7 Relationship Warning Signs to be Aware Of

7 relationship warning signs to be aware of

There have been numerous people in my life who have acted abusively. They have prevented relationships from continuing, controlled finances, hurt people I love and myself. It has been a long time since I have lived with a person who acted like this. As a result of these past experiences and my personality, I have no filter around this type of behavior when I witness it. Today, I am left out of relationships because of my speaking out about other’s control.

I write this blog in the hopes some one will read it and either prevent themselves from being abused or leave an abusive situation. Although, it does hurt to be excluded, I have a much happier life than I could ever imagine. Life does get better when you create distance between yourself and this type of behavior.

Relationship Imperfection

No one has the perfect relationship. It is through our connections with others we heal emotional wounds and grow spiritually. There are certain warning signs to be aware of in relationships that cross the line into unhealthy interactions. Trust what your body is telling you when your mind is confused. If the relationship you are in leaves you feeling exhausted, confused, helpless, hopeless, overwhelmed, angry or anxious on a regular basis, seek out support. Whether you begin with a licensed psychotherapist or a trusted confidante, find someone who is comfortable, safe and stable to share your experiences with.

It’s all roses

Every new relationship goes through a honeymoon phase, where everything feels wonderful. Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone is flowing. You feel seen, loved and acknowledged. As in all phases, this too must end. In a healthy relationship, there is a period of adjustment in which you accept the other person’s perceived flaws. In an unhealthy relationship, the partner sees these human imperfections and attempts to change you into who he or she wants.

Some of the warning signs:

1. Isolation– Your partner wants to be the center of your world. You are told specifically or it is implied to not have relationships with certain people.

2. No boundaries or space- Your partner takes up all or a majority of your time. He or she decides where you will go and who you will hang out with. When you spend time with others without your partner, you receive numerous texts, calls and messages from them. They say it is because they love you but it is a way to keep tabs on you, as a reminder of their presence.

3. You don’t engage in your hobbies or interests- Your partner decides which activities are important, not what is important to you. He or she discourages any event, unless they are a part of it.

4. The put downs- You are criticized on everything from how you look, to how you think and do things. Pretty soon you question your own judgment and abilities. This self esteem damage leads to learned helplessness where a person feels he or she can’t leave the relationship.

5. They make you dependent upon them- This can be done through controlling your finances or you depend upon them physically to take care of you. Some people create a psychological dependency in which you need to ask their permission to do anything.

6. Threats- Be aware of emotional manipulations such as; If you don’t_________, I will __________.  When there is an increase in arguments and conflict, abuse quickly escalates. Just one past instance of violence, sexually or physically, can give you the feeling you need to walk on eggshells. Remember, one instance of physical, sexual or emotional violence is not okay, ever.

7. You are love bombed again and again. After a period of abuse there is a return to a honeymoon phase. You will hear apologies and promises, yet nothing changes. This time you want to believe it will be better and different because this is the part of the relationship you love. The problem is, this stage does not last and soon it returns to more abuse.

☎️There is hope and there is help. If you are in an abusive relationship:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7/365 at 1-800-799-7233  

National Sexual Assault Hotline   1-800-656-4673

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

National Center on Elder Abuse

Other blogs with similar topics:

How to Stop Being Controlled and Get Empowered

Why Narcissists Overreact When They Don’t Get Their Way

How to Recognize Manipulation & Protect Your Energy

How to Successfully Deal with Passive Aggressive Behavior

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is the Amazon bestselling author of Setting Ethical Limits: For Caring and Competent Professionals. Lisa is a licensed psychotherapist, who has created a unique program to help compassionate people, who get emotionally, physically and spiritually drained; rejuvenate and protect their energies. Get her FREE Gift 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now! 


How to Stop Being Controlled & Get Empowered

How to Stop Being Controlled & Get Empowered

At some point in your life, you have felt controlled by another person or event. Growing up, I witnessed some people passively going along with the controlling actions of others. I knew it could be different. I tried to change the situation, which left me exhausted, upset and reactive. I did what many well-meaning helpers do; I tried to control the control. As you guessed it, it did not help at all.

As I grew into mid-life, I learned how to detach and speak up for myself with assertiveness training. This doesn’t mean I let go perfectly. I have moments of stress, anger and fear. The difference is I visit these emotional states but I do not live in them. I do not allow a controlling person or situation to take up space in my head for too long. You can learn how to live in peace and happiness, despite what others do or do not do.

Are you victorious or a victim?

The decision to be controlled lies within each one of us, you can choose to be victorious or a victim. In the most dire of situations; prison camps, slavery, illness, politics, natural disasters, abuse etc. people have chosen to keep their thoughts positive and hopeful. No matter what situation you are facing, you can learn how to let go of controlling behaviors.

How to Stand in Your Power:

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket – keep it in your own.”- Elizabeth Gilbert (Author; Eat, Pray, Love)

1.) Avoid Reacting. The controlling person wants a reaction, do not give her one. She is trying to get into your head and have the upper hand. You cannot control what another person does, but you can choose your response. To be truly empowered is to learn how to stand, breath and pause when you feel triggered (angry, depressed, guilty, scared or upset). Become neutral, like Spock from Star Trek.

2.) Have Empathy for the Person. Their behavior is not personal. It comes from a deep feeling of insecurity and low self-esteem. People who act controlling may look confident, yet they have a lot of fear. Remember: Understanding them does not excuse unacceptable behavior.

3.) Know Your Boundaries. You deserve to be treated respectfully.  Here is a Personal Bill of Rights from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. I highly recommend this book if you struggle with anxiety dealing with the world or in relationship with others.

  1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
  2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
  3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
  4. I have the right to change my mind.
  5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
  6. I have the right to follow my own standards.
  7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates my values.
  8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
  11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
  12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
  13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m scared.”
  14. I have the right to say “I don’t know.”
  15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.
  16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
  17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
  19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
  20. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
  21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
  22. I have the right to change and grow.
  23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  25. I have the right to be happy.

4.) Be Clear About Your Limits. Those who control want you to get accustomed to their expectations and way of living, rather than they become flexible by giving and receiving. Where are you going to draw the line? You have the power to decide what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable to you.

5.) Limit Your Time with Them. You need to protect your energy. Make an honest assessment and take a hard look at your life. What is your need to stay or be around this type of energy? Take steps to be around this person less and less.


“No one can control you without your consent.”- Walt Disney (Co-founder; The Walt Disney Company)

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She specializes in working with professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and rejuvenate their energy. Pick up her FREE 10 page E-book 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!  


You may also be interested in Lisa’s MP3 meditation Renew and Heal: Releasing the Chaos Meditation. 

Renew & Heal Meditation-Releasing the Chaos

5 Ways to Release Relationship Expectations and Be Happy!

5 Ways to Release Relationship Expectations and Be Happy! (2)

Life is full of changes. It is your choice whether to resist or accept them. Holding onto the way things “should be done” or having expectations drains you of precious energy. The most difficult yet loving act can be letting go.

During the holidays, I faced change within my own family. At first, I felt hurt, disappointed, sad and angry. All of these feelings are valid, yet some of these were rooted in my childhood. After I fully sat with these feelings, I was able to release them and appreciate that the holidays can be different from what I have previously experienced.

5 Ways to Release Expectations

  1. Watch for signs of change- I began to notice changes in my family about two years ago. Change rarely happens out of the blue but rather over a period of time in small increments. People begin to have different experiences from one another and grow apart. This is normal and okay. We are all discovering our own spiritual growth and path. The problems begin when you deny what you see because of a fear of change.
  2. Let go of fear- When you are resisting or trying to control the experience, it doesn’t feel good. Let go and let God. Healing happens when you release because you allow spirit to enter the situation and your life. You may even be able to find some positives in change.
  3. Let go of control- Allow people to be who they are and do what they want, this gives you and them freedom and peace. I am pretty good at this because I was the one in my family growing up wanting events to be different. When I was forced to do things in order to make other people happy, I felt resentful and withdrew. No one wants that kind of energy at their event.
  4. Let go of expectations- See people for who they are, not what you want them to be. People will show and tell you what they want and who they are, if you listen. Be open to seeing what is and drop any illusions you have about this person and the relationship.
  5. Define what you want- Change gives you an opportunity to focus on what is important to you. For the holidays and other future events, I want to send everyone an energy of appreciation and acknowledgement. An event isn’t about pleasing one person, but rather thinking of the entire group who are coming together to celebrate. There are no perfect solutions but there are ways to compromise and let go for the highest good.

No matter what your relationship, keep your eyes open to the signs of change. Allow change to flow and be open to the possibility that something different could be better than you expect. No matter what happens, you can choose love and this is how you will be happy.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach for empaths and artists. Her specialty is working with professionals who get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and renew their energy. If you would like to learn more about Lisa and her practice visit www.lisahutchison.net and pick up your FREE 10 page e-book called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos From Your Life Now!