We’ve all dated our share of toxic people. And with said people, we have definitely seen the red flags; whether we heeded or ignored them. Them bitches were definitely there.
True Life: IDGAF, actually
I don’t think recognizing the red flags is the issue in most cases. The true issue is acting on them. Currently I deal with someone who is extremely problematic. This person has all the signs of an abuser: he is homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic and just an overall asshole. BUT THAT D (chef’s kiss, baby). So I tolerate and enable this poor behavior. I will say with confidence that this man child I deal with will never blossom into a monogamous relationship because “fuck him”. As easily as I could leave him alone… I just haven’t. Why is it we refuse to cut things short before they go from bad to worse?
The Psychology of Red Flags
I can tell you it’s deeper than stupidity, knowing better or seeing it coming. There is a strange, quasi-sophistication to red flags. Before we get into all that it may be beneficial to define what we on Just Shut Up, Periodt mean by RED FLAGS.
What Are They ?
Red Flags can be signals, actions, words that you partner exhibits indicating disinterest, as well as a lack of respect and integrity. Red flags can range from minor inconveniences or annoyances to full fledge mental, emotional and physical abuse.
Something that starts off as a minor annoyance can, and will eventually escalate to a something far more grand. Let’s use tardiness as an example. Now this may seem little and petty but it can actually be telling of someone’s regard for you. Just y’all don’t think I’m crazy or being superfluous I have an example of how tardiness can morph into complete and utter disregard.
My ex, we’ll call him Sam, would never be on time for anything. I mean anything, ever. He felt like as long as he showed up at some point it was fine. No matter when it starts, we should be honored by his lateness (no Kanye). I would brush off the lateness and just overcompensate for it by telling him earlier times for movies or dinner etc. Because Sam didn’t hold time as an important aspect of his life, he didn’t give a damn about how time factored into mine. We began to have instances of him not showing up on time for super important events such as school plays or parent teacher conferences.
He used tardiness to avoid family gatherings and parties we had been invited too and mutually agreed to attend. It often left me making excuses for why he couldn’t attend. Shit like because of an illness or that he now had to work. It got to the point that I would no longer invite him to events. At one point the tardiness would become strange. He no longer would be late, instead he would ask me to go. Or better yet he would offer up my services without consulting me first. If I refused or was angry about it he could somehow flip it to make me the bad guy. He would make it sound like I was the one being inconsiderate and unreasonable.
In Conclusion, Hoe
I shared this to say that sometimes that small thing someone does shouldn’t always be brushed. When you brush it off, I guarantee it’s going to be telling of a larger issue to come. Sam went from punctuality is really not that important, moved to not feeling he needs to show up and then landed at “I told them you would be there.” He finished with “you are being selfish for not giving up your time to do something I volunteered you for that I didn’t even want to do”.
Once we reached this point in the relationship there were many other issues and we were both exhausted. If at all possible, communicate what you need in the start of the relationship. Because sometimes what you think is a red flag is really an orange flag. Meaning it’s bad, but it’s fixable. Tell your partner before you even commit what you will and will not tolerate and have consequences if boundaries are being crossed. But use discernment. If your partner gets offended and defensive, it’s not orange. IT’S A RED FLAG. It sucks to admit but sometimes leaving is the best consequence you can give anyone, and the most self loving thing you can do.
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