Relationship Red Flags


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In a great relationship there is RECIPROCITY and the POWER is shared.  Both people’s thoughts, feelings and preferences are important.  But some people are emotionally unhealthy and unable to negotiate relationships in that manner.  

Emotionally unhealthy partners don’t comprehend the concept of MUTUALITY because they need


Here are some questions to determine if your partner uses relationships with POWER OVER:

  1.  How do you as a couple spend spare time?  Are both people’s interests considered?
  2.  Does your partner have a temper?
  3. Are they an aggressive driver? Do they speed? Are they law-abiding?
  4. How does their father treat their mother? Were kindness and consideration modeled in their home?
  5. Is it all about them or do they notice the things, which are important to you?
  6. Do they admit when they are wrong or are they always right?
  7. Do they have frequent criticism of you or others? (constructive criticism is healthy chronic criticism is not.)
  8. Do they make you do things you don’t like to do from ball games to sexual activities?
  9. Did the relationship move very quickly? Did they come on strong? Does it feel too good to be true?  Are they extremely romantic?
  10. Do they tease or joke about your shortcomings?
  11. Do they resent you spending time with family or friends?
  12. Are they controlling with  money?
  13. Do they have long-term healthy relationships with others?
  14. Did they ever bully anyone including a younger brother or sister?
  15. Are they 100% honest or do you catch them stretching the truth to make themselves look better? Would they cheat at card games?
  16. Are they impatient?
  17. What do your family and friends say about them?
  18. How do they treat service workers, animals, or others who are deemed of “lesser value”?

If you answered more than half of these questions affirmatively, your relationship shows red flags and potentially emotional and or physical abuse.

You are more likely to experience abuse if:

  • You were abused as a child.  Because of early boundary violations, you likely struggle understanding appropriate boundaries.
  • You are “super agreeable”.  You don’t speak up for your relationship needs and you can be easily manipulated.

A good example of a non-reciprocal relationship is the story, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.  If you are a “Giving Tree” you may end up an emotional stump with nothing in return from the taker.

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All forms of abuse whether physical, verbal or sexual always starts with a boundary violation.   All violations start small to test the victim and then gradually accelerate. If you can spot the small violations, most of the time you can prevent the large infractions. (Unless you are a child.)

You may need professional help to get out of a bad relationship and form new healthy ones.  When you are in the Power Under position you believe:

  • I am unlovable
  • I will be abandoned
  • I don’t deserve happiness

Abusers are manipulative and are very good at making you think they now understand and will change OR it is all your fault and if you would change things would improve. Learn to watch their actions and not their words.


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Another resource:  “In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People” by George K. Simon

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