Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 12-08-2022
“Walking away is so underrated. You need to be able to protect your energy.” -EaE
We talk about red flags all of the time, sometimes people do mention legitimate red flags. Some people call everything a red flag. There is a part of this that is up to interpretation and perception. Also, there is also an excuse for just about every red flag we see, which could lead us to defend a person’s behaviors; very tempting if we are ‘in love’ with them. Did I ignore red flags before? Absolutely, you could even call me the queen of ignoring red flags. Many people tried to shame me after toxic friendships and relationships. “You are a therapist, you should know better”. On the contrary. Therapists see and hnear the worst of the worst, so our vision of what is ‘bad’ can become skewed. Plus we are trained to foster empathy and find reasons behind all madness that we see. Guess what? Many people take advantage of a therapists heart and empathy. Overall, I want to warn everyone about red flags. Men, women and/ or They’s. Pay attention! One of the main reason’s we may ignore red flags is due to our own personal insecurities and blind spots. You will read this through some of my foolish experiences.
He always pressured me to lose weight– If someone is pressuring you to lose weight, it’s simply not going to work out. Don’t even bother. Yes sure you can go ahead and try to destroy your body to please someone else, but you are going to find you are in a never ending losing battle. This went as far as me being punished for when I gained weight (withholding intimacy) and then being very rewarded if I lost weight as a ‘positive reinforcement’. The best part? When I lost so much weight to a point he was almost finally satsified… but then he didn’t like that I lost my womenly features and suggested I get butt and boob implants. I was restricting to 900-1000 calories a day just to get treated like this.
He lied about everything– I dated a pathological liar. The lies included but were not limited to: “I have a 10K savings bond” while he was jobless, “I quit the job” even when he got fired. “I served in the military”, eventually he admitted he didn’t after I called him out on his lack of military knowledge. “My baby Mom’s chased me away”, even though he chose to leave every situation. After the relationship ended I was informed by multiple friends that he claimed “he paid for everything when we dated”, and that I can assure you is the BIGGEST lie yet. I paid for at least 4/5’s of our shared expenses I would estimate. This included his portion of rent when he could not handle it, baby clothes, daipers and formula for his child, all expenses on my car which he used more than I did. I also funded his start up Repair business. A tip about how to spot a liar: If they have to think too hard for answers to simple questions about their life, they are searching to keep up with their lies. Truth is easy to remember.
They rushed me during intimacy– This issue has happened more than once. Sadly but not surprisingly. If anyone is rushing you during sex or getting mad at your inability to get pleased by them, don’t feel guilty! This is a THEM problem. Obviously they are unskilled and egotistical about it. A descent person that cares will slow down and figure it out with you. A selfish person will be perfectly content with achieving their ‘O’ and then leaving you in the dust. No exceptions!
She always needed money, alcohol or a favor– Have you ever had a friend that constantly required favors? Once upon a time maybe it was a collaborative friendship and slowly but surely turns into a situation where they need you for everything and your needs are put on the back burner? I found myself in this situation recently. Honestly it was the hardest break up of my life even though it was not intimate, but platonic. It was the time invested that made it so hard to leave. But I found myself either angry, anxious or sad around this person. Angry with being used and treated poorly while being used, anxious about ‘what’s the next favor going to be?’ and sad because there was no more joy in the time together. And FYI; funding someone’s alcohol habit is called Enabling!
She got drunk and hugged all over my boyfriend– One of my old close friends (at the time) loved spending more time with my BF (now an ex) than her own boyfriend. I was suspicious for a good while but I really tried to give both my BF and BFF the benefit of the doubt at the time. Surely they were too ‘good of people’ to hurt me like that right? Wrong. My first true hint was her getting wasted at his Bday and hugging all over him and telling him ‘I love you’ right in front of my face. Loyalty is so rare, don’t ever believe you are entitled to it. Don’t assume other’s have the same amount of loyalty as you do. This was a huge lesson of learning I was with the wrong crowd, and it would take many more years of bad crowds before I gave up. Sadly, right now I have no crowd. But the good thing is I have a clean slate, and I am being picky about who I let in.
He had a wife but they were ‘seperated’– Anytime someone tells you they are still married but ‘seperated’, just forget about it. This is such an old school lie and yet we all keep falling for it. Adam Levine’s mistress supposedly fell for it. The truth of the matter is, whether they are happily married or miserably married, they are still attached. Live in situations or ‘pending divorce paperwork’, either way, it’s so much damn baggage. And you as the ‘side person’ will get dragged through the mud and discarded the moment they decide “we are going to try to work this out after all!” And, even if they do divorce, they are fresh off of a messy legal break up. They will likely project their anguish onto you.
They ghosted and came back, and ghosted and came back– I believe everyone knows my stance on this by now. Whether it be ghosting or ghost teleporting, these are people that are not capable of having responsible adult conversations. Ghosting is often a sign of attachment avoidance, or someone that is trying to ‘groom and train’ you to be what they need you to be. So if they only want sex from you one time a month with no convo, they are trying to train you to be okay with that. If they decide to prioritize other people and put you on the back burner, but then go back to you when nothing else worked out, that could also explain a ghost teleport. Whatever the reason, if you want to be someone’s priority, you are not when you are being ghosted. I used to have severe attachment anxiety; ghosting triggered me, left me insecure and wondering ‘what did I do wrong?’ Last year when I was doing the dating app, I had a very strict ‘no second chances’ rule on Ghosters. It truly weeds out the mind games!
They tried to tell me what to do upon meeting me- If someone is already trying to tell you what to do, how to behave, or what to think early on, that’s a definite sign to run. This person wants control. Healthy relationships cannot be fostered if one person is unhappy with how the other person is. Just let them know “I don’t think we are each other’s type” and move on. Trying to become a chameleon and force yourself to shift personalities to appease someone is not worth it. Forget how HOT they are or whatever, looks fade. You could be headed toward a world of hurt.
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