Ok, I have a dilemma. I’m finding it more and more difficult as a responsible woman to help my younger sisters overcome the ‘drama’ of unhealthy relationships. I’m not so sure they’re listening. As founder of a non-profit character-building organization for girls (ages 11-16), I see our young ladies headed down the road of destructive and unhealthy relationships so many times. We have numerous conversations about what a ‘healthy’ one looks like. What I’m finding is many have no idea of how to even begin to define a ‘healthy’ relationship. And what’s worse, I’m not so sure we as adult women know what it is either.
I just sent my 25-yr-old assistant home after she came to work with a swollen eye. I asked her about it and she told me without flinching that her boyfriend ‘elbowed’ her after he didn’t agree with her wanting to go out the night before. I asked her if she thought she deserved it? Her response: “Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to go out.”
I just got off the phone with a homicide detective who’s attending a teen summit I’m hosting tonight on teen violence. He told me the 14 yr old girl who was shot and killed by an 18 yr old girl this week (in Charlotte) had been arguing over a man. A twenty plus year old man!
My dilemma is how long do I keep talking and what do I say now? I know the right thing to do is to explain to the young ladies you are NOT to be defined by a boy; you are to surround yourself with positive people; you need to set a positive example for younger people around you like your sisters, cousins or even your own kids.
I got the script down pretty well, but I’m running out of things to say, especially now when one of my good friends, who is 40+ by the way and is supposed to know better, is ‘in love’ with a man who can never see her on the weekends, and can only stay at HER house.
The rarity of healthy relationships has to be linked to the lack of individuals who are at peace with themselves. I believe it’s impossible to be in a healthy relationship or teach others how to love you if you haven’t learned to love yourself. Should this be our new lesson to teach? Maybe we’ll have to adjust the curriculum on ‘healthy’ relationships and start with ourselves first. Hey, I may be on to something there.
What are your thoughts? How do we empwer each other– those we love, mentor, teach, etc– to be in health relationships? How do we teach that it is better to be alone than abused or ignored or played or whatever? How do we teach men how to be in healthy relationships, too?