Mary Todd, director of the K-State Women’s Center, began her SafeZone training Wednesday with an anecdote about a former love. He started their relationship after telling her it was nice to meet a woman with “half a brain,” and at the end of the relationship, after she realized he was married, said he had told her she only had half a brain.
In Todd’s presentation, “Avoiding Unhealthy Relationships,” she said people in relationships need to be comfortable with themselves first.
“If you are healthy, you can have healthy relationships,” Todd said. “That’s a concept I’ve grasped after 50 some years.”
She said people who are emotionally sound can get out of bad relationships and keep on the path they want to take in life.
Todd also spoke about the tendency to model unhealthy relationship behavior parents display and said students can work to break the cycle.
“This is to remind you of step one: Get healthy and happy with yourself,” Todd said. “If you get fabulous you will attract the fabulous to yourself.”
Sam Farley, junior in psychology, said he was there as a SafeZone ally and the topic related to his course work.
He said he thought the parts about personality disorders and how they relate to relationships was pretty informative. “I think the point she stresses at the beginning, if you’re healthy yourself you’ll have a healthy relationship, was the best point,” Farley said.
Having a healthy relationship also means avoiding unhealthy people who are not ready for a relationship.
A large part of the lecture was also devoted to discussing sociopathic behavior. Todd said 1 in 10 men and one in 50 women exhibit sociopathic behavior.
“Some people here have a little bit of sociopathy,” she said. “Once you get a lot of this type of behavior they leave a wake of hurt people.
Todd also had advice for people who are trying to get out of a relationship with a sociopath.
“One of the biggest sociopathic tendencies is when they say ‘I’m a screw-up, but you’re helping me change. If you leave I’ll kill myself,'” Todd said. “Once there is a suicidal threat, you must get out of the relationship. They won’t kill themselves.”
James Chalman, health professional advisor in the dean’s office for the College of Arts and Sciences, said the lecture didn’t really apply to him, but it’s always good to be on the lookout.
“If a student isn’t performing up to their standards you can send them where they need to go to get assistance,” Chalman said.
Using a baby as a metaphor, Todd said relationships should have a structure of bonding, starting with the participants getting to know each other and becoming friends. She said having physical contact with a partner too early in a relationship is akin to giving a baby steak and scotch. The baby, and the relationship, can’t handle it.
“If you skip the levels you’ll damage your chance to have a healthy relationship,” Todd said.
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