On tonight’s finale episode of “Real World: Skeletons,” a physical altercation between Nicole and Jason highlights an uncomfortable, and often overlooked truth: Domestic violence doesn’t just take place between partners in romantic relationships --- it can happen between friends and roommates too.
LoveIsRespect.org is a resource dedicated to ending relationship abuse and promoting healthy relationships. While a lot of the work they do is around dating, many of key signs of abuse they call out on their website can happen in all types of relationships, and are important to watch out for even between friends.
Everyone Is In Control Of Good Friendships
We see so much fighting on TV and in video games that it may seem normal, but it’s not. And neither is teasing. If a friend is teasing you, and it’s starting to border on harassment, it could also lead to violence.
Every relationship is a balance between power and control, but in abusive relationships, the power and control lies solely in the hands of the abusive person.
Nicole’s reaction to Jason lashing out at her was about regaining her control. By ending the friendship and not talking to him anymore, she sought to regain power -- which is a crucial part of ending the cycle of abuse.
If Nicole’s situation looked familiar to you, you can visit loveisrespect.org to chat with a peer advocate who can help you. If you feel like your friendship might be bordering on abusive, reach out and learn more about your options.
Toxic Relationships And Toxic Substances Don’t Mix
On "The Real World," things can get out of hand when the roommates drink too much. But in the actual real world, things can be even more dangerous, and security guards don’t rush in right away.
According to LoveIsRespect, alcohol can change people’s mood, and cause tempers to flare more easily. Often people don’t remember what they did or said, and blame it on the booze the next morning. However, it is important to remember this does not justify their behavior. Violence is a choice. Whether a person is sober or under the influence they are responsible for their actions.
If you’re friends with someone who gets out of control when they drink too much, some of these excuses might sound familiar:
• “I didn’t mean what I said. I was drunk."
• "I would never hit you sober."
• "Drinking turns me into a different person. That’s not who I really am."
If your friend says anything of these things about their behavior while drunk, it’s only a matter of time until they act that way sober. Your initial reaction might be to get them help, but it is just as important to take care of yourself too, and often that means reconsidering the friendship all together.
Healthy Relationships Are Just Better
Some friendships feel so strong that we overlook the dangers of the roller coaster ride. But here’s the thing -- just like romantic relationships require a certain level of fairness and equality, so do friendships.
Healthy friendships include 3 things:
• Boundaries - This means being able to spend time without each other, doing other things, and not constantly texting about it.
• Honesty and Support -- You should be able to tell your friends how you feel, and they should encourage you to be yourself. If they talk about you behind your back, or question all your choices, they might not have your best interest in mind.
• Respect – Good friendships offer mutual respect of each other’s time, privacy, opinions and beliefs.
Unsure if your relationship is healthy or not? Take the Love Is Respect Healthy Relationship Quiz to find out.
Or, you can talk to someone one-on-one 24/7 by calling 1-866-331-9474