I thought relationships were supposed to make you happy! I feel so pressured and unsure of what to do. Do I say “yes” and hook up even though I feel like I’m just being used? I’m not saying that I’m being forced to have sex, but I know that she’s put some stuff on Facebook that I’m not man enough. It makes me feel like such a loser, but I know that I want more than just sex. She’s following me around now and wants to know where I am all the time, which feels weird.
Both partners feel safe, communicate and work out disagreements respectfully and can set and respect boundaries.
Partners feel awkward and embarrassed when sharing ideas and feelings; there is jealousy and disagreements turn into fights.
A partner is harmed in the relationship, feels unsafe to communicate feelings, boundaries or ideas because it could result in physical violence, forced sexual contact, threats, name-calling or other abuse. Abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial, social or spiritual. Neglect is also a form of abuse (Government of Alberta, 1995-2015).
The following characteristics indicate that a relationship may be healthy or unhealthy:
|Trust||Lack of trust|
|Healthy communication||Put downs|
|Clear boundaries||Obsessive behaviors|
|Shared power||No fun|
Relationships that are abusive may follow an abuse cycle that looks something like:
As the cycle repeats, the intensity and harm caused by each incident becomes increasingly serious. People may be concerned that someone they know is in an abusive relationship.
- Personality changes such as becoming withdrawn, depressed, angry, fearful or overly cheerful.
- Behavior changes such as stopping regular activities, excessive apologizing, neglecting hygiene, or making excuses for others.
- Physical marks or injuries, attempts to hide injuries or excuses for injuries.
- Admitting to abuse or subtle hints at abuse (Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network, n.d.).
- Asking if violence or abuse is part of their life – they may say yes or no, but the more times a person is asked, the more opportunities that person has to disclose when they are ready.
- Talking about your observations and saying that these are sometimes indicators of abuse.
- Giving them information about abuse support agencies such as CONNECT.
Once someone has disclosed that they are involved in an abusive relationship, they can either choose to leave or stay in the relationship. In either case, people can be supported in creating a safety plan and learning about support services in their community.
For more information about healthy relationships, see:
For more information about types of abusive relationships, click here
For more information about bullying, click here
To learn more about recognizing abuse in others, see: ConnectNetwork.ca
If you are supporting someone or are concerned about a relationship that is becoming abusive, click here
For more information about family violence, click here
For more information about strategies for safety when supporting those involved in domestic violence, see: StrategiesForSafety.pdf
Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network. (n.d.). Does someone you know need Connect? Retrieved from, http://connectnetwork.ca/does-someone-you-know-need-connect/
Government of Alberta. (2015). Alberta’s plan for promoting healthy relationships and preventing bullying. Retrieved from, http://humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/promoting-healthy-relationships-and-preventing-bullying.pdf
Government of Alberta. (1995-2015). Types of abuse. Retrieved from, http://humanservices.alberta.ca/abuse-bullying/15688.html