Rubies, Roses, Sports Cars! Red can be an appealing color. One that makes you awe and gawk. “Red attracts the most attention and is associated with strong emotions such as love passion and anger… Red is vibrant stimulating and exciting with a strong link to sexuality…” (London Image Institute). It’s easy to get drawn into the temptation of the mesmerizing color red. Though we forget that rubies form through pressure, that roses have thorns, that sports cars crash. We are not shown that “love doesn’t hurt; it’s supposed to feel good” Oprah Winfrey.
The desire to be loved is often chased more than the eagerness to love. Today we can kiss, hug, and romanticize with the swipe of a finger. Instant gratification is a post away, a swift motion of a phone pulled from a pocket. Here I am. Adore me. And let’s face it, someone out there needs everything that you offer but with this instantaneous notion, have we gotten used to adoring those before we even get to know who they truly are for us?
I am no stranger to red flags, whether they’re planted in my own ground or when I’m exploring the ticking time bomb of someone else’s field. “Wait, I can save them.” “No, I’m right, you’re wrong. Here’s why” Blah blah blah. I’m not too good to admit when I have growing to do. I’m not the same girl making excuses for those who mistreat me. This is why I want to talk about RED FLAGS. When to be aware of your own or others. We all have RED FLAGS. Now don’t get it twisted I’m not saying you or I do any of the behaviors listed below but red flags can be minuscule yet large for someone else, for example liking Kanye West could very well be a red flag for someone who pays close attention to his unhinged outbursts and find it offensive. Although that’s more of a compatibility issue rather than a red flag. What I will be addressing in this blog are dangerous red flags that can cause long-lasting damage if not spotted early on.
What are Red Flags and why do they Matter?
A red flag in a relationship is a warning sign that lets you know that you are at risk. Red flags can be physical or physiological. It’s important to spot red flags in yourself or in someone else to prevent future harm. Red flags can be strategic being that it is strictly intentional or mindless being that the person is not fully aware of the pain they’re imprinting. No matter the reason you don’t have to carry anyone’s trauma. With that being said, here are my tell-tale signs, and when reading this I want you to be honest about your own situation: is this me, is this someone I hope loves me back? Remember, I’ll never be inside your mind so be authentically raw. I don’t care to judge you.
When someone is experiencing obsession it typically starts with childhood trauma. Upon growing up in a home that is unstable and fragile it is common for a person to obtain obsessive traits. During relationships, if the situation is rocky you’ll feel an obsession manifest itself. If someone is showing you signs of obsession by compulsively checking in, stalking, constantly seeking your validation, or ignoring personal boundaries then it’s a good idea to re-evaluate the situation. Someone who is obsessed with you has their best interest in mind and can minimize yours.
Nothing soothes the soul better than a sweet lullaby. “You are my soulmate. My one and only” None of these words hold true value. Love is a verb. Meaning you have to take action on the things you promise. In the moment, being sweet-talked will have someone spreading the news about the love you two share. Someone once told me that words are spells. So if you don’t mean it don’t say it. As we hear this poetry that feels tailored to us it will always be sweet nothings until someone or yourself means what you say by showing up.
When you love yourself or are ready to let love in by another it can completely blindside you when you’re being love-bombed. Love bombing has been determined as a cycle of abuse by psychologists. This shows up in the form of obsessive tendencies like the ones mentioned earlier, unexpected gifts, and sweet nothings to obtain control over you. In hindsight, every situation I’ve been in where I was love bombed, the person always proved to have a goal in mind. Whether it was to get a relationship or sex out of me. It worked. When someone is authentically ready for love it goes at a parallel pace authentic to both parties involved.
This one is a real doozy. When you are being gaslit you will not know until you begin to analyze the situation (which is a lengthy destination to get to on your own) or someone brings it to your attention. By denying the facts, telling you lies, and belittling your emotions a gaslighter can quickly shift your reality. Gaslighting is not limited to the common habits listed. This form of manipulation will make you feel crazy and cause you to be dependent on someone who lacks your best interest.
Emphasis on controlling. Please note that you’re not damaged or difficult for experiencing jealousy. It is a common emotion that is experienced in many aspects of your life such as the work field yet is shammed within romantic relationships. If your partner lashes out on you for being jealous about them flirting with someone else you are in fact being gaslit. Controlling jealousy is unprovoked. This can occur when trauma from a past relationship (including non-romantic relationships) is emotionally unresolved and is brought into the current one. Assuming that every guy wants to bang your girlfriend and forbidding her to wear the clothes she wants to wear is a perfect example of controlling jealousy.
The moment someone physically harms you, tell someone you trust. A relative. A close friend. A professional. If you have no one to reach out to here is the hotline for domestic violence: 800-799-7233. If you are experiencing this deep within the relationship after an emotional attachment has formed or feel like you are stuck, still reach out to the hotline in this blog to obtain an escape plan or text 800.799.SAFE (7233) if you feel/know you are being monitored to protect your privacy.
Love as The Will to Nurture
Most red flags will feel very pleasant in the beginning. The concept of someone obsessed over you can be flattering on a surface level. Being told romantic words, “they get jealous so they must really like me” or receiving a thousand roses on the first date all seem like a pleasant path to walk through. This is why it’s so important to be keen on the idea and wonder if they are being genuine or are they looking to gain control over me. “We do not have to love. We choose to love…When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another’s spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist” bell hooks.
Mimicking these traits can be common for those who have suffered abuse. It becomes tools of protection. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to choose love. To nurture the ones you want in your life. I want to be clear, red flags come in different forms and are not limited to the SIX mentioned in this article. It can be as transparent as cheating causing a physical aspect of harm or as inconspicuous as manipulation tactics that shift someone’s mental state.
Love does not hurt. Even if that’s all you ever knew it to be.There is authenticity and genuineness out there.