Have you ever stayed in a relationship or job far longer than you should have done? You saw the red flags, but you failed to act on them in the mistaken belief that either things would get better, or you simply convinced yourself that what you were witnessing couldn’t be true? I know I’ve done it in the past, with relationships, jobs and occasionally with clients.
So, what makes us stay when we know deep down that something isn’t right? Well, it’s because we are investedTypically, we see red flags very early on in any relationship (be it work or personal); however, we choose to ignore them. We convince ourselves that we are imagining things or decide to give them the ‘benefit of the doubt’ – this time.
When we finally manage to get out of the relationship/job/company, we often look back and think, ‘Wow, how did I not see that?’ The truth is, we probably did, but we chose to ignore it.
The longer we ignore the signs, the harder it is to leave because we become invested. We’ve invested our time, energy, emotions and sometimes, even money, and, therefore, it can become tough to walk away. It’s not the narrative we want, and so we choose to do nothing about it.
Your intuition (or gut feeling) is everything when it comes to establishing whether we can trust someone or not. It’s an in-built safety mechanism that is rarely wrong. The US military has recently spent $3m researching how war veterans could avoid landmines based purely on intuition.
If you have a negative feeling about a person, a job, situation or you sense a red flag, ask yourself, ‘If this was happening to someone else, what would I think?’ or ‘What would my friends/family/partner tell me if I told them about this?’
Often, when we know something is wrong, for example, someone isn’t treating us very well, we hide it from our friends either because of what they’ll think of us, or we don’t want them to dislike the other person – that, in itself, is a red flag.
I know it can be challenging to walk away from something when you’ve invested, but if you can heed the red flags early enough, ask yourself the above questions, you can save more potential hurt further down the line.
Finally, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. People can tell you anything you want to hear; however, actions and consistency of those actions are accurate indicators of the real person with whom you’re dealing.
If you’re struggling and need some support, especially during this challenging time, please do reach out, either to a friend, family member or health professional. I’m also here to help (in the strictest confidence). You are not alone.