Many people believe that mental illness in relationships causes abuse, but this is not the case. Mental illness is separate from abuse in intimate relationships, but that does not mean that they do not have any connections. The National Domestic Violence Hotline states that mental illness alone is not a cause of emotional abuse, but that symptoms of a mental illness may increase the risk of abusive patterns to show up in a close relationship. A person who is abusive will often act differently around friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. and this may cause the significant other to feel apprehensive about doing anything about the abusive behavior in fear that others will not believe them.

Dr. Steven Stosny, author who has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, “The Today Show”, “CBS Sunday Morning” and more, mentioned on Psychology Today the several ways in which a significant other can be emotionally abusive. Disengaging, stonewalling, name calling, shouting, criticizing and other demeaning behavior may cause the other person to “walk on eggshells” and try hard not to “push the other person’s buttons”. This way of living can easily cause a person to feel isolated, fearful, and a lost sense of self.

Conversely to a person with a mental illness having elevated risk factors towards abuse, having a mental illness could also be a part of the reason why a person may be tolerating it from their significant other. Amy Lewis Bear, psychotherapist and author of the book titled From Charm to Harm: The Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse, explained on Psychology Today that acting out of insecurity, low self-esteem, shame, shyness, un-comfortability, embarrassment, obedience, feelings of invisibility, and passivity all perpetuate abusive behavior in a partner. Individuals with a mental illness may feel particularly vulnerable, weak, sad, unexpressive, unsure of themselves, and exhausted which may place them at risk for being a victim of abuse.

The Mental Health Government site states that 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and people with a severe mental illness are 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. Mental illness, whether it occurs in the abusive partner or the non-abusive partner, should be treated so that abusive patterns of behavior can reside, and newer, healthier forms of communication and behavior can develop.

If you believe you may have a mental illness, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is a mental health and addiction recovery treatment center dedicated to your success in recovery. We believe in optimizing your holistic wellbeing, so we will work with you to construct a treatment plan that fits your needs and optimizes the restoration of your mind, body, and spirit. Call us for a consultation

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