Unhealthy Relationships

I originally posted some of this on Tumblr, but I think it’s important enough to repeat here.

In high school–even in middle school/junior high–a lot of people are starting to think about relationships. Going on dates, having a boyfriend or girlfriend, finding that one person who completely gets you and who maybe should be an ongoing part of your life.

Sometimes, that words out well. One of my high school classmates posted on Facebook over the weekend that it was the 30th anniversary of the day he asked out the girl who is now his wife. (For those who like math…I’m 45, so you can figure out how old I, and therefore my classmate, were 30 years ago.) Sometimes, middle school and high school relationships don’t last that long, but you still have fun, have positive experiences, and learn a few things along the way.

And sometimes relationships aren’t quite so healthy.

If you’re in a relationship with someone who says you aren’t allowed to talk to certain people, or who holds you responsible for the behavior of other people in your life and for whether that behavior is “upsetting”…If you’re in a relationship with someone who holds you responsible for *their* behavior and mental health…If you’re in a relationship with someone who insists on seeing or hearing every conversation you have with others, or who tries to stop you from having conversations with anyone except him/her/them… If you’re in a relationship with someone who constantly threatens to leave you if you don’t do exactly what they say…

Think carefully. You don’t deserve to be controlled and manipulated. You deserve to be loved and accepted. To be treated kindly. To be happy. To feel safe AT ALL TIMES with the person you’re in a relationship with

Jealousy, control, manipulation, threats…those aren’t love. Those are toxic at best, abuse at worst. And if there is any physical violence, it’s abuse. Full stop.

It isn’t your job to make someone “better” when you’re in a relationship with them, or to “fix” them from hurt or trauma in the past. It’s your job to protect YOURSELF. That might mean listening to people who try to warn you about red flags in your relationship, even if you don’t like what you hear. It might mean keeping friends and supportive people in your life even if the one you’re in a relationship with tells you not to. It might mean breaking up with the person and being alone for a while. But YOU matter.

If you’re in a relationship that feels unsafe and/or unhealthy for you, please get out. Get help. Talk to a friend, a family member, a guidance counselor, whomever. Visit a website or call a hotline such as LoveIsRespect.org. Take care of yourself. Please.