Abuse and Self Care, Abuse and Self Care, Encouragement, Healthy Relationships

It’s Not Romantic, It’s Abuse

Something’s been on my mind lately.  Heavily. I’ve been concerned about teens, kids just starting to date. And I’ve been wondering if they know what “symptoms” of an abusive relationship look like and that when they see these behaviors, it’s not romantic, it’s abuse.

From observations, I’ve seen and been told of behaviors in some teen relationships that constitute abuse, although I’m not sure kids are realizing that’s exactly what it is. And that’s what’s been on my mind. I worry. I worry that kids just beginning to date who are naive in the ways of romantic relationships (like I was), don’t know about boundaries and what’s healthy and what’s not within a relationship. Heck, it isn’t just teens specifically. Anyone who just isn’t really aware of how abuse starts and how confusing it can really be if you don’t understand it.

I know some aspects of abuse–control, possessiveness, monopolizing one’s time, checking your phone–are sometimes incorrectly assumed to be attractive and romantic.

A mate telling you how to dress isn’t okay. That’s undermining your confidence to decide what’s appropriate to wear and feel comfortable in.

Being angry if you see your mate talking innocently to the member of the opposite gender, isn’t normal mild jealousy. It’s not cute and flattering. The person should have enough faith in you that you’re not doing anything shady and likewise, shouldn’t try to squash the freedom you have to speak to whomever you want.

When you’re with friends or family away from your mate, and they constantly call or text you, interrupting your time and not being respectful of it, that is not okay. It’s being possessive and they don’t like any time you focus on someone or something other than them. They want command of all your attention.

Checking your phone, Facebook page or texts is another sign they’re insecure and don’t trust you, but want to control you. And this is a problem. I’m married and I don’t check my husband’s texts and he doesn’t check mine either. I’m sure if I asked him if I could, he’d let me because he’s not doing anything he shouldn’t. But because I’m secure in knowing that, I don’t feel the need to “spy” on him. Both people in a relationship need to feel secure and respect each other’s privacy.


Encouraging you to lie to your parents, friends or boss to cover up what’s going on in your relationship or to be able to skip out on a responsibility to spend time with your mate is a problem. It’s control and disrespect. A healthy mate would never want you to jeopardize relationships or tell you to be dishonest.

Speaking to you harshly…

Undermining your decisions and confidence…

Trying to get you to do something you don’t want to (sex or otherwise)…

Not supporting your goals and dreams and even trying to keep you from them or change them…

Belittling you, in private or in front of others or at any time…

Putting hands on you…

Pressuring you for sex or to make other decisions you don’t want to…

Pushing your boundaries…

All of these are characteristics of an abusive relationship. Don’t make excuses. We are all responsible for our own behavior. If you see a red flag like one listed above, call it what it is: trouble. If you see one red flag, there’s a pretty good chance more are coming.

Be safe in your relationships. Be strong and firm about who you are.

Synonyms for love are tenderness, fondness, patience, kindness, compassion, unselfishness. Do these describe your relationship? 

Please remember your worth and remember that you are deserving of a healthy, loving romantic relationship. Don’t forget.

Be encouraged and be smart,

signature Melanie in aqua color





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  • Reply Anita Ojeda October 4, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Excellent advice, Melanie! So often we teach our kids not to talk to strangers, but fail to equip them for dealing with the ‘safe’ people in their lives.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com October 12, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Anita, that’s so true. We’re taught to be kind which is great, but we also need to remember sometimes we need to set and enforce safe boundaries even if it doesn’t feel so “kind.”

  • Reply Doug October 5, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Hi Melanie,

    This is great advice. I pray that it reaches everyone that needs to hear it.

    Blog on!

  • Reply Marsha Ingrao October 5, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Nice job, Melanie, from the title to the content. I have a friend who is in a very abusive relationship, and she is in her 50s. So this problem is not limited to teens. Everyone has issues, and when someone is in a bad relationship, they can’t give it up until they realize how a good relationship feels. If they have never had one, they are caught in a cycle of abuse. Breaking that cycle is so hard, and may need professional help.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com October 12, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Marsha, I agree it’s not limited to teens. I’ve seen it showing up more in teens than I would expect and I’m afraid they are getting the wrong impression about boundaries. I’m so sorry for your friend. It is terribly painful to be in such a relationship. I really hope she can safely get the help she needs and that she knows she is worthy of more.

  • Reply StarvingJanie October 5, 2016 at 10:26 am

    This is a great list for teenagers to see. For adults, too, actually. It can be tough to stand up for yourself whether it’s a relationship or a friendship.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com October 12, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Janie, that’s so true! We often feel like we can’t speak up or we’ll hurt someone’s feelings. Sometimes it’s okay to make some waves.

  • Reply Linda Kuriloff October 5, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I’m concerned right along with you, Melanie! I’ve seen and heard an uncomfortable number of conversations between couples that leave me wondering about the continuing safety of the girls. I think a lot of young women are not trained in character discernment and/or they don’t wait long enough before giving their guy all kinds of access to their lives.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com October 12, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Linda, I think our society tells girls their worth is in the physical, their bodies, having the right hair and makeup, etc. Physical health is important, but every girl (and boy) is truly valued and precious.

  • Reply Kira October 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you for speaking to such an important topic. I use to work on a college campus doing sexual assault prevention and education and I was surprised at the number of students who didn’t know the proper definition of consent or what the “red flags” (our campaign) were in a relationship. It is so important we teach out children what a healthy relationship is and is not.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com October 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you for doing something so important, Kira! As a young adult, I didn’t recognize red flags such as being jealous, possessive, manipulative. I fear young men or women don’t see them for what they are either.

  • Reply Rajashree Bhagwat October 6, 2016 at 4:04 am

    Wonderfully written! Your lines are so true. Today, especially teens, on their journey of exploration, are getting into troubles. As you have beautifully pointed out, one should identify the fine line. Valuing ourselves first is important in any relationship today.

  • Reply Deepa October 6, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I have a teen and a tween at home and just the thought of all this scares me. Thanks for this informative post.
    Deepa recently posted…By: DeepagandhiMy Profile

  • Reply Ramya Rao October 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Dear Melanie,
    This is such an apt and much required post.
    A post that needs to be shared. Thanks for writing. 🙂

  • Reply Beth October 7, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Thank you for writing this, this is so important! So many think some of these things are cute or love and maybe have a lower self image and believe that, I hope this reaches all who need to see it!

  • Reply missy October 7, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you Melanie. Perfect words.

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