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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?



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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.