You may have convinced yourself that if you were ever in an unhealthy, toxic relationship, you’d know. You’d be able to sniff it out the moment things take a wrong turn and ultimately kick boo thang to the curb. Or, maybe you’ve never really had a relationship to compare the dynamics of your current relationship to so you don’t really know what to make of it and you’ve gotten used to the unhealthy behavior, ultimately learning to deal with it. You keep it moving.

First, please know that you deserve to be respected. You deserve to be treated like you are important and that you are not subservient. Your values, opinions, and beliefs matter. Your voice matters. You are valuable. You deserve to be in a relationship where your partner protects your emotional wellbeing and creates an environment where you feel safe to be who you are and express how you feel.

Now let’s dive into the signs you need to be looking for to determine whether or not you should stay in your relationship

They Deflect And Manipulate

This is a very common telltale sign. If you are stressed and feeling grief over something your partner did but has somehow shifted the blame on you, he’s deflected and now it’s your fault. If he’s made you feel guilty for even having feelings about something he’s done that was anything but positive, he’s being manipulative.

Case in point: during the very early stages of my last relationship, we were in Atlanta having dinner and as our leftovers was brought back to the table by the waitress, we both proceeded to get up to leave. I assumed as a gentleman, my partner would grab the bag with the leftovers and carry them on out to the car with us. Boy, was I wrong?

I simply asked, “are you going to get the bag”, once I noticed him starting to walk away from the table empty-handed. I thought maybe he forgot just that quick. His response? “I don’t carry bags.”

Once we walked out of the restaurant he turns to me and repeats what he said inside then reminds me who paid for dinner. All the while I’m thinking to myself, ok, if you don’t carry bags (food bags) what do you do when you pick up dinner to go when you’re by yourself? But did I say that to him? No.

I took the bag and scurried out of the door before another head turned our way since he elevated his voice and was drawing attention our way. I audibly questioned his comment and attempted to stand up for myself. I had a long ways to go before learning how to handle deflection and manipulation as he didn’t speak to me for the rest of the night. Not even when we settled in at my brother’s house for the night while still in Atlanta,

Lack Of Communication

An open line of communication is soooo important. If you’re partner storms off or walks away when a conversation becomes uncomfortable, that’s a red flag. If he finds it difficult to open up and converse about your differences, that’s not a good sign. If he gives you the silent treatment because you say something he doesn’t agree with and now you’re stressed and worried that the problem will never be resolved, that’s a red flag. If he is easily irritated by your disagreements, red flag.

Trust me, I lived through many silent treatments and spent many nights in tears – crying myself to sleep – because I couldn’t understand how someone who claims to love and care could so easily leave me in the dark wondering if we were going to survive the current circumstances.

Controlling Behavior

Let’s just get straight to the example here.

We were on our very first date. It was lunchtime and we met at Sugga’s in-between his patients.

Just to note, this was my pre-plant-based days. I digress.

Sugga’s is a buffet line where they serve you based on your selections. I asked for the smothered pork chops and no sooner than the word chops parted my lips, I heard, “ummm, don’t get that. Try chicken or something else.”

Well, they were out of pork chops so I couldn’t have gotten it anyway. Either way, that was his way of imposing his religious beliefs with the No Pork Rule, and that was just the beginning.

Then there was the time, still early on in the relationship, where I was told natural hair color was better and I needed to think about “natural”.

*rolls eyes*

I never gave credence to that comment and I kept my golden blonde hair for another three years until I was ready for a change.

Lord, then there was the time that actually involved the Lord. My mom had a preaching engagement at a guest church and we were joining the rest of the family and meeting them there. Well, the time had come where he was supposed to be at my house so we could leave together. I call to see what the delay is and he casually says he’s trying to get ready. I question his time management and he takes offense and asks was he not good enough for me to wait on him.

Really?? Seriously?? My mom is about to stand in a pulpit in a few minutes and I’m supposed to accept your tardiness and show up late to the guest church for no reason other than you felt like taking your sweet time getting ready knowing good and well you should have been dressed and ready to go way before me. I’m a woman, with a child, for crying out loud. If anybody should be lagging in preparation it ought to be me! Smh!

Ladies, don’t tolerate it.

He tried to control the situation and it didn’t work. He met me at the church, showed up with an attitude, then blamed me for his demeanor.

Your Family and Friends Do Not Like Them

This is so telling.

I made so many excuses for my partner like no one else really understood him the way I did. Boy was I wrong. They just saw reality when I was in denial.

My son. Lord, my son. One of the biggest regrets I have is exposing my son to my partner’s volatile behavior and reckless, inconsiderate language.

My brother, my parent’s, my son, my friends all saw what I did except they knew it wasn’t right. In my heart, I completely agreed with them but I still defended him while simultaneously being aware that I was not in a normal relationship; it was wrong.

They Disrespect You

Having arguments and disagreements in a relationship is natural. You talk it out, come to an understanding, or agree to disagree and resolve the issue.

However, if your partner ever calls you names, belittles you and speaks to you as if you’re some man on the street he’s ready to fight, RED FLAG.

I’ve been called a bitch, mother fucker, fucking moron, and rushed at as if he was going to hit me.

This is not normal. This is not right. This is not love.

While all of these signs were my reality, there were days when I laughed so much I wanted to pop, my heart skipped a beat because I was so enthralled with love – because I thought I was loved – and I couldn’t imagine life without him.

This smile didn’t last long. The very next day…discord.

But then there were the dark days…the days when my son repeatedly asked me was I ok or why was I so irritable…the days when I had to force a smile and a normal tone in my voice so my exhaustion and anxiety would stay hidden…the days when I counted by the minute, then the hour, to make time go by faster because I wondered how many more days or weeks would he go without speaking to me after his explosion over him not getting his way, my disagreeing with him or my standing up to him with boldness and conviction.

Ladies, you don’t have to live in misery just because you have a few good moments and can feel the love at times. No relationship is worth sacrificing your emotional and mental stability. If there are children involved, think of how a toxic relationship will affect them.

Just because your partner doesn’t cheat doesn’t make him a good partner.

You know what I used to say to myself? “Well, at least he doesn’t cheat on me. Let me love him harder and prove to him I believe he is a better man than what he exudes.

Welp, I held onto that notion until a visit to my OB/GYN. I’m just grateful nothing was passed to my unborn child, at the time, and it didn’t take long for my body to expel of the invader since I have a strong immune system.

TMI? Well, you’re here, on this blog for a reason. Take note. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, repeatedly.

Now let’s recap, shall we?

Being inconsiderate, displaying a lack of empathy, being manipulative, insecure, unappreciative, non-communicative, and harboring emotional trauma from their past is the equation for a dangerous, outright wrong relationship.

Talk to someone if you need help ending a toxic relationship. A family member, friend, therapist, tell someone. Please.

Let me know if you’d like me to share more Red Flags or if you have any experiences you’d like to share.