We all feel love but, for some, love can become control, abuse, violence and end in murder. A third of adult women experience domestic violence. Every week, two Australian women are killed by their current or past partner.
With discussion about enshrining controlling behaviour as a crime in law, it can be useful to understand the continuum that is a controlling and violent relationship. Unhealthy relationships can sneak up on us.
Some of the wonderful aspects of a new relationship can mask signs of a potentially controlling relationship.
Relationships expert Katie Hood wants to help young people spot the signs of an unhealthy bond. These include:
- Intensity - an unhealthy start can be exciting, but also suffocating. Do you have space to breathe?
- Isolation - every new relationship is about intense desire to spend time together. Unhealthy relationships are about sowing seeds of doubt about other people.
- Extreme jealousy - some jealousy can be normal, but extreme jealousy has a threatening edge.
- Belittling - words can be weapons. When you are upset you can be accused of being sensitive. I also think - take note of how your current partner talks about their ex.
If you are concerned that you are in an unhealthy relationship, it is crucial to seek professional support.