When do you know that a relationship has become destructive or is unhealthy or even unsafe for you or your partner? What do you do about a friend who you worry is in a dangerous relationship? These are questions that are not easily answered because it isn’t as if there is a label stating “Danger – Stay Away” that allows you to easily identify destructive individuals.
In fact, many people are lured into what appears to be a perfect relationship by individuals who start out being very charming, attentive, and generous in their gift-giving and/or compliments. It is possible that you never see the “ugly” side of their control, power issues, and even abuse until you have already committed to the relationship. Even then, there could be several factors that make you stay including fear, embarrassment, feelings of love or attachment to the individual, poor self-image, and a desire to be in a relationship to name a few.
We want you to know that there is help. We can offer confidential, objective, guidance as you sort through your options. Some common misperceptions about relationships may be influencing you as well, and we can provide some answers where you perhaps feel there is no hope. Common myths about coercive, controlling, or verbally or physically abusive relationships include:
It is hard to experience fulfillment and happiness in a relationship that is not equal or respectful. Whether there is physical abuse or not, any relationship in which you lose your own identity, are manipulated or have to do anything uncomfortable or against your will, or your self-esteem is assaulted, is abusive and destructive.
If your friend or lover has no respect for you or your feelings, maybe it is time to recognize that the relationship is destructive to you and you can be happier. You do not need to keep living in fear or anger. If you do not know how to get out of a destructive relationship, or you have a friend you are worried about, please talk to those in your life that you can trust. Don’t shut your family and friends out. You can also contact the Counseling Center at 788-5015 for confidential, objective, and informed guidance. We can help you see what options are available to you.