When you fall in love, you think that your partner – and your relationship – is perfect, right? The idea that one of you could be emotionally unstable is the farthest thing from your mind. After all, being in love causes your brain to release all sorts of feel-good chemicals that make you feel like you’re on Cloud 9. In fact, when scanned, a person’s brain who is in love looks a lot like a person’s brain who is on cocaine. So, you really are feeling “high” when you’re in love!
However, as most of us know, that feeling of being in Heaven with your new love wears off after a while. Your brain eventually stops creating as many feel-good chemicals, and you slowly start returning back to normal.
In reality, this phase of love doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s just a fact of life.
While some people do go on to live happily ever after, others begin to realize that their supposedly “perfect partner” is not so perfect anymore. In fact, some even come to the realization that their partner is downright emotionally unstable.
Uh-oh. What do you do when that happens? It’s almost unbelievable – literally. How did this person turn into someone you hardly even recognize?
The problem is that you probably still love the person. And if that’s true, how do you deal with your emotionally unstable partner?
Before we discuss how to deal with them, let’s first start by talking about how to recognize the symptoms of an emotionally unstable individual.
Symptoms of Being Emotionally Unstable
All of us have our bad days and our mood swings – it’s just the nature of being human. But how do you know when someone has crossed over the line from having just normal, everyday emotions to being downright emotionally unstable? Here are some of the signs.
Everyone gets angry at times. It’s a normal and natural occurrence for every human being. However, how you express your anger is key to healthy relationships. So, if your partner seems to have outbursts of anger for no apparent reason (or over small things), then that is a sign.
Again, we all have things happen in our lives that we don’t like. But a lot of people just deal with it, try to change things, and move on with their lives. An unstable person, however, will turn their life into unending drama when they don’t need to.
Gaslighting is psychologically manipulating another person into questioning their own sanity. For example, if they told you they would do something, they will deny ever saying it when you bring it up. Then, you wonder if they really said it or if you just imagined it. But that is just one example.
It’s normal for people’s moods to change. No one can be happy 100% of the time, right? But for most, the change in mood is relatively minor. It’s usually dependent on something outside of themselves. But an unstable person could have extreme mood swings for no good reason
When most people get angry, it’s usually at someone who is close to them. That makes sense, because those are the people with whom we spend the most time. But if your partner frequently yells at a server in a restaurant or other random people, then that is not healthy.
Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels and to see things from their perspective – not just your own. Emotionally unstable people are generally unable to do this. They only see their own side of a situation.
Tries to “One up” You
They always seem to be in a power struggle with you. For example, if you had a bad day, they will tell you how theirs was worse. Or, if you are having an argument, they will always try to gain the power to “win” and make you lose.
Inability to Admit When They Are Wrong
Emotionally unstable people can’t admit when they are wrong. In fact, admitting they are wrong is a threat to their psychological well-being. It shakes the core of themselves and their self-identity. So, they will never admit “defeat,” even if they secretly know they are wrong.
Sense of Entitlement
They think they deserve everything, and nothing needs to be earned. For example, they demand that you do things for them because they think it’s their right to do so.
Dealing With Problems Irrationally
The best way to deal with problems in relationships is to have both people on the same team, and for them to come up with a mutual solution. However, emotionally unstable people are unable to do this because they only look at things emotionally, not logically.
The intensity with which they express their emotions is extreme. They don’t tend to be moderate in any of their interactions. This may generate a feeling of walking on eggshells around them because you are afraid of their intense communication.
Unstable people don’t ever look in the mirror and take personal responsibility for their actions. Instead, they always point fingers at other people and blame them for everything that is wrong in their lives.
How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner
Now that we know some of the signs and symptoms of an emotionally unstable person, here are some things you can do to deal with them.
1. Step Back and Observe
Ask yourself if you did anything wrong. Because they tend to gaslight other people (see above), emotionally unstable people have you question your actions and sanity. Be objective, and observe them and yourself. Did you really do anything wrong? Probably not.
2. Get Other People’s Perspectives
Tell your stories to trusted loved ones. Tell them what happens in your interactions, and get their opinion about whether or not your partner is overacting, or if you actually did something wrong. Someone on the outside will likely have a clearer view of what’s going on.
3. Don’t Play Into Their Drama
As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” In other words, someone can’t play a game by themselves. They need another person to participate. But don’t give into their drama. Refuse to engage in it and walk away
4. Walk Away When They Attack You
If and when they verbally, mentally, or emotionally attack you, just leave the conversation. Don’t allow them to do that to you! Demand that they talk to you nicely, and don’t accept anything less than that. If they can’t give you respect, then end the conversation until they can.
5. Demand Respect
Remind them that how they are speaking to you is unacceptable. One very important thing to remember is this: you teach people how to treat you. Demand that they treat you with respect.
6. Stay Calm
Don’t get sucked into their emotional storms. It’s easy to do because you want to defend yourself, but this just plays into their drama. Try to stay calm and rational because that’s the only way people can talk in a healthy manner.
7. Don’t Fall for Gaslighting
When they try to gaslight you, refuse to accept it. Take notes on things that they tell you and what they do, so you have a record. When they try to deny things to make you look crazy, pull out your record and show them the truth.
8. Suggest Therapy
Many times, an emotionally unstable person cannot get better on their own. Going to a trained therapist or psychologist is something that they should probably do – both on their own, and perhaps as a couple as well.
9. If All Else Fails, End the Relationship
Unfortunately, not all relationships can survive – even under the best of circumstances. If you have tried all you can to fix your relationship and make it healthy with someone who is emotionally unstable, sometimes it’s just time to end the relationship and find someone else that you are more compatible with