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How did we get into these painful relationships? What signs did we miss that would have tipped us off about our partner’s serious emotional problems? We all know now, looking backwards, when the particular behaviors began to surface, but could we have seen the tip of the iceberg behavior sooner?

J. Kent Griffiths, DSW, in his work Character Disorder, says, "We all have several of these traits on a bad day, but if you see a preponderance of these attributes in yourself or the person you're worried about, it may indicate what is called a personality disorder. We should work on overcoming these attributes and avoid people who possess many of them."


(For ease of use, the generic masculine pronoun has been used.
Please recognize that the below behaviors apply to both male and female.)

  • Low stress tolerance with explosive behavior.

  • Moody – switches from nice guy/gal to anger without much provocation.

  • Survive on threats and intimidation to keep others chained to them.

  • They do not take responsibility for their behavior.

  • They have to be right. They have to win. They have to look good.

  • Very slow to forgive others. They hang on to resentment.

  • Unable to sustain a totally faithful relationship with love partner.

  • Tendency to project their own shortcomings onto the world about them – frequent blaming. Never at fault.

  • Ready rationalization – rarely at a loss for words – twists conversation to divorce themselves from responsibility.

  • Glimpses of integrity and emotion are seen – but short-lived. They give you hope that they are changing, but return soon to deviant behavior.

  • In a trust relationship, inevitably betray and violate their commitments and get blocked emotionally when they get too close to those they say they love.

  • They have no concept of open sharing of ideas, feelings, emotions. Conversation goes per their direction. They have the last word always.

  • Can show tenderness of feeling, then return to customary behaviors. Two (or more) vastly different sides to their personality are seen.

  • They never seem to get enough of what they want. They leave others feeling drained and confused.

  • Highly contradictory. He loves me, he hates me. They threaten their partner with poverty, then indulge their partner or the relationship.

  • You end up feeling responsible for the problem. They get to your feelings. No matter what -- they win, you lose.

  • Attitude of “I’ll meet your needs if you meet mine. If you don’t, I’ll find someone else who will or I will not meet yours.”

  • They are so skilled at making a mountain out of a molehill, and you become so tired of the conflict. It drains all of your energy, love and hope.

To view the full list of over 80 Red Flag behaviors, submit your name and email address below.

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