Red Flags and Warning Signs in Relationships

This could easily be about as long a post as any of mine, but I’m going to keep this very concise…at least for now. I have a passionate hatred for abuse or controlling behavior over vulnerable people, but especially between a man and a woman. And I understand how hard it is to step away from an abusive situation because of the emotional bond, the often genuine love from the abused, or other types of insufficiencies or entrapments. But there has to be a point of will and determination, and faith for God to help make a way.

Here are some limited scenarios that even shades of these things need to be addressed immediately with your partner, if you see these behaviors or tendencies. Don’t wait. If he (or she) truly respects and loves you, they will pay attention and work with you to address these things.

If they don’t, then, no offense, but they are lazy and selfish, and it’s not a form of true love that they have in their heart for you–they don’t respect themselves, so they certainly will struggle with dignity for you.

Here is an abridged sample of warning signs that make for a controlling, abusive or otherwise exploitative relationship, from which you must find a way to protect yourself.


Embarrass you in front of family or friends, whether serious or simply excessive joking?

Drive your family or friends away, either with poor attitude and behavior, or by overbearingly shielding or restricting communication?

Curse or yell at you, call you names or put you down?

Use intimidation or threats to get you to do what he/she wants?

Tell you that you are nothing without them?

Use manipulative self-loathing by inordinately putting themselves down, expressing their desperate need of you, and even threatening to harm themselves if you back away?

Grab, push, pinch, shove, slap, choke, punch, kick, bite, spank, scratch, burn or restrain you in any way physically?

Throw objects or break your possessions, or threaten to do so?

Threaten the safety of children or pets?

Behave jealously, accusing you of flirting or cheating?

Withhold approval, appreciation or affection as punishment?

Control your access to money and transportation?

Use alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?

Blame you for how they feel or act?

Pressure you sexually for things you don’t want to do?

…if any of these situations describe yours, GET HELP OR GET OUT! NOW!

Here is a very helpful resource on to manage breaking off from an abusive relationship:

Remember, abuse does NOT have to be only physical or sexual in nature. Mental and emotional abuse are JUST as serious and to be taken just as seriously–by you, the abused, and by your friends and loved ones!


About Eagles Point

Serving and supporting the needs of people in grace and compassion on an individual and community level.
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5 Responses to Red Flags and Warning Signs in Relationships

  1. feministtalk says:

    I agree with you, abuse is very much emotional, and probably one of the worst forms of abuse. I think people feel the need to stay in a relationship because they are codependent on their partner. Leaving them may be a hard risk because when they leave they might be losing something at the same time. This is considered cost benefit theory. If they rewards outweigh the cost then they stay, but if they cost outweighs the reward they leave, and sadly some even stay because some rewards are still there (love, physical, money, a home to stay in, children). I also think that a lot of people withhold feelings, and are in denial of the situation. If someone is being abused in both physical and emotional, then they need to not make excuses for their partner and decide whether or not they want to stay in a relationship that damages their well-being.

    Good post

    • The worst part about emotional-only abuse is that it is ‘invisible’, so to speak. And for some reason, we tend to absorb and accept more of this before ever defending our heart and soul. We forget to dignify ourselves within because we’ve given so much of it to the partner. You’re definitely right about codependency. The determining factor when determining the cost-benefit of leaving or staying in an unhealthy relationship often comes down to how much (or little) value we really put on the human soul.

      Let’s take your scenario: someone says the companionship, the part-time “love”, the money, and the kids make up much of the benefit. They think the cost of losing these is more than gaining freedom from emotional assassination. However, here’s a question: what if they are neglecting to weigh enough of the cost of staying by not taking into real consideration the deficit and harm of exposing the kids to this brutality they are experiencing, and perhaps the kids are experiencing too, and the shredding of their heart and soul (which can also lead to so much worse in eventual medical conditions and therefore ‘costs’, and loss of job because of distress, as well as trauma-related issues)?

      Is not the human soul the fabric of a marriage or relationship, and not the amenities? I understand codependency very well. The thing that helps us wake up from that is realizing that surface comforts can at most be only a bandage to the deeper legions of the soul, and, at worst, a toxic element that infects the open gash, putting the person in even a worse state.

      Codependency is essentially addiction to relationship. We are all wired to have addictive tendencies, and it’s easy to feel such a need and bond beyond our own will power to an abuser that we have genuine connection with. This is where, and why, God must come in at some point. Two reasons…

      One, there will always be some things in life that go beyond our own ability, even when we know better. We need His strength, His help to be free.

      Two, because of our addictive tendencies, when we finally do break from an unhealthy bond, or addiction, if you will, we will simply turn and fill it with another unhealthy addiction of the same or a different kind. (How many times have we done that in our lives?) So we need to fill that empty place that unhealthy addiction left with Him, so we can be healthily complete. This can lead to more patient, healthy decisions with relationships (or other things) because we are not acting as much out of desperation.

      We are not a half a person looking for our other half, depending on them to be complete (codependency), but rather a whole, satisfied person at peace with ourselves, looking for another person who has compatible internal healthiness to bond with.

      The Bible in fact says that the two shall become one, not the two halves shall become one.

      Your reply inspired a whole other post. I think I’ll eventually copy this into the original post as an expansion. Thank you for spurning me to dig deeper…I usually get bored of typing and stop well short in my posts.

  2. feministtalk says:

    Well this was a great response to my response. I think any type of addiction hurts. I mentioned cost benefit and codependency because I teach this all the time to young college students who are willing to take the abuse because of the “love” they get in return. People also don’t leave because they are afraid they can’t find someone else to love them again, and don’t like to start all over in a new relationship. I would like to read your new post, I am glad a sparked a new interest.

    • [Yep, a renewed spark to continue and be more expansive here. I never get bored with the subject matter, just the typing and laying it all out. I’d so much rather speak than write, but this is my outlet for limited speaking engagements.] A very good point, the fear of being alone. I would also add the fear of expending emotional investment only to be rejected or let down again, especially as people begin to get a little older. I think some also realize the gravity of relationship as they mature, that this is not something that can be taken as lightly as in the past because it’s their own heart and soul at stake. (And hopefully, they have enough selflessness to recognize this same thing is at stake for the other person too.) It can be overwhelming if thought through too much, and it’s no wonder I hear some say they’ve given up on it completely.

  3. feministtalk says:

    Well when we begin relationships they tend to go smoothly, and then we become attached to one another. The reason why some also choose to stay in an abusive relationship is because they defend their significant other with the good things they used to do for them, and always relaying back to the good, and dismiss the bad. Some are even in denial when it comes to their partners behaviors. A common thing people say is “well he/she used to be so good together, and always loving” By stating that, in their minds they believe that it may one day be like that again, when really the relationship has stopped growing positively.

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