Humans are social creatures. Good relationships with colleagues, friends, children, spouses, and partners are all vital to our well-being. Having important people in your life who love, support, and care about you can help you get through the best and worst of times. Problems or conflict in any of your important relationships not only cause great emotional distress but also negatively impact your physical health.
Although some relationships seem to grow with little effort, most worthwhile relationships require effort to develop and persist. Interpersonal skills and communication are key elements in nurturing all good relationships. Whether they are with colleagues, friends, partners or children, healthy and enjoyable relationships share these qualities: honesty, trust, emotional respect, good listening, freedom, encouragement, kindness, mutual affection, and shared activities.
Life’s changes and challenges can sometimes negatively affect your communication skills and compromise your relationships. Before you know it, a relationship that was once positive now feels difficult. Signs of a troubled relationship are interactions in which partners avoid discussing issues, regularly become rigid or defensive, criticize more than compliment, stop sharing thoughts and feelings, and stop having fun together.
We all respond differently to relationship problems. Frequently, a troubled relationship leads to feelings of sadness, frustration, anxiety, disappointment, or anger. It can also lead to physical symptoms such as sleep loss, irritability, loss of appetite, or increased alcohol consumption.
A troubled relationship has become abusive if one partner uses manipulative tactics, name calling, threats of physical force or harm to well-being in order to exercise power and control over the other. In an intimate relationship, if you are ever frightened or afraid of your partner or their behavior, or have been hit, kicked, pushed, choked, or forced to engage in sexual acts against your will, you are in an abusive relationship. The mental and emotional distress faced by those in abusive situations can be overwhelming. Many experience major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are or have been in an abusive relationship, we encourage you to seek professional help and support.
When important relationships in your life are encountering problems, there are many approaches you can try to repair or rebuild them. Here are some ways to get started:
- Explore tools and strategies for self-care tips to help you manage your feelings and strategies to help you build stronger relationships.
- Read more about mental health conditions that can be related to relationship problems.
- Take a confidential online screening to see if your symptoms indicate a mental health condition.
- Visit the where to go for help section to find professional help and additional resources.