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Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Quick Involvement
The relationship is moving faster than you are comfortable with.

Controlling
Your partner can “sweet talk” you into doing things that you are not comfortable doing.

Jealousy/Possessiveness
Your partner checks up on you, makes unfounded accusations and often questions you about where you were and who you were with.

Cruel to Animals
Sometimes, abusive people take out their anger and frustrations on innocent animals.

Uses Force
Your partner holds you down, pushes, shoves, slaps, kicks, and/or hits you.

Compare your relationship with the following statements by answering true or false.

  • Actions speak louder than words. In my relationship, promises are made and kept.
  • In my relationship, we are patient with each other. We are always getting to know each other better.
  • Both my partner and I have friends outside of our relationship with whom we keep in touch.
  • I never have to worry about being physically or sexually harmed in my relationship.
  • I can be myself. My partner does not tell me how to dress or where I can go.

  • In my relationship, we do not dwell on past mistakes. We learn from them and move on.
  • My relationship is not free of problems, but we have the ability to work them out in a healthy way.
  • In my relationship we are open and honest and allow space for each other to grow.
  • In my relationship we disagree, but disagreements never turn abusive.

If you answered true to all the statements, congratulations! Your relationship is healthy. If you answered false to any of the statements, your relationship is showing unhealthy signs.

To be available to help someone else, it is very important that you take care of yourself. Make sure you have your own support system, talk with someone you trust and nurture your physical and mental health. Victims need support in many ways. You can help by following these important and sometimes difficult tips:

  • Be there to listen
  • Believe them
  • Allow them to make their own decisions and choices
  • Support their decisions and choices even if you would not do the same thing
  • Keep conversations private and confidential
  • Call them just to talk or to make sure they are safe
  • Create a code word/phrase so that you can ask if they are safe without anyone knowing what you’re really asking. (Example: If you ask, “Did I leave my red sweater at your house?” and the answer is no that means, “I need help/police.”)
  • Offer to assist with childcare, transportation, housekeeping, cooking, etc. (when help is needed)
  • If your home is a safe place, allow them to keep important documents/items there (money, birth certificates, evidence of abuse, etc.) so that they do not get damaged/taken

  • Keep important phone numbers handy (shelters, police, crisis lines, etc.)
  • Avoid being judgmental or critical of choices and decisions they make
  • Provide an unused cell phone so that they can call 911 for help if needed
  • Emphasize how much you care about them
  • Encourage them
  • Educate yourself about family violence
  • Ask an advocate for a reading list or go to timetospeakup.org for more information. Resist the abuser’s attempts to “blame the victim” or justify the violence
  • Encourage the abuser to take responsibility and seek help for their abusive behavior

These tools may help create an environment that allows victims to feel secure, stable and confident in their decisions and in themselves.