This post first appeared on our instagram, October 1st 2018.
In our ‘Domestic Abuse’ session, one of our participants talked about recognizing the red flags in a toxic or abusive relationship. She was able to identify what these red flags are and point them out to someone who is facing them in her relationship.
This led us to talk about what an unhealthy relationship looks like. Some of these traits include lack of trust, being controlled and being dismissed by our partners or family members. We concluded that it was basically about being unsafe in the relationship; feeling unsafe about expressing ourselves and feeling unsafe being in the same space as the person.
We then moved on to the next question: what does a healthy relationship look like? As much as we know what the problems or red flags are, do we know what we want to have in a healthy relationship?
We found that our members generally seek respect, autonomy and equality in our relationships. A healthy relationship is one where we are free to retain our individuality and to be respected as an equal by our partners or family members. For example, we don't need to ask permission to do something or go somewhere, but merely to inform.
It’s interesting to see the list of traits of a healthy relationship is shorter than the unhealthy relationship. That says quite a lot about how as women, we struggle to express in concrete terms what we want. We often know what we don't want first because we've experienced the hurt. So, it‘s important that in the process of healing, we also identify and express clearly what we want, and make no apologies for it.