Workshop explores warning signs of unhealthy relationships

By Lucretia White/reporter

The most important relationship anyone can have is with themselves. This leads to growth, development and self-love, said a counselor on South Campus.

Candice Richardson was inspired by a former student to conduct a workshop to educate students on the key components of a healthy relationship.

The former student visited Richardson for a counseling session offered to students for free at TCC. After watching her mother being physically abused for many years, the student had no idea what a healthy relationship was. She thought it was normal.

“I recommend this workshop — to all young adults engaged in any relationships — with professors, family, friends or a significant other,” South student Victoria Ford said. “Not many young adults know how to look for signs of an unhealthy relationship or know what a healthy relationship is.”

When engaged in an intimate relationship, setting boundaries and respecting people’s personal space is important.

“The foundation of any relationship is based upon communication, so love is respect and respect is communication,” Richardson said.

Speaking up when upset about something instead of hiding concerns shows respect for each other. When engaged in disagreements, although a natural part of a healthy relationship, it is important to compromise. Offering reassurance and encouragement to each other provides support to each other needs, Richardson said.

“I’ve been in a relationship for six years,” South student Sabrina Zarate said. “Our relationship suffers from lack of communication and setting boundaries. Attending this workshop helped me regain the fundamentals of a healthy relationship.”

Without setting boundaries, space and privacy can be violated. Unhealthy relationships are based on power and control, Richardson said. Possessiveness, insults, humiliation and pushing can lead to an abusive relationship.

“Relationships are not supposed to hurt,” Richardson said. “Love is supposed to feel good.”

However, disagreements are OK.

“In every relationship, you should have a fight, not a physical fight,” she said.

She encouraged students to fight fair by emotionally and intelligently expressing their feelings. The first step to remaining civil is finding the right time to talk and avoiding text messages. Richardson warned not to address one’s significant other when emotionally upset because it can come out explosive.

In order to be happy with anyone else, it is important to be happy first, she said.