Read the following situations below and make a mental checkmark if any resonate.
• You feel a sense of being manipulated.
• Their actions don’t match the words.
• You find yourself being defensive a lot.
• You’re the only one ever apologizing.
• Your body tenses in their presence.
• You can’t be your authentic self around them.
• Conversations turn to arguments — always.
• You feel small in their presence.
• Being around them makes you anxious.
• Any or all of this is familiar.
These aren’t definitive red flags because there are explanations for many of these, including your projections or perceptions surrounding a trauma reminder.
However, they are generally signs of a situation that’s not serving your higher self or your needs.
So, what do you do?
As a trauma survivor, it can be challenging to choose based on “possible” red flags giving other people the benefit of the doubt is the preferred course; however, I fully understand the necessity of being cautious based on our histories.
Checking your perception is tricky because our first instinct is to protect ourselves. So before choosing hasty judgments and cutting them off, there are a few questions you ask yourself to assist with making a choice.
First, be aware of how your body feels. Are specific muscle groups tense? Can you compare the sensations you feel in their presence to how you feel in the company of others?
Second, is it only around this person that you pick up on any of these thoughts or feelings?
Next, is this familiarity based on something from your past? Perhaps it’s a mannerism, cologne they wear, attire, background, or associations?
If, after you’ve checked your perception and signs point to NO, it’s definitely them; you’re down to the choices to speak to them about your feelings or end that relationship.
Because we are survivors, we are especially prone to misreading others’ intentions or cues. It doesn’t mean that we are suspicious of everything and people. I’m saying it takes awareness and practice and the best way to do that is to listen to the body — something many of us haven’t practiced before.
The situation highlights the importance of becoming embodied. Embodiment creates the ability to be in the present moment, aware of your senses (emotional and physical) to identify safe situations ably, and express our needs, wants, fears and desires without hesitation.
Safety is always the highest priority, particularly during the vulnerable mindset we are placed in throughout much of our trauma recovery journey. Overall if you feel unsafe, then it is dangerous. Second-guessing got many of us into terrible situations, which left deep scars. So, when in doubt, get out.
If you need to talk to somebody about a possible situation that you find yourself in, I offer a safe space to process your thoughts while I hold space for you.
Be safe and Grow with Love.