It is no secret that I was in an abusive toxic relationship for years. After getting out of that relationship I got help. I got into a recovery program and faced many of my issues that lead me into a relationship like that in the first place. But what many of you probably do not know is that I was the abuser in my marriage. That is right. I verbally and emotionally abused my husband for years. You can read more about this in my upcoming book “Signs in the Rearview Mirror” out in 2018. During my marriage while I was calling him names or putting him down for breathing the wrong way, I had no idea that my behavior was wrong. My behavior was a learned behavior I picked up from my mother. I could go on about the role my mom played in my life but I would rather take responsibility for my own actions and keep this about my own experiences.
I had to get into an abusive relationship in order for me to open my eyes to who I was while I was married. I discovered in my recovery program that I was controlling, codependent, angry and narcissistic. To this day I still feel bad about things I have said and done in my marriage and in front of my sons. I have to live with those memories everyday. They say the best apology is changed behavior, so I am now living a life that I am proud of. It was not easy to get to this point, but it was worth every tear I shed and every scream that came out of my mouth. It is a shame that I had to be abused in order to see what I was, but in a sense it was necessary for me in order to learn and to grow into the person I am today.
Today I want to point out a few red flags men should be aware of in the beginning of a relationship. Many of these behaviors and red flags are for both men and women, but I want to shine a light on the abuse men experience in relationships and to let them know it's OK to leave any relationship that may be hurting you in any way.
One of the first signs to look out for is JEALOUSY. If you meet a girl who talks to you about other guys to get a reaction out of you, walk way. If she starts off with telling you about other guys right away, that is a red flag. She may say things like this..“ I met this guy last week and he keeps calling me and texting me. He wants to go out with me, but I am not interested. I just don't know what to say to him”. “ I always get hit on wherever I go, it's so frustrating”. Most likely if she keeps talking about guys and them bothering her, she is trying to make you jealous. A healthy woman will never try to get you jealous on purpose, in reality a healthy woman will walk away from any man who is jealous.
If she plays the role of VICTIM too well, or at all, you may want to walk away. She may begin with” my ex was so mean, he never paid attention to me”. And continue with “My parents didn't either and my boss at work is making it so hard for me to do my job. I try to live a good life but everyone is against me and I just don’t understand”. A healthy woman has confidence and she can take care of herself. Although she may not want to take care of herself, she can do it. Pay attention to the woman who all of life's odds stacked against just her. It may be safe to say she is the common dominator in the drama of her life.
NAME CALLING. Name calling is a giant red flag. During the first few months of the “data collection” phase of a new relationship is where you will learn what kind of woman you are dealing with. If she starts calling you names and angers quickly, you may want to walk away from her. “ I told you I needed to be there by 7:30. You are such an idiot making me late”! Name calling is disrespectful. It can and will crush your self esteem. It will grow into a beast you do not want in your life. Name calling is NEVER ok.
CONTROL is another red flag to look out for. Control can be a little tricky to pinpoint. Some examples of control:” Why do you still have your ex on social media? You should block her/him”. “I don't like it when you wear that kind of shirt, you look trashy”. “ Why do you always take calls from your friends/family when we are together? This is our time”. Control can look a lot like they care about you. This is when you need to listen to your body and what it s telling you. If something feels off, it is.
New relationships are fun at first, and they should always be fun. You should not feel unnecessary anxiety from your partner. It is always OK to leave any relationship that no longer makes you happy. If you ever feel scared or as if you are in any danger, leave that relationship. Love does not hurt, ever.
If you or someone you love is in an abusive relationship, encourage them to leave and get help.
For more information please visit my website
You can also call The National Domestic Violence Hotline