[Continuation from a previous edition]
How could he accuse me of that?!
I felt so hurt, so misunderstood.
And then…it became visceral.
My rage was coursing through me so out of control that my body was trembling, uncontrollably and nonstop. All that anger felt like a devastating, city-leveling earthquake trying to be contained within the frame of my body.
My body was shaking SO HARD… that my teeth started to chatter.
Ok, quick side note here…
This form of my rage isn’t explosive where I would eventually blow up and lash out at him. It was entirely internal.
The first time I’ve ever had a rage tremble was experiencing betrayal from another ex.
I was able to breathe through it and calm my nerves down after 15-20 minutes of processing my anger.
It happened a second time with a different ex.
But this 3rd one…
I was trembling so hard that I couldn’t talk anymore.
I had to pause the conversation and walk off to the side, trying to regain control of my trembling body.
It felt like no amount of breathing through it was enough to alleviate this massive jab into my heart and erroneous defamation of my character from the man I loved.
He just sat there while I tried to regain control of my body, a few feet away.
I finally returned after nearly 45 minutes of trying to calm myself down.
But within 30 minutes of resuming the conversation, the raging trembles resumed.
And THIS is when the red flag started to emerge.
I felt so alone in that moment, and he had no intention of recognizing and owning his behavior. 🚩
Ok, he’s done so with smaller things, which was good. But when it was needed the most and he saw the undeniable visceral response I was experiencing… nothing. No compassion. No willingness to pivot. He dug his heels in deeper, and I felt he was actually acting in the way he was accusing me of.
Sure, it could’ve been worse.
He could’ve continued lashing out, not giving me the space to calm down.
It could’ve gotten violent.
Both would’ve been clear red flags and led to an instant, nonnegotiable “this isn’t acceptable in any way”.
But THIS red flag… subtly peaked through for a moment then disappeared into the corner of my eye.
I didn’t recognize it until later when we had other follow up conversations and issues.
The difference between misalignment and a red flag is that…
RED FLAGS are patterns of behavior that consistently make you feel disrespected, unsafe, or undervalued. They challenge your core values and overall well being (whether it's physical, mental, or emotional).
MISALIGNMENT is just a difference in preferences, approaches, and values. These individual traits, while perhaps annoying or not preferred, don’t majorly negatively impact the foundation of respect and trust in a relationship. Oftentimes, they're often negotiable and potentially adjustable, too.
People have been throwing around the label “red flag” a bit loosely when it might just be a misalignment.
So, how do you know the difference?
Red flags in dating aren't always glaring and dramatic.
🔍 It might not show up until the circumstance activates it.
🔍 It could even be in your blind spot because you're so focused on some other qualities.
🔍 Your poor relationship patterns, baggage, or insecurities could be stealing all your focus and attention so that the red flags feel hidden.
So what do you look out for?
👉🏼 Be aware of subtle intuitive signs that something seems off.
👉🏼 Take note of which certain topics they're avoiding.
👉🏼 Observe their reaction to your requests + boundaries enforcements.
👉🏼 Tune into any persistent feeling of unease or distrust you can't shake off.
Your feelings are valid barometers.
Your intuition shares a lot of wisdom.
A partner who is right for you will make you feel secure, not doubtful or less than.
Ask yourself: Is this a core value conflict, a misalignment of some sort, or some small quirky habit I can potentially accept?
Trust your instincts.
There are common red flags that most people agree upon, and there are degrees of severity. But there are also personal red flags that matter to you.
Instead of quickly classifying it as a red flag and ignoring and avoiding the situation or eliminating it entirely as a potential life partner, lean into red flags.
Get a better understanding of why you think it’s a red flag.
Then have the courage to have a conversation around it with your date or partner.
Take the time to understand their perspective as well, because it might not be what you’ve assumed.
BUT if it’s subtle and you’re unsure,…
First time should activate your awareness.
Second time should invite your curiosity.
More than that is a pattern you really need to reconsider.
There was never any resolution around it, and it ended up eroding our relationship as it became this elephant in the room.
It wasn’t ok with me because he was adamant about making me out as his enemy. It was so difficult to try to come together as a team to resolve the issue at hand.
It happened a few more times where he’d passively put me down and jab at my low moments.
No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I was just never enough in some way.
…and I was done.
Now that you’ve gotten a better understanding of red flags,
let’s address this question John asked me “What are the green flags?”
Read my post on X to find out: GREEN FLAGS ARE…
Cheers to identifying + addressing red flags quicker.
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Psst, the featured photo is by alex green via pexels