I ignored the first signs of manipulation
When you are in the midst of or at the very end of an unhealthy relationship, it can be easy to realize that something was… off.
However, it’s important to remember that red flags are often far from obvious. They are subtle and while it’s easy to notice them in hindsight, it’s much harder when you are in the situation yourself.
When I reflect on the beginning of my relationship I can see that I had warning signs from the very get-go. I just didn’t pay attention.
Not all red flags mean that a relationship is abusive, it can simply mean it’s unhealthy and/or toxic.
There is one particular relationship that I am now able to look back and recognize that the red flags presented themselves very early in the relationship.
I ignored the first signs of manipulation
James was my new co-worker and he began hitting on me shortly after he joined the restaurant staff.
One night I had plans and couldn’t hang out with him. He threw a fit and said that he needed to see me and simply couldn’t wait.
When I said that I couldn’t see him that evening, he coldly responded that he would pick the clothes he left at my place the following morning.
Sadness overwhelmed me and I realized that I didn’t want to lose him. I went over to his place and he greeted me extremely reserved until I said that I wanted things to continue and that I was sorry.
It wasn’t until much later that I looked back at that moment and realized it was the first time I let him manipulate me into having his way.
I confused anger as “passion”
It was New Year’s Eve and the clock struck midnight. James and I kissed.
Shortly after, I danced with my girlfriend for a few minutes. I stopped when I saw the look of fury glaring at me from across the room.
James felt like I had abandoned him. That moment of dancing turned into him yelling at me outside of the club and when I tried to console him, he just turned away and said he couldn’t even look at me.
He said that I was the worst girlfriend and I made his blood boil.
I should have left him that night. Instead, I went home with my girlfriends, sobbed all night because I was so heartbroken, and accepted his apology the next morning.
My excuse was that he was so “passionate” about his love for me that he couldn’t control his anger.
Anger does not equal passion.
He pretended to share my same likes
One of the first times we hung out was a relaxing evening. James and I were searching for something to watch on TV when the show “Glee” came up. I was a huge fan of at the time (cut me some slack I was young) and I mentioned that I loved it.
James said that he was a huge fan as well which caught me completely by surprise. When I asked him a couple of questions as to why he liked the show he just said it was his guilty pleasure and changed the subject.
To give you some context, James was not someone that you would think to like Glee. He was really into cars, sports, etc.
Of course, it turned out that he didn’t like Glee at all which he admitted months later. When I asked him why he had lied he didn’t have any real explanation.
There were traumatic events he didn’t want to face
Before we dated I remember being on a shift at the restaurant and James arriving for his shift completely stone-faced. My manager said something to him and he shook his head and headed to the front of the restaurant.
I found out later that his brother had ended his life that day. Later on, when we were dating I found out that his Dad had also passed away just a few months prior to his brother’s suicide.
These were extremely devastating events and ones that would shake even the strongest person.
James refused to get any help. I believed that most of his pent-up anger stemmed from those specific events and he refused to admit it. He didn’t believe in therapy and said that they couldn’t do anything to help him.
His refusal to get help as his behavior worsened was the reason I finally decided to walk away.
Looking back, I can see that our relationship was riddled with red flags from the very beginning.
For some reason, I simply ignored them and continued forward in the relationship even though James wasn’t in a good place to be with someone and it eventually showed in his behavior towards me.
Red flags are very subtle. It’s extremely important to pay attention to the little warning signs early on. They may not seem like a big deal but I have seen from personal experience that they always end up growing into bigger issues.
Source : Medium