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As a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of trauma and PTSD, I often work with clients on issues that come up in relationships. When someone grows up in an unstable or unhealthy environment, they may be unable to recognize red flags in relationships. It’s important to look at various aspects of your life to determine if you need to devise a safety plan or exit an abusive or toxic relationship. Below are some questions to ask yourself regarding your relationships with yourself and others.

Physical Safety

  • Am I currently in a relationship where I experience physical violence or threats of physical violence?
  • Does my partner hit, slap, kick, push, or use any physical means to control or threaten me?
  • Does my partner threaten to hurt my pets or children?
  • Does my partner drive recklessly?
  • Does my partner engage in smashing, damaging, or stealing your possessions?
  • Does my partner prevent me from sleeping, eating, or meeting my basic needs?
  • Does my partner prevent me from leaving when I want to?
  • Does my partner prevent me from spending time with friends or family?
  • Does my partner coerce me into using drugs or alcohol?
  • Am I afraid of my partner’s history of violence

Emotional Safety

  • Are there people in my life who put me down or call me names?
  • Does my partner lie to me often?
  • Do I feel like I have to hide my true self from my partner?
  • Do I feel that I can’t be truthful with my partner because they may retaliate?
  • Does my partner consider my feelings when making decisions?
  • Does my partner allow me to have privacy?

Psychological Safety

  • Do I act out in self destructive ways?
  • Do I have suicidal feelings?
  • Do I feel in control of my emotions most of the time?
  • Am I overly critical of myself?
  • Do I have areas of my life where I feel content?

Sexual Safety

  • Have I been coerced or forced to engage in sexual activities?
  • Have I been humiliated during sexual activities?
  • Does my partner seek consent before sexual activity?
  • Does my partner touch me in a sexual manner without my permission?
  • Do I feel like my body belongs to me?
  • Do I feel comfortable asking my partner to engage in safe sex practices?
  • Do I feel that others have exploited me in regards to sex?

Financial Safety

  • Does my partner have control over my finances or money?
  • Does my partner give me an allowance or withhold money?
  • Do I continually spend more money than I have?
  • Has my partner stolen money from me or forced me to give him/her money?
  • Am I allowed to make decisions about finances in my relationship?
  • Am I allowed to have my own bank account?
  • Does my partner force me to sign co-signed loans or tax returns?
  • Does my partner prevent me from having a job?

If you are struggling with any of the above it can be helpful to create a safety plan. Having a safety plan is essential in living a violence free life and avoiding interpersonal violence in relationships. Continuing to assess your relationship with yourself and others is essential in order to create a healthy lifestyle.

If you are struggling with safety in relationships or with yourself and would like to know more about Shannon’s services, please reach out today for a free consultation.


Torrance trauma therapist


Bio: Shannon McHenry is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialty focus in childhood trauma, rape and battering, and PTSD. She is a trauma therapist in Los Angeles and works with clients in her offices in Los Feliz and Torrance. Combining clinical experience with a passion to support women in repairing their relationships with themselves and others, she has supported many to create a long-lasting recovery from destructive behaviors. Call Shannon today to book your first appointment.

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