If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions and are wondering if your relationship is unhealthy, it is also important to figure out whether or not it is abusive. Not all unhealthy relationships are abusive, an example of an unhealthy relationship is if one partner is cheating or if there is a lack of trust and communication. Sometimes when one is in an unhealthy relationship you have to decided if you and your partner can fix the problems or if it would be better for the two of you to not be together. With an abusive relationship its a little more complicated.
Once you have concluded you are in an abusive relationship there are some important steps to take:
1. Be able to name the abuse, if its physical, emotional, and/or sexual,
It is true that people can experience sexual abuse in a relationship. If you don't want to have sex or want to do anything sexual at the time, your partner should respect that and not force you to do what they want. If you say no or communicate that you do not want to do something, that means no.
2. You must ask yourself what would happen if you left the relationship?
Make sure you have a safety plan, because often times abuse can escalate or get even more scary when people try to leave.
3. Get support!
It can be challenging, especially since a lot of people feel isolated and some even feel to embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. But its important to seek support and is one of the best forms of self care and protection you can get for yourself. You deserve to have support and to feel safe.
4. Know your rights! In Washington state you can petition for an Order for Protection at the age of 16, if you are under the age of 16 you must have a parent/ family member petition for the Order for Protection.
There is also a list of what rights you have in other states just check out https://www.breakthecycle.org/state-law-report-cards
If you are in an abusive relationship or are worried one of your friends might be in an abusive relationship and want to talk to someone about this, Teen Link is a great resource. It is anonymous, confidential and non-judgmental. Everyone answering the phone or the online chat is also a teenager, which is nice. It is open every night from 6-10pm. The number is 1-866-833-6546 or 866TeenLink. If you want to learn more about it or want to chat, the website is www.866teenlink.org.