Warning Signs You Are in a Bad Relationship and Help

Help With Relationship Abuse and Bad Relationships

You are not crazy. It’s not your fault. You deserve better.


Warning Signs You Are in a Bad Relationship

Trust your heart. Does it feel right? Healthy relationships never make you feel bad about yourself, scared, confused or trapped.

  • You just don’t feel right and things are not OK anymore. It may have been great in the beginning. He/she may have said all the things you wanted to hear and you felt like he/she understood you and was like a best friend. Then as time went on, things may have got confusing and stressful. Maybe it’s all too much to deal with now. He/she may show less and less respect for you and may find more ways to put you down and make you feel like you are not important. It may seem to get better for a while, but then things get worse over and over again.
  • He/she puts you down and calls you names over and over again. This may seem to happen more when he/she is angry or upset. He/she may make you feel like if you would have just stayed quiet, agreed with him/her or did things their way, they wouldn’t get so upset or angry. This is not healthy. It’s not your fault. He/she tries to put you down so that he/she can feel better about himself/herself. This is abuse. No matter what you say or do, that does not give anyone the right to hurt you, mistreat you, or put you down. In healthy relationships, people have respect for each other.
  • You may feel hurt or confused most of the time. When you think about it, he/she may put you down more than lift you up. You may try your best to do everything right so that you can see more of their nice side, but somehow it doesn’t work for long.
  • He/she may treat you better or act better when around other people. He/she may act a lot better in public or when around other people so that he/she looks good but behind closed doors, you get to see the worst of them. You feel like other people have no idea how he/she really treats you. You may think no one will believe you.
  • He/she may get angry or upset about a lot of things. It seems you can never really do right for long, no matter how hard you try. You find yourself not saying much or being quiet a lot of the time just to keep the peace.
  • He/she may hit you, scare you or threaten to throw you out when angry or upset. He/she overreacts when angry and you don’t feel safe around them at times. This is not healthy. Healthy relationships should feel safe. People don’t hit or scare each other in healthy relationships. In healthy relationships, people have respect for each other. 
  • It’s almost always your fault that he/she gets very angry or upset. He/she may make you feel like if you would have just stayed quiet, agreed with him/her or did things their way, they wouldn’t get so upset or angry. This is not healthy. You have every right to disagree with someone or do things in a way that makes sense to you. No matter what you say or do, that does not give anyone the right to hurt you, mistreat you, or put you down.
  • He/she may say “sorry” but things never seem to change much or stay better. He/she may not want you to leave and so apologizes and may make promises to change. He/she may even get friends or family members to encourage you to stay or give him/her another chance. He/she may say or do anything for a while to get you to stay or come back, but never really changes. Things may seem better for a while but then get bad or worse all over again out of nowhere.
  • He/she may have a drug or alcohol problem and may use it as an excuse to keep mistreating you. He/she may blame you for their drug or alcohol problem. They may make you feel like if you were more quiet or did things their way or understood them, they would not use drugs or alcohol. He/she may use the fact that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol as an excuse to keep hurting you, mistreating you or putting you down over and over again.  This is not healthy. Remember, he/she abuses drugs or alcohol because they want to. It has nothing to do with you. And there is no excuse for violence or abuse. You deserve to be treated right.
  • He/she may need you to save or make him/her happy. You may be made to feel guilty for leaving or like he/she won’t be able to be happy, go on or take care of themselves if you leave. This is not healthy. This is too much pressure to put on one person and can even be a way for him/her to control you. Besides, you can only save yourself and make your own self happy. You can’t change anyone or make anyone else happy. It’s not possible. He/she needs to take responsibility for his/her happiness and life. 
  • The relationship is mostly about his/her needs and you feel drained. He/she may lean on you most of the time for support, but then you can’t really lean on them for caring support when you need it. You may even find that when you need a shoulder to cry on, you get very little or no emotional support or it makes him/her frustrated or annoyed or like you’re asking for too much. It may seem like he/she wants most of the attention in the relationship. This is not healthy. A healthy relationship is more like a two way street. You shouldn’t feel like it’s one way most of the time.
  • You can’t talk things over with him/her. It seems like every time you try to talk about problems, he/she gets very upset or angry or starts attacking you or calling you names for bringing things up. There may be too much arguing and he/she may even make you feel like what you’re saying doesn’t make sense or is stupid. This is not healthy. You should feel comfortable talking to your partner without being put down or afraid it will make him/her angry or upset.
  • He/she may use friends, family members or your kids to praise or punish you. When you focus on their needs and do what they want you to do, they say good things about you to others and appreciate you. When you get tired of things, stand up for yourself, or don’t do things their way, all of a sudden he/she may get other people to take their side, gossip, spread lies or come after you to make you feel wrong or bad about yourself and put you down. This is not healthy. Healthy relationships are not about training, punishment or control.
  • You may feel trapped. If you leave, you’re afraid you may not have enough money, a place to live, be able to get a job, or get help with the kids. Maybe you feel that if you leave, you will lose everything you worked so hard for. Or maybe you feel that if you leave he/she will try to hurt you or turn people against you with gossip and lies. You may even be afraid that no one will believe you. This is not healthy. Healthy relationships are not about threats or control.
  • You may feel like you need this person in your life in order to be complete. You are already complete. Nobody can make you feel whole. This is not healthy. If you can’t feel at peace with yourself, you won’t be able to appreciate or feel at peace with someone else.
  • You can’t grow or be your best. Maybe you’re starting to act in ways that are not really like yourself in order for you to deal with him/her. Are you really happy or do you feel angry, sad or down most of the time at this point in the relationship with him/her? Healthy relationships bring out the best in you.


Ready to Leave and Move On?

You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone or put up with anything you don’t want to. You’re not crazy and it’s not your fault. Remember, you can’t change or save anyone. You can only save yourself. When you are ready, there are people who will believe you and help you find a safe way out.

✧ Guides: Leaving a RelationshipPath to SafetyHealthy Relationships, Is This Abuse, LGBT Abuse, and For Victims and Survivors

✧ Support groups: The National Domestic Violence Hotline (relationship abuse help), Love Is Respect (dating help), RAINN (rape and sex abuse help), Suicide Prevention LifelineI’m Alive (online crisis network) and National Runaway Safeline (runaway and getting back home help)

Talk to your doctor or health care provider for more information.

If you don’t have a doctor or insurance, you can get help at a health center near you.


cell phone

Call (800) – 799 – SAFE (7233) for 24/7 caring help with relationship violence and abuse.

Call (866– 331 – 9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522 for help with dating abuse.

Call (800) – 656 – HOPE (4673) for 24/7 help with rape and sex abuse.

Call (800) – 273 – TALK (8255) for 24/7 caring support and emergency help with difficult feelings, emotions or thoughts of suicide.

Call 2-1-1 for 24/7 help finding programs, services and all kinds of help near you.

Call (800) – 448 – 3000 for 24/7 caring support and help with any crisis if you are a teen or a family member of a teen and feeling worried, stressed or hopeless.

Call (800) – 786 – 2929 for 24/7 caring help with running away, being bullied, talking to your parents, and help getting home.

Call (800) – 366 – 8288 for help and support with cutting or hurting yourself.

Call (800) – 662 – HELP (4357) for 24/7 caring support and help with alcohol or drugs.


Page last reviewed: March 17, 2017
Page last updated: April 23, 2017