Author- Nmuta Ngozi
Red flags can also be known as warning signs. It is important that a woman recognizes red flags when she sees one and ought to do her very best to avoid ending up in that relationship or marriage and if it happens like in my own case, specific and strategic steps should be taken to exit as safely as is practicable.
Women ought to dedicate reasonable time to dating and courtship. That is when a woman should be very vigilant, prayerful and observant for any red flags but it is usually ignored either out of desperation, love or fear of losing this person. Women have the exceptional gift of intuition and we should never ignore that gift and that which you ignored at the inception becomes your worst nightmare in the future.
Using my life as a case study, I did see some red flags but I ignored them. I was in love and ready to settle down. I could remember the very first day he took me out to dinner after work. He parked a little farther from the Restaurant due to limited parking space. We had a colleague of his as a companion and I actually also wondered why he brought a colleague along and of course without pre-informing me. That was a red flag for me. It was supposed to be a date. The trend continued after the marriage because he never consulted me in any decision making or even volunteered any information so I never knew what to expect.
Secondly, we had to cross the road to get to the restaurant, mind you it was already getting dark and the road was busy. He simply crossed alone without ensuring I was safe. I ended up having to thank God for his colleague who ensured my safety. It was a red flag which also registered in my head that he was an insensitive and uncaring person but I also ignored it. I lived with his insensitivity for 8 years and it never got better until I walked away after narrowly escaping death.
Speaking out if in an abusive relationship or marriage is crucial to survival. Women are blatantly discouraged from exiting an unhealthy and toxic marriage with words like “endure” “a woman keeps her home” “Consider the kids because they need a father figure” “be submissive” etc. Surprisingly, most of these comments come from women. You are judged and asked to accept certain excesses.
Abuse can take several forms, It could be physical, mental and psychological, emotional and financial. All these forms of abuse are horrid and should not be tolerated. Non-physical forms of abuse can cause irreparable damages and the fact that there are no physical wounds does not make it less destructive. In fact, in my own marriage and experience, non-physical abuse is the worst type of abuse. It is systematic and well-calculated with the intent to utterly destroy your very essence. Emotional abusive can kill; can lead to depression, use of drugs and alcohol as an escape. Whether you accept a certain abuse or disrespect as highlighted above and even those not listed does not in any way make it right and acceptable. It is a red flag and you should make your decision to walk away while you still can or find a lasting, realistic and workable solution to put an end to it before it spirals out of control.
Breaking free of an abusive relationship and or marriage is no small feat especially where children are involved. However, staying in an abusive marriage and ignoring all red flags is not the solution either as you could lose your life in the process and the children will end up losing a parent. Also, the children could end up becoming abusive themselves due to long exposure to abusive atmosphere and be another person’s nightmare. Breaking free from such a relationship might not necessarily mean divorce or even official/legal separation; it could be mental, psychological, physical and emotional separation while both parties try to work things out from a safe space. Distance could be a healing factor sometimes.
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