If you've been in or are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, it has been

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An emotionally abusive father who kept me locked-up for years, and barely acknowledged me.
A mentally and physically abusive mother who beat me up, nearly killed me a few times, threatened adoption, lied about me, etc. etc. etc.
A sexually abusive neighbour who played sex games with me whenever he babysat when I was too young to know better.
A sexually abusive first boyfriend who used emotional blackmail to force me into having sex with him and forcing me onto the pill.

There are a lot of lesser abusive relationships in different ways - partners who disrespected, friends who bully, etc. - at the time I didn't think it was abuse or unhealthy, but now I know it all causes and was caused by low self-esteem, issues piled one on top of the other preventing awareness of what is really going on - I'm not emotionally damaged, but I'm sad this had to happen to me and that this happens to others. I'm in a safe place now away from any sort of abuse or unhealthy relationships, and I now have a healthy loving romantic relationship :-)

I entered a relationship with the a person who I considered to my first "real" relationship, meaning we were commited, monogomous, and he was the first person I had sex with. I was living in a different state, going to college, and we met when I came home for christmas break. When I went back to school, he got really serious, demanding my attention, didn't trust me and made it known, and also made me feel guilty that I never had an orgasm during sex with him. We saw each other once a month for a weekend or so over the next four months while i finished up the winter semester. When I came home for summer, I was staying with him while I got a job and was looking for a place to live and things were going really well in our relationship. One night, he came home drunk and angry and beat the hell out of me, sending me to the hospital. His roommate was home and helped break up the fight but while he was tending to me, my ex-partner fled and hasn't been seen since. My only option was to press charges and get a restraining order. The restraining order and a small group of friends are the only things protecting me from him if he ever decides to return. And the emotinal consequences have been incredibly difficult to deal with, seeming like more than I could bear at some points. Slowly but surely I am picking up the pieces in my life and finding the things that make me happy again. I'm starting to forget the blunt force of his fist against my skull or seeing the anger in his eyes, but I still cringe when I hear his name and an unbelievable amount of anxiety takes over me and I don't know if that anger will ever leave me. I really wish that instant headache, jaw clenching, sweaty palms reaction would go away but maybe that's just because I don't think he will ever get what he deserves.

I wouldn't call my relationship with my dad abusive, but it was definitely unhealthy and culminated in a lot of screaming matches, trouble at school, and rock-bottom self esteem for me, to the point where I've essentially cut him off.

I've picked up on a lot of the manipulative and passive-[no-glossary]aggressive[/no-glossary] behaviors I grew up around, and while I'm now actively recognizing and putting a halt to these, I'll admit that I've been in friendships that were unhealthy because of my own actions.

Unable to speak to my father frankly, voice my real opinions or thoughts even in a respectful manner, or be anything less than perfectly content and fun and cheery to be around all of the time, I ended up having a lot of really unfair expectations of the people around me.

I think there really needs to be a change in how parent/child relationships are looked at - children shouldn't just be expected to shut up and respect parents that behave badly, because in time, chances are good they're just going to start emulating that, or develop another poor or harmful habit as a coping mechanism. Parents need to realize that just because they can make a kid, doesn't mean it makes them an authority on raising that kid. There's this idea that children are just supposed to unquestioningly respect adults, but what about respecting the child in return?

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