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Unhealthy Relationship's Characteristics

Using coercion and threats:  Making and/or carrying out threats of hurting you; threatening to leave you, threatening to commit suicide or report you to welfare; making you drop charges; making you do illegal things.

Using intimidation:  Making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; smashing things; destroying your property; abusing pets; displaying weapons.

Using emotional abuse:  Putting you down; calling you names; playing mind games; humiliating you; making you feel guilty; making you think you're crazy; making you feel bad about yourself.

Using isolation:  Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read, where you go; limiting your outside involvement; using jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, denying and blaming:  Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn't happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying you caused it.

Using family and loved ones:  Making you feel guilty about children; having family relay messages; using visitation to harass you; threatening to take the children away.

Abusing authority:  Treating you like a servant; making all big decisions; acting like the "master of the castle"; being the one to define roles in the relationship.

Using economic abuse:  Preventing you from getting or keeping a job; making you ask for money; giving you an allowance; taking your money; not letting you know about or have access to family income.

Healthy Relationships

Negotiation and fairness:  Seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict;  accepting change; being willing to compromise.

Non-threatening behavior:  Talking and acting so that you feel safe and comfortable expressing yourself and doing things.

Respect:  Listening to you non-judgmentally; being emotionally affirming and understanding; valuing opinions.

Trust and support:  Supporting your goals in life; respecting your right to your own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.

Honesty and accountability:  Accepting responsibility for self; acknowledging past use of violence; admitting being wrong; communicating openly and trustfully.

Responsible parenting:  Sharing parental responsibilities; being a positive non-violent role model for the children.

Shared responsibility:  Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work; making family decisions together.

Economic partnership:  Making money decisions together; making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements.