Learning about Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

Julia Eilert

Although Domestic Violence Awareness month has come to an end, the battle for awareness of unhealthy and healthy relationships will be continuing at Washburn.The Healthy Relationship Series is set to continue throughout the month, giving students the opportunity to learn about the differences in toxic and happy relationships.

In 2010, Knowledge Networks conducted a survey concerning college students and dating abuse in the U.S. The results stated that 57 percent of respondents said dating abuse is difficult to identify, and 58 percent said they don’t know how to help someone that is experiencing it.

“I do not know, actually what a good foundation would be in a relationship,” said Louis Falk, freshman criminal justice major, “I know it’s important that the people know each other, and that they have to get along with each other, but I couldn’t tell you what’s more important.”

According to Thomas L. Cory, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, an unhealthy, or toxic, relationship is defined as a relationship that is damaging to a partner’s emotional or physical well-being. A healthy relationship builds self-esteem, and is emotionally empowering- it is a safe place to be.

Toxic relationships can happen between anyone, and when the signs are subtle it can be hard to identify one. Unhealthy relationships can form between parents and children, siblings, friends, and romantic partners.

“People that can’t trust each other, that have issues like infidelity, probably aren’t in a good relationship,” said Alicia Muniz, junior english major, “People who can honestly say ‘I love them’ and mean it, are usually happy, in my experience.”

Common warning signs of a toxic relationship are belittling comments, controlling behavior, and guilt-inducing comments. There are many other indicators of an unhealthy relationship, but it most cases more than one bad behavior is used to break down a victim.

“A healthy relationship, how I would define it, is where the two parties care for each other and do things for each other just because. They’re not trying to change each other- they’re loving each other for who they are,” said Markel Crawford, freshman, business and entrepreneurship innovations major,  “A toxic relationship would probably be where a person has no individuality and they’re not themselves. That’s toxic because you can’t live your life that way.”

The first step to fixing or leaving an unhealthy relationship is to identify it. Washburn offers counseling to all students, and there are also multiple victim advocates on campus. Counseling services can be reached at 785-670-1470. Off campus, the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment is an open resource for the community, that can be reached at 1-888-822-2983.