At the core of healthy relationships you can feel safe, respected, and accepted for who you are. You feel equal to your friend or partner. This person enriches your life. They are mutually supportive and beneficial. A healthy relationship does not mean a perfect relationship, but it means that you are always respected and safe.
In unhealthy relationships you might feel anxious, confused, experience self-doubt, humiliation and in many cases fear. You notice that you’ve lost your sense of self, and your spark. You may feel controlled, like you’re going crazy or that there is something ‘wrong’ with you. You may have been physically harmed or threatened and fear the other person.
Abusive relationships can break you down over time and diminish your self-worth. Domestic violence is not limited to acts of physical harm. Emotional and physical abusers control and isolate you, while putting themselves in the position of building you back up again. The reason being, if you are made to feel ‘not good enough’ you may be more likely to stay in an unhealthy and abusive relationship.
Domestic abuse, also called “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence”, can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.”- un.org
Sometimes you may know you are in an unhealthy, toxic, or abusive relationship but don’t know how to get out. Other times, you might not even be aware your relationship is unhealthy and harmful to you.
Everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can recognize the unhealthy signs and work to shift to healthy behaviours, if possible. But for others, the issues may be too far gone. The first step of change is awareness, seeing what needs to be seen. There are many supports to help you better understand what is happening in your relationship and what you can do to improve the situation. There are also many supports if you decide to leave, safely.
If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your relationship, it’s important not to ignore them understand they can escalate to abuse. Trust your gut. OneLove.org has the following 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship:
As the author Charles Orlando once said:
You don’t let go of a bad relationship because you stop caring about them. You let go because you start caring about yourself.
And on that note, we’ve included a few resources below that may be helpful to you. We are here to help if you want to talk about what’s going on.
Women’s Centre of Montréal
Montréal (Québec), H2X 2N6
Phone: 514 842-4780
Welcome Hall Mission
606 De Courcelle Street
Montreal, QC H4C 3L5
Phone: 514 523-5288
Fax: 514 523-6456