Reasons Why You Ignore The Red Flags In Your Relationships

You may be wondering why you’re ignoring the red flags of emotional abuse if you don’t recognize it until it’s too late. We don’t recognize the signs of abuse in relationships if we’ve learned to shut off from ourselves to protect ourselves. Maybe it’s hard to accept what is going on because you don’t trust your own judgment. Maybe you’ve been blindsided by love and never saw it coming and wonder the reason why you ignore the red flags in your relationships.

As a therapist, I help many recover from emotional abuse who simply learned to question  themselves.

Why you do not recognize the signs of emotional abuse in your relationship.

If we grew up in a household where our reality was questioned, our emotions were dismissed and our experience of ourselves was shut down, we learn to disconnect from ourselves.

We may feel unworthy deep down because we haven’t been seen and heard but rejected for who we are. We may not be conscious of this because we can’t remember something we did not get. But the pain of longing goes underground and we seek this love from our partner.

When you’ve had a parent gaslight you or question you, it’s easy to question yourself and wonder if you did something wrong. So you question yourself, not your abuser.  You can deny how you are being treated because you don’t trust your own judgment anyway.

The fear of being rejected for who you are can be anxiety-provoking and cause us to adopt survival strategies of appeasing an abuser to get the love that we want.

So you learn to negate yourself and chase the feeling of being good enough or wanted in order to avoid the way you feel about yourself.

When you’ve learned to question yourself, it’s easy to ignore the red flags of abuse and accept how you’re being treated. You end up switching off from yourself and doubting yourself when you could not trust those upon whom you were dependent for love and security.

So what feels like love might just be abuse in a disguised form.  It might be hard to know if you’re being emotionally abused or wondering if the problem is you because you internalized self-blame when it felt as though everything was your fault.

You end up questioning yourself and allowing partners to treat you in ways that feel normal to you when it’s not normal.

The danger is when you don’t recognize the warning signs of abuse in your relationships.

The danger is when you re-enact what happened to you and accept emotional abuse  or gaslighting without knowing it. The problem is when you keep questioning yourself and doubting your reality because you do not listen to yourself, or when you’re afraid of being wrong or losing the love you wanted. The danger is when you keep shutting off from your own thoughts, feelings and needs and continue to deny yourself your reality.

When you couldn’t get the your needs met, it’s easy to look for someone to give you what you didn’t get but this phantasy can blind you when you get more than you bargained for.

Here are the reasons why you ignore the red flags in your relationships.

How to tell if you’re ignoring the red flags of abuse in your relationship:

  • You automatically take on board what they think to save a fight. So you lose your sense of self.
  • You walk on egg shells around them to avoid a flare up.
  • You dismiss your own thoughts or feelings because they get shut down in the relationship.
  • You avoid expressing yourself because you are questioned or told you’re wrong when you’re gaslighted.
  • You choose your words carefully because whatever you say gets twisted, or you end up being punished.
  • You’re in survival mode, switched off from yourself  so you feel safe.
  • You’ve started disconnecting from your needs, feeling depressed and anxious.
  • You’re nervous system is on high alert, in a constant state of hyperarousal, so you feel like you’re putting out fires but in reality you’re losing your own mind and losing grip on reality. What makes you feel safe doesn’t keep you safe, it keeps you trapped.
  • Over time you shut down in a state of hypoarousal feeling numb and immobilized so you can’t help yourself, feeling defeated.
  • You’re in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze mode, but think your medication is not working when you’re taught that the problem is you, you must be depressed. You’re told you overreact.
  • You ignore your gut feeling because you’ve learned to ignore how you feel, so you don’t see when things are not right because you’ve abandoned yourself.
  • You gaslight yourself – questioning your reality and think the problem must be you.

You may hold onto abusive relationships to avoid the pain of abandonment or longing when your needs were not met.

In order to break free from abusive relationship, you may have to heal the part of you  that  you ‘re trying to protect by staying in abusive relationships.

Nancy Carbone is an author and relationship therapist who has a M.Sc. Sc. (Couns). She helps you heal from emotional abuse and rebuild your sense of self. To find out more, sign up for her newsletter.


Back to Blog Home
Enquire Now Enquire Now