What is a healthy relationship?
Throughout life we develop relationships with lots of different people including close friends, boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s and groups of friends from school or where we live and online.
Healthy relationships are about respecting each other, feeling comfortable and treating each other equally.
In a healthy relationship, you should always feel safe and respected, you should be able to be yourself not pretend to be someone else, you shouldn’t feel controlled or pressured by anyone and you shouldn’t feel threatened or frightened.
What is an abusive relationship?
Sometimes relationships aren’t healthy, and people might try to use you or force you to do something you don’t want to do.
You should never feel scared, intimidated or controlled in any of your relationships.
Abusive relationships can happen to anyone, adults, children and young people in mixed or same-sex relationships.
Abusive behaviour can be Physical (hitting, kicking, slapping), Emotional (humiliating you or putting you down) or Sexual (forcing you to do sexual acts you don’t want to do)
Here are some examples of abusive behaviour:
- Extreme jealousy
- Angry when you want to spend time with your friends
- Isolating you from friends and family
- Trying to control your life including how you dress, who you hang out with and what you say, wanting to know where you are all the time
- Humiliating you or putting you down
- Threatening to harm you or to harm themselves if you leave them
- Threatening you if you don’t reply to their messages quickly enough
- Drinking too much alcohol or using drugs
- Explosive anger
- Using force during an argument
- Blaming others for his / her problems or feelings
- Being verbally abusive
- Threatening behaviour towards others including your friends
- Pressuring you to send sexual texts or sexy images of yourself
If you are worried about an abusive relationship, you should tell an adult you trust so that they can help you.
Where can I get help and advice?
If you are worried about yours or someone you know’s relationships there are some organisations that can help:
- Disrespect Nobody is a site for young people providing information about domestic abuse in teenage relationships.
- ChildLine Visit the site or call 0800 1111 for a free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday in the UK provided by the NSPCC. Calls are free and confidential.
- The Hideout is a space created by Women’s Aid to help children and young people understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it’s happening to you.