One ex confidently clarified for me that, yes, I do indeed have stretch marks. Even though I still haven’t been able to find exactly what he was referring to (because apparently these “stretch marks” are invisible) the comment still made a lasting and hurtful impression on me. Why didn’t I just leave and break it off? Why didn’t I insult the guy back, point out his premature balding pattern? Why didn’t I call a friend?
Sometimes, in a moment of reflection, I’ll compare my current relationship to a previous one. I’ll remember a strange interaction with an ex and wonder how in the world I didn’t immediately dump the guy. It’s hard not to self-criticize when you look back at some of your self-defeating actions. However, in the end, he was the one that was being an insecure and cruel person. Though I was clueless with low self-esteem, I wasn’t the one looking to hurt or defeat, and this can be celebrated. I’d rather be stupid and submissive than a total douche with a destructive agenda.
Regardless of my old self’s choices, my current self is much more wise and aware when it comes to relationships. Had my thirty year old self been friends with my twenty year old self, maybe my twenty year old self could have avoided some damage. Alas, I can’t go back in time, but I figure I can share some of my reflective insight. There were so many red flags waving in my face, but I chose not to see them, or most likely, I just didn’t even know what red flags were.
You Should End the Relationship ASAP If…
1. …the person can list more of your faults than you can (he/she is hyper-critical or aims to lower your self-esteem).
2. …you are not 100% confident about leaving him/her alone with your family or friends (it can manifest in the fear that the person will be inappropriate or offensive while you walk out to the car to get something).
3. …if you’re always doing what he/she wants to do.
4. …the person mocks or belittles your family and friends (even in smug subtle ways).
5. …if the gifts you’re getting from him/her have nothing to do with your style and/or interests; you’re always confused like didn’t I make it obvious I wanted new speakers? What’s with this paper weight?
6. …you’ve never met his/her family.
7. …his/her friends are unwelcoming or even mean.
8. …he/she relentlessly doubts you.
9. …you don’t feel like you can be yourself around him/her.
10. …he/she knows exactly where your buttons are, and seems to like pushing them.
11. …he/she doesn’t know what your favorite movie is, who your favorite actress is or what your hopes and dreams are.
And my all time favorite sign of relationship dysfunction:
12. …the relationship brings you anxiety and stress.
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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