Unhealthy relationships do occur, in both friendships and romantic relationships. Unhealthy relationships take place when there is an imbalance of power in the relationship. Because of this, physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual abuse can occur.
Unhealthy relationships can decrease a person’s feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. Sometimes, people who are involved in unhealthy relationships begin to believe that love is conditional or that they deserve the treatment that they are receiving. This can lead the person to become involved in other relationships that are abusive.
It is important that youth understand how to recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships. This can, at times, be difficult to recognize. Sometimes, the warning signs are subtle or occur gradually. Unhealthy relationships may be hard to recognize or discuss if they are common in a community, school, or social group.