We were discussing what healthy relationships have in our last post. Today let me take you a bit more forward in our study of the subject to what an unhealthy relationship looks like.
A relationship is unhealthy when it involves mean, disrespectful, controlling, or abusive behavior.
Some people live in homes with parents who fight a lot or abuse each other — emotionally, verbally, or physically. For some people who have grown up around this kind of behavior it can almost seem normal or OK. It’s not!
Many of us learn relational; behavior by watching and imitating the people close to us. So someone who has lived around violent or disrespectful behavior may not have learned how to treat others with kindness and respect. But qualities like kindness and respect are absolute requirements for a healthy relationship. Someone who doesn’t have these qualities may need to work on it with a trained councellor before he or she is ready for a relationship.
Let me add a word of caution here. Even though you might feel bad or feel for someone who’s been mistreated and is acting the way they are because of this background, you need to take care of yourself — it’s not healthy to stay in a relationship that involves abusive behavior of any kind.
Are there warning signs that we can look for?
Yes there are.When a person you are considering for a long term relationship uses verbal insults, mean language, nasty putdowns, gets physical by hitting or slapping, or tries to force you into sexual activity, it’s an important warning sign of the possibility of greater verbal, emotional, or physical abuse at a later stage.
Ask yourself, does your partner (man or woman,boy or girl)…
- Get angry when you don’t stop everything you are doing for him or her the moment they enter the scene?
- Put you down with their talk? (Criticize the way you look or dress, say you’ll never be able to find anyone else who would date you, etc?)
- Keep you from seeing friends or from talking to any other guys or girls?
- Want you to quit an activity, even though you love it?
- Ever raise a hand when angry, like he or she is about to hit you?
- Try to force you to go further sexually than you want to?
These aren’t the only questions you can ask yourself. If you can think of any way in which your partner is trying to control you, make you feel bad about yourself, isolate you from the rest of your world, or — this is a big one — harm you physically or sexually, then it’s time to get out, fast. Let a trusted friend or family member know what’s going on and make sure you’re safe.
It can be tempting to make excuses or misinterpret violence, possessiveness, or anger as an expression of love. But even if you know that the person hurting you, loves you, it is not healthy. No one deserves to be hit, shoved, or forced into anything he or she doesn’t want to do.
Why are some people so difficult to get along with? Here are some reasons to think about…
Ever heard about how it’s hard for someone to love you when you don’t love yourself? It’s a big relationship roadblock when one or both people struggle with self-esteem problems. Be happy in being uniquely yourself. Don’t evaluate yourself by what others say about you or do to you. Go only by God’s opinion of you! He valued you enough to send His son to die for you !
What if you feel that your partner demands too much from you? If the relationship feels like a burden or a drag instead of a joy, it might be time to think about whether it’s a healthy match for you.
Also, intense relationships can be hard for some youngsters. Some are so focused on their own developing feelings and responsibilities that they don’t have the emotional energy it takes to respond to someone else’s feelings and needs in a close relationship. Don’t worry if you’re just not ready yet. You will be, and you can take all the time you need.
Some relationships between youngsters don’t last very long. It’s no wonder — they’re still growing and changing every day, and it can be tough to put two people together whose identities are both still in the process of forming. You two might seem perfect for each other at first, but that can change. If you try to hold on to the relationship anyway, there’s a good chance it will turn sour. Better to part as friends than to stay in something that you’ve outgrown or that no longer feels right for one or both of you.
Relationships can be one of the best — and most challenging — parts of your world. They can be full of fun, romance, excitement, intense feelings, and occasional heartache, too.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, remember that it’s good to be choosy about whom you get close to. Take your time and get to know plenty of people.
Think about the qualities you value in a friendship and see how they match up with the ingredients of a healthy relationship. Work on developing those good qualities in yourself — they make you a lot more attractive to others.
And, if you’re already part of a relationship, make sure it brings out the best in both of you.
This has been written with young people in mind. But your questions, suggestions and comments are welcome. Please send feedback that can help us improve on the teaching to firstname.lastname@example.org
Older posts will give you more about relationships. Please read. Share the same with your friends too