Sometimes in life and relationships, it’s just as important to know what you don’t want as it is to know what you do want. Sometimes, we’re only able figure out what we want after figuring out what we don’t want. Sometimes, it’s a painful matter of trial and error. Not the poisonous berries this time, please.
Sometimes, and this is a really bizarre thing many human beings do, we see the danger signs or red flags and proceed full steam ahead anyway. Instead of heeding the warning signs, we want to determine if the red flags are really that red. Maybe they’re crimson, scarlet, ruby, rose, brick, madder or maroon. Call these hues whatever you like, they’re all shades of red. We tell ourselves we’re doing our due diligence and just want to make sure, but is that really the reason? Maybe we’re still hoping we can enjoy the love bombing and avoid the nuclear fallout?
Poison is poison. Identifying the kind of poison is only important if you swallow it and require the antidote. Or, you can bypass the whole becoming violently ill and needing an antidote thing by accepting that the bottle with the Mr. Yuk sticker is indeed hazardous to your health. For those of you who don’t remember, Mr. Yuk was a public safety program that began in 1971 to educate and decrease incidences of children being poisoned by ingesting household chemicals. Windex isn’t blueberry juice.
“I will try to keep things as short and clear as i can , so i met this woman online and kept talking to her for 8 months now and dating since 3 month and here are a few things that i noticed that might red flags.
- she owns 4 cats ( don’t know about this one but it’s never a good sign )
- has no female friends a lot of guys friends
- her social network accounts are filled with selfies
- she displays mild paranoia and magical thinking on one instance i sent her a sticker on fb she asked me her friend used it a lot and if i was that friend in question .
- she tries to monopolize my time and texts all the time even when i am at work
- she keeps asking me if i met someone else
- on one instance she said she remember her past lives and can smell ghosts ( obvious lies )
- she pretends she sent me text by mistake that was for one of her guys friends ( this happened more than 3 times )
- she says all the Latino guys follow her Instagram and uses words like my guys when talking about her guy friends .
- she cried to get her way on 3 occasions when i told her no
- she somehow keeps an eye on my waking and sleeping hours
- she is manipulative on one instance when i was trying to bring up something she did that hurt me , she said she is busy
- she tries to win and be the winner even in situations where i tease her a bit to joke .
- she faked sickness on several times after i got mad at something she did ( flirting with other guys , lying , or plain old disrespect )
- in argument she tried to gaslight me denying something she said , till i showed her her text then she says she forgot and it’s my fault that she treated me that way and said something hurtful
- she has an eating disorder it’s less severe now but when she was a teen she almost starved her self to death
now it’s all said , what do you guys think ? , i am contemplating break up since the gas-lighting episode happened .”
He lost me at “owns 4 cats.” Meow-ta there!
Jokes aside, it’d be easy to cavalierly advise this man to end the relationship and don’t look back. Many of the things he describes are indicators this woman isn’t healthy relationship partner material. Rather than take that approach, I asked the forum member ten questions. If you’re wondering and worrying about red flags your girlfriend, boyfriend or online crush is exhibiting, I encourage you to consider the following questions, too.
1) How important is being able to resolve issues and conflicts in an equitable and respectful manner to you?
2) How important are your wants, dreams, needs and feelings? Are they of equal priority and importance to your partner’s wants and needs? If not, why not?
3) Do you want to be disproportionately financially and emotionally responsible for a girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse? How important is it to have a mate who carries her or his weight in the relationship? (I’m not talking about making or spending the same amount of money. There’s a difference between equitable and equal.)
4) Are you okay with subjective feelings trumping objective reality? Are you willing to make important life and relationship decisions based on your partner’s feelings, which may or may not be reality-based, rather than facts?
5) Are you okay with double standards?
6) How important is it to you to be able to spend time with your friends and family? Or, are you okay with having a partner being the only person in your life?
7) How important is emotional maturity and stability in your friends and partners?
8) How important is it for you to be able to trust a partner?
9) How important is your career to you? How important is being eligible for a security clearance or possessing a firearm for work purposes or leisure?
10) Are you willing to compromise on any of these things?
In my opinion, knowing your answers to these questions is every bit as important, perhaps more important, than accurately identifying red flags. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you lay to rest any self-doubts and uncertainties as to whether something is a red flag or not. Either an individual possesses emotional maturity and stability, compassion, empathy, integrity, personal accountability and a sense of fair play or they don’t. If you find yourself trying to excuse or rationalize the lack of these qualities, that’s a you problem. As in why are you willing to settle for an immature, unstable person who lacks integrity?
Being in an abusive relationship is often a crash course in learning what we don’t want. What we don’t want never, ever, ever again. Better to live with two flatulent rescue dogs than another narcissist, I say — or is that just me? So, now that you know what you don’t want, what do you want in a relationship partner? If you haven’t sworn off relationships forever, what will be important to you next time around?
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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