Ever feel your gut twisting up.but you’re head says, nah you’re being silly..too sensitive .etc.....yeah that. A big Ass Red Flag. Hands up, who,s experienced that, Only to find out later, you were bang on the money, Red flags refer to those warning signs and toxic energy that you pick up on in a person, or an uncomfortable feeling you get that doesn't quiet feel right. When we talk about red flags, it is when your intuition is trying to piece things together like a jigsaw, picking up on those bad vibes, abnormal behaviour, things that don’t add up right, information that doesn’t seem to make sense and most importantly your intuition is telling you that something is not quite right about a situation and that this needs attention. Before I continue with this article, it is so important to understand that red flags can appear in any type of relationship you have and with any type of person. Here are a set of questions to pay attention to: read them, save them, and send them to whoever needs to hear them. > Do you constantly feel confused in your relationship? > Do you always find yourself having to ask for basic needs to be met in your relationship? (such as coming home on time, privacy, telling the truth, trust and respect) > Do you feel that you can’t quite put your finger on something in your relationship? > Do you feel that the dynamics of your relationship have suddenly changed out of nowhere and you feel the relationship isn’t progressing like it should but instead going backwards? > Do you feel that when you express how you feel, this leads into an argument and you are left feeling confused? > Do you feel that your efforts are ignored, devalued and dismissed? > Does your partner decide the roles in the relationship? > Are you feeling concerns and believe that there is lying involved from your other half? > Do you feel that you cannot have a proper conversation about issues and that you do not get a simple answer from a simple question? > Do you feel that you receive an answer that deflects away from your original question or the conversation is completely turned around? > Do you feel that your other half is not listening to your opinions, feelings, values and beliefs, and only picks out your faults and focuses on these to spin the conversation on you? > Do you end up apologising for saying how you feel, laying down a boundary or for bringing up your partner's behaviour? > Is your other half very jealous or possessive out of nothing? You will find that people who want to hide their past will not have friendships or connections with family that go very deep by any means and they tend to have a pattern of “failed relationships” that were “never their fault”. In a narcissistic relationship, one pattern in particular to look out for is that the narcissist will never be blamed or even mentioned for the failure of any of their relationships, and this is due to the fact that they cannot and refuse to take accountability for anything. They know how to make any issue, problem or relationship break down as somebody else's fault, and so they have cleverly learnt to place the blame entirely on the other person to avoid any suspicion of themselves. If you have ever encountered a narcissist, you will know that will they spin any conversation around quicker than you can boil the kettle. It does not matter how gently you approach them, they never want to discuss their behaviour, how they act, their intentions or any wrongdoings, and so they use a mixture of diversion, deflection, gaslighting and blame shifting tactics to take the focus off of themselves completely and steer the conversation entirely onto the other person or onto something else. When you stand up for yourself and voice their behaviour, they cannot take responsibility for it, and so their agenda is to instantly blame somebody else. In addition to this, they want to manipulate you into thinking that you are in fact to blame for their actions and behaviour so that you internalise this, change the way you think about yourself, and then start to try harder to gain their approval. They don't want somebody to love, they quite literally want somebody to blame, and so escaping accountability and blame shifting is how they live their lives. In doing so, they can continue perceiving themselves as a flawless individual. Anybody can pick up on red flags if you listen to your intuition. If you know someone or you are in a relationship with someone who tells you a story about their past ex partner “going crazy’, I would highly suggest you subtract yourself. If somebody is showing intermittent emotional outbursts that are completely out of character, in between periods of appearing content, this does not make that person crazy, it means they are reacting to somebody provoking them. Another red flag for a narcissistic individual is that they will tend to talk ‘out of concern’ for you and at the same time as speaking negatively about you, whilst also saying they ‘want the best’ for you. Read that again. This is a classic narcissist victim card tactic. Example: they will claim they are really 'worried' about your mental health, and then go on to reveal very personal information about you which they previously retrieved through manipulating you into opening up at the beginning of the relationship. Narcissists like to smear, slander and turn others against you, and so they quite literally set you up to blame you from day one and they know how to do this effectively. They study their partners like a microbe under the microscope, collecting every piece of detail they can about you, only to be used against you later. Plus, narcissists have learnt that by talking out of concern also makes them appear caring and worried, and so this also avoids any suspicion of themselves. Here is a further set of questions to ask yourself or to another person: >Are you feeling isolated from your friends and family? >Are you able to express how you really feel towards your partner? > Do you feel like a slave or a prisoner in your own home? > Are you constantly worried that every time you open your mouth your own words are used against you, no matter what you say? – this is known as ‘walking on eggshells’ > Do you find yourself avoiding certain conversations in case of an argument erupting out of nowhere? > Do you feel that the good times turn to bad times almost out of nowhere, but you are made to feel that you are to blame? > Do you find yourself trying to change yourself to avoid arguing? > Do you find yourself laying in bed feeling confused? It must be said that there is nothing confusing about a loving healthy relationship. Confusion is one the biggest signs of abuse in a relationship and a major red flag. When you become confused within your relationship and you feel that you are doing something ‘wrong’ you may be experiencing gaslighting from your partner. Gaslighting is one of the most hideous forms of emotional and psychological abuse and causes warped thinking in a victim. What is more, an abuser will blend gaslighting it into the communication and conversations so that the victim ends up completely fogged and confused. This impacts on your ability to think, behave, take action and make decisions that in your best interests. Gaslighting refers to when you are made to believe that what you are thinking, remembering, feeling and doing, is wrong and you are instead led to believe and trust the words of the abuser. You are made to believe that there is something wrong with you. When this is inflicted onto someone regularly it can cause horrific damage to a victims sense of self, perception, memory and sense of reality, and it is not uncommon for a victim to genuinely think that there is something wrong with them and frantically try to change themselves. What is more, another major red flag is that your partner treats others differently in the presence of others compared to in the comfort of their own home. Is your partner very charming and agreeable on the outside, but behind closed doors shows a completely different side? If you are feeling confusion and feel that you are not functioning how you used to, and you feel that you have lost a part of yourself, their may be layers of manipulation within your relationship causing a heavy fog of confusion. Additionally, a red flag I will pay attention to is when you are giving a lot more effort than your other half is. If you are feeling that you never receive the validation and appreciation for any of your efforts and that you are giving and giving and not actually getting any effort back, the other person may be taking you for granted and does not value you and your efforts. On the opposite, when your words and your actions match, this not only shows integrity, but also consistency, effort, respect, and staying true to yourself. If you have noticed that your partner only makes effort when it suits them and does not stick to anything that they say and tends to do the completely opposite of what they say, this is a huge red flag. If you would stick to your word, then your partner should too. However, if you were to bring this issue up with your partner and they dismissed your concerns then this is an added red flag for disrespect. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Moving on, controlling behaviour can sometimes be very difficult to spot, especially if it has been implemented into a relationship slowly so a victim is unaware. > Do you feel like a prisoner in your own home? > Do you feel that your partner uses money to maintain control and a position of power in the relationship? > Do you ever feel that your partner wants to feel superior over you, and wants special treatment just for being present in the relationship? > Do you feel that if you do one wrong move and the relationship will end? Or that you never do anything right? > Do you feel that your partner withholds things from you such as: affection, warmth, support, communication, sex, sleep, money, care, love, comfort. > Do you feel that you pour endless love and devotion into your relationship but for some your partner is not happy? > Do you feel that you keep giving and giving in the hope to receive some effort back? > Do you feel that your partner is never satisfied or fulfilled no matter what you do? > Do you feel that you are labelled as horrible, unsupportive, and a failure? Take a step back to observe, write down this person's behaviour and see if you can see ‘similar patterns. If you have been a victim of abuse, please do not wonder “why was I so blind to it all?” because I can tell you that this is how deception works. Deception is designed to fool you, but you are wiser now. If you started off as a healthy, happy and functioning person but you end up as an unhealthy, unhappy and dysfunctional person, I can tell you that it was not because of you. Selfcare and healing is essential to taking back your life and your happiness.