Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: Red Flags by (@InglewoodDiva) Kahlelah

When we talk about red flags, we usually think of visual alarms.  We typically think of the clear (and oftentimes, not so clear) indicators of potential dangers we are bound to face once we ignore the alarms.  Red flags are life’s way of saying “stop,” “no,” and “don’t.”  However, when we are young, we still tend to “go,” say “yes,” and simply “do.”

Red flags in life’s various situations are often overlooked, or even ignored.  Partly, because we are in disbelief that what we have invested our time & energy into, is practically unraveling at the seams, and crumbling before our very eyes.  Mostly, because we are in denial.  We see, hear, and feel what is going on, yet we consciously deny all evidence of danger, for fear of having to face the fact of a temporary bout of failure.  Besides, when we are taught at young ages to always be and do our best, who wants to admit to failure!?
Well, instead of admitting failure . . . why not PREVENT it?  Prevention is the best method of saving ourselves from failure.  If we practice prevention, we protect ourselves from sinking into the depths of a failed plan, a crumbling foundation, an unraveled seam . . . in this case, a bad relationship.  We protect ourselves from the oncoming hurt, hate, pain, regret, and we save ourselves from having to forgive ourselves (which can be a difficult task in itself).
What I want to share with you, beautiful Young Girls, are various occurrences classified as “Red Flags” in your relationships.  If you remember my post “Love:  The Blindside,” you may recall seeing the 8 red flags I listed when describing my toxic, abusive relationship of 2 1/2 years.  I would like to further expand with more indicators of an abusive relationship, so that you all are aware of the more subtle forms of abuse:
1)  The Blame Game
Your significant other will manage to blame every problem on you.  Nothing you do is correct, enough, or even satisfactory.  Even problems that have nothing to do with you, become your fault.  Why?  Because blaming the other person will keep him/her with a constant desire to please.  As women, we are often raised with a subconscious yearning to please our mates.  We aren’t happy unless THEY are happy.  We will sacrifice our happiness to ensure the happiness of others, often to our detriment.  Does you mate blame you for just about everything?  Are you a victim of The Blame Game?
2)  Lack of Recognition
We all want to be recognized for our hard work, our effort, our diligence in doing something right, or bringing a hard task to completion.  Yet, in this case, your significant other cannot seem to compliment you for your achievements.  For you beautiful Young Girls, it could be anything from an excellent test score to a well-coordinated outfit.  Your significant other will unceasingly find a discrepancy, even when 100% is staring him/her right in the face.  Does your mate fail to recognize your achievements?  Are you a victim on Lack of Recognition?
3)  Problem Starter/Problem Solver
This red flag can work two ways.  In one way, your significant other cannot seem to solve problems, and looks to you to handle all decisions; if you cannot come up with an acceptable solution, then you become part of the problem (this can coincide with red flag #1).  In the other way, your significant other exercises his/her power by keeping control of all decision-making in any given situation; if you do not or cannot comply with his/her decision(s), then you become part of the problem.  Are you unable to make conscious decisions, or forced to make decisions, against proper judgement?  Are you a victim of Problem Starter/Problem Solver?
4)  Belittling Communication
Your significant other cannot seem to speak to you with a more kind delivery.  Everything out of his/her mouth towards you is belittling, dehumanizing, hurtful, embarrassing, sarcastic, and just plain rude.  Much of the negative speech is said in front of others, in efforts of enforce whatever visible control he/she has, or wants to have, which of course renders you powerless in the eyes of the onlookers.  Do the words from your significant other sting with intent?  Are you a victim of Belittling Communication?
I ask the questions at the end of each red flag, because I have experienced all 4, but unfortunately there was no one around to point out the signs.  Hopefully my asking the questions will open your eyes to potential danger in your relationships.  
Parents, if you are reading this along with your beautiful Young Girls, please understand that we as adults are not the only ones who succumb to toxically abusive relationships, and physical evidence are not the only indicators.  The subject is no longer taboo.  Our beautiful Young Girls, sadly, are also susceptible to involving themselves in detrimental situations, and because abuse is not always physical, we must pay close attention to the more subtle forms.
I sincerely hope this helps you to identify if there are any red flags within your relationships.  If there are, then it is time to reevaluate yourself, your significant other, what role he/she plays in the presence of these red flags, and your level of genuine happiness in the relationship.  Know when to hold, when to fold, and when to walk away.  It is never too late.

To contact me, please visit www.facebook.com/LelahGTheMogul, or www.twitter.com/InglewoodDiva. You can also email me at lelahgoodine@gmail.com.

Kahlelah Goodine
Ms. Inglewood United States 2012 (Ms. Photogenic)