Sometimes, red flags are flying but we just don’t notice them. I can remember the night before the end of my abusive relationship: I had a panic attack after we had talked on the phone briefly. I was in the dormitory, which meant a shower stall was pretty much the only place for privacy. I had been singled out by the dorm leadership for a few previous episodes of…emotional instability…and I didn’t want to deal with the questioning, judgement, and inevitable punishment veiled by not-so-believable concern.
I sat there crying and suddenly, I asked myself, “Why am I still with him?”
I wish I could say I had the courage to call him up again to say good-bye forever.
Within five minutes, I had innumerable red flags waving in my head for reasons NOT to be with him. Yet, as I slowly calmed down, I was unable to convince myself that my long list of (only) red flags meant it needed to end. As terrible as the relationship was, I was psychologically dependent upon it and able to convince myself that it would get better. It was just a rough patch!
I was scared of it ending for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was my very fragile state of mind. Those red flags were my mind’s final desperate cry for help.
In hindsight, I can identify red flags from before the relationship even turned abusive…when it was fun and I was happy. I can spend all day beating myself up for not seeing them so clearly then but the truth of the matter is, when you’re emotionally involved in a relationship, it can blind you to the most blatant of flags.
What are the most common red flags to avoid or look out for?