need to feel good again. In this case, you’ll again need to have a sit down with your partner and break it off.
With someone who is seriously unstable, this is going to be tough because they likely won’t let you go easily. In fact, they will probably try to guilt you into staying. If that happens, have a plan. Perhaps you meet in a public place to break up and plan to meet a friend directly after. Make sure you have what you want to say firmly in your mind as well.
This is not to say that you are making an escape route, but people who are not stable emotionally can be manipulative, and if you have made the decision that you need to move on for your own sake, you have the right to do that, and that might mean putting into place some plans so that it’s easier for you. Let them down as gently as possible and start to move on when you feel comfortable.
All in all, every relationship is going to have its ups and downs. But if you are in a relationship with someone that is mostly down … that’s not right. It could be emotional instability and codependence.
You need a union that makes you feel whole and respected. And if that’s not the relationship you’re in right now, go find a new one.