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Last Updated on February 24, 2021

11 Red Flags in a Relationship Not To Ignore

11 Red Flags in a Relationship Not To Ignore

A new relationship with someone you really like can make you feel like you’re walking on cloud nine. A seemingly match made in heaven, however, can potentially blind you—as well as deafen you—to serious negative behaviors. These can include untreatable personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder, to name a few.[1][2][3]

Frequently, there are red flags—signs that indicate that something is amiss. These are signs that you would easily see in your friend’s new love interest but be oblivious to in your own. Below is a short video about red flags in dating.

If ignored, red flags in a relationship can turn an apparently romantic relationship into an ugly and painful alliance. And the deeper you get, the more excruciating it will eventually become. Fortunately, the alerts along the way highlight certain behaviors that let you know something is extremely wrong—that you need to get out before you get in too deep.

Below, I’ve delineated some red flags in a relationship and how they might appear.

1. Moves Too Fast!

I had a client who started dating a co-worker. Within three weeks, he wanted to meet the family and actually did at a Christmas party. But that’s not all. He wanted to move in. He began talking in earnest about getting married and having children. Three weeks! If that is not a red flag, I don’t know what is.

During the first three weeks, you will see the finest aspects of the person. No one shows you their true self in the early phases of the relationship. After all, they’re trying to woo you. But keep your eyes open because they do show you enough. Consider it an “Amber Alert.”

I strongly suggested to my client that she date her co-worker for at least 1.5 to 2 years to actually get to know him better.

Caution: if someone is moving too fast, be careful. This is an indication that they are either desperate or that they want to catch you before you discover some deep, dark secret.

2. Puts You on a Pedestal

“Jane’s” new love interest put her on a pedestal after dating for only a few weeks. In his eyes, she was “perfect.” While it may seem flattering to have someone look at you adoringly all the time and to think that you’re the next best thing since sliced bread, it’s actually a little bit creepy and off-putting.

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Within three months, he proposed. She accepted. It wasn’t long before he learned she was a bad cook and a worse housekeeper. Fights ensued. Their relationship became plagued with endless arguments. Her undeniable beauty had blinded him to her flaws. He’d built her up so much that when he actually saw her, he felt let down—dismayed.

According to the article, Why It’s Unhealthy to Put Someone on a Pedestal, “putting someone on a pedestal doesn’t just mean exaggerating their good qualities. It also involves attributing characteristics that they don’t even have and being blind to their weaknesses. Instead of seeing a flawed human, you consider your partner perfect, infallible, and superior (to you and everyone else).”[4]

Remember, if you’re put on a pedestal, there’s nowhere to go but down. Your imperfections will surface. At this point, your “admirer” will know you’re not who he thought you were—and of course, you weren’t. No one is.

Beware of someone who puts you on a pedestal. You can’t rest there forever.

3. Reminds You Too Much of Mr. Hyde!

If you are on a date with your new guy and he starts yelling at the server because some aspect of his order arrived wrong, be on alert. Or while driving, he jerks his car to get around traffic while yelling out expletives. These behaviors scream out anger issues.

A young woman I recently treated told me about her marriage with an abusive man. When I asked her whether or not she’d seen red flags early on, she told me she had, but that she didn’t think they were a big deal.

“He was so sweet, otherwise,” she told me. She dismissed them, thinking, “He’s had a rough day at work.” Or, “I should have had dinner served on time.”

Someone’s incessant angry behavior should never be explained away. It only worsens over time. In this particular case, it ended with him trying to strangle her. It took nearly losing her life to finally leave the marriage and get into a Battered Woman’s Shelter.

Tip: Try and get as much information about your new partner’s past. If they’ve come from severely traumatic family life and are continuously exhibiting anger, seriously consider ending the relationship.

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4. Is Disrespectful

How does your partner treat you? Does he put you down? Does he make major decisions without consulting you? Does he embarrass you in front of others? Does he look at other women/men while in your presence?

Maybe he dismisses what you say as “stupid” or “insignificant” or puts down your work. If you have a partner who doesn’t prioritize you and refuses to spend time with your family, it’s a show of disrespect. No relationship is perfect, but don’t allow yourself to be mistreated, taken for granted, or diminished in any way.

In the article, 9 Signs Your Partner Doesn’t Respect You Enough, Laken Howard states, “Healthy relationships are all about establishing and respecting one another’s boundaries, and a partner who repeatedly ignores or tramples all over your boundaries—whether it’s in the bedroom or outside it—clearly doesn’t respect you enough.”[5]

5. Is Too Clingy!

If someone you’re dating is too clingy, that’s another red flag. What is “too clingy?” Someone who constantly wants to be by your side is too clingy. Their life starts and ends with you. Outside of their relationship with you, they have nothing. It’s like they’re glued at the hip. If you want some alone time, they’ll accuse you of not loving them.

I once knew a woman like this. She hung on her honey’s every word. When he would play the guitar, she was at his feet, looking up at him worshipfully. She didn’t have her own identity. Having someone revere you like that may seem like a sweet thing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be adored? But that adoration can turn sour. Eventually, you’ll feel like you’re being smothered.

Personal time is important. If your partner wants to do everything with you and you notice that they have no life outside of you, then that’s a red flag to watch out for.

6. Is a Master Manipulator

If you feel fear, obligation, or guilt, chances are you’re being manipulated. Manipulators will use myriad ways of manipulating you into getting what they want and leave you feeling powerless, disoriented, and thwarted.

According to the article, Red Flags: Are You Being Emotionally Manipulated?, “Manipulation is any attempt to sway a person’s emotions to get them to act in a specific way or feel a certain thing.”[6]

Everyone is guilty of manipulation at one point or another. Mostly it’s harmless. But the “master manipulator” is one to be avoided at all costs. One of their most effective tools is the use of fear. They will threaten you or use violence as a means to achieve their goals. Over time, all they need is a menacing tone and intimidating body language to get you to comply with their demands.

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Another powerful tool in the manipulator’s tool belt is the silent treatment. If you don’t do what they want, they will simply stop talking to you—act as though you don’t exist. This is one of the most painful types of punishment.

Preying on your insecurities is another favorite tactic. For example, let’s say you feel insecure about the way you look. Your manipulator will use that to his advantage by saying something like, “With the way you look, no one but me will ever love you!” These are just some of how manipulators get their way, but there are many others.

7. Has a Seesaw Attitude

Watch for someone who has a Seesaw Attitude. It’s a phrase I coined because you actually feel like you’re a seesaw—up one minute, down the next.

This person can go from loving to hateful on a dime, or vice versa. They can behave in an odious and cruel way, leaving you to feel lost, scared, and trapped. Then suddenly, they turn into Gandhi—acting loving and charming. Once you start to let down your guard, they may turn back into a monster. There’s no way to know when and how long it will last.

If you see this red flag waiving, run, hide, and don’t look back!

8. Keeps Secrets/Vague

If the person you’re dating is purposely vague and secretive, beware. If they don’t want to talk about their past, what they do for work, or tell you anything about their family, there is something untoward happening.

Some ways you can detect if secrets are being kept from you are as follows:

  • They suddenly become the nicest person in the world. While this may not seem like a bad thing, it could be, especially if it deviates from their normal behavior. They may be trying to throw you off their scent.
  • They are excessively proprietorial of their smartphone. They never share their code, they take it everywhere (even the bathroom), and calls are taken in another room.
  • They overreact when you confront them, making you feel like you’re mad for even asking about it.
  • They don’t share where they’re going or where they’ve been. For instance, “I’m going out!” Where? you ask, “Just out!”

According to the article, If Your Partner Does These 7 “Common” Things, They May Be Hiding Something, “Although you don’t have to keep tabs on each other every second of the day, it’s never a good sign if your partner is vague about where they have been or what they have been doing.”[7]

A kept secret, unless about a surprise party, should not be ignored. It’s a huge red flag in a relationship, and one you don’t want to justify, excuse, or rationalize away.

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9. Gaslights You

If you are with a partner who gaslights you, you have a grave problem on your hands. Narcissists are really good at this.

What is gaslighting? Essentially, it’s a type of manipulation. The gaslighter will try and make you doubt yourself and make you feel like you’re crazy. He can do this in several ways. For example, he will trivialize—minimize your feelings or make you feel like they don’t matter. He’ll often accuse you of “overreacting.”

Another gaslighting technique is countering whatever you say. He’ll question your memory, make up new details, or deny that something happened. And yet another way is by forgetting/denying. You might mention a specific event, to which they might respond, “I don’t remember that.” Or, “You’re crazy. That never happened.”

People who are gaslighted literally start to distrust themselves and start to question what they remember, what they said, or did. Living with this type of individual is like living in a kind of mental hell. Watch out for that red flag and get away as fast as possible.

10. Has Contrasting Core Values

Having similar core values is highly important to the success of any relationship. For instance, if you’re a homebody and he’s an adventurer who loves traveling the world, consider this a possible red flag in a relationship. Or if you love saving money for a rainy day, and he spends your money as soon as it is directly wired into your account, again, that’s a problem. Perhaps he’s a devout Catholic who wants 10 kids, and you’re a spiritual Reiki healer who loves going on enlightenment retreats and wants no children. You get the picture.

You both must be on the same page. If not, power struggles are certain to ensue, and either you’ll both be miserable, or one of you will end up compromising your life away.

11. Isolates You From Your Family and Friends

Anyone who makes constant demands to keep you from your family and friends is a huge cause for concern. It may start little by little. For example, he might say, “Why don’t you stay home tonight; I’m going to miss you so much! I want my baby near me.” At first, you may feel flattered and think, “Aww, he loves me so much, he just wants to be with me.” Don’t be fooled.

If your partner wants to keep you all to himself all the time, run! This is how domestic situations begin. The man starts alienating you from the people closest to you. Eventually, you feel like you have no one but him, and that’s exactly the way he wants it! So, yes, this is definitely another red flag in a relationship to look out for. Isolation of any kind is not flattering—it’s dangerous.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be fooled into thinking you can turn a red flag in a relationship into green. People don’t typically change. If you see one of the above red flags, there is a problem. Staying in the relationship in hopes that things will turn around is a waste of time.

In my experience, the above-mentioned red flags and the people who wave them rarely, if ever, change for the better. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before the behavior escalates. And then, it’s like throwing a lit match into a vat of gasoline. Heed the warning, and you’ll be fine.

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Featured photo credit: Andrik Langfield via unsplash.com

Reference

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Rossana Snee

Rossana is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She aspires to motivate, to inspire, and to awaken your best self!

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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