Love

Stop Being Such An “Eeyore” And Your Partner May Grow Closer To You

Photo: MD Duran | Unsplash
Unenthusiastic woman

Many people want to be completely authentic with their partners, which they assume would make them feel closer and more genuinely connected within their relationship. This is usually an idealized and inaccurate vision, especially if you have a depressive or negative worldview, like Eeyore, the depressive character in Winnie The Pooh.

   

   

In this case, if you are open and honest about your every thought with your partner, you risk bombarding them with an endless stream of negative, anxious, and cynical thoughts. This will run counter to your purposes and will erode your connection over time.

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A negative worldview generally comes from growing up in a negative home and/or having a depressed or anxious parent.

Often, it is so deeply ingrained in you that you don’t realize you are even being negative until your spouse or kids point it out. Note that most people who are high functioning are more positive when they are outside of the home, with friends, or at work, so the only people who fully witness the negativity are the people who live in your home.

If you have a negative worldview, your spouse may have said things like, “You are so negative all the time,” “Why can’t you ever be happy?” or “You’re always focusing on the negative with me/the kids.” This last one is key to discuss; most negative people are very critical as well, without intending to be so.

They usually spent a fair amount of their childhoods being criticized or hearing others be criticized, so it is their default stance. Another one that they hear a lot is, “You’re always so hard on yourself.” The negative person is usually not immune from their critical observations, which may be why they don’t consider themselves particularly critical towards others. Everyone faces the same impossible standards.

Stop Being Such An “Eeyore” And Your Partner May Grow Closer To YouPhoto: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

If you believe that it is disingenuous to hide your feelings when they are negative, try reframing it. Do you think it is healthy to vent to your kids and think this ensures they know the “real you”? No, you try and shield them from the brunt of your negative feelings, hopefully. This is exactly what you need to do with your spouse.

Remember, a healthy marriage represents you and your partner acting as your peer, your parent, and your child at different times. When you are continually sulky, cynical, critical, and self-loathing, you are taking up much more of your share of being treated as the coddled, petted child. Your spouse is the one who is tasked with being your sounding board and comforting you. When do they get to be the focus of your positive words of comfort and love? This is classic codependency and not healthy for anyone. Oversharing of feelings is real.

RELATED: 10 Negative Thought Patterns That Ruin Perfectly Good Relationships

Certainly, I have a lot of empathy for the depressive partner.

Nobody gets up in the morning trying to be negative. It is not this person’s goal for the day to suck the air and energy out of the room by being a black cloud. However, if you have received feedback that you are difficult and negative, try and listen to it objectively. Your spouse may be desperate and may be feeling increasingly hopeless about piercing through your negativity and being close to you again. This would be a risk factor for the marriage overall.

The first step to changing this dynamic is to get a therapist who can assess whether you are depressed and who then, whether you meet the criteria for the diagnosis or not, can help you figure out other ways to communicate at home that do not feel so aversive to your spouse. When you have a space that is specifically designed to help you discuss and work through your emotions, your spouse will no longer have to play armchair therapist or, worse, emotional punching bag.

Your therapist can help you explore and practice other ways to communicate that don’t push your listener away unintentionally, and they can also help you be the best partner you can be and start giving your spouse some of the emotional caretaking that they may need, but that they are not getting when you are always so irritated, distant, or otherwise consumed with negative thoughts.

Stop Being Such An “Eeyore” And Your Partner May Grow Closer To YouPhoto: Daniel Suhre / Shutterstock

RELATED: 14 Things To Do Right Now If Your Spouse Is Depressed — Don't Wait

By the way, if you have a depressed spouse, it is often the woman because rates of depression are higher in women. 

If you’re told you’re negative, there’s a high chance you’re depressed and don’t know it, and if you’re not, you are almost certainly dealing with the aftermath of growing up in a depressed home, which also requires therapy.

If this post spoke to you, share it with your spouse and discuss it. Nobody deserves to be so unhappy as the negative partner, and nobody deserves to walk on eggshells like the partner on the receiving end

RELATED: The 7 Most Important Things To Know When You Love Someone With Depression

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.