I was listening to the radio when the song ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police came on. Of course I sang along with the radio because it’s such a catchy song. As I was singing, I actually began to pay attention to the words and freaked out a little. Just in case you don’t remember, here are the words:
“Every breath you take; every move you make; every bond you break, every step you take I’ll be watching you.”
A little stalker-ish right? So I researched the lyrics to check my hypothesis and I indeed was right. Sting did not mean for this song to be a love song frequently played at weddings. He actually wrote this song after separating from his wife and it is about a possessive lover! Yikes!
Of course it is meant to be sinister. Who would perceive it otherwise? Well I did, along with many others judging from how many times this is played on love song stations and in weddings. Just goes to show how we sometimes fail to distinguish healthy from unhealthy. The words are the same, the tune in the same, but our perception is based on observation, awareness and insight.
If it’s hard for us to recognize healthy versus unhealthy song lyrics, then it’s probably extremely difficult to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships, especially when those relationships are family relationships or friendships.
So what makes a healthy relationship? Lots of things including good communication, mutual respect, trust, and honesty. You are in a healthy relationship if that relationship brings about more joy and happiness than tension and sadness. If that statement doesn’t ring true in one of your relationships then it is unhealthy.
Signs of an unhealthy relationship:
- You often put yourself on the back burner for someone else. You neglect your dreams, passions or even just basic self-care for the sake of another.
- You feel forced to be or act differently.
- Your relationship causes you to have low self-esteem.
- You are not free to express your true thoughts and feelings without fear of repercussions; you find yourself walking on eggshells.
- You build walls of defensiveness to protect yourself.
- You are discouraged from growing other relationships with friends or family.
- You do not trust the person you are in relationship with.
- You experience abuse – verbal, physical, mental or emotional abuse.
Seek help for your relationship when:
- You know you need help but you are embarrassed or fearful to ask for help.
- You are unhappy in the relationship and you are having difficulty getting out.
- You realize you are staying in the relationship because of fear of being alone or because of guilt.
- You consistently find yourself in unhealthy relationships.
The key to a healthy relationship is to stop singing along with the music just because you are familiar with the words. Pay close attention to the words; assess your relationships often. Stop and listen, listen to your gut. Are you happy? Are you safe? Are you free? If the answer is no, then seek help and change your tune.