Family, friendships and love
Our mental health is influenced by our relationships - with anyone - a friend, a family member or a romantic partner. The way they treat us can impact our mental health. Our relationships are also affected by our mental health.
The signs of a healthy relationship are:
- You choose quality over quantity when it comes to spending time
- The lines of communication are open and run both ways
- You make conscious efforts to resolve conflicts
- You respect each other
- You offer each other emotional support when required
- You listen to each other
- You practice empathy, trust and honesty with each other
- You accept the other person for their choices even if you disagree
- You respect each other’s need for personal space
What are boundaries and how to establish them
As social beings, we need healthy relationships to thrive. But we also need to make sure that we are in relationships that benefit us and have a positive impact on our mental health. To enable this, we need to set boundaries and convey them to others in order to avoid any violation of our space.
Think of a boundary as a limit that once established defines your own personal space, how other people should treat you and what they should expect from you. The boundaries protect your space, time and comfort. Here are some ways you can set boundaries:
Say no to things you don’t want to do
If you don’t feel like going out to meet somebody, it’s okay to say no and decline the invitation
Savour your time
Don’t feel obligated to help someone if you don’t have the time to do it
Ask for personal space
We all need some ‘me’ time and it’s okay to ask for it when you need it
Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable
Asking someone not to hug you, if you are not comfortable with hugs
Your mental health comes first, it’s okay if you don’t want to help out a friend if you feel you will be affected by this
Remember that boundaries work both ways and you need to respect other peoples’ boundaries as well. When these boundaries are crossed or neglected by either of you, the relationship can turn toxic or abusive.
Abuse is when a person repeatedly refuses to respect another person’s boundaries which leads to a situation where one person is unduly benefitting from the relationship while the other is not. The amount of respect between the two parties of the relationship is imbalanced and one person is exercising their control over the other person.
Physical abuse: Physical abuse includes anything a person does with the intention of causing you physical harm, pain and suffering. This includes hitting, punching, kicking, burning, confinement, pulling hair and even sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is when a person uses tactics to hurt you emotionally or take advantage of your emotional self. This includes bullying, humiliating, threatening, blackmailing, shouting, restricting your social contact with others or not supporting you emotionally.
Financial abuse: Financial abuse is when a person exerts control on another by taking over their finances. They may want direct access to your money and monitor and regulate how you use your finances. This can make it very difficult for you to escape the relationship.
A toxic or abusive relationship can be very detrimental to mental health. If you are facing any form of abuse and need someone to talk to, reach out to the Mann Talks Helpline and talk to a mental health professional.