What Is an Unhealthy Relationship?

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What Is an Unhealthy Relationship?

Welcome to Chapter One of  

Not All Sharks Bite: Learning To Recognise The Signs Of Abuse 

Previous Introduction 

Chapter One

What Is An Unhealthy Relationship?

unhealthy relationships

An unhealthy relationship is one where there is an imbalance of power, where one member of the partnership seeks to gain control and power through pushing the boundaries and abusing the other.

Let there be no mistaking, this is abuse. Often, the abusive partner (the partner seeking control and power) has through experience lost a sense of themselves. They may have developed low self- esteem and as a consequence, the abuser will have insecure boundaries.

Such people seek to regain the power they have lost by taking control of their partnership rather than maintaining an equally balanced relationship.

There are many ways in which a partner may attempt to gain power and control within a relationship. Such attempts can be so subtle that the receiving partner begins to believe the behaviour is ‘normal’ and doesn’t even realise it is wrong.

Part two of this series goes into detail describing the warning signs and the many types of abuse often found in unhealthy relationships.

According to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project abusive behaviours can include the following:

Physical Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Emotional Abuse


Financial Abuse

Coercion and Threats


Using Children

Minimising, Denying and Blaming (I like to call Crazy Making)

Using Privilege

It is only after experiencing and surviving two extremely abusive marriages that I was able to discover for myself what abuse actually is. Many years later I can now recognise abuse very quickly. I am aware of abusive sign’s as they manifest in everyday life, as I meet people, couples and watch others interact with one another.

Throughout this series on recognising abuse, I will include examples and excerpts from my own journal writings in an effort to demonstrate abuse in action and help others to recognise it for what it truly is.

Angela x

Please Read Chapter Two Why Do People End Up In Abusive Relationships?

unhealthy relationship

Sometimes a loved one may be abusive because they have developed an addiction. Whilst every effort should be made to keep yourself safe, if you can help that person to get support or refer then to a free rehab centre then this might help them to overcome the struggle they are facing. However your safety and wellbeing must always come first.

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    1. Well done for leaving and getting strong. It can be done and there is so much freedom when we leave bad and unhealthy relationships.

  1. I think when you explore it more like you did you can really see in depth the types of abuse that people face. People don’t realise what they are doing at times as in using children against each other in martial disputes is so wrong, plus the other horrid things that individuals do 🙁 I myself have have been in a horrid relationship like you I got out and I’m now so happy. Xx

    1. It’s good to be able to get through to the other side and also to be able to try and help others. Yes i have seen people using children as a form of abuse and it’s really sad.

  2. It is so sad to think that somebody has to be subjected to this vile behaviour, including your self. It’s amazing that you are raising awareness and helping others who may well be going through the same ordeal x

  3. Not exactly abuse but my last relationship used a lot of emotional blackmail so I felt like I couldn’t leave, especially after the children came along. Thankfully that is all over now and I have a happy healthy relationship with my new partner and best friend

    1. That’s sad to hear… and I’m glad your in a happy relationship now as am I. Emotional blackmail is actually a form of abuse, it is manipulation and used to control so it is emotional abuse.

  4. This is a brilliant post for both men and women who are in an abusive situation!! Abuse can come in many forms and I like that you have highlighted them, some people do not even realise when they are in an abusive situation!

    1. Agreed. Some do not realise until they read about it and realise. You can be so stuck in the situation and often isolated it’s hard to recognise it.

  5. Brilliant post! I am so sorry to hear that you had to experience it yourself. I was in a very abusive relationship in my early 20s (what I was thinking?!!) So true that it starts little by little and you start believing is ‘normal’ and don’t even realise how wrong it actually is.

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