R E L A T I O N S H I P S:
Abusive Relationships

Abuse is mistreatment. Abuse can be emotional (where someone consistently disregards, invalidates and/or purposely hurts another's feelings to control them). Abuse can also be physical (where someone uses violence or the threat of violence to get their way). In both cases one person is treating the other with a lack of respect.
Abusive relationship are unbalanced, unhealthy, and unsafe.

Why do some people treat others this way? Unfortunately, many teens have been abused by a parent or another care giver. They have grown up accepting abuse as part of a love relationship. For teens like this, abuse is nothing unusual.

How do you know whether you are in an abusive relationship? Check out the following questions and answer them for yourself. They describe some of the warning signs that can help you decide if your relationship is turning toward violence.

  1. Are you unhappy with your girlfriend/boyfriend because you feel he/she tries to control you?
  2. Do you ever do things you don't want to just because you feel intimidated (forced) by your boyfriend/girlfriend?
  3. Do you ever feel terrible about yourself because of things your boyfriend/girlfriend has said to you?
  4. Does your boyfriend/girlfriend ever push you around or threaten to hurt you?
  5. Does your boyfriend/girlfriend ever hit you?
  6. Does your boyfriend/girlfriend ever force you to have sex?
  7. Do you do any of the above to your boyfriend/girlfriend or anyone else?

If you answered "YES" to any of questions 1-6 you may already be in an abusive relationship, or on your way to being abused!

If you answered "YES" to number 7, you may be an abuser yourself!

How do I change this situation if I love him/her? This situations isn't good for you, and it's not good for your partner either. An abuser needs to get help and support to stop abusive behavior and to understand something called "the cycle of violence."

The most important thing to remember is that you may love him/her but you don't love the part of him/her that hurts you.

You have to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend:

  • You don't want them to treat you this way.
  • If they continue to, that you will leave the relationship.

If you cannot say this because it is too scary for you then ask yourself:

  • "Do I like being treated like this?"
  • "Do I want to continue being yelled at, threatened, or physically abused?"

The hardest part is admitting you are in a situation that isn't good for you!

Once you can face this and realize you have nothing to be ashamed of, talk to a friend or an adult you trust. Then get the help and support you need. Now is a good time to learn about yourself so that you don't repeat the pattern and find yourself in another unsafe situation with someone else in the future.

There are many places to go and to get support. (For victims of abuse and also abusers who can get help to break their pattern of violence.)

  • Talk to a school counselor.
  • Call the Women's services number in your phone book.
  • YWCA usually has groups for victims of Abuse (and the YMCA)
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hot line at:
1(800) 799-SAFE

This number is free to call and will NOT appear on you phone bill if you live in the U.S.. If you have any questions about abuse in any relationship you are in, do yourself a huge favor and get the help you need. 


It is never O.K. for anyone to hurt you,

or for you to hurt anyone else.

This pattern must be broken.



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last updated November 19, 2005
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