The difference between healthy and unhealthy love | Katie Hood

The difference between healthy and unhealthy love | Katie Hood

So when you think about a child,
a close friend, or a romantic partner, the word “love” probably comes to mind, and instantly other emotions rush in: joy and hope, excitement, trust and security, and yes, sometimes
sadness and disappointment. There might not be
a word in the dictionary that more of us
are connected to than love. Yet, given its central
importance in our lives, isn’t it interesting that we’re never
explicitly taught how to love? We build friendships, navigate early romantic relationships, get married and bring babies
home from the hospital with the expectation
that we’ll figure it out. But the truth is, we often
harm and disrespect the ones we love. It can be subtle things like guilting a friend
into spending time with you or sneaking a peak at your partner’s texts or shaming a child
for their lack of effort at school. 100 percent of us
will be on the receiving end of unhealthy relationship behaviors and 100 percent of us
will do unhealthy things. It’s part of being human. In its worst form,
the harm we inflict on loved ones shows up as abuse and violence, and relationship abuse is something that one in three women
and one in four men will experience in their lifetime. Now, if you’re like most people,
when you hear those stats, you’ll go, “Oh, no, no, no,
that would never happen to me.” It’s instinctual to move away
from the words “abuse” and “violence,” to think that they happen
to someone else somewhere else. But the truth is, unhealthy relationships
and abuse are all around us. We just call them different things
and ignore the connection. Abuse sneaks up on us
disguised in unhealthy love. I work for an organization called One Love started by a family whose daughter
Yeardley was killed by her ex-boyfriend. This was a tragedy no one saw coming, but when they looked back,
they realized the warning signs were there just no one understood
what they were seeing. Called crazy or drama
or too much drinking, his actions weren’t understood
to be what they really were, which was clear signs of danger. Her family realized that if anyone
had been educated about these signs, her death could have been prevented. So today we’re on a mission to make sure that others have the information
that Yeardley and her friends didn’t. We have three main goals: give all of us a language
for talking about a subject that’s quite awkward
and uncomfortable to discuss; empower a whole front line,
namely friends, to help; and, in the process, improve
all of our ability to love better. To do this, it’s always important
to start by illuminating the unhealthy signs
that we frequently miss, and our work really focuses
on creating content to start conversations with young people. As you’d expect, most of our content
is pretty serious, given the subject at hand, but today I’m going to use
one of our more light-hearted yet still thought-provoking pieces, “The Couplets,” to illuminate five markers
of unhealthy love. The first is intensity. (Video) Blue: I haven’t seen you
in a couple days. I’ve missed you. Orange: I’ve missed you too. (#thatslove) Blue: I haven’t seen you in five minutes.
It feels like a lifetime. What have you been doing
without me for five whole minutes? Orange: It’s been three minutes.
(#thatsnotlove) Katie Hood: Anybody recognize that?
I don’t know. I do. Abusive relationships
don’t start out abusive. They start out exciting and exhilarating. There’s an intensity
of affection and emotion, a rush. It feels really good. You feel so lucky,
like you’ve hit the jackpot. But in unhealthy love,
these feelings shift over time from exciting to overwhelming
and maybe a little bit suffocating. You feel it in your gut. Maybe it’s when your
new boyfriend or girlfriend says “I love you”
faster than you were ready for or starts showing up everywhere,
texting and calling a lot. Maybe they’re impatient
when you’re slow to respond, even though they know
you had other things going on that day. It’s important to remember that it’s not
how a relationship starts that matters, it’s how it evolves. It’s important in the early days
of a new relationship to pay attention to how you’re feeling. Are you comfortable
with the pace of intimacy? Do you feel like you have space
and room to breathe? It’s also really important
to start practicing using your voice to talk about your own needs. Are your requests respected? A second marker is isolation. (Video) Orange 2: Want to hang out? Orange 1: Me and my boyfriend
always have Monday Funday. Orange 2: Want to hang out? Orange 1: Me and my boyfriend
always have Monday Funday. Orange 2: Tomorrow?
Orange 1: It’s our Tuesday Snooze Day. Orange 2: Wednesday?
Orange 1: No Friends Day. KH: If you ask me, isolation
is one of the most frequently missed and misunderstood signs of unhealthy love. Why? Because every new relationship
starts out with this intense desire to spend time together, it’s easy to miss when something shifts. Isolation creeps in
when your new boyfriend or girlfriend starts pulling you away
from your friends and family, your support system, and tethering you more tightly to them. They might say things like, “Why do you hang out with them?
They’re such losers” about your best friends, or, “They want us to break up.
They’re totally against us” about your family. Isolation is about sowing seeds of doubt about everyone from
your prerelationship life. Healthy love includes independence, two people who love spending time together but who stay connected to the people
and activities they cared about before. While at first you might spend
every waking minute together, over time maintaining independence is key. You do this by making plans with friends
and sticking to them and encouraging your partner
to do the same. A third marker of unhealthy love
is extreme jealousy. (Video) Blue 2:
What are you so happy about? Blue 1: She just started
following me on Instagram! Blue 2: What are you so nervous about? Blue 1: She, she just started
following me, like, everywhere. (#thatsnotlove) KH: As the honeymoon period
begins to fade, extreme jealousy can creep in. Your partner might become more demanding, needing to know where you are
and who you’re with all the time, or they might start following you
everywhere, online and off. Extreme jealousy also brings with it
possessiveness and mistrust, frequent accusations
of flirting with other people or cheating, and refusal to listen to you
when you tell them they have nothing to worry about
and that you only love them. Jealousy is a part
of any human relationship, but extreme jealousy is different. There’s a threatening, desperate
and angry edge to it. Love shouldn’t feel like this. A fourth marker is belittling. (Video) Blue: Wanna hang out?
Orange: I gotta study. Blue: You’ll get an A anyway,
A for amazing. (#thatslove) Blue: Wanna hang out?
Orange: I gotta study. Blue: You’ll get an F anyway, F for, F for… stupid. (#thatsnotlove) KH: Yeah, hmm. In unhealthy love,
words are used as weapons. Conversations that used to be
fun and lighthearted turn mean and embarrassing. Maybe your partner makes fun of you
in a way that hurts, or maybe they tell stories and jokes
for laughs at your expense. When you try to explain
that your feelings have been hurt, they shut you down
and accuse you of overreacting. “Why are you so sensitive?
What’s your problem. Give me a break.” You are silenced by these words. It seems pretty obvious,
but your partner should have your back. Their words should build you up,
not break you down. They should keep
your secrets and be loyal. They should make you feel more confident, not less. Finally, a fifth marker: volatility. (Video) Orange 1:
I’d be sad if we broke up. Orange 2: I’d be sad too. (#thatslove) Orange 1: I’d so depressed
if we ever broke up. I’d throw myself off this step. I would! Don’t try to stop me! (#thatsnotlove) KH: Frequent breakups and makeups,
high highs and low lows: as tension rises, so does volatility. Tearful, frustrated fights
followed by emotional makeups, hateful and hurtful comments like, “You’re worthless,
I’m not even sure why I’m with you!” followed quickly by apologies
and promises it will never happen again. By this point, you’ve been so conditioned
to this relationship roller coaster that you may not realize how unhealthy
and maybe even dangerous your relationship has become. It can be really hard to see when unhealthy love turns towards abuse, but it’s fair to say
that the more of these markers your relationship might have, the more unhealthy and maybe dangerous
your relationship could be. And if your instinct is
to break up and leave, which is advice
so many of us give our friends when they’re in unhealthy relationships, that’s not always the best advice. Time of breakup can be
a real trigger for violence. If you fear you might be
headed towards abuse or in abuse, you need to consult with experts
to get the advice on how to leave safely. But it’s not just
about romantic relationships and it’s not just about violence. Understanding the signs of unhealthy love can help you audit and understand
nearly every relationship in your life. For the first time, you might understand
why you’re disappointed in a friendship or why every interaction
with a certain family member leaves you discouraged and anxious. You might even begin to see
how your own intensity and jealousy is causing problems
with colleagues at work. Understanding is
the first step to improving, and while you can’t make
every unhealthy relationship healthy — some you’re going
to have to leave behind — you can do your part every day
to do relationships better. And here’s the exciting news: it’s actually not rocket science. Open communication, mutual respect, kindness, patience — we can practice these things every day. And while practice
will definitely make you better, I have to promise you
it’s also not going to make you perfect. I do this for a living and every day I think and talk
about healthy relationships, and still I do unhealthy things. Just the other day as I was trying
to shuttle my four kids out the door amidst quarreling, squabbling
and complaints about breakfast, I completely lost it. With an intentionally angry edge, I screamed, “Everybody just shut up and do what I say! You are the worst! I am going to take away
screen time and dessert and anything else you could possibly
ever enjoy in life!” (Laughter) Anybody been there? (Applause) Volatility, belittling. My oldest son turned around
and looked at me, and said, “Mom, that’s not love.” (Laughter) For a minute, I really wanted
to kill him for calling me out. Trust me. But then I gathered myself and I thought, you know what,
I’m actually proud. I’m proud that he has a language
to make me pause. I want all of my kids to understand
what the bar should be for how they’re treated and to have a language and a voice
to use when that bar is not met versus just accepting it. For too long, we’ve treated
relationships as a soft topic, when relationship skills
are one of the most important and hard to build things in life. Not only can understanding unhealthy signs help you avoid the rabbit hole
that leads to unhealthy love, but understanding and practicing
the art of being healthy can improve nearly
every aspect of your life. I’m completely convinced that while love is
an instinct and an emotion, the ability to love better
is a skill we can all build and improve on over time. Thank you. (Applause)

Daniel Yohans

100 thoughts on “The difference between healthy and unhealthy love | Katie Hood

  1. Feben Tesfaye says:

    Haha she might as well shown clips of Ross and Rachel from Friends.

    Great video though, made me self analyze.

  2. Châu Anh Nguyễn says:

    It is very important

  3. Xtinaa94 says:

    My ex felt overwhelmed and suffocated. My issue was definitely jealousy/ possessiveness. It wasn’t extreme but it was definitely there. I’m hoping I never make the same mistakes again and ruin another amazing relationship.

  4. Chris Mar Balbuena says:


  5. Issa shidiye says:

    so important and be introduced in schools

  6. Xingyuan Zhao says:

    Really appreciate the inclusion of transgender and homosexual population in the volatility animation.

  7. skylar says:

    Unreliability and inconsistency creating insecurity is a big one too

  8. Precious Ayawei says:

    This talk is interesting and very informative. Thank you

  9. Gonzalo Aros Cortés says:

    Sometimes the fear to be alone or the need to be loved make us allow a lot of things. So many times we don't even see or we don't want to see the sings and it's really important to know how to recognize them and do something. You have to love and respect yourself first and then give love, a healthy love for others.

  10. abdurion says:

    jokes on you I can't talk to girls

  11. Maria Papavasili says:

    I saw myself in some of these habits. I’m glad I saw this. What a great video.

  12. J. Flanagan says:

    Thanks for making it clear that leaving is not always a safe option.

  13. J. Flanagan says:

    Me thinks these things in relationship to self first is more important than with anyone else, as not everyone else is as willing to go educate themselves in these matters, let alone practice. Especially in already unhealthy situations.

  14. prandava says:

    A thing I learned is ''if you feel that something just isn't right, it probably isn't.'' And if you feel anxious because of *someone*, it isn't right for you, no matter how much you love the person. The highs are not worth the downs, and as time passes, there are less and less highs and only deeper downs. You're just going to end up stuck in a vicious cycle of feeling depressed and unworthy.

  15. loopyfoodable says:

    Knowing the signs of an unhealthy relationship is one thing, but noticing how you feel and paying attention to the subtle day to day changes in mood are important too. It is scary how a relationship slowly evolves into abuse and violence. Be mindful. Real love is not blinding.

  16. Kb Flawless says:

    I really needed to hear everything this woman just stated. Thank you!!!!!!!

  17. Wendy G. says:

    Sounds like narcissistic abuse. 😔

  18. DarthYuYevon says:

    I immediately stopped taking this seriously the second she said, "we aren't taught how to love". It's the same as being frustrated about how we're not taught how to laugh or be sad "correctly". These are natural emotions, not social constructs. We a not Blank Slates. The issue is not about teaching people how to love. It's about teaching people to not be jerks, and that everyone has their own idea of what jerk-ish behavior is. We must be considerate and willing enough to understand the people we love, and the people we love need to understand us which are the people they love. But there is no feminist rooted, cookie cutter approach to this.
    And part of the problem is when speakers like her claim to know what is universally "healthy", instead of realizing that everyone has their own natural feeling of what is "healthy" to them. The people who love each other have to figure out what is "healthy" for them as two people with this loving connection, not force one person's idea of "healthy" on all people equally. We are not robots.

  19. DarthYuYevon says:

    One example, based on my previous post, of her pushing false ideas of what is unhealthy, is when she describes being clingy as being unhealthy in a relationship. Clingy may be unhealthy to her and many others, however it's completely naturally healthy for some people and couples. Her claiming that it's unhealthy actually adds to the unhealthy state of the culture when it comes to relationships. In truth, being clinging is only unhealthy when one person is clingy, and the other person isn't, and vice versa. It's a compatibility issue, not, 'my way is healthy and your way is not and my group agrees so it must be true'.

  20. krista anderson says:

    My boyfriend just ended a serious relationship with me. Two years together living together everything. After watching this video I have come to the conclusion that if I was him I would have left too. I was abusive to him: not physically but I did ever single one of those things she described. The guilt that I feel is unbearable and I don’t know how to cope. You can love someone and think you are good but your actions say otherwise. I pray he heals. He didn’t deserve it. Any advice to people who are the abusers. I never want to hurt another soul again.

  21. RALUCA P_ says:

    It's so important to be able to recognize these signs of unhealthy love! God, knowing them sooner would have saved me a lot of grief…

  22. Gal Xy says:


  23. L.A. RISSA says:

    everyone should see this

  24. Aethereal says:

    Man, I've done several of these things. 🙁 And others have been done to me.

  25. acali sweetheart says:

    I was in an eight year abusive relationship. I have four children. At first he didn't abuse them. Just me. Then it was them to. I'd call the local police, they'd come out and say to me and my kids that we were lying, he's such a great guy, I was the abuser by lying to my kids about the abuse. Until Nov. 2017. He kicked my then 7 year old son with autism in the face for getting into candy and being to loud, he knocked out a tooth
    Cps now have my children. They have been separated and moved into nine different homes. They need medications and therapy. I was supposed to get them back but cps changed their mind, I now have trial August 7 to decide if I get them back. Mind you I have completed my case plan successfully, and have great visits. But they still don't trust me. He's moved on and is dating, they still dont trust me. If only the police or the local womans shelter would have helped all those times I called. If only someone had believed me before it was too late. I live with if onlys. Don't do it
    If you have kids get out before you loose them forever

  26. Kei Tazaki says:

    I'm sorry,and thank you for giving up on me. I promise I will be better next time.

  27. Lisa ODierno says:

    Friends are ok but NOT too many! You should not neglect your partner. Also single activities and behaviors are for single people. Relationship behaviors for when you are in a committed relationship.

  28. cocofangle says:

    My ex used to belittle me 🙁

  29. Shams Queeen says:

    I didn't even realize that my husband was clingy until my friend told me that he is clingy. I was denial at first but then i look back at what he usually does and realized that he is clingy and it's unhealthy for my side.

  30. Shams Queeen says:

    I am guilty of #4. Im gonna try to change it

  31. Raluca Buta says:

    Amazing presentation!! Loved it 😀

  32. Jacob Moreno says:

    I loved this video in the healthiest way possible. Well done

  33. Sachi Wachi says:

    she's a great speaker!

  34. Ted Sterrett says:


  35. Veronika V says:

    I don't know…is it just me that these examples are so obvious. Jelousy? really? never heard this one before 🙂

  36. Tory Henderson says:

    Can you imagine if a man followed all those “healthy love steps”

  37. Erin Lee says:

    This is very basic.

  38. ylsflv says:

    "In unhealthy love, words are used as weapons"

    Sighs, this hit home, sorry to my ex's

  39. Jung Hee says:

    When you’re in doubt, look at his/her friends. Are they kind, loyal, optimistic, loving? He/ she is usually the average of the friends they have.

  40. aariez says:

    All my past relationships have been unhealthy and I only left till they cheated on me. If I would have known this before, they would have not made it pass the 2nd month!

  41. Elena Kostyreva says:

    ok but how do you start changing and becoming a better person in relationships?

  42. Victoria Collins says:

    I'm glad I watched this video because I show these signs and i need therapy.

  43. Beatriz Matuco says:

    11:23 "I want all of my kids to understand what the bar should be for how they're treated and to have a language and a voice to use when that bar is not met versus just accepting it."

  44. Princess Aujie Montante says:

    I'm happy with the information shared.

  45. Tay Hurt says:

    One of the best ted talks I’ve seen. Very enjoyable and completely explanatory. Loved it

  46. Nicky Wilson says:

    Wow. why was every trait mentioned a part of my past relationship.

  47. Amy says:

    This is a great talk!

  48. Nokwanda Dlamini says:

    my boyfriend gets upset with me when i cuddle with my teddy bear.

  49. Douglas Smith says:

    OMG…. wish I had seen this 8 years ago… so much of it resonates with the abusive relationship I found myself in. seeing these signs at the time at the start was difficult until it ended with police being called to my home! – too much time wasted in a toxic relationship.

  50. mea my says:

    Its not about how the relationship started, its about how it evolved

  51. Kathleen Donahue says:

    You are describing Narcissistic Abuse

  52. Matt Kim says:

    Honestly thought it said food instead of love

  53. Kajeczkaa says:

    Big thanks for this video, was a pleasure to listen and learn. Greetings from Estonia 🇪🇪 🤗

  54. InnaAllStar says:

    Wow this is exactly what happened with my 5 year narcissist ex. Missed signs of the disorder but these signs I really feel like I should have known. Teach this in school!

  55. Chip Dixon says:

    or try not to get feelings for other girls while ya having a girlfriend or a fiance and stop obsessing over them I guess

  56. Tast3ful says:

    Very insightful

  57. change of seen says:

    The most important relationship is the one with the self.

  58. Nina Sullivan says:

    Thank you.

  59. Satsui Nohado says:

    This generation is doomed

  60. Ana Lugo says:

    Your son called you out 🤣💯 you raised him right 💪 I’m taking this advise thanks needed this hope everyone does too

  61. Girl Oscar-Wilde says:

    I sat here and wrote a chronological story to go along with #1-5, matching my most recent relationship. It’s crazy—you want to love someone so badly, and to earn their love so badly, that if they slowly morph from a kind and flirtatious admirer who seems like they’re just playing a bit hard to get into someone who constantly doubts and denigrates you/your relationship, you put up with it (if your self esteem is low enough, I guess). We were stuck in an endless loop of conflicts and make-ups—our very own sick, little world. And the worst part is it really hurts not to have her around anymore, even though I know she was awful for me. Because all those words of “I love you deeply” and “You changed my life forever” are what feel the best to remember.

  62. Myishen Haines says:

    I've been abused all of my life…and have been the abuser in the past at times. It's all I knew. Now I recognize what unhealthy love looks like. It's still a struggle for me, however, to set boundaries when I see red flags because most of my abusers used gaslighting as a way to make me think the mistreatment was all in my head.

  63. Allie F says:

    I read this title as “The difference between healthy and unhealthy food” so yeah that really shows where my head is at

  64. viata vy says:

    we need to fix ourselves first before the relationship

  65. Keitrina Mair says:

    Before people jump to the conclusion of being the “unhealthy person” first ask your self about the environment of the relationship. Was there any cheating you’re partner was doing. Were they honest or always told big and small lies? Don’t be too quick to be harsh on yourself without doing a full evaluation. U probably could been a healthy person if you were with a healthy person.

  66. Lin K says:

    This talk impacted me so much and opened my eyes to a lot, I’m really sad I ended the relationship but after watching this it validates that it was the right choice

  67. wendy renteria says:

    this was my ex.. and he still made me feel like the bad guy when we broke up

  68. neworleans 1990 says:

    no such thing as unhealthy love because love isn’t unhealthy

  69. 2nd Batch IDMVS says:


  70. Kei Sith says:

    Man, abuse can be very subtle, too.

  71. Prism Matthews says:

    I wonder if I’m the toxic one..scratch that.. I know I am. So insecure, volatile, jealous…😢 I’ve got to get myself all the way together. I guess I’ve required too much from people in the past. I am healing these issues. I’m committed to it. I’m learning these skills at 35, in 2019.

  72. Angela Y Zou says:

    This is like 98% of relationships nowadays. High highs and low lows, break ups then make ups.. Open communication does not matter much if there’s no comprehension.

  73. izzy downing says:

    I realize I have some unhealthy love, things I need to change. And so does he, I see that I need to try and follow more healthy habits.
    This is going to be hard and I may not be able to save this relationship but I plan to better myself.

  74. Amy Beaulieu says:

    Thank you for confirming that I have finally found healthy love. On both ends. We aren’t perfect, but we work on things! 🥳

  75. naresh kini says:

    5 markers:

    Extreme jealousy

  76. Margaret Mager says:

    Great talk Katie! In every way

  77. Nakasi says:

    This ted talk really reveals the truth of abusive relationship…. people need to watch this.

  78. A D says:

    Powerful truth..thank you!

  79. Rich Lineman says:

    I recently found out my wife of 3 months has been talking to an “old friend” for over a year. She did not want to own up to it so I use profanity & put her down which looking back on it, kills me. Not only that, she left me hanging without any answers for a whole week while she stood with her parents. I had to vent & find stuff out. In turn I ended up telling too many people my situation & I wanna work it out. I NEED ADVICE!!

  80. C Connelly says:

    Why shouldn't you look at your partners texts? If you have nothing to hide, there shouldn't be a problem.

  81. Flor Oliveto says:

    She has Phoebe Buffay's voice 😵

  82. Nicholas Tummillo says:

    To call something “unhealthy love” is wrong. It gives the misconception that this is a form of love. This is not love, it’s control! Love is a verb, words (such as I love you) are empty and meaningless if not backed up by action. Love is not an instinct or an emotion either, it’s a CHOICE…

  83. Max Soul says:

    Remember though, a narcassit will also trick you into thinking that you are the dangerous jealous one while in fact it's the other way around. And they will make themselves appear one way to others, usually charming and abuse you at home to feel like nothing. Sometimes they will start on children to twist it up some more in the home. Narcissistic abuse can spiral down so deal making a victim even more of a victim. And broken for any good relationship in the future. Just as most narcassits want. You belong to them or nobody. That's the point of manipulation. It's toxic. It can ruin and destroy people's lives for many many years. Choose your words carefully. Just cause it may appear one way on the outside doesn't mean it's actually that way. There was a man who convinced an entire community to commit suicide. Remember jonestown. If one can do that what can one or two to a person behind closed doors and isolated away. I've experience this type of narcissistic abuse more than once. Still recovering.

  84. Chelsa Layton says:

    I love this talk but thank god we don’t teach people how to love

  85. geosanchez96 says:

    Yeah it’s called having a heart……

  86. Santiago Nieto says:

    I realized I do some of this, how do I change myself?

  87. Kremzupa says:

    This is only one type of toxic.

  88. QcMaggie says:

    I need to work on one issue,

    I was cheated on for so long by my ex and now im scared, i get nervous when he goes out but i let him go and encourage him to have fun.

    I also tend to rather be with him than with friends when i have the choice/option.

    I dont want to suffocate him, thanks for the video 👌🏻

    Ps. I already let him do his things and me mine, i have for a long time, so its going great

  89. Sav Jonsa says:

    This is so wonderful.

  90. YouTube Lm says:

    I am friends with her daughter, Finley hood and I see her mom a lot in town

  91. Ronny jr says:

    No one wants to watch this it's a woman.

  92. osh kosh be josh says:


  93. Dillon Hamilton says:

    Even as a joke, “For a moment, I really wanted to kill him.”… when taking about your own child… is something I could never begin to empathize with. The mere fact that her thought process could even direct her to that extreme, even as fantasy, is very telling. Any wisdom from this talk is self-evident. The most telling information from this is to be learned from something deeper than the intended surface understanding.

  94. Harley Quinn says:


  95. Petya Haralanova says:

    See the thing is… I was in an abusive relationship and they make me seem too sensitive and obsessive.

  96. Ordinary Dev says:

    I don't know what is love. But it is really beautiful experience of life. Love makes us more alive

  97. Priya Srivastava says:

    I wish I would have seen this video a long time ago.

  98. Paul Rice says:

    I hate efax they are a poor dysfunctional company in India 🇮🇳

  99. stay positive says:

    Thank you for this, you're amazing

  100. rafaella rose says:

    Why do people say, "I wanted to kill him." That seems like a pretty radical aggression that I've always found to be way too over the top and sadly, accepted as an innocent expression.

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