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What is an Unhealthy Relationship?

          Unhealthy relationships often leave us feeling uncomfortable, sad and afraid. It’s hard to admit when someone isn’t treating us well or respectful, especially when that person is a lover.  This doesn't mean if someone treats you badly or you have a disagreement that the relationship is automatically unhealthy. Disagreements happen in healthy relationships all the time.  What makes a relationship healthy is being able to compromise when disagreements occur.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship include:
  • One partner needing to control the other
  • Focusing all your energy on your partner
  • Trying to change yourself or your partner to be what you want them to be
  • Dropping friends and family or activities you enjoy
  • Having one partner makes all the decisions
  • One partner yells, hits, or throws things at the other during arguments
  • Having more bad times in the relationship than good

What is Abuse?

Emotional ABUSE

  • Any behavior by one partner that decreases their partners' self-esteem and leaves them feeling out of control.

  • Emotionally abusive relationship typically involve both good and bad times.

  • Emotional abuse usually creeps into the relationship gradually.
Physical ABUSE
  • Physical force or violence that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment.

  • Includes assault, intentional touching or someone against their will, or inappropriate restraint.
Sexual ABUSE
  • Any form of non-consensual physical contact.
  • Includes rape, molestation, or any sexual conduct with a person who lacks the mental capacity to give consent.
Psychological ABUSE
  • Willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or non-verbal conduct.
What is Domestic Violence?
  • An escalating pattern of violence or intimidation by an intimate partner, which is used to gain power and control.
  • It can include other forms of mistreatment and cruelty such as constant threatening as well as psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, or verbal abuse.
  • Nearly 37% of female patients treated in the Emergency Room for a violent injury have been abused by an intimate partner.
  • Common side effects of domestic violence include: anxiety, depression, hypertension, headaches, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, chronic urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction.

          Staying in an unhealthy relationship will eventually ruin your self-esteem/self worth and the longer you stay the more damage it will do.  Ending an unhealthy relationship starts with admitting that the relationship is dysfunctional.  Once you’ve admitted it, talk to someone about how to leave the relationship.


Queen's Heath, Counselling and Disabilities Services

Queen's Heath, Counselling and Disabilities Services, Queen's University