RELATIONSHIP RED FLAGS AND WARNING SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR--HOW TO GO FROM OBLIVIOUS TO AWARE


A Close-Up Of A Person With Light Brown Loosely Curly Hair In A Bright Red Hoodie Jacket And Matching Bright Red Yarn Knitted Hat Pulled Over Their Eyes, Puckers Up Their Bright Red Lipsticked Lips As If About To Kiss

Remember: If something feels wrong, it IS wrong. A “relationship” is any web of interaction, including the one you have with yourself, religious regulations / philosophical teachings, authority figures, subordinates, peers, strangers, and the world around you.


“Intuition: The last voice you ever get the chance to ignore.” --Motifake


What is a Red Flag a.k.a. Warning Sign a.k.a. Gut-Instinct Danger Klaxon (™) a.k.a. The World Famous Original Patented Nagging Urgent Voice In The Back Of Your Mind That Is Saying “Watch Out! Run!”?


If you read here regularly, you can guess where the best definition comes from:


“A red flag can be a character trait, a certain habit, behavior, or any kind of beliefs or core values of someone else that makes your intuition sound off. This can be an issue in the present moment or something that you may see as a potential problem down the line (even though we resist it and think we can change them or that it will go away)...Red flags are things that you KNOW you don’t like, don’t agree with and aren’t conducive to a mutually respectful, loving, valuing and trusting relationship.”

--Natasha Adamo


And again, in a different way:


“Have you ever heard the saying ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’?

A red flag is the smoke that no matter how much you try to fan away, choose to identify as fog, or spray with the air freshener of denial and keep walking through, it will always lead you to fire. You may be able to see past the smoke and keep moving for a while, but fire is one thing that we all can agree, you will never be able to move through or ignore into extinguishment.

All you can do is tend to your burns by adjusting your boundaries, understand that ignoring the red flags of others is a major red flag of your own, and make the decision to stop normalizing and personalizing smoke signals when they appear.

The emotional toolbelt you were born with did not come with a hose to put out the fires of relational arsonists.

If you struggle with low self-esteem, abandonment issues, and a disease to please, any sign of smoke will make you feel like you have to work that much harder to prove you are “enough” for it to clear.

And when you eventually get locked into the vicious cycle of investigation opening, receipt collecting, truth chasing, instinct prosecuting, and reality questioning…

You will know that you got burned.”

--Natasha Adamo


Red Flag Awareness isn’t about starting some sort of undercover-reporter-style expose witch-hunt to beat anyone and everyone you meet in a race to the bottom of gaining their trust, discovering all their flaws and embarrassing moments, and discarding them for not being the impossible shade of “perfect”. That’s a sign of your own inner insecurity and inner ultra-critical self-hate. And it’s a recipe for being very alone and miserable.


Like anything else, when you “do without doing” (wu wei wu), when you allow yourself to be yourself, and allow others to be themselves…


People can’t help but reveal who they really are, and because the one thing people do best is be themselves, it never takes long to slip out of the character they want to project and into the one they habitually be. I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last (because it is true); it takes most of us painful experience before we realize it.


But if there are Code RED Warning Flags...it rarely takes you long to know it, whether you really want to or not. You came with built-in Red Flag Detectors. Whether you override your own God-given life-saving code (instinct) or not is up to you.

Why would you do that, anyways?

Well, um, lots of “great” reasons in the moment:

  • You have been groomed not to trust yourself in almost any capacity whatsoever.

  • It’s cloaked in the all-encompassing, resistance-is-futile, vengeance-obsessed private-hell “spiritual” terrorism branded as “God’s will”. You are brainwashed that fear and love are inseparable while being simultaneously told that “real love drives out fear”. The consistent inconsistency of mixed messages and contradiction is pervasive, but you are too afraid to say anything lest you be “doomed” for realizing how illogical and nonsensical and manipulative it all is lack of faith.

  • You were raised in a Red Flag Factory, so without any context, you don’t see warnings so much as a “Welcome Home” wreath and business as usual. Doctor Nicole LePera, the Holistic Psychologist said it best in her caption here:

We talk a lot about red flags in relationships. The problem is these red flags typically existed in our earliest relationships. That’s why we don’t see them as red flags.

Many of us grew up in dynamics where there were no boundaries, where people betrayed themselves, and where codependency was the norm. Few of us have had healthy emotional examples of what relationships look like.

This conditioning will confuse red flags as acts of love.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of: it’s something to simply be aware of.

Our work is to unlearn these dysfunctional relationship dynamics. This will be difficult because the pull to the familiar is very real. Our mind will always seek to repeat the past. That’s where it feels safe, even if safety is pain:

--Impulsiveness might feel like adventure

--Directing your relationships might feel like care

--Professing undying devotion might temporarily soothe the wound of not being seen

--Crossing physical boundaries might feel like excitement

--Having another relationship to ‘compete’ with might feel like an opportunity to prove your worth

--Labeling ex’s as crazy might make us feel like the chosen one

--Moving too quickly might feel like acceptance

There is nothing wrong with having these feelings. They’re normal. They’re showing us what needs to heal.

Authentic love is slow and steady. It’s stable. It’s predicable. It doesn’t seek to fix or rescue. It doesn’t come into your life and rearrange everything you know. It values boundaries, integrity, and accountability. Most of all, it’s safe.”


  • Sometimes, we even subconsciously hope to “do-over” our past trauma “just right” in the now, so that we FINALLY heal and are whole and happy and well-adjusted just like we should have been from the start, before our needs weren’t met or we were abused in those delicate developmental stages of childhood. Closure and Time-Travel By Proxy wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

  • SHUT UP! LEAVE US ALONE! WE’RE FINALLY HAPPYYYYYYY!!!! Who the hell wants to pay attention to possible party-pooping “details” when you FINALLY found someone and you are FINALLY having a good time and this could FINALLY be “The One”? Aren’t there more fun and important details to pay attention to anyways, like...superficial ones? Looking too closely at the deal-breakers can give you that same feeling as when you look at how many hours you worked for “free” because people calling themselves the government confiscated your wages with the Top Secret Codeword for “theft”: taxes. It just feels better not to know. Ignorance is bliss right?

  • Right...until it isn’t anymore.

  • And don’t we have a full-time job suppressing our own flaws and portraying ourselves the very best we can? Making sure we have nothing in our teeth and our outfit is on.point and we laugh just right (even when the joke isn’t that funny) and not with our *weird* laugh, or *too much* laugh and we say and do all the right things that will be impressive but not rock the boat and oh gosh did you make sure nothing is in your nose?! Whew. Who has the energy or brain power to devote to noticing any subtext?

  • I mean...what’s the worst that can happen? How bad could it really be? Not worse than LONELINESS for sure.

  • Denial is a hell of a drug.

  • But they come highly recommended! Have you read their C.V.? Incredible! Why be cynical? It all looks amazing. It all checks out. You are too invested, too easily influenced by hype, status symbols, and personal branding.

  • You just feel like you are in too deep. It’s just...a done deal for now. You’ve gone too far.


SOME SPECIFIC RED FLAGS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:


Disclaimers:

ANY relationship book, blog, or talk show will warn you to believe someone when they come out with a blatant DISCLAIMER about behavior they KNOW will likely be unacceptable, including controlling behavior (“I have to have things my way, just so”), commitment issues, life goals or lack of ambition, and a lack of mutuality (I have literally been told not to expect conversations about anything that didn’t interest the other person because 'I’m not interested in what I’m not interested in' and that I would be expected to remain completely faithful but they couldn’t promise the same. Yikes. And yes, true to their word, it was EXACTLY that way, and caused no end of fights and misery because who wants that? But I also didn’t want to be alone either so I would get passive-aggressive pissy instead of being a class act who proactively voted with my feet).


The worst part? They were the “honest” one (however lame), making you a willing volunteer and donor instead of the victim you will definitely feel like.


Meaning: with their disclaimer, as with *any* disclaimer, they have abdicated mutuality (and therefore otherwise due recourse of grievances to you) because you have agreed to the “if you have a problem with it, it’s your problem” perpetual checkmate that means a cage of loneliness for you, and getting called a “liar” because “I told you how it would be and you agreed to it and now you want to go back on your promise”.


Disclaimers include admissions to past pathological behavior (cheating, stealing, substance abuse, obsessing over things being cleaned just so, no sense of cleanliness whatsoever, obsession with money and prestige including the idea that the amount of money you bring in and your attractiveness is the exact measure of your value, etc.) that they go on to claim is and will no longer be a problem. Proceed with extreme caution. This may VERY well be a disclaimer / confession wrapped in wishful thinking (delusions of reformation), with you as the next victim to get (semi) blind-sided.


There Is No “TEAM” In Win...There Is Only “I” In Win:

You instinctively feel the urge / need to be a “Yes” man and hide your true dissenting opinions on just about everything. The other person is more than a little condescending or downright hateful when someone holds a different philosophy, lifestyle, or point of view.


When arguments or disagreements or days when you feel bad / ornery / hormonal / exhausted / hangry / needy do come up, rather than being met with any compassion, empathy, or any form of de-escalation...you are met with savagery, word-twisting (if you can even get a word in edgewise, because they *love* to monopolize and dominate), crazy-labelling, vulnerability-exploiting, and increasing cruelty up to and including humiliation, punishment (in some form), and abandonment. If they had a motto, it would be a line from a PinkCatDaily cartoon: “I’d rather lose you than the argument.


Just be aware that to survive for long in this kind of relationship, you will become a professional self-individuality-stifler and bend-over-backwards-er. And a cry-yourself-to-sleep-er.


How do they treat YOU as a partner?

You’ll hear/read that how your love interest treats “people who are of no use to them, or lower in power/status” (such as people in the service industry), their friends, family, acquaintances, even animals is a sign. And while that *can* throw up some serious RED ALERTS…


They can be the most filial-duty-bound offspring, go-to emergency contact friend, top performer at work, extravagant tipper, charitable, stylish charmer, and animal rights champion…