A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Surviving Toxic Relationships

At first glance her life seems perfect. After having a boyfriend for two and a half years, he’s always at her side. They meet up and walk together every passing period in school, are always seen together around town, and always at each others side. Relationship goals, right? Well, maybe things aren’t as great as they appear. Would you believe that they constantly fight behind closed doors, and that they aren’t happy?

These, as we all know, are referred to as “toxic relationships.” Toxic relationships are more common than we may think. It’s usually when a relationship of any kind makes you unhappy and is no longer healthy. They can appear in many forms and each has different circumstances and situations unique to their own. These types of relationships can cause depression and are hard on psychological health.

Students at HHS say what comes to mind when they hear “toxic relationship” is a relationship that includes physical abuse. While this is completely true and is the most severe form of a toxic relationship, not all toxic relationships are physically abusive. There are many forms of abuse including verbal and psychological.

Verbal and psychological abuse is more common; however, it is often overlooked. This applies to behaviors such as manipulation, verbal threats, belittling, and mind games. According to a statistic given by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “48.4% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.” While this may seem harmless, it is considered toxic behavior. The best way to handle this is to seek help and remove yourself from that person and situation.

The most severe form of a toxic relationship is physical abuse. Physical abuse occurs when someone tries to intentionally physically harm his/her partner. This includes actions and behaviors such as hitting, punching, grabbing/pulling, pushing, etc. These behaviors may start out small but can quickly escalate and become more serious. A statistic from www.loveisrespect.org, “Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.”

These situations are more common than discussed; however, it is a very serious problem.

“It’s a really big problem,” junior Dalton Feugate said. “You’ll have kids that think that they’re not worth anything anymore.”

If you feel you’re in a toxic relationship, seek help. Talk with your parents and school counselors to raise their awareness of your situation. Most importantly, try to remove yourself from the relationship and that person.

If you ever witness a friend go through an unhealthy relationship, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to the friend and discuss your observations and concerns. Get in contact with your school counselors to report the issue.

Sophomore Makayla Clawson says, “If we all come together and we all talk about how we’re feeling and what is going on behind scenes, maybe we would understand how people are actually feeling, not just hiding behind a fake smile.”