TW: Relationship Abuse
With the second installment of the Mental Health Pod’s pieces that discuss topics surrounding the various effectors of mental health we want to continue the discourse on healthy relationships. This piece will discuss possibly triggering topics such as relationship abuse and toxic relationships, so readers who are not ready or not able to interact with this piece are advised to proceed with caution or revisit the piece when they feel more equipped to do so. Resources for learning more about healthy relationships as well as resources for those who are facing relationship abuse in any form will be provided at the end of the article, and even if readers are unable to read the piece, they are still encouraged to take advantage of these materials.
Relationships come in many shapes and forms. According to Merriam-Webster a relationship is defined as a state of affairs existing between those having dealings with each other. This can be a connection between friends, family, acquaintances or any type of significant other. Relationships can be formed between employees and employers, students and professors, and co-collaborators. Depending on what type of relationship one is a part of, different boundaries are set and different experiences are encountered. Each relationship takes a different form and affects people in individual ways. The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes all relationships existing on a spectrum. Many relationships contain characteristics from different parts of the spectrum ranging from healthy all the way to abusive. It is important to evaluate and identify what type of relationship one is a part of, to see if it is healthy and good for mental and physical health.
The best relationships for mental and physical health have characteristics such as communication, respect, trust, honesty, equality, boundaries, and consent. Relationships begin to be unhealthy when developing characteristics such as little communication, disrespect, lack of trust, dishonesty, unequal control, isolation, and pressure. Relationships are considered to be abusive when communication is harmful, untrue accusations are made of the persons in the relationship, or there is the control or isolation of others. Relationships are also considered abusive when there is the forcing of sexual activity or control of reproductive choices, there is physical harm, or there is the manipulation of family, friends, or children (National Domestic Violence Hotline, n.d.).
All types of people can be involved in relationships that have unhealthy and abusive characteristics. Intimate partner violence -- a pattern of behaviors directed at achieving and maintaining power and control over an intimate partner (What Is Domestic Violence?, n.d.)--occurs among all genders, races and ethnicities, and socio-economic classes (Breiding et al., 2014). However, those who identify as women of color, many times have more obstacles in receiving assistance in relationships that are abusive or contain intimate partner violence due to existing institutional barriers. There are specific resources for women of color seeking assistance, but the first step in seeking help is recognizing toxic and abuse characteristics within a relationship. This can be challenging, but websites such as thehotline.org have advice for identifying abuse, because everyone deserves a healthy relationship.
National Domestic Violence Hotline, No Author
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries, M. J. Breiding et al.
What is Domestic Violence? The Bar Association
Resources for Domestic Abuse Survivors:
House of Ruth, Inc.
Claremont CA, 91711-0459
Pomona Outreach Office: 1 (909) 623-4364
Crisis: (877) 988-5559
YWCA San Gabriel Valley
Covina CA, 91724
Crisis: (626) 967-0658
Office: (626) 960-2995
Women's and Children's Crisis Center
Whittier, CA 90601
Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
450 Sutter Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 954-9988 ext. 315