So this is meant to be more of a prompt for a discussion than a request for advice pertaining to my own situation.
I've been in a long term relationship for several years now that I would describe as very unhealthy and frequently unhappy due to serious communication issues. I've posted in the group seeking advice before and gotten some wonderful, compassionate responses. When I describe my feelings about this situation, I almost always am told that it would be best to leave the relationship -- and I know this. But there is a powerful sense of fear that prevents me from doing this. There are a number of reasons I can see -- I live with my girlfriend, for one. The process of being broken-up with someone while living with them is obviously difficult, but I handled it very poorly. I felt afraid of seeing her, and was hiding and sleeping alone night after night in our unfinished basement, often crying, and wound up in the crisis centre of the local hospital on one occasion after coming dangerously close to an act of self-harm. There's a long sequence of events after that, but ultimately we got back together. So it is partly my fear of returning to that dark state that prevents me from standing up for myself and terminating the relationship.
I also dread the thought of my girlfriend being sad or feeling lonely, and feel responsible when I see that she is sad, and that binds me to her. And I fear losing her, I fear losing that sense of togetherness and being alone in the world again. So year after year I've stayed.
So I'm wondering if anyone else has experience on this -- a situation which you KNOW is unhealthy, which you know you technically have the power to remove yourself from, and yet you just can't seem to bring yourself to follow through? And what were the reasons that you felt left you in this weakened state?