In light of Valentine’s week, I figured I’d talk about love. And although this may not be a chocolates and roses kind of post, having been someone who’s experienced not one but two unhealthy “romantic” relationships, I find this important to share.
When I was in my last “romantic” relationship (and I put romantic in quotes because after three months it was everything BUT) I honestly didn’t feel like I had the resources or guidance to identify whether or not I was experiencing an unhealthy relationship (regardless if my intuition told me so), beyond that… be able to define what kind of unhealthy relationship I was in. Could it be salvaged? Is this something every committed couple experiences? Is this normal? If it’s not physical abuse, is it abuse? Etc.
After seeing the R Kelly docu-series, which although was triggering was very insightful, only then did I come across helpful site’s like thehotline.org and only then did I actually learn about the term gaslighting. Most importantly, only then be able to confirm that I was in fact experiencing emotional abuse and be able to identify what the red flags were upon reflection.
Because of my experience (and because I survived it), I feel so empathetic and understanding of women whom are in these kinds of relationships - especially women whom didn’t grow up around positive examples of healthy ones.
I decided to make a list of twelve red flags (a list I wish I could have stumbled upon and read at the time). If you can relate to any these, you are probably with the wrong person and in an abusive relationship.
You have broken up and gotten back together more than you’d like to admit
You feel the need to hide your relationship from others to avoid talking about it with family/friends
You feel uncomfortable bringing your partner around family/friends, especially at gatherings
As your relationship has progressed, you feel more and more isolated from family/friends
Deep down, you feel guilt for being in a relationship with this person because you know you deserve better
Your partner makes you feel guilty for expressing yourself (or for anything, like blaming you for their actions)
Before you express your emotions, you triple-check and filter them (not expressing yourself completely) because you don’t want to cause any trouble
You feel overly sensitive (or stupid) for feeling upset, sad, disappointed or any other emotions of the like when it’s caused by your partners behavior
You notice a habit of bribery from your partner in order to “win you back” or “get your attention”
You’ve noticed yourself start to develop the habit of lying
You do not feel the freedom to make your own decisions
Your partner accuses you of cheating and/or is often jealous of your outside relationships
If you are experiencing any of the above or would like more resources, I encourage you to explore thehotline or call 1-800-799-7233.