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Good health and healthy relationships

Do your patients have healthy relationships based on trust and respect or are they caught in abusive ones? It is important to talk to your patients about their relationships because living in a stressful environment can have a direct impact on their health. Your patients may feel nervous and scared. They may feel they do not deserve better because they have been made to feel they are not good enough. They may be made to do things they do not want to do and be made to feel like they are at fault for their partner’s behavior.

Let them know that sometimes abusive relationships can start just like healthy ones, full of love, excitement and romance. Abusive relationships have good times and bad times and it can be very confusing and painful when there is love mixed with abuse.

Talk to your patients about what a good relationship looks like. Let them know that in a healthy relationship you can be yourself, have different opinions and interests, listen and trust each other and talk arguments out.

Give patients the warning signs of abusive relationships including extreme jealousy, threats, name-calling, possessiveness and shouting. It is important that they know that most often these behaviors can escalate to physical abuse and/or forced sex.

Remind your patients that if they are in a healthy, loving relationship, they will be treated with respect and feel valued and free to be themselves. They should not be made to feel intimidated or controlled. Someone who loves them should help them feel good about themselves. No one has the right to abuse and make someone feel bad or confused. Let them know their feelings and safety are important.