• Christina Francisco, LCPC, QMHP, BSFT, NCC

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

When you think of relationships -what comes to mind? Typically, depending on

the stage of the relationship and the people involved, there are many different types of relationships. I want to focus on the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships between two consenting adults. What do those each look like? See if you can get a feel for which resembles healthy or unhealthy relationships in the examples below. Do either of these sound familiar?

Alarm sounds and it is yet another day of: Waking up, drink my tea, walk the dog and making sure his food and water bowls are refilled, jumping in the shower for a quick moment only to be disturbed by the dog ripping up the carpet, children are still sleeping, and are running late, as am I, and my partner is too busy getting ready for his own work day to be bothered with the monotonies of the mornings, so I need to be in charge of the household. It is not fair for me to bother to ask for a little support in the mornings, so I don’t. We have had that yelling match before. I am never heard and I never win. I feel the resentment and overwhelming feelings arise inside me, but shove them down so I can just get through this next hour. Wake the children up, they are usually good about getting themselves ready, while I go downstairs and prepare breakfast,  lunches, and dinner for later. Kids off to school, as I am on my way to work-8 hours later-check my phone to 12 missed texts/calls from my partner with hurtful comments made to me about the disarray of the house, the kids were loud and didn’t allow for my partner to do his work from home in the other room, and how me. I call my partner on my way home to screaming in the background, angry tones from, and now I am crying on my drive home. Hang up the phone as I pull into the driveway and don’t even have a minute to compose myself before my partner hands me the leash and I am being bombarded with taking the dog for a walk because he hasn’t been out since the morning. And now my partner needs his time to decompress after work, so, at least I have this time to myself to walk the dog, and decompress a little as well. I will talk to my partner later about the hurtful words and actions, or do I deserve them? I greet the children with hugs, kisses, and ‘how was your day?”, and help them with their homework as I go through emails from work. Set up dinner, we all eat and I am left with cleanup, because my husband decides he wants to go out with friends from work, but didn’t communicate this with me, so now I am feeling frustrated, and on the verge of tears. Get the children ready for bed, and begin to clean up the rest of the house-hmm-maybe I will have an hour to myself-what could I do in that time?

Alarm sounds and it is yet another day of: Waking up, drinking tea, going for a run or making sure I get at least 20 minutes of exercise in before walking the dog and making sure there is fresh food and water in his bowls,  jumping in the shower, and getting ready to go to work in the morning. You know the usual routine. Waking the children up to make sure they begin getting ready for their bus to take them to school; kissing my significant other before going about my daily routine- Packing everyone’s  lunches, as well as making sure, to relay the after school activities to everyone, preparing a roast and veggies and setting it all in the crockpot to low for 7hours, and kissing the children before seeing them to their bus. Grabbing all of my items for work,  packing them in the car and off to work I go. On the drive to work I am able to listen to a meditation from a podcast I really enjoy and it helps me to feel centered and composed as I begin my day working with others. Work is long and stressful, but I love what I do. Then driving home, and I call my partner, because this is the only time we actually get to communicate if it is not through text message, to discuss evening plans. Hi Hunnie, how was work? I just got home and the kids are eating a snack, and then going to finish their homework. Thank you for putting my clothes away and setting up dinner, it smells fantastic! We can’t wait to see you when you get home! Let’s do a date night on the weekend, when I am off, because I really miss spending time with you! Drive safely!” Partner gets time to be with the kids, after homework, and do things needing to be accomplished around the house or just sit and watch a movie! Now it’s -ME TIME! Put on the radio, podcast, or just listen to the silence…..much needed! Meditation time (stay tuned for more blogs on specific meditations and the meditation process). Arrive home and greet each family member with a hug, kiss, and a ‘how was your day?” Dig into dinner, discuss our days, and clean up whilst discussing any other plans we may have had before my partner goes to spend time with a few work buddies, bowling. Spending another hour or so with the children, before getting them off to bed. Sitting down to a good book or television show, and doing a small meditation before bedtime to calm and relax myself before the next day. Then bedtime! Partner is home and we discuss our day before gently drifting off to sleep.

Both of these scenarios can be reality depending on your boundaries you set with yourself and your loved ones. Being in a relationship means two partners working together to make the day run smoothly; setting aside time for themselves to exercise or relax, as well as spending time with one another-whether it be discussing their days while they eat a meal, or talking as they’re lying in bed. The unhealthy part about scenario two is that one partner is not setting boundaries with the other, and is also pushing their feelings away which come back ten times over as they continue to build internally. Setting up your own routine for the family or your loved ones, also means setting aside time for yourself to be healthy-emotionally and physically.

Whichever partner you are in these scenarios- setting healthy boundaries is important for yourself and your relationship, as is open communication. The more you hold things inside and don’t discuss them, the more volatile the reaction will be later on. If you are looking for extra support in these areas of setting healthy boundaries, asserting your needs of “me time’, and communicating in a healthy and effective way to those around you- we’re here to help! Help is one click or a phone call away! It’s never too late to create a healthy relationship.

To learn more about counseling services:

A little bit about Christina:

Christina is a Brief Strategic Family Therapist who believes in the true functionality as well as complete dysfunctionality that lies within the family system. Christina believes that if a single individual within a family is having trouble managing emotions or communicating effectively, then the family unit must be explored to better understand the origin of the ineffective and maladaptive behavior pattern. Our patterns are learned, but we can learn to break the unhealthy and dysfunctional ones. Christina prides herself on helping others and being a sounding board to others in their time of need. She encourages active and effective expression and communication in all relationships and stresses it within her own. Christina weaves the traditional talk therapy techniques with the holistic methods of meditation and mindfulness, along with a touch of self-expression in the art studio- with sand tray or expressive therapy. Her mantra is: “I am illuminating. This spark within you is radiating happiness from the inside out. You are glowing with positivity. Your energy is helping others spark their inner light, too. Thank you for letting your beautiful light change the world.”


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