What Does A Healthy Relationship Look Like?

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Why Do I Want To Talk About Relationships?

I want to talk about relationships because it’s important to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy. Why? Good question! I read an article in The Oregonian – For Better, For Worse today that was a reminder of how it’s the little things you don’t notice in a relationship that can lead to a violent unhealthy situation. This article spoke to me because I have been in an unhealthy relationship myself and I have witnessed others. Talking about it is the only way we are going to help one another.

It’s important to know if you are in a healthy relationship because of domestic violence. Domestic violence is an ugly and scary topic but we need to talk about it! If you can’t recognize that you are in an unhealthy relationship you could be a victim of domestic violence. If we talk about it maybe we can prevent a loved one, a coworker, or even yourself from being a victim of domestic violence. It’s really tough sometimes to recognize what is healthy and unhealthy which leads to accepting that a bad situation is not that bad or what you think is normal is NOT really normal.

What Does Domestic Violence Look Like?

I want everyone to know that it is NOT ok for someone to abuse you! Abuse comes in many forms and it can start off in a very small insignificant way that just seems normal or caring.

Examples

A boyfriend/girlfriend that texts or calls constantly when you are not with them. This person says they just want to say hi or that they love you & miss you so much that they need to see what you are doing or who you are with all the time. Excessive texts and/or calls are a way of keeping tabs on you and controlling what you are doing and that is abuse.

The husband/wife that has to approve all financial transactions before you make any purchases is another form of abuse. If one partner in the relationship has all the control of where the money is spent or you don’t have access to the bank accounts and have to go through them to access money that is abuse!

Another example is when you are isolated from friends and family. This is another way of one partner having power and control over another partner. You should be able to visit with friends and family when ever you want. You should be able to have relationships outside of your partner, this is a healthy and productive way of life!

No one should control every aspect of your life but you may not realize it is happening to you. A good resource for this is the Power & Control Wheel.

What Is An Unhealthy Relationship?

In order to know what a healthy relationship should look like you need to know what an unhealthy relationship looks like. So let start there!

Unhealthy Relationship

An unhealthy relationship can include emotional abuse, physical abuse, intimidation, isolation, minimizing, denying, blaming, using the children, financial abuse, male privilege, and coercion/threats. None of these are part of a healthy relationship. If your partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or spouse is behaving in any of these ways you need to get help. Below are examples of what each of these may look like:

Emotional Abuse

The abuser in the relationship will say things like this:

  • You are not important
  • No one loves you
  • You are nothing
  • Your opinion doesn’t matter
  • No one cares about you
  • The world would be better off without you
  • No one is going to believe you if you tell someone about the abuse

Physical Abuse

The abuser does the following:

  • Hits you
  • Punches you
  • Kicks you
  • Slams you into walls or floors
  • Holds you down
  • Sexually assaults you

Intimidation

The abuser will says things or do thing like this:

  • Smash things
  • Destroying your property
  • Threatens your pets
  • Threatens your family or friends

Isolation

The abuser wants control and will attempt to do the following to keep you away from others:

  • Tells you who you can see and who you can’t
  • Controls what you read or watch on television
  • Will only allow you to go certain places that they approve of
  • Uses jealousy as a justification of who you see, what you do, and when you do it

Minimizes, Denies, Blames

The abuser will never take responsibility for their actions and will make excuses, blame others including you, and act like the abuse is not happening. These actions will make it feel like it is your fault but it isn’t. You did not cause this person to hurt you, they are responsible for their actions not you, and remember you are responsible for your actions.

Using the Children

This is where an abuser makes you feel guilty about the children. Maybe it’s your fault you had children or they use the children by telling them what a bad person you are and it’s your fault they got mad and hit you. The list can go on and on and it’s unfortunate that the children are the middle of this.

Financial Abuse

The abuser has control if you are unable to have money. This could come in many forms and here are some examples:

  • Preventing you from getting a job
  • Giving you an allowance
  • Taking money away from you
  • Not having access to bank accounts

Male Privilege

The abuser may think that he is superior and women are subservient. He may do the following:

  • Act like the “King of the castle”
  • Treat you like a servant
  • Make all of the decisions
  • Define roles for women and men so you will act accordingly

Coercion & Threats

The abuser will threaten you and try to make you think you have no other choice by:

  • Threatening to leave
  • Threaten to kill themselves
  • Make you do things that are illegal

These are just a few examples of an unhealthy relationship. Think about your relationships and the relationships of others. Do any of these apply? If so please ask for help. You are in control of your destiny and there is always a way out. Here is the The National Domestic Violence Hotline website and you can also call 1-800-799-7233 24 hours a day someone is available to help.

Please talk about this important topic so that we all can learn and help one another so no one feels alone and helpless in their situation.

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