What can an unhealthy relationship look like?
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.
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
Makes me feel bad about myself
Puts me down
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
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
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