5 Major Relationship Red Flags That Trauma Survivors May Tend to Normalize

 / 

, ,
Relationship Red Flags Trauma Survivors

For people with a traumatic past, getting into a new relationship and trusting someone again can be nothing short of scary and challenging. In order to ensure that you don’t get exploited or hurt again, look out for some major relationship red flags on your first date, or the first few initial dates you have with them.

Key Points

  • Due to a history of normalizing unhealthy behaviors, trauma survivors may struggle to identify red flags in potential dating partners.
  • Recognizing critical red flags can help prevent attachment to a potentially unhealthy partner.
  • Identifying red flags early, and stepping away, can help empower trauma survivors find the relationship they deserve.

As a therapist, I often talk to my patients about red flags—those gut feelings you have when you know something is off—and how to help them align with your self-identified deal breakers.

For trauma survivors, discussions of red flags are necessary for the healing process as they branch back out into dating. Many survivors may not know how to filter out unhealthy behaviors due to a history of normalizing or even denying the abuse they experienced.

Here are five things to look out for that trauma survivors may tend to normalize.

Related: 9 Warning Signs That Your New Flame Isn’t Worth Pursuing

5 major relationship red flags that trauma survivors may tend to normalize

1. Bashing their ex-partner/parent of their child.

I get it: Things happen; hearts are broken, and resentment builds. But if a new dating partner is speaking harshly about others on one of their first dates with you, this is a huge red flag.

It shows an enormous lack of respect toward others in their life and ultimately speaks to their integrity. There is an appropriate way and time to discuss concerns and issues with previous partners, so watch how this is done.

In my work with family trauma and domestic violence survivors, we discuss the best way to approach their traumatic history with a new partner, who will undoubtedly need to know about their past if the relationship moves further.

Mentioning a concern or issue is different from bashing a person maliciously. We practice using phrases such as “That’s a conversation for another day. Things did not end well, but I wish them the best,” or “I do not have a good history/relationship with my [ex/child’s mother, etc.]. Perhaps I can fill you in as we get to know each other more.”

Watch out for someone bent on bashing an ex-lover to the point of obsessing about them. At best, they are not over them and are therefore emotionally unavailable. There is a difference between a bad breakup and an unhealthy amount of anger and resentment. 

Remember: If they do it to others, they can do it to you.

major relationship red flags
5 Major Relationship Red Flags That Trauma Survivors May Tend To Normalize

2. “So let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?”

It’s important to mention that we all have varying comfort levels with communication. Maybe they are new to dating or struggle with social situations, so watch how it is done.

Do they appear anxious and talk to fill space? Do they stop and allow you to talk when you attempt to interject, or does it appear that they really are not interested in what you have to say?

Talking only about themselves and not about you usually shows that they are not capable of giving you the attention you deserve.

I once went on a date with someone who didn’t notice I had not ordered anything until the server brought the check. Of course, they asked me to split it.

Related: 5 Dating Deal-Breakers To Never Ignore

3. Making decisions without your consent.

Are they unwilling to compromise on decisions or hear your views? All relationships need compromise, and communication is essential to bridge the gap between different ideas and desires.

The same goes for sexual intimacy or staying at each other’s place. While there is no set timeline for intimacy or moving in together, pay attention to when you feel their request is one it seems they think you can’t decline: This is a violation of your boundaries. Any change of relationship status or progression should involve full and open communication of both parties.

4. Pay attention to their sense of entitlement.

Are they rude to the server and valet? Watching how a new date talks to wait staff is very telling. When a person is essentially being paid to do things for us, they can be an easy target for people who feel above other human beings.

If they are kind to you but rude to others, this is a red flag that their behavior is not genuine. Pay attention to how they treat servers, employees, coworkers, and especially animals.

Malcolm S. Forbes once said, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

major relationship red flags
5 Major Relationship Red Flags That Trauma Survivors May Tend To Normalize

5. Feeling uncomfortable about or around them.

Trauma survivors, specifically those with a family origin of trauma, have learned a coping mechanism to ignore or even deny their reality. It was quite literally a means of survival.

They may have been taught from a young age that people who are supposed to love them would mistreat and hurt them, so this behavior is normalized in their adult dating relationships.

How do you feel when you are around this person? Anxious? On edge? Unseen? That will say a lot.

The opposite is also true: If you feel that they are perfect or too good to be true, they probably are. All of us have imperfections, and someone presenting themself as being perfect represents a red flag in itself.

Pay attention to the amount of time you spend trying to decipher untruths or lies. When you catch yourself saying, “That just does not make any sense,” trust that feeling.

Related: 6 Early Red Flags Of A Toxic Relationship

There are many ways dysfunctional and potentially abusive patterns can manifest in a budding relationship. Everyone can have a bad day. People can be misunderstood, especially if they are nervous, but look for patterns in how they treat you and others. Different interests or goals can be discussed and explored healthily, but maltreatment and abuse cannot be compromised.

It’s easier to get out of a potentially toxic relationship when it first begins.


Written By Kaytlyn Gillis  
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today  
Relationship Red Flags Trauma Survivors pin
5 Major Relationship Red Flags That Trauma Survivors May Tend To Normalize

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Are Adult Temper Tantrums Dangerous? Recognizing and Addressing the Risks

Are Adult Temper Tantrums Dangerous? Understanding The Risks

Adult temper tantrums can be really unpredictable and you never know which direction they might take. This article is going to discuss the dangers of temper tantrums in adults, so that you know how to protect yourself.

KEY POINTS

Adult temper tantrums are not necessarily physical but can still hurt a partner.

Adult temper tantrums can easily slip into domestic abuse.

Adult temper tantrums are destructive for the person having them and those they are directed against.

Some children have temper tantrums in response to unmet needs or desires. Tantrums are especially comm



Up Next

Zodiac Signs That Don’t Get Along: 3 Pairings That Always Clash With Each Other

Zodiac Signs That Don't Get Along: Challenging Pairs

Some pairings are naturally peaceful in relationships, while others clash like oil and water. Let’s explore zodiac signs that don’t get along with each other and struggle to find common ground.

From stubborn mindsets, to constantly picking fights, these mismatched duos reveal why some signs just don’t see eye to eye.

So, if you find your relationship challenging, learn how astrology can help you understand your partner better.

Let’s explore the zodiac signs that can’t get along and understand why.



Up Next

11 Hidden Signs Of A Jealous Mother In Law You Can’t Overlook

Jealous Mother In Law Signs To Recognize

A jealous mother in law can turn even the best relationships into a circus. Her little digs and comparisons are enough to make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells. But if you want to handle her, the first step is to understand why she’s acting that way.

Ever felt like your MIL is always trying to get her son’s attention whenever you’re around? Or noticed that she has a talent for undermining your choices and decisions? These subtle traits can be so hard to ignore, but understanding them can be the first step

Most mother-in-laws tend to act a certain way. If you recognize the signs, you can sail through this crazy situation with grace and keep the peace.



Up Next

5 Relationship Blind Spots: Are You Missing These Warning Signs?

Warning Relationship Blind Spots Signs To Watch Out For!

Do you know what a “blind spot” in driving is? It occurs when your vision gets blocked, and that can cause accidents. Similarly, relationship blind spots, cloud our judgment and influence how we interact with people or make decisions.

Blind spots can be damaging to relationships and can destroy your peace of mind, so learn to identify them!

According to relationship blind spots psychology…

These relationship blind spots refer to those parts of us or of our relationships that we cannot see clearly. They distort our



Up Next

Romantic Manipulation: 10 Subtle Phrases To Watch Out For

Romantic Manipulation: Sneaky Phrases That Signal Trouble

Romantic manipulation is sneaky, and it can creep into a relationships without either person fully realizing it. We have all heard those phrases that sound sweet or caring but leaves a bitter aftertaste, making us second-guess our feelings.

Manipulative partners often have a way with words, twisting them to control or belittle. So, are you curious to know the signs of romantic manipulation, and the things manipulative partners say?

Whether you’re navigating your own love life, or just looking out for your friends, this article will help you spot the subtle signs of emotional trickery. So, are you ready to dive in?

Related:



Up Next

7 Troubling Characteristics Of A Love Addict You Should Know

Troubling Characteristics Of A Love Addict You Should Know

If you are someone who always feel scared that your relationship will fail and the person you love will abandon you, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to talk about love addiction, the characteristics of a love addict and strategies for overcoming love addiction.

Are you constantly afraid that you’re going to lose your relationship? In today’s Best Day Blog article, I will help you by sharing seven characteristics of a person who lives in that constant fear of loss and the seven solutions to stop feeling so fearful.

These characteristics have been coined many different things: relationship insecurity and anxious attachment style. Clinically, this person would be called a love addict – don’t worry



Up Next

Consequences Of Emotionally Immature Parents: 7 Behaviors That Breed Self-Hate In Children

Toxic Things Emotionally Immature Parents Do To Their Kid

What happens when grown-ups who are expected to direct children through life, have difficulty with their own feelings? Children don’t hate their parents—they start hating themselves. That’s why we will learn about emotionally immature parents and the toxic things parents say.

This is crucial for healing and building healthier family relationships. So let’s explore it.

“Emotionally Immature Parents”: What Does It Mean?