Relationships of all forms affect the levels of stress in your life. Most college students experience a variety of relationships. Regardless of whether your relationship is a friendship or something more intimate, you should be aware of some tips on how to overcome an abusive relationship if you happen to be in one.

During my time at Salve Regina University, I dealt with abusive relationships firsthand. I had a group of roommates that would torture me on a daily basis. I would wake up to find my clothes strung out the bedroom window hanging down into our neighbor’s yard. I would climb into my bed only to lay down on water balloons and soak my sheets. There were times I would open the door and cut my finger because there were thumbtacks taped to the back of the doorknob.

Halfway through the spring semester of my freshman year, I was confused as to why my hair had developed a rough texture and felt unhealthy. I assumed it was due to the new environment and the water change with it that might be causing my hair not to cooperate.

However, that was not the case. A few months later, my roommates made an announcement at a Freshman outing that I had been showering with laundry detergent as shampoo and conditioner. Everyone laughed and thought it was hysterical. I did not.

In the years since then, I have done research, confided in friends, and received help that allowed myself to overcome the effects of these relationships.

Let me share with you some of what I’ve learned.

Respect yourself. You have to take care of you. There may come a time when you are in a friendship or an intimate relationship, and you are the only one looking out for yourself. Remember who you are, what you have to offer, and what your purpose is.

If you do not feel comfortable with any part of a relationship you are in, talk to someone. True friends and family are your outlets. They will be the ones to help you realize that the healthy choice is to remove yourself from such abusive situations, that you do not deserve to be treated in such a manner.

Do not lose sight of what you are here for and what you want out of college and life. Stay true to Jesus’ teachings and know you are on this Earth for a reason. You are supposed to have the best four years of your life while at school. Do not let anyone take that away from you.

Also remember that if you feel isolated and need someone to talk to, you can always visit Brad Thorne in the Brickley Center.

If you find yourself in a toxic environment, however, know you can overcome it. You are so much stronger than you think. And remember:

Never allow the toxicity of others to make you doubt your own sense of self-worth.