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Dedicated August 2024

Relationship Red Flags

Ivory, on April 14, 2021 at 12:43 AM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 5
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Hello everyone,

I study unhealthy relationships as part of my grad school coursework, and even though I pray this isn't the case, I know that statistically speaking some of the lovely ladies and gents of WW are likely in abusive relationships. If you're worried you are or know someone who might be, I hope this helps give you the answers you need. I'm going to be using primarily heteronormative examples--since realistically, most of the people reading this are women marrying men-- but please keep in mind that abuse can happen in any relationship regardless of the genders involved. Without further ado:

They're always "just joking" and you "can't take a joke". In healthy relationships, if something your partner says or does hurts you and you tell them, they listen and stop doing it. It doesn't matter if it's a small thing or a big thing, the point is that they respect your feelings enough to not keep hurting them when you've asked them to stop.

They take credit for your achievements or downplay your accomplishments. If you've been stuck with all the wedding planning but homeboy keeps taking credit for it because sure, you and your family are paying for everything, but he picked out the best meat and booze for the reception, and you should be happy he's involved at all and it's the bride's family's job to pay for everything anyway, then you have a problem.

The only compliments they give you are either backhanded or relate to how you benefit them. A compliment is meant to make the recipient feel good, not second-guess yourself or crave their approval. "You'll look so good in that dress once you lose all that weight" is not a compliment, it's a power-play. If they compliment you on how good you are on cooking for them and doing their laundry, but hardly say a word about how smart you are, or how good you are the things you're passionate about that have nothing to do with them, it may be time to wonder why they compliment you on some things but not others.

They don't want you to spend time with your friends and family. If they don't want you to spend any time with other people in your life, it's not because they love you. It's because if you're alone, no one can tell you what he's doing is wrong. (If there are some people in your life he dislikes and he tells you that but also acknowledges you have the right to choose who you spend time with even if he doesn't approve of them, and he makes no attempt to prevent you from seeing them, that's completely different.)

They make you feel like you're crazy and can't trust your own judgment. This is called gaslighting ,

They don't respect your boundaries. If you made it clear that you consider strippers cheating, but he calls you crazy and controlling for saying you'd feel betrayed if he got a lapdance from one at his bachelor party, he is making it clear he cares more about doing whatever he wants than about respecting your feelings or the pre-existing boundaries in your relationship.

They threaten you. Whether it's physical acts of violence, or emotional distress, like how if you don't give up your job or passion, they will leave you.

They're sorry they yelled/verbally abused/hit you, but you made them so angry. We are all responsible for our own words and actions. If they blame you for theirs, they are placing all the blame on you instead of taking accountability for their behavior. An apology is not genuine if the blame is placed on the person you're apologizing to.

They hit you, even once. Love is kind and non-violent. Loving behavior never involves physical harm.

They touch you sexually when you don't want them to or can't say no. If you cannot give a yes, it is non-consensual by default. If you say yes because you feel like you can't say no, you are not consenting. If you say no but they ignore your no, you are not consenting. If you are not consenting, it is sexual assault, and it is NEVER the victim's fault.

There are other signs besides the ones listed here, but these are some of the main ones. Some are relatively "minor" in comparison with the last two, but that's not the point. The point is that no matter how subtle abuse is, it's still abuse. The goal is always the same: to make you feel powerless so that you depend on them no matter what.

If you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, and want to know what your options are, check out the links below. Whatever you choose to do or not, please remember that you are worthy of love, kindness, and respect.

Thank you.





Latest activity by Ka-Rina, on April 15, 2021 at 10:27 PM
  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2021
    Trisha ·
    • Flag
    Props to you for finding a safe and creative way to reach out to individuals who may not be able to, don’t feel ready or feel the need to seek out help and information about unhealthy relationships.
    • Reply
  • Hannah
    Rockstar July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag
    As a fellow researcher in this topic, I completely agree with all the above. I would also like to add that, unfortunately, this is a very common relationship dynamic, with about 1 in 3/1 in 4 women reporting having been in an unhealthy relationship such as described above at least once in their lifetime. If you are or have been in this situation, you did nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of. The individual who taught you that love hurts is the one entirely at fault.

    Another great website is www.loveisrespect.org. They are primarily targeted towards teaching teens/young adults about healthy relationship dynamics, so those of you with children may find this useful. I primarily study adolescent dating violence, and these behaviors can start as early as middle school.
    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Super October 2022
    Samantha ·
    • Flag
    I would also recommend Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That.” You can buy it but also lots of places have it free online. (I think he allows certain agencies to do this.)
    I think everyone should read this book. I was long out of my abusive marriage when I read it, and it still helped. I had so many little moments of “oh! that WASN’T my fault...” when reading it.
    It also has helped me articulate some of the things that I’ve noticed that felt off about people, so I don’t think I’m paranoid when I spot the behaviors. For example, when a friend’s on-off boyfriend pulls the “it was a joke” after saying something cruel, I respond with “no one is laughing at your joke” or “it’s not funny.” The first few times he pushed back but me saying that seemed to give her permission to not brush it off and she at least doesn’t defend him to me anymore.
    • Reply
  • Alejandra
    Super March 2019
    Alejandra ·
    • Flag

    These are great points, prior to meeting my husband I was in a 9 year long abusive relationship. Just about everything on this list , I lived it. He broke my character down so badly, it took me such a long time to heal and grow into a new person because the person I was no longer existed. I wish I would have left sooner, even though I tried but he refused. I wish I would have been stronger, but I am now. I am still rebuilding myself and have an amazing man by my side to help me get there, together we build each other up and thats how it should be.

    • Reply
  • K
    Expert September 2021
    Ka-Rina ·
    • Flag
    My abusive relationship was under a year thank god but it took a while to recover even from that I can’t imagine what some women go thru... from lying and abusing financially to isolating me from people who love me by trying to convince me they secretly hate me or are jealous or are selfish in their behavior towards me... ugh.. downplaying my achievements or saying it’s cuz we r together that’s why I achieved something... making me apologize for things I didn’t do say or think. Nightmare
    • Reply

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