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Healthy, Unhealthy And Harmful Relationship

Apr 6, 2009, 8:21 AM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Hello readers, today I am glad to share this piece of story I once stumbled unto. Anywhere we go, we see relationships. Some may be healthy, some may be unhealthy and others extremely harmful. Some young people may think that they are in relationships, while they aren't. This mistake usually happens to teenagers. As a person who was once a teenager, I believe this may help other young people to build on their relationships.

What do the words mean?

Healthy is a stage of being well (from illness) in body, mind and sprit. A healthy spirit means that you feel relatively good about yourself and others.

Unhealthy means that something is harmful to your health, weakening and threatening the state of healthiness of one's body, mind and spirit.

Harmful means that your body, your mind and spirit are being abused and damaged physically and/or emotionally.

A relationship can be a general connection between two or more people, connected by birth or marriage, or a romantic or passionate attachment. That is, relationship can be with your family, your friends and neighbors. A relationship can be a temporary connection with people you meet briefly because of specific circumstances.

What is meant by a healthy relationship?

In a healthy relationship you feel safe, respected, and cared about.

There is no definitive answer to what constitute a healthy relationship. The dynamics of relationship can vary in different situations, cultures and religions.

What is meant by an unhealthy or harmful relationship?

An unhealthy (unhappy) relationship occurs when one person treats the other person badly but the relationship is not abusive and there is no violence. Over time, however, an unhealthy relationship can undermine self-confidence and may lead to abuse and violence if the bad treatment is not stopped or the relationship ended.

Harmful relationship includes abuse and/or violence. The actions can affect you emotionally, physically and financially (withholding money).


You have a right to have healthy relationships in your life. You also have a responsibility to act in ways that keep your relationships healthy, both for yourself and for the people with whom you have relationships. Think about your own relationships and whether they are healthy or unhealthy. What are some of the things that show you whether a relationship is health and unhealthy?

Some relationships are so unhealthy that they become abusive. Abuse and violence are always wrong and they are never the fault of the victim.

Having a good self- esteem (feeling good about yourself) and having healthy relationships will help you to make the types of choices that keep you healthy.

Many factors influence our relationships and our interactions. These can be our self-esteem or our individual personality, our family and childhood, our community, our culture, our religion, our economic situation, our age, our gender and many others. One way of   looking at relationships is to consider the various "spheres of influence" with which we are connected and whether our relationships with individuals in these spheres are healthy or unhealthy.

Our actions, values and choices influence our family, friends, community, country and the world. The actions, values and choices of our family, friends, community, country and the world influence us. How positive or negative are these influences in our lives? How can our relationships be improved?

I.D.E.A.L. Problem-Solving Model

No relationship is completely free of stress and conflict. This problem- solving model will help you to solve your problems objectively and to make decisions that are healthy for you and for your relationships. If you need help thinking things over, ask someone you trust to help you, but try not to have anyone solve the problem for you.

As peer mediators, your peers and perhaps other members of your community or your family will come to you for advice on how to help them with their stresses and other related problems. This demonstrates to you that they respect and trust you and that you guide them to analyze their own situation and to come to their own decisions, instead of telling them what to do. One way to do that is by using the I. D.E.A.L problem-solving model

There are 5 steps for this model:

Identify the problem- ask yourself: What is the biggest thing that is worrying me or upsetting me right now?

. This is sometimes difficult to do if you are feeling angry or overwhelmed or too stressed out so it helps to go to a quiet place and to just think things over and write them down.

. You might try one of the coping skills discussed in the workshop to help you calm down before tackling the problem. (For example, listening to music, playing sports, spending time with family, what ever you do to help yourself feel better). When you feel good about yourself, you are better equipped to make healthy decisions.

Describe possible solutions- ask yourself: What are my opinions? What are my resources?

. Don't judge them yet, just express them all.

It helps here to talk to someone about what your options are, either a close friend or an older brother or sister or a teacher or your parents. Sometimes others will have ideas that you haven't thought of yet.

Evaluate the consequences of each option- ask yourself: what might happen, both positive and negative, if I choose each solution?

. When you write things out it helps you to weigh the pros and cons (or the positive and negative aspects) of each solution.

. You can use your values and beliefs to help guide you as well.

. Some options will make you feel better about yourself and about the situation and some options will make you feel worse about yourself and do mental things about the situation.

Act on a solution that you have chosen based on your evaluation of the consequences.

. Sometimes you may have two solutions that you can combine and try at the same time if they work well together.

. It helps to plan out before hand what you you're going to do and say. Write down your plan and stick to it. Be prepared.

Learn- evaluate the actual consequences of your choice. Ask yourself: Did this solution work for me? Is there something else I can try that might work better? What did I learn about myself?

. Sometimes our solutions don't work exactly as we hoped they would work and we might have to start over again at the beginning.

. Don't be discouraged by trying something out you will learn for the next time.

This way of solving problems may be different from the way you're used to. Perhaps decisions are made differently in your homes and families.

It may be difficult to use this problem-solving model at first.

 Try it and see how it works for you. It may not work exactly as you planned the first time. It may be awkward to use at first. But with practice the process will become for you. Good luck.