Intensity: A Marker of Unhealthy Love
Abusive relationships don’t start out abusive, they often start out exciting and exhilarating. You feel like all the colors are brighter, like you are walking on a cloud and like you’ve hit the jackpot. BUT in unhealthy love these feelings shift over time from exciting to overwhelming or suffocating. You feel it in your gut, like when your new boyfriend can’t stop calling you, and he gets upset if you don’t respond to his texts right away. Maybe he even shows up at your door ‘just to make sure you are okay’. Not all relationships that start out intense turn abusive, it’s about how the relationship evolves. Most of us from South Asian cultures have developed our ideas of romance from Bollywood and may often mistake the unhealthy intensity for a sign of passionate love and ‘ oh so romantic’. In the early days of a relationship it is important to pay attention to how you’re feeling and not ignore the red flags. Are you comfortable with the pace of intimacy? Do you have enough space to voice your own needs? Are your wishes and requests respected?
Unhealthy love in its extreme forms is abuse. Not every unhealthy behavior pattern means that there is abuse in a relationship, it is important to look at the signs in their totality, to see the patterns in the relationship and trust your gut. Recognizing these early signs of unhealthy love can help us work on them to make them better through open communication, mutual respect and kindness.Understanding is the first step to improving, but not every relationship can be made better, some of them you may have to leave behind.
If you feel like your relationship is heading towards abuse or you are in an abusive relationship, seek help. You are not alone.
You can call our confidential hotline on 713-981-7645 or look for resources on our website.
Although love is an emotion and an instinct, the ability to love in a healthy way is a skill that we can all build on and improve over time, and it is high time we all did that.