Is my girlfriend trying to control me?
Me and my partner are in a long distance relationship. I want to preface this by saying she is sweet and loving most of the time. However, we both have mental health issues, she has bipolar, I have clinical depression and depersonalization disorder, we both have anxiety issues as well, for extra measure.
When we got together we spent everyday together for about 4 months, some days were me and her friends. This lead to her being reliant on me always being around, but it made me more and more drained. I thought I could handle it because I love her, but now my mental health is starting to suffer as I spent all my time with her and none on myself.. Before we got together, I spent my days mostly alone and in private, I'm quite a solitary person and I value my time with myself as much as I do my time with her, that and admittedly, I miss my friends.
I feel I've neglected my friends for the last 4 months of our relationship, I've admitted and apologised to my friends, and they understand what new relationships are like and forgave me. However, I want to spend more time with them so I've set up a routine where I alternate spending days with her alone and then days with them (and her if she wishes to join us. She doesn't have huge batteries for social interaction)
However, my friends and I have planned for over a year (longer than I've been with her) that we will do a certain activity quite a lot for a period of time, roughly 2-4 weeks and then it'll be done on a twice weekly basis.
Despite the fact I have promised her we will still spend a lot of time together (Even on days I am with my friends I still call her in the morning when I wake up, in the evening before bed, and we're constantly texting all day), she gets upset with me because I want to be around my friends again and it feels like she will act/be depressed until I basically change everything in my life to suit her. It was difficult to get her to agree to letting me spend time with my friends, we spent an entire day talking about it, her crying and saying she "always needs me" and telling me to tell my friends she is suicidal so they will be okay with me only being around her.
Aside from this, she gets uncomfortable with me having female friends, which I understand as we both have been cheated on and both have trust issues. But I have told her time after time that these women are just my friends, I've known them so long they are like sisters to me. I constantly reassure her I only have eyes for her. She has made me unfollow people on twitter because of her discomfort, she got upset with me because I am excited to receive a food parcel I receive once a year at Christmas from someone I view as my big sister. I'm no longer allowed to make the jokes I used to make and I've had to change the way I talk to my friends in public (with her) and she's even told me I'm not allowed to talk that way in private (without her) She has multiple male friends, one of which is someone who used to want to be with her. (Though now he is in a relationship)
I don't know if this is my anxieties playing on me, but I feel as if she is going to keep being or acting depressed until I just spend every minute of every day with her alone, I feel like she's trying to change who I am, with how I talk to my friends and spend time with them and on my own. I feel like I am being guilt tripped or that she is attempting to control me, am I right?
Firstly, I want to say that I'm sorry you're currently going through this experience. It's not okay at all what your girlfriend is doing to you. I think it's a bit hard to grasp, because nobody wants to admit that they're being emotionally manipulated, to the point where it's even ab*sive, by the people that they love. I'm sure you still have love for her, but this isn't healthy at all.
Yes, I understand what it's like to have severe depression. You're constantly going through it, and it's scary. Because you feel alone, even when you're not alone. What can end up happening is, you become codependent upon others for happiness. You can't rely on yourself for it, and you're too upset to try to find others way to gain it. So, you end up relying on what's easier and most accessible to you: Humans.
However, this is not your responsibility. You are absolutely being emotionally manipulated, abused, and taken advantage of. I know that people may see behaviors like this and dismiss them, not take them seriously, etc. But it's because we have skewed visions of what we expect abuse or manipulation to look like. Sometimes it doesn't involve extreme violence, life or death situations, etc. It can involve emotionally isolating people, making them feel like shit for wanting to live their own lives, even though all healthy relationships require boundaries, your own space, and your own time.
For her to even say that you need to "always be around her", is a sign of codependency. You don't need to always be around anyone. And "love" is not ignoring your needs for the sake of someone else. That's called not having boundaries and being a people-pleaser, because you're too afraid to defend yourself and speak up for what you truly deserve. I'm here to tell you that it's okay to do so. It is possible to have a healthy relationship where you are allowed to have your own friends, and your partner trusts you. Where you can have that solitude and alone time again, and have a healthy balance between friendships and partnerships. She is not emotionally capable to be in any type of romantic relationship right now. You are not some object that just has to be around her 24/7, to the point where you're neglecting your own needs, emotions, and mental health. That's not love.
Love is when both parties are fully capable of expressing how they truly feel, while acknowledging boundaries, honesty, accountability, and holding space for the other person. Love is making sure that you don't overextend yourself, or burn yourself out for the sake of someone else's comfortability. How can you call it love when you're suffering in return? And she can't call it love either when she thinks love is isolating someone to the point where you can't even be yourself anymore.
There's nothing that you've done wrong towards her. It's all rooted in projections of her own insecurities, her own problems, what she's going through, etc. She's not able to fully trust you because she doesn't fully trust herself. She doesn't think she's good enough, so she doesn't trust that you think she's good enough either. And with depression, it exaggerates these emotions even more.
Nonetheless, I think it would be best if you guys broke up. I know it's easier said than done, but nothing good comes out of relationships like these. It's never going to get better, it's only going to get worse. Until she's able to take some time and set aside space for her to become better, it's easy for her to just rely on you for everything and you guys will enable your behavior because you feel bad. However, you can acknowledge someone's mental issues while also realizing and accepting that you don't need to tolerate that. You don't deserve this. Best of luck to you!