Sometimes it is difficult to determine when the relationship goes from healthy to unhealthy. Sometimes unhealthy behaviours escalate over a period of time. Sometimes there are ‘red flags’ early in the relationship that are commonly missed or the abuse may start months or years into the relationship.
If you notice you aren’t spending as much time with your friends or family, you are lying or secretive about your relationship, you are sad, scared or feeling helpless, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.
Here are some tools to help you to determine if your relationship is healthy, unhealthy or abusive.
- A quick quiz to help you answer the question, ‘Is your relationship healthy?’
- ‘What is a Healthy Relationship?’ A Gov’t of Alberta document that presents the question in an easy-to-follow chart format.
- ‘Is Your Relationship Healthy?’ An online series of questions that will, once you’ve answered them, provide you with an answer to that question.
Things You Can Do
If you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, you can:
- Make sure you and your children are physically safe.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
- Make a safety plan. We have a Safety Plan page on this website.
- Know you are not responsible for the abuse. The abuse is the responsibility of the person who is abusive. Know that you did not cause the abuse even if your partner would like you to think so.
- Understand that the abuse and violence will likely continue without intervention. In fact, abuse and violence usually become more frequent and more severe over time. When you are thinking about your choices, be as realistic as you can be in determining what the risks are in your situation.
- Tell someone you trust about the abuse. Secrecy gives abuse more power. When you tell another person, you are already gaining some power to make the situation better. If the person you tell does not seem to take you seriously, find someone else to talk to. Do not give up.
- Find out more about abuse in relationships. You are not alone. Others have had this experience and lived through it. They were eventually able to create new and healthy lives for themselves. Once you start looking for sources of help, you will meet people who understand your situation.
- Get professional help from a qualified counsellor that understands abuse and violence in intimate relationships. If the first counsellor is not a good fit for you, try someone else. People who work in the area of family violence may be able to help you find an appropriate counsellor.
- Care for yourself. You are in a difficult situation. You need energy and strength to change it. Make time to do some things that make you feel good. Anything you do to uplift your body, emotions, mind or spirit will help you to get through this situation and create the life you want for yourself. Be kind to yourself, care for yourself and do things that uplift you so you have the energy to get past this situation.
- Spend time with healthy people. Even if they cannot help you directly, being with healthy people will remind you that most people are kind to one another and many people have healthy and rewarding relationships. You can too.
- Find out what help is available in or near your community. You do not have to do this alone. Many of these are listed on the resource section of this website.