It is important to be self aware. I have written quite a few blogs about relationships and the things that went wrong in my relationships. Most of my blogs have focused on the things that my significant other was doing that was hurtful or unappealing. There is one thing that I learned throughout the year. You can’t fix anybody, but you can fix yourself. It is important to perform a self examination on yourself, if you are attracting the wrong person. Take action on the things that you find out about that can be hindering you from having a healthy relationship. Once you fix yourself, you will attract the right partner for you. You won’t accept behaviors that you would have accepted before. You will have the confidence to know that you are worthy of a great relationship and a partner who loves all of you. You will be able to build a healthy and long lasting relationship.
I recently read an article that listed 8 red flags that you should watch out for when you start dating someone.
- You justify their bad behavior
- They don’t talk through issues
- They’re constantly testing your boundaries
- They have a massive sense of entitlement
- Something in your gut feels wrong
- Everything is about them
- They are overly critical about their previous partners
- You are constantly denied, criticized or dismissed by them
I have experienced at least 5 of these 8 things. I can’t believe that I missed these red flags. I think some times these things are subtle or they start happening slowly, so we just make excuses for them. Over time these things just keep happening over and over again. You began to get used to the way the person is treating you. It becomes the norm, but there treatment is still wrong. I wish I would have came across this article before I started my last relationship. I definitely would have been able to recognize that his behavior towards me was wrong a lot sooner. Now that I have this list, I will definitely be more aware the next time around.
I wrote a book called The Match Disaster and their were events in the book that were inspired by some of the things I went through in relationships. I was asked the following questions by some people who were familiar with my real story. Why did you stay in a relationship that was clearly wrong for you? Why didn’t you know better? I was even told, you are divorced, didn’t you learn anything from your failed marriage? What the people who were asking me the questions didn’t understand was that I technically knew better. I did learn lessons from my failed marriage, but the mental abuse from my marriage was the reason for some of the decisions I made in my relationship. I tried to explain to my inquirers that although, I look put together on the outside, I have some deep scars on the inside. I have no problem admitting that I suffer from low self-esteem. It is something that I am definitely working on while I am single, but I have struggled with my self-esteem for a very long time. I know I am smart, driven, and successful in my career, but I doubted other things about myself. I felt like it was unlikely that I would be considered the pretty one. I didn’t see anything special about myself. I lacked self-confidence, so when a guy showed what seemed like genuine interest in me, I fell for him hard. Throughout the relationship, I felt honored that he chose to be with somebody like me. I felt like I didn’t deserve him, which led to me allowing him to treat me poorly. I knew that he wasn’t treating well, but I felt like it was a privilege for me to be with somebody like him. Now that I am completely free from this relationship, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection. I am confident that low self-esteem leads to you accepting anything in your relationship. We have to learn to love ourselves first, so we can obtain the love we deserve.
Throughout my life there has been many situations where I have let people in my life make me feel so small or so badly that I lost my voice. I am not just referring to romantic relationships, but also other relationships in my life. If I voiced my opinion about any situation, I was looked at as a troublemaker. I didn’t matter what I said or what tone I said it in, the end result would be the same. I got so tired of people misinterpreting what I was saying, thinking that I was mean and being seen as a troublemaker. I decided to just stop talking. I had to pretend like I didn’t care about things. I had to act like things didn’t bother me or affect me. I knew my opinion didn’t matter, even if I was hurting. I went into a shell and I was no longer myself. Being outspoken is a part of my personality, but I could no longer be myself. I had to mute a major part of what makes me, me. I no longer want to be muted. I no longer associate with the people who didn’t want me to be me, or didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I can’t have people in my life who don’t accept me for who I am. So I am free. I will no longer be muted. Don’t try to mute me!
I had no idea that I was most likely in a toxic relationship with a narcissist until after I released my book The Match Disaster. My main character had a lot of the characteristics of someone I was dating. It wasn’t until I received a review declaring the main character in my book a narcissist that I started to analyze whether the person I was dating really had narcissistic tendencies. I mean I wouldn’t even have considered this person to be anything close to a narcissist when I was dating him. In case you are wondering if you are dating a narcissist below are some of their characteristics:
Superiority and Entitlement – the need to be the best, the need to always be right, the need to do everything their way
The need for attention
Perfectionism – everything has to be perfect or done perfectly
Need for Control
Lack of responsibility – Blaming or deflecting – when things don’t go their way they blame others
Lack of boundaries – they don’t like to be told no
Lack of empathy – they have a hard time understanding other’s feelings. They are unapologetic, never remorseful and never feel guilty.
Perceiving everything as a threat
Emotional reasoning – when you try to explain to them how they hurt you, they don’t understand, they are only aware of their thoughts and feelings
Splitting – they only see things as good and bad. There is no in between.
Fear of rejection and ridicule
Anxiety – they deflect their feelings of anxiety on you by accusing you of being unsupportive, not putting them first and being selfish
Inability to be truly vulnerable
Inability to communicate and work as part of a team
After looking at all of these qualities, I can honestly say my ex definitely had quite a few narcissistic tendencies. Now I have a better understanding of some of the events that happened in our relationships and why I couldn’t seem to get through to him, when I was hurt or feeling rejected. He was never going to get it, because his personality didn’t allow it.
The reference article for the narcissistic qualities is called 15 Signs You’re Dealing With A Narcissist by By Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT.
I often look back at my past relationships to see what they had in common. Where did I go wrong? How did I fail? I finally realize they all have the same common denominator. I failed to stand up for myself. I always put my significant other’s feelings ahead of my own. I did not want them to feel hurt or pain. I didn’t want them to be disappointed. I didn’t want them to doubt that I loved them. Meanwhile, I was getting hurt. I was feeling unheard. Sometimes I felt unloved. I was made to feel like my feelings were unimportant. I was convinced what I felt wasn’t valid or that I was over-reacting. I would allow them to say things to me that were hurtful. I stopped expressing how I was feeling to keep the peace in the relationships. I didn’t tell them I was uncomfortable with certain things that they wanted to do, I just went along with the program. I should have spoken up. I should have stood up for myself. If they didn’t care or want to hear and understand what I had to say, I should have walked away. In the end, I only hurt myself by not standing up for myself. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. It’s not worth the pain and heartache that comes with not doing it.
There is a saying that says, “once a cheater always a cheater”. I don’t know if I completely agree with that, although I have experienced it. I married someone who was considered a cheater and he did indeed cheat on me. But what about the case where someone has a single indiscretion. They fell into temptation. They asked their partner for forgiveness and vowed to never cheat again. Does that mean they will continue to cheat or cheat again? I have heard stories where a husband has made the mistake of cheating on his wife, but he loved his wife so much that he vowed if she forgave him he would never cheat again. He didn’t ever cheat again. As a matter of fact, their relationship became stronger. This example is one of the reasons I don’t believe the saying, “once a cheater always a cheater.” Now it is definitely a different situation if the person is a chronic cheater. They are less likely to change, unless they get some professional help. I am not saying that cheating is ever ok in any situation or for any reason. I am just saying making the assessment once a person cheats, they will always cheat is most likely an inaccurate statement.
I was reading this article on elitedaily.com by Candice Jalili. It had 12 tips that will help you have a good relationship. I want to blog about a few of these. The first tip is you must communicate. I totally agree with this point. You must be able to communicate in a healthy and productive way. The communication in a relationship can’t be one-sided and it has to be done in a way that is effective. When people asked my parents, how they sustained their marriage, they stated the second tip, never stop dating each other. Continuing to treat your partner like you did when you were courting them, keeps the spark in the relationship. It makes them feel special and wanted. The third tip is recommit yourself to your partner daily. Make sure you are consistently taking out time for your partner. You need to listen to their concerns, desires and needs. Have fun with them and try new challenges together. This one is an important one. Know how to fight without feeling attacked. It is actually healthier to disagree with your partner than to agree with them all the time. You are two different people, but you need strategies in place to handle your disagreements in a healthy way. This goes hand and hand with knowing how to communicate. The last one that I want to talk about is finding someone that you are compatible with. Oftentimes we get into relationships for the wrong reasons. You can be physically attracted to someone but not be compatible with them in all of the other areas in your relationship. Physical attraction is not enough to sustain a relationship.
I used to believe I needed closure in order to get over a relationship, but I no longer believe this. I always wanted to know what happened. I would ask myself questions, like what did I do to cause this relationship to end? What could I have done better? I would reach out to the person to get closure. Now I know it is a bad idea to reach out to any ex to get closure. That very act opens up the door for you to get back together and continue the unhealthy relationship. If you would have never tried to get closure then you would have been free from something that wasn’t good for you sooner. I learned that if I took the time to stop and think about it, I already had the answer I was desperately seeking. Often times a person’s actions will give you the answer. It becomes apparent that you are not the right one for them and they are not the right one for you. Instead of seeking closure, just completely let go of the relationship. It was unhealthy. It wasn’t what you deserved. It was hurting you. What more information do you need from the person that was hurting you? Just move on and be free of a bad situation.
I saw this question on Facebook yesterday. The scenario is you are married to somebody else, but you have children with someone from a past relationship. Is it ok to purchase that person a gift for Mother’s Day? In my opinion there is nothing wrong with you buying your ex a gift for Mother’s Day but it depends on the age of your children. I think it is perfectly ok, if you are buying it on behalf of your children when they are underage. However, motives do need to be taken into account here as well as how the receiving party will interpret this action. The type of gift is also a factor. It probably shouldn’t be anything to grand, which could lead to a misinterpretation of the gift. Also, the person you are married to should be taken into consideration. How will this make them feel? You should definitely be very transparent with your current spouse about the fact that you are giving you ex a gift for Mother’s day. Sometimes innocent actions can cause big problems. I always say, “Just because something is a good idea, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.”