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Are You Your Own Getaway Car? On Confronting My Own Relationship Red Flags As Trauma Recovery Work

Today I posted this reel on Instagram about my own relationship red flags, and I set the reel to Taylor Swift's "Getaway Car." I love this song for discussing red flags since it demonstrates toxic relationship behaviors and the inevitability of the outcome that results from them ("don't pretend it's such a mystery, think about the place where you first met me").

A significant part of trauma recovery work is learning to confront our own maladaptive behaviors that originated out of a space of necessity, but are now working against us living our best lives. Recognizing and then attending to our own relationship red flags is an example of that work.

Red flags in relationships are warning signs of toxic or unhealthy behaviors and behavior patterns that one or both partners may exhibit. In this post, I’m addressing our own behaviors. What unhealthy patterns do I replicate in relationships? How am I or have I been the toxic partner?

In my own journey of learning to heal and live alongside complex ptsd, I have become a huge proponent of radical accountability. It feels empowering to me to look at my own behaviors and ask how I can shift or alter them for my highest good. Maybe that’s learning how to set clear and consistent boundaries. Maybe that’s recognizing my tendency to turn into an ice princess and run when my nervous system feels activated. Maybe it’s addressing my tendency to fall for potential rather than what’s actually standing in front of me (spoiler: it’s all of the above).

While I’ve done a lot of work looking at how I’ve been victimized (because you can’t heal from having been victimized if you can’t see yourself as a victim. But that’s a post for another day), some of the most transformative work I’ve done and am doing is in observing my own coping mechanisms in action and evaluating their efficacy. Especially as a survivor of childhood trauma, many of the coping skills we adapted to survive our circumstances are now not only no longer useful, they actively sabotage our present goals and aspirations. What was once necessary is now corrosive and needs to be loving unlearned and replaced with behaviors that serve our present. Looking at at our own relationship red flags is a great place to begin that endeavor. Because our own red flags can blind us to the red flags of others AND have us cruising right past safe and loving relationship opportunities.

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