Relationships: Making Healthy Choices
How does this start? • Often a gradual increase in abusive behavior • It may have started with jealousy • Then controlling behavior • Then verbal and emotional abuse, which is far more common among young people than is physical violence • If nothing is done about these things it then might escalate to pushing, pinching, slapping, and punching.
Early warning signs • They may criticize, humiliate, or yell at you • Embarrass you in front of friends or family • Acts excessively jealous and possessive • Keep you from seeing family and friends • Have a bad and unpredictable temper • Threaten you with physical violence • Alcohol and drug use
Statistics • 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating violence. • 1 in 4 reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual violence each year. • 1 in 5 reports being a victim of emotional violence. • 1 in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
Warning Signs in a Partner • Low self-esteem • Use of threats or violence to solve problems • Inability to manage anger or frustration • Poor social skills • Association with violent friends • Problems at school • Witnessing abuse at home • Lack of parental supervision • www.CDC.gov
How to tell if a friend is in an abusive relationship • Unexplained bruises, scratches, or injuries • You friend seems fearful of their significant other • Their behavior, mood, personality and/or appearance may suddenly change • Frequent absences from school • Submissive behavior, lack of assertiveness • Isolation from family and friends • Depression, crying, and/or low self-esteem
What can you do? • Talk to your friend about your concerns • Remember your not trying to betray them but you’re trying to save their life. • Talk to your parents • Give them the resources you get today • Cornerstone 952-884-0330 • National domestic violence hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) • Stop youth violence hotline 1-866-safeyouth (1-866-723-3968) • Talk to a teacher, counselor, or social worker
WE TALKED ABOUT ABUSE IN DATING RELATIONSHIPS, BUT THERE ARE OTHER KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS, TOO… • Friends • Family • Casual (peers, neighbors, outside acquaintances)
A RELATIONSHIP CAN BE UN-HEALTHY EVEN IF IT IS NOT ABUSIVE. WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF AN UN-HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE IT HEALTHIER?
1: Criticism • Blaming and attacking your partner’s personality and character. • “You’re stupid” • “You’re so lazy”
1. Criticism: Remedy • Begin your complaints with the word “I” • Don’t generalize: focus on the specific behavior or event that bothers you. • “I felt sad when I didn’t get a card from you on my birthday.” • “I’m upset about what you said, it made me feel hurt.” I
2. Contempt • Insults, name calling, mockery and actions that abuse your partner psychologically. • It makes a partner feel belittled and unloved. • Eye rolling during conversation • Harsh tone • “You’re a jerk” • Sarcasm: “You’re SOOO smart.”
2. Contempt: Remedy • Take responsibility for your role in the problems and conflicts. • Apologize; listen to your partner even if you don’t agree. • “I’m sorry I was sarcastic. Tell me why you’re upset.” • “I know I didn’t get to see you yesterday as promised. Let’s make plans for this weekend.”
3. Defensiveness • Making excuses, whining, answering your partner’s complaints with your own, making assumptions about your partner’s thinking. • “But I couldn’t help missing your birthday.” • “It’s not my fault!” • “Well, if I’m stupid, you’re DUMB!” • “You just want me to be mad.”
3. Defensiveness: Remedy • Take time to calm down, interrupt negative thinking and feelings of victimization or righteous indignation. • Remember that your partner’s negative qualities don’t cancel out the positives. • Take a 10 second deep breath. • “Let’s take a break and come back to this argument in 10 minutes.”
4. Stonewalling • Distancing yourself from your partner by being unresponsive, acting cold, smug, superior. • Lack of eye contact • Closed body language • Ignoring • “Whatever you say.”
4. Stonewalling: Remedy • Don’t run from your partner’s anger; it’s an attempt to get your attention. • Be alert to your negative inner script. • Find ways to let them know you’re listening. • “I see you’re upset. Tell me why.” • Eye contact • “I want to listen but maybe we should come back to this when I can be attentive.”
Relationships take time, care and energy to maintain. What are some characteristics of a healthy relationship?
Communication and Sharing • You can express yourself • You are honest with the other person and they are honest with you • You are able to talk with the other person openly • You can share your opinion with the other person and feel like it will be respected, even if they do not agree • You can share your feelings with the other person • You share common interests • You can turn to the other person for support
Respect and Trust • You respect one another for who you are • When one of you is upset, you feel safe enough to talk things out in a respectful way • You respect one another’s boundaries (i.e.: “I can’t make a decision right now, I need time to think” or “Please don’t tease me in that way.”) • You trust one another
A is for Awareness… • Awareness means knowing: 1. YOURSELF—Who am I and what do I like? What is important to me? What do I value? What are my boundaries? 2. THE OTHER PERSON—Who are they and what do they like? What is important to them? What do they value? What are their boundaries 3. THE RELATIONSHIP—What makes the relationship work? What purpose does the relationship serve? What are the boundaries? • Awareness is also knowing the of the consequences of unhealthy relationships and recognizing the danger signs
B is for Balance… • Being in sync with the other person and not having the relationship be one sided—where one person has more power or control than the other • Communication is key for staying in balance –it involves listening to one another and valuing one another’s opinions • Maintaining your own activities and interests—sharing common interests is important, but in order for a relationship to be balanced, it is important to take the time to do things that you like to do, even if the other person does not enjoy those same things—by adopting all of the person’s favorite things, hobbies and lifestyle, the relationship can become unbalanced and unbalanced usually equals unhealthy
C is for Conscious Choices… • Making conscious choices includes being able to decide what your response will be to a given situation to make sure that things don’t “just happen” (i.e. sex, drugs, gang activity, etc.) • It also means being able to take control and assert yourself and your needs (e.g. “I can’t go out with you tonight because I need to study so I don’t fail my exam tomorrow” or, “I’m not ready to have sex right now.”) • Making conscious choices an also include knowing when a relationship is unhealthy and making the decision to end the relationship.