Love shouldn’t hurt-ever

Need a U-turn?
by Teresia Smith

Have you ever been on a trip using GPS and you miss a turn? The GPS voice starts out warning you to make a U-turn so you can get on the right track, but if you keep going without a U-turn, soon it will find an alternate route. Has life ever made you feel like you missed a turn somewhere? Maybe the journey isn’t what you thought it’d be and you feel like you need an alternate route. When you find yourself involved in an unhealthy relationship, listening to your inner voice and taking a different route can possibly save your life.
The first step is to identify an unhealthy relationship. Here are some signs:
•Control: one person makes most of the decisions and often tries to isolate the other person from their friends and family
•Dependence: one person says they can’t live without the other and at times will threaten to hurt themselves if the relationship ends
•Digital monitoring: one person uses social media to keep tabs on the other person and may demand quick responses to messages or texts and even use tracking software
•Dishonesty: one person lies to, steals from, or keeps information from the other
•Disrespect: one person makes fun of the other or calls them degrading names
•Hostility: one person picks fights with the other, then blames the victim for their violence
•Intimidation: one person tries to make the other fearful. This may include threatening violence or a break-up
•Physical violence: one person uses force such as throwing things, hitting, slapping, grabbing, or shoving to get their way
•Sexual violence: one person pressures or forces the other into sexual activity against their will or without consent
What can you do if you think your relationship is an unhealthy relationship?

Unhealthy relationships are built on power and control. At first, unhealthy behaviors might not seem like a big deal. At first, the jealousy can even feel flattering. However, degrading insults and put downs, accusations, extreme jealousy, yelling, and physically abusive behaviors are unhealthy, dangerous, and disrespectful. Everyone deserves respect. Remember, you cannot change someone, especially if that person sees nothing wrong in their behaviors. Trust your inner voice. If something doesn’t feel right, listen. A relationship should be enjoyable, not draining. If you think you may be involved in an unhealthy relationship, please talk to someone you trust so you can secure your safety.

Crisis Services of North Alabama – Jackson County Office offers free and confidential services to Jackson County survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. We are a safe, non-judgmental place to talk through your feelings and help determine if your relationship is unhealthy, and if so, we can help safety plan and determine your next steps. To make an appointment with an advocate at our Jackson County office, call 256.574.5826. We also offer a 24/7 HELPline, where you can speak with a crisis counselor at 256.716.1000. You are not alone.

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