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Respect vs disrespect

It can be hard to know if your relationship is unhealthy. Often there are mixed signals, and the signs may be hard to recognise. This is especially true if you’ve experienced unhealthy or abusive family relationships or friendships, in which certain behaviours and attitudes are accepted as normal.

In a healthy relationship you are respected and valued for who you are. You feel free and confident to share your thoughts and feelings. You are encouraged and supported to make your own choices. A healthy relationship is based on good communication, mutual respect, trust, honesty, and equality.

In an unhealthy relationship you are disrespected, your views devalued and ridiculed. You aren’t listened to. You’re forced to do things. You can be frightened. Above all else, you aren’t free to be yourself.

Below are some of the warning signs that you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

You also may find it helpful to take our relationship quiz here.


Feeling isolated/excluded

They get upset when I hang out with someone else

Stops me from going to work or studying

They say I can’t do better than them

They are pleasant around others, but this changes when we are alone

They turn my friends against me

Emotional abuse

Makes me feel bad about myself

Puts me down

Humiliates me

Blackmails me (e.g. threatens to tell my family or friends something private or tells me that they will kill themselves if I break up with them)


I need to ask for permission to do things

Takes or controls my money

Online abuse like checking my phone messages and e-mails and controlling my passwords

Regular phone calls/texts to ask where I am and who I’m with

Physical abuse

Feeling threatened or acts of violence (e.g. slaps or pushes you, smashes things, drives dangerously to scare you)

Makes you feel on edge, like you’re walking on eggshells

Often loses temper

Follows me or turns up unannounced

Makes me worried about what they might do to themselves

Sexual abuse

Gives me gifts expecting sexual favours in return

Asks me to send sexual images (sexting)

Shares private photos or videos of me

Pushes me into doing this I don’t like or want to do

Being blamed or gaslighted

Makes me feel so crazy, I don’t know what is true

Gives me excuses for bad behaviours

Says I’ve been with someone else

Tells me they are ashamed of me

I feel amazing, in control, a different person

Hands keeping me safe and comfortable. Helping me to find joy. Thank you so much for the last 14 months

I feel safer knowing BWA are supporting me

I thought domestic abuse happened to other people but I realise now that abuse can happen to anyone

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