With “wedding season” upon us and “cuffing season” in the air, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we [as a community] need a quick refresher on what a healthy relationship/functional love looks like. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in a Summer Romance or stuck in the Honeymoon Stage, that we sometimes disregard the signs or red flags that something is not quite right.
Regardless of your place in life, there are some pretty clear indications of what happy and healthy relationships consists of that pretty much cuts across the board (gender identity, sexual orientation, class status, etc.).Even within the non-conventional relationships like those witnessed on reality TV shows these days, that may be pretty familiar to us when we think of our own families, friends or communities, we may see stories play out in front of us that has us giving our loves ones mini-interventions on what should definitely not be happening to them.
From Yandy and Mendecees’ turbulent relationship during and after his incarceration leading up to their wedding, to the various affairs revealed through the characters lives of Love & Hip Hop (everywhere) and even the recent news accounts of basketball stars Brittany Garner and Glory Johnson’s violent altercation that led to their arrest just weeks before they walked down the aisle together, there are so many examples of “questionable, if not dysfunctional love” in the media that we tend to forget that no one is immune to the experiencing unhealthy relationships.
So here are 5 clues to help determine whether what you’re witnessing or experiencing are unhealthy relationships: Note: This information has been collected overtime by various social service organizations addressing domestic violence. See direct sources below.
1) VERBAL ATTACKS
Does my partner put me down like by calling me crazy, stupid or blames me for everything that goes wrong?
Does my partner lie to me, cheats on me or blatantly disregards hurting me?
3) TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU
Does my partner take advantage of me like taking my/our money, making important decisions without me or making me do all the work/chores/childcare/outside jobs?
4) FEAR TACTICS
Does my partner try to scare me by threatening to hurt me or their self? Or by making me do things I don’t want to do? What about yelling at me?
Does my partner keep me away from other people by not letting me see my friends and family or uses manipulation to place proverbial locks on me?
“Caught up in the rapture of love” as Anita Baker describes can be a delectable experience; however, it will quickly turn bittersweet if any of these things are taking place because these are each signs of a controlling and abusive relationships. Visible scars and bruises are not the only forms of dysfunctional love, but a saddening of one’s spirit, drops in self esteem or anything that makes someone feel bad are clues that your time with that person has come to an end and you must leave to save yourself. Bad love is not love at all.
LaTierra Piphus is a media literacy advocate and social justice activist working with a number of worthy causes. You can follow her at @revolushunaryax.