How to Deal with a Depressed Loved One Pushing You Away



Depression, a complex mental health condition, can profoundly impact how individuals engage with those closest to them. In the context of interpersonal relationships, depression often manifests in behaviors that create distance and strain on connections.

This can be particularly challenging when a loved one grapples with depression and starts pushing away those who care about them.

These behaviors are not uncommon and can stem from the emotional turmoil and inner struggles that characterize depression.

Recognizing these patterns and understanding the dynamics at play can help individuals better navigate the complexities of supporting a depressed loved one.

Depression Therapists in Colorado

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

(719) 452-4374
Sarah Munk, LPC

Sarah Munk, LPC

(719) 345-2424
Kristen Yamaoka-Los, LPC

Kristen Yamaoka-Los, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Katie Bennett, LPCC, NCC

Katie Bennett, LPCC, NCC

(719) 345-2424
Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Clarissa Mendez, LSW

Clarissa Mendez, LSW

(720) 449-4121

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Communication Strategies

Approaching conversations with empathy and understanding.

Initiating conversations with a depressed loved one requires approaching them with empathy and understanding as a top priority.

For example, instead of immediately offering solutions or advice, listening actively to their concerns and validating their emotions can create a safe space for them to open up.

Using phrases like, "I can see that you're going through a tough time, and I'm here for you," can convey your understanding and willingness to provide a listening ear.

Empathetic responses like these can help build trust and strengthen the bond between you and your loved one, fostering a sense of connection and emotional safety in the relationship.

  • Initiating conversations with empathy and understanding is a priority.
  • Using empathetic phrases to convey understanding and support.
  • Empathetic responses.
  • Fostering connection and emotional safety.

Encouraging open dialogue while respecting boundaries.

One way to achieve this is by gently expressing your willingness to listen whenever they feel ready to talk, without applying pressure or forcing discussions.

Showing genuine interest in their feelings and creating a non-judgmental environment signals that the conversation can unfold at their pace, honoring their comfort levels and emotional needs.

For instance, imagine a scenario where a friend confides in you about their struggles with depression.

You could respond by validating their experiences and offering to chat whenever they feel up to it, ensuring they know you are there to support them, but also leaving space for them to set the tone of the conversation.

This approach demonstrates your commitment to encouraging dialogue while being mindful of their boundaries, ultimately building trust and strengthening your relationship.

  • Creating a safe space for conversations to unfold naturally.
  • Showing genuine interest and a non-judgmental attitude.
  • Being available for chats at their pace, respecting boundaries.
  • Encouraging dialogue while allowing them to set the tone.

Offering Support and Encouragement.

Providing emotional support without judgment entails actively listening to their concerns, offering a compassionate ear, and validating their experiences without trying to fix or minimize their feelings.

This approach helps create a safe space for them to express themselves openly and feel understood, fostering trust and connection in the relationship.

Additionally, offering practical help and reassurance shows your tangible support for their well-being.

This could involve assisting with daily tasks, accompanying them to appointments, or simply checking in regularly to see how they are coping.

Your willingness to offer personalized practical assistance tailored to their needs demonstrates your presence for them emotionally and practically, solidifying your dedication to their well-being and comfort.

  • Actively listening, offering a compassionate ear, and validating experiences.
  • Creating a safe space for expression and understanding.
  • Assisting with daily tasks, accompanying to appointments, checking in regularly.
  • Demonstrating presence emotionally and practically.

Acknowledging that you cannot "fix" your loved one's depression.

It's essential to come to terms with the fact that you can't "fix" your loved one's depression.

This realization may bring about a sense of helplessness, but understanding that you are not responsible for their condition is crucial.

Instead of aiming to solve their struggles, focus on being a supportive presence by actively listening and offering comfort without the expectation of providing a quick remedy.

Recognizing the boundaries of what you can do does not diminish your role in their life; it simply reframes it.

Your presence, empathy, and willingness to listen hold immense value in supporting someone dealing with depression.

  • Accept the inability to "fix" a loved one's depression.
  • Understanding not responsible for their condition.
  • Acknowledging boundaries.
  • Presence, empathy, and listening.

Managing expectations and seeking support for yourself.

When managing expectations while supporting a loved one with depression, it's crucial to understand the boundaries of your role.

If your loved one is struggling with daily tasks due to their condition, you may want to assist them in finding professional help or resources rather than attempting to take on all responsibilities yourself.

By setting realistic expectations for what you can provide, such as emotional support and encouragement, you create a healthier dynamic that avoids burnout and fosters a more sustainable support system.

Seeking support for yourself is equally important when supporting someone through depression.

Consider a scenario where you find it challenging to cope with the emotional toll of witnessing your loved one's struggles.

In this situation, reaching out to a therapist, counselor, or support group can help you process your feelings, gain valuable insights, and learn effective coping strategies.

  • Understanding boundaries.
  • Assisting in finding professional help or resources.
  • Setting realistic expectations for providing emotional support and encouragement.
  • Seeking support for yourself to cope with the emotional toll.
  • Reaching out to a therapist, counselor, or support group to process feelings and learn coping strategies.

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Complete this questionnaire to discover service providers that match your requirements! No need to provide contact information.

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Effectively supporting a loved one who is pushing you away due to depression requires a delicate balance of empathy, understanding, and self-care.

Acknowledging the boundaries of your role and prioritizing offering a supportive presence instead of attempting to "fix" their struggles can create a safe space for open communication and trust to flourish.

Encouraging your loved one to seek help from trained professionals can provide them with customized interventions, coping strategies, and a supportive environment to effectively address their mental health challenges.

For top-notch mental health support, look to Overcomers Counseling.

Our team offers personalized guidance, valuable resources, and compassionate care to assist individuals in facing the hurdles of depression with strength and resilience.


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July 14th, 2024

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