Are you ignoring the red flags in your relationship?
By Amy Crawford
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou.
We've all been in that relationship. The one where we try with all our might to see the good in the other. Try to mirror the good we see in ourselves in them. That relationship where there are second chances, and third, and fourth, and many more. Relationships that are filled with so much stress and suffering. Maybe I shouldn't put this in writing but once, many moons ago, I broke up/got back together with Mr Ex nine times. Yep, I said 9.
Why do we stay?
Well I think it can be a combination of factors. I know that from the outset I tend to look for the good in people, to see the boundless potential in them. I want to see the happier/more fulfilled/healthier/emotionally available person they truly could be, with my help if that is what it takes, or with the help of others. I truly want greatness for these people - I want to help them, to listen, support and pep them up. Then, there's the therapist bit. It's what I do, essentially for a living. I clear away other people's 'stuff'. It's hard not to want to do that in a relationship too.
Then there's the matter of expectations. Oh that dreaded word. Those dangerous expectations you set for others, beastly ignorant they remain of course, because you've perhaps never made them clear in the first place.
Then... there's that not-so-small matter of self worth, isn't there. That "this is probably all I deserve/the best I can get/better than nothing at all" thing. Indeed it was my lack of self worth that saw me return to Mr Ex 9 times. Ouch.
In relationships I've seen many a red flag, but my ego has failed to let me let it go. That or I've not been in touch with my intuition, that inner voice screaming at me to just walk away, the voice I ignored for fear of making the wrong decision.
Friends, colleagues, family have been know to warn me: 'Aims, he doesn't seem right for you, why are you putting up with this", or "Aims, that behaviour is not ok, not for you or anyone". Actually, if truth be known it's what the friends and family don't say (when they say nothing at all) that makes me realise this is quite possibly a 'red flag' situation.
But so often I'd push on. The ups and downs, the tumultuous nature of an unhealthy relationship slowly but surely wearing me out, making me sick.
Eventually I realised that it's just not up to me.
Eventually I came to understand that everyone is on their own path, their own journey, and sometimes their soul just isn't in line with mine. It can be as simple as that. Or maybe it's just not our time. Finally, I truly believe each and every one of these relationships, as challenging as they may have been, have come about for a reason, to teach me more about myself and what I do or do not need in a relationship.
We need to listen to the red flags, often beating as they do, right in our faces.
For the sake of our health and our happiness, we must listen. Whilst we lose power to a relationship that is very clearly not serving us, are we not closing our hearts to other more amazing, life enhancing partnerships?
When was the last time you made an excuse for someone's behaviour? Are you listening to the red flags?