October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Although we assure ourselves we’ll never enter into a physically abusive relationship, we may find ourselves in an emotionally and verbally abusive one. And they can be just as damaging.
Sometimes we find ourselves in such a relationship but remain because we’re unclear of its damaging effects, it feels familiar, we don’t want to be single or because he insists he loves you. And he just may love you, in his own unhealthy way. Modern psychologists define love simply as a strong desire for emotional union with another person. And because of that desire, it can lead to you overlooking warning signs and enter into an unhealthy or dangerous union.
Here’s How to Recognize Healthy Love:
Healthy Love Fights Fair
This doesn’t mean you’ll never fight or he’ll never hurt your feelings. But the difference with healthy love is that he won’t attack you personally and he’ll never hit you. When you do fight or when he does hurt you, he’ll be apologetic and work to make amends. Unhealthy love looks at fights as an opportunity to attack, blame, coerce and reject you.
Healthy Love Is There Through the Hard Times
It’s so easy to love someone when things are going well. But when an obstacle strikes, that’s when relationships are truly tested. Healthy love works to resolve challenges together, doesn’t blame the other or disappear when the going gets tough. Unhealthy love seeks to have their partner fix the issue and rescue them.
There Is a Healthy Give and Take
A healthy love is evident when both partners desire to help the other without requiring anything in return. Sacrifices may have to be made but it will never be one-sided. Mutual trust is established and there’s never a doubt that your partner will have your back. Unhealthy love is selfish and incredibly one-sided. If you find yourself in such a relationship, you may feel drained and used and may go with having your needs unmet.
Healthy Love Doesn’t Try to Change You
When you’re in a healthy relationship, your partner has no desire to change you; he accepts your flaws. He may drive you to make improvements in some areas of your life, but overall, he’s looking to discover your interests, dreams and goals. In an unhealthy relationship, he wants you to become his image of an ideal partner. It may be your hair, clothing, hobbies, etc. and he’ll rarely support any interests of your own.
This is only a quick list but overall, healthy love should make you feel inspired and happy at the end of the day. Love should never cause physical or emotional pain. Verbal and emotional abuse can be just as destructive as physical abuse, yet more difficult to identity. As a matter of fact, verbal abuse can sometimes escalate into physical abuse.
If you have concerns about your relationship, call the advocates in the Day One network at 1.866.223.1111 any time of day, seven days a week.