Red Flags in Relationships: Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

Camryn Chehreh, Staff Writer

This article contains information that may be upsetting to some readers. Please continue at your own risk. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger of violence or abuse, consider contacting 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline via cellphone at 1-800-799-7233 or via text at 1-800-787-3224. 

As teens and young adults, our relationships with others require a great deal of time and energy. Nobody is perfect, and every relationship-  whether it be with a friend or a partner- has its ups and downs. But when do we know when enough is enough? 

Firstly, it’s important to remember to trust your instincts; if you feel that you are in a potentially dangerous situation, reach out to a trusted adult in your life or contact the appropriate emergency services. Your safety is a priority. 

According to One Love, an organization dedicated to healthy relationships, the first sign of an unhealthy relationship is intensity. The intensity in relationships can be exhibited through extreme expressions of emotion, a constant need for contact, or going through the relationship at a rapid pace. Such intense actions could lead to feeling overwhelmed or unsafe. 

One Love describes the one sign of an unhealthy relationship as possessiveness, which could also be displayed through the need for constant contact. Possessiveness could also manifest as jealousy, controlling who you have contact with, feeling threatened by other relationships in your life, or accusing you of being dishonest. Possessive actions such as these often lead to isolation. Someone who is displaying these signs of possession may try to brush it off as being protective. 

According to the resource, another sign of an unhealthy relationship is manipulation. Manipulation is when someone tries to control your actions, thoughts, or feelings. When someone is manipulating you, they are forcing you to do things you are not comfortable with. A popular form of manipulation is gaslighting; when a person tries to convince you that your thoughts and feelings are not valid and makes you question your reality or events that have occurred. This may also occur as belittling, where a person will try to make you feel lesser than or unsure of yourself. 

The fourth sign of an unhealthy relationship is sabotage. Sabotage is when someone intentionally sets out to ruin your reputation or success. This can include spreading false information about you or holding you back from things you find important, such as work or friends. 

Other signs of an unhealthy relationship include guilting, volatility (strong, intense actions), deflecting responsibility, and betrayal. (One Love Relationship Guide)

There is a commonality among the major relationship red flags- they are all connected in one way or another. Manipulation and guilting go hand and hand, as do possessiveness and sabotage. When these signs blend together, it can be easy to sweep under the rug or think they are normal behaviors. It’s important to keep in touch with your feelings, and have the ability to recognize when you begin feeling scared, unsure, isolated or unsafe. If you are unsure about the state of a relationship in your life, consider reaching out to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline or a trusted adult.