Let’s get one thing straight: Mental health conditions do NOT cause abuse. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders says absolutely nothing about mental illness being the sole reason as to why one might be abusive in a relationship. Yes, mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. are all contributing factors as to why one might portray abusive behavior, but mental illnesses tend to impact all aspects of a person’s life, not just their personal/intimate relationships.
Abusers are manipulative and relatively “fake” people. They know how to put on a mask in front of their friends, family, and classmates, but when it is just them and the victim, the mask comes off all together.
They are a completely different person, and it often leaves the victim confused and scared because the person who was just smiling with their family is now coming down on them with what seems like no heart. When this is happening, and the abuser knows they have the power to deny any speculations against them because they have done the abuse in private, they feel as if they’ve won. They then will try and make the victim feel as if they are the reason for the abuse, or that no one would believe them anyways if they chose to speak on it.
It is so easy to excuse abusive behavior by believing the abuse is all a product of mental illness, but think about it.
Do they lash out at their coworkers or their friends? Do they hit their parents or siblings when something doesn’t go their way? If mental illness was really the reason behind them throwing or breaking your things, or even just yelling at you, they would be doing it anywhere and anytime they got upset- Not just behind closed doors with you. That is called domestic violence. Not love. Not mental illness. Not a bad temper.
I am not saying by any means that mental illnesses and abusive relationships cannot collide, because they most certainly can.
I am saying to take the time to acknowledge their behavior aside from being with you. I am saying to talk to others and listen to how they speak about your partner. Even if someone does have a mental illness, it does NOT make any form of abuse acceptable. Seeking out the right help to deal with it and coming to agreements together as to how you will deal with certain situations as a couple is extremely important.
Abuse is a choice. It’s another way of them telling themselves that they are in control. Being in a healthy relationship is important, and not letting someone blindside you with the excuse that they are “sick” or that they “love” you are just as important.