Healthy Teen Relationships: Recognizing Warning Signs of Abuse

One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, and one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. These statistics from are shocking and deeply concerning, but there are ways that you can protect yourself from abusive and toxic intimate relationships.


Each relationship in your life is unique and part of growing up means possibly finding yourself in an intimate relationship. Building relationships while also navigating adolescence can sometimes make it hard to recognize when an intimate relationship has become abusive and unhealthy to your physical and mental health. It can also be difficult to determine the healthiness of a relationship if you love and care about your partner. It’s possible that you may even become resistant to facing the true status of your relationship.


If you’re in an intimate relationship it’s important to look for warning signs of abuse. These warning signs can let you know if your relationship is going down a path where you may begin to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Although all intimate relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, warning signs are an important way to determine the direction of your relationship.


Warning signs include your partner checking your phone or social media accounts without your permission, constantly putting you down, extreme jealousy, possessiveness, physically hurting you in any way, isolating you from your friends and family, and pressuring or forcing you to do something you don’t want to do. Always remember no one is allowed to do something to you without your explicit permission.


While it may be challenging to recognize whether your relationship is abusive or not, if you feel your intimate relationship is unhealthy for you or your partner then it may be time to seek help. Love Is Respect provides useful information on steps you can take to receive help if you are in a toxic relationship and gives thoughtful advice on how to stay safe if you need to end a relationship.

Vanessa Wright