Written by Allison Perry. Media by Rachel Koehnemann.
A healthy relationship is built on trust, respect, communication, compromise, and love. Answer these questions if you are missing some of those characteristics in your relationship:
Do you find yourself in an argument with your partner every day?
Does your partner restrict you from doing certain things or visiting friends and family?
Does your partner threaten you in any way?
Does your partner make simple promises and fail to keep them?
Does your partner objectify you or use you? Does your partner fail to ask for consent?
Does your partner blame you for his or her wrong doings?
Does your partner physically harm you? Does your partner make you fear for your life?
If you said yes to any of these questions, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship. These are all signs that your relationship is dangerous and toxic. It’s important to recognize the signs and understand that a normal, healthy relationship does not consist of the qualities listed above. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, remove yourself from it. Your partner is only hindering you from personal growth and potentially putting your life at risk.
Taking the first step to ending a toxic relationship is the most difficult, especially since their are so many modes of technological communication these days.
First, tell your partner you are leaving. Give your reasoning and walk away. Do not let them talk you out of it!
Next, block his/her number so they can’t contact you and delete their number. It’s important to block this person from all social media so you aren’t tempted to go back to that relationship. Delete all pictures and videos that person so you can look towards the future and avoid dwelling over the past.
Last, if you have mutual friends, it’s vitally important you do not ask them for updates on the person’s life once the relationship is over. Do not allow anyone to shame you for leaving. You are doing this for your well-being. The people who love you will understand what you need.
Work towards personal growth and mending your heart after ending a harmful relationship. Learn to love yourself again. Go for walks, eat delicious food, pick up a hobby, etc. Discover who YOU are and what YOU like to do. If you have pent up feelings, journal them and talk to a professional. Find someone you can trust and confide in that supports you. There are also many self-help books to help you deal with the trauma. These, and other books, could open your mind and enrich your life in a positive way. Some people even find that speaking publicly about their experiences helps other victims and themselves in the healing process.
Know that you are worthy of love and respect. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Both the visual and written content of this piece are powerful. Thank you to Allison and Rachel for making vivid a problem that I know is real and present to students on our campus.
As a former licensed counselor, I especially appreciate the advice that you provided for recovery because it is holistic and clinically sound. More than anything else those who have experienced toxic relationships need to surround themselves with loving friends and family who remind them of their value.
Personal counseling is available to GC students through Jubilee House (618.664.2360), an organization that is particularly well-suited to helping students with this issue.
Again thanks for offering hope and counsel through this!