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← The difference between healthy and unhealthy love

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Showing Revision 10 created 05/17/2019 by Oliver Friedman.

  1. So when you think about a child,
    a close friend, or a romantic partner,
  2. the word "love" probably comes to mind,
  3. and instantly other emotions rush in:
  4. joy and hope,
  5. excitement, trust and security,
  6. and yes, sometimes
    sadness and disappointment.
  7. There might not be
    a word in the dictionary
  8. that more of us
    are connected to than love.
  9. Yet, given its central
    importance in our lives,

  10. isn't it interesting that we're never
    explicitly taught how to love?
  11. We build friendships,
  12. navigate early romantic relationships,
  13. get married and bring babies
    home from the hospital
  14. with the expectation
    that we'll figure it out.
  15. But the truth is, we often
    harm and disrespect the ones we love.
  16. It can be subtle things
  17. like guilting a friend
    into spending time with you
  18. or sneaking a peak at your partner's texts
  19. or shaming a child
    for their lack of effort at school.
  20. 100 percent of us
    will be on the receiving end
  21. of unhealthy relationship behaviors
  22. and 100 percent of us
    will do unhealthy things.
  23. It's part of being human.
  24. In its worst form,
    the harm we inflict on loved ones
  25. shows up as abuse and violence,
  26. and relationship abuse
  27. is something that one in three women
    and one in four men
  28. will experience in their lifetime.
  29. Now, if you're like most people,
    when you hear those stats,
  30. you'll go, "Oh, no, no, no,
    that would never happen to me."
  31. It's instinctual to move away
    from the words "abuse" and "violence,"
  32. to think that they happen
    to someone else somewhere else.
  33. But the truth is, unhealthy relationships
    and abuse are all around us.
  34. We just call them different things
    and ignore the connection.
  35. Abuse sneaks up on us
    disguised in unhealthy love.
  36. I work for an organization called One Love

  37. started by a family whose daughter
    Yeardley was killed by her ex-boyfriend.
  38. This was a tragedy no one saw coming,
  39. but when they looked back,
    they realized the warning signs were there
  40. just no one understood
    what they were seeing.
  41. Called crazy or drama
    or too much drinking,
  42. his actions weren't understood
    to be what they really were,
  43. which was clear signs of danger.
  44. Her family realized that if anyone
    had been educated about these signs,
  45. her death could have been prevented.
  46. So today we're on a mission to make sure
  47. that others have the information
    that Yeardley and her friends didn't.
  48. We have three main goals:
  49. give all of us a language
    for talking about a subject
  50. that's quite awkward
    and uncomfortable to discuss;
  51. empower a whole front line,
    namely friends, to help;
  52. and, in the process, improve
    all of our ability to love better.
  53. To do this, it's always important
    to start by illuminating

  54. the unhealthy signs
    that we frequently miss,
  55. and our work really focuses
    on creating content
  56. to start conversations with young people.
  57. As you'd expect, most of our content
    is pretty serious,
  58. given the subject at hand,
  59. but today I'm going to use
    one of our more light-hearted
  60. yet still thought-provoking pieces,
  61. "The Couplets,"
  62. to illuminate five markers
    of unhealthy love.
  63. The first is intensity.

  64. (Video) Blue: I haven't seen you
    in a couple days. I've missed you.

  65. Orange: I've missed you too. (#thatslove)

  66. Blue: I haven't seen you in five minutes.
    It feels like a lifetime.

  67. What have you been doing
    without me for five whole minutes?
  68. Orange: It's been three minutes.
    (#thatsnotlove)

  69. Katie Hood: Anybody recognize that?
    I don't know. I do.

  70. Abusive relationships
    don't start out abusive.
  71. They start out exciting and exhilarating.
  72. There's an intensity
    of affection and emotion, a rush.
  73. It feels really good.
  74. You feel so lucky,
    like you've hit the jackpot.
  75. But in unhealthy love,
    these feelings shift over time
  76. from exciting to overwhelming
    and maybe a little bit suffocating.
  77. You feel it in your gut.
  78. Maybe it's when your
    new boyfriend or girlfriend
  79. says "I love you"
    faster than you were ready for
  80. or starts showing up everywhere,
    texting and calling a lot.
  81. Maybe they're impatient
    when you're slow to respond,
  82. even though they know
    you had other things going on that day.
  83. It's important to remember that it's not
    how a relationship starts that matters,
  84. it's how it evolves.
  85. It's important in the early days
    of a new relationship
  86. to pay attention to how you're feeling.
  87. Are you comfortable
    with the pace of intimacy?
  88. Do you feel like you have space
    and room to breathe?
  89. It's also really important
    to start practicing using your voice
  90. to talk about your own needs.
  91. Are your requests respected?
  92. A second marker is isolation.

  93. (Video) Orange 2: Want to hang out?

  94. Orange 1: Me and my boyfriend
    always have Monday Funday.

  95. Orange 2: Want to hang out?

  96. Orange 1: Me and my boyfriend
    always have Monday Funday.

  97. Orange 2: Tomorrow?
    Orange 1: It's our Tuesday Snooze Day.

  98. Orange 2: Wednesday?
    Orange 1: No Friends Day.

  99. KH: If you ask me, isolation
    is one of the most frequently missed

  100. and misunderstood signs of unhealthy love.
  101. Why?
  102. Because every new relationship
    starts out with this intense desire
  103. to spend time together,
  104. it's easy to miss when something shifts.
  105. Isolation creeps in
    when your new boyfriend or girlfriend
  106. starts pulling you away
    from your friends and family,
  107. your support system,
  108. and tethering you more tightly to them.
  109. They might say things like,
  110. "Why do you hang out with them?
    They're such losers"
  111. about your best friends,
  112. or, "They want us to break up.
    They're totally against us"
  113. about your family.
  114. Isolation is about sowing seeds of doubt
  115. about everyone from
    your prerelationship life.
  116. Healthy love includes independence,
  117. two people who love spending time together
  118. but who stay connected to the people
    and activities they cared about before.
  119. While at first you might spend
    every waking minute together,
  120. over time maintaining independence is key.
  121. You do this by making plans with friends
    and sticking to them
  122. and encouraging your partner
    to do the same.
  123. A third marker of unhealthy love
    is extreme jealousy.

  124. (Video) Blue 2:
    What are you so happy about?

  125. Blue 1: She just started
    following me on Instagram!

  126. Blue 2: What are you so nervous about?

  127. Blue 1: She, she just started
    following me, like, everywhere.

  128. (#thatsnotlove)

  129. KH: As the honeymoon period
    begins to fade,

  130. extreme jealousy can creep in.
  131. Your partner might become more demanding,
  132. needing to know where you are
    and who you're with all the time,
  133. or they might start following you
    everywhere, online and off.
  134. Extreme jealousy also brings with it
    possessiveness and mistrust,
  135. frequent accusations
    of flirting with other people or cheating,
  136. and refusal to listen to you
    when you tell them
  137. they have nothing to worry about
    and that you only love them.
  138. Jealousy is a part
    of any human relationship,
  139. but extreme jealousy is different.
  140. There's a threatening, desperate
    and angry edge to it.
  141. Love shouldn't feel like this.
  142. A fourth marker is belittling.

  143. (Video) Blue: Wanna hang out?
    Orange: I gotta study.

  144. Blue: You'll get an A anyway,
    A for amazing. (#thatslove)

  145. Blue: Wanna hang out?
    Orange: I gotta study.

  146. Blue: You'll get an F anyway,

  147. F for, F for... stupid. (#thatsnotlove)
  148. KH: Yeah, hmm.

  149. In unhealthy love,
    words are used as weapons.
  150. Conversations that used to be
    fun and lighthearted
  151. turn mean and embarrassing.
  152. Maybe your partner makes fun of you
    in a way that hurts,
  153. or maybe they tell stories and jokes
    for laughs at your expense.
  154. When you try to explain
    that your feelings have been hurt,
  155. they shut you down
    and accuse you of overreacting.
  156. "Why are you so sensitive?
    What's your problem. Give me a break."
  157. You are silenced by these words.
  158. It seems pretty obvious,
    but your partner should have your back.
  159. Their words should build you up,
    not break you down.
  160. They should keep
    your secrets and be loyal.
  161. They should make you feel more confident,
  162. not less.
  163. Finally, a fifth marker: volatility.

  164. (Video) Orange 1:
    I'd be sad if we broke up.

  165. Orange 2: I'd be sad too. (#thatslove)

  166. Orange 1: I'd so depressed
    if we ever broke up.

  167. I'd throw myself off this step.
  168. I would! Don't try to stop me!
  169. (#thatsnotlove)

  170. KH: Frequent breakups and makeups,
    high highs and low lows:

  171. as tension rises, so does volatility.
  172. Tearful, frustrated fights
    followed by emotional makeups,
  173. hateful and hurtful comments like,
  174. "You're worthless,
    I'm not even sure why I'm with you!"
  175. followed quickly by apologies
    and promises it will never happen again.
  176. By this point, you've been so conditioned
    to this relationship roller coaster
  177. that you may not realize how unhealthy
    and maybe even dangerous
  178. your relationship has become.
  179. It can be really hard to see

  180. when unhealthy love turns towards abuse,
  181. but it's fair to say
    that the more of these markers
  182. your relationship might have,
  183. the more unhealthy and maybe dangerous
    your relationship could be.
  184. And if your instinct is
    to break up and leave,
  185. which is advice
    so many of us give our friends
  186. when they're in unhealthy relationships,
  187. that's not always the best advice.
  188. Time of breakup can be
    a real trigger for violence.
  189. If you fear you might be
    headed towards abuse or in abuse,
  190. you need to consult with experts
    to get the advice on how to leave safely.
  191. But it's not just
    about romantic relationships

  192. and it's not just about violence.
  193. Understanding the signs of unhealthy love
  194. can help you audit and understand
    nearly every relationship in your life.
  195. For the first time, you might understand
    why you're disappointed in a friendship
  196. or why every interaction
    with a certain family member
  197. leaves you discouraged and anxious.
  198. You might even begin to see
    how your own intensity and jealousy
  199. is causing problems
    with colleagues at work.
  200. Understanding is
    the first step to improving,
  201. and while you can't make
    every unhealthy relationship healthy --
  202. some you're going
    to have to leave behind --
  203. you can do your part every day
    to do relationships better.
  204. And here's the exciting news:
  205. it's actually not rocket science.
  206. Open communication, mutual respect,
  207. kindness, patience --
  208. we can practice these things every day.
  209. And while practice
    will definitely make you better,

  210. I have to promise you
    it's also not going to make you perfect.
  211. I do this for a living
  212. and every day I think and talk
    about healthy relationships,
  213. and still I do unhealthy things.
  214. Just the other day as I was trying
    to shuttle my four kids out the door
  215. amidst quarreling, squabbling
    and complaints about breakfast,
  216. I completely lost it.
  217. With an intentionally angry edge,
  218. I screamed,
  219. "Everybody just shut up and do what I say!
  220. You are the worst!
  221. I am going to take away
    screen time and dessert
  222. and anything else you could possibly
    ever enjoy in life!"
  223. (Laughter)

  224. Anybody been there?

  225. (Applause)

  226. Volatility, belittling.

  227. My oldest son turned around
    and looked at me, and said,
  228. "Mom, that's not love."
  229. (Laughter)

  230. For a minute, I really wanted
    to kill him for calling me out.

  231. Trust me.
  232. But then I gathered myself
  233. and I thought, you know what,
    I'm actually proud.
  234. I'm proud that he has a language
    to make me pause.
  235. I want all of my kids to understand
    what the bar should be
  236. for how they're treated
  237. and to have a language and a voice
    to use when that bar is not met
  238. versus just accepting it.
  239. For too long, we've treated
    relationships as a soft topic,
  240. when relationship skills
    are one of the most important
  241. and hard to build things in life.
  242. Not only can understanding unhealthy signs
  243. help you avoid the rabbit hole
    that leads to unhealthy love,
  244. but understanding and practicing
    the art of being healthy
  245. can improve nearly
    every aspect of your life.
  246. I'm completely convinced
  247. that while love is
    an instinct and an emotion,
  248. the ability to love better
    is a skill we can all build
  249. and improve on over time.
  250. Thank you.

  251. (Applause)