"Nearly one in three women" are affected by intimate partner violence (another name for domestic violence), according to an article from Harvard Health Publishing's website.
As COVID-19 cases begin to rise again and states mandate orders to reduce the spread of the virus, it is crucial to note that these abrupt and drastic changes in everyday life contribute to unsafe circumstances in homes where intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs. IPV includes physical, mental, and emotional abuse, and has detrimental psychological consequences. Thomas Blackwell, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist in Connecticut, states that these consequences include "isolation, avoidance, heightened anxiety, hypervigilance, panic attacks, and flashbacks." However, not every IPV case escalates to these outcomes. The impact of an unhealthy relationship is not always clear, and neither is what qualifies as one either, which is why it is pertinent to know the early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship before it progresses into a potentially dangerous situation. Some of the early warning signs to look out for include:
A relationship should not dictate every facet of your life. READ IT AGAIN. It is not your job to sacrifice the things in life that you love and enjoy for the sake of someone else's emotional stability. Healthy relationships have a balance between us and me, meaning you and your significant other share lives with each other AND outside of each other. Your partner should not try to dictate the latter.
Your partner should not feel envious of the time that you spend with others nor perceive them as a threat to your relationship. A healthy relationship rests on trust and security. Be wary of jealousy in a relationship because it's indicative of insecurity, and if your partner is insecure, how can you expect your relationship to be secure?
Isolation is an attempt to create distance between a partner and their loved ones, so when things do get bad in the relationship, they are less likely to leave because no one encourages them to.
Your partner should respect the relationships that you have with others because they serve as a support system. Although your partner is a part of that support system, they do not make up its entirety.
You should not feel guilty for doing something that you want to do such as going out with your friends or even taking time for yourself. Again, you are not responsible for your partner's emotional stability. No one should make you feel bad about doing something that you want to do, especially if it makes you happy.
Relationships are supposed to be a loving and respectful union among two individuals. If you find yourself sacrificing your values, principles, and self to make someone else happy, seriously ask yourself if the relationship is worth it. Your sanity and self-love and respect are worth far more and should never be compromised for anyone.