Remember red flags (usually) don't change color. I say usually because with God ALL thing are possible, however, it is important to use discernment and remember Matthew 10:16 tells us...Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
While we are called to love others we are not called to take abuse in any form. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is place a boundary and intentionally pray for someone. Loving someone from a distance is okay.
If you struggle with understanding what a red flag may be I have compiled a list of 20 patterns or behaviors that could be red flags.
It might be a red flag if: (keep in mind we have all, at one time or another, reacted in several of these ways...what you need to be aware of is patterns, character, and attitudes.)
1. If someone continually reminds others of their credentials, experiences, etc.
2. If someone uses social media to stir negativity or share personal information about others in a passive aggressive way.
3. If a person insinuates they are always the victim or does not take responsibility.
4. If the person uses shame and intimidation to get what they want, keep others at bay, or take the focus off of them.
5. If a person is overly concerned about what others think of them.
6. If a person reminds others often of what they have done to help them.
7. You notice patterns of behavior, words, or attitudes that don't measure up with who they say they are.
8. You notice a pattern of alcohol or drug abuse/addiction.
9. Uses language (curse words), loud/yelling voice, or shaming to control you or the situation.
10. Justifies their (bad/negative) behavior.
11. If a person has a pattern of calling others out on social media in a way that does not walk towards reconciliation or hope.
12. If a person has a tendency to be involved or starts heated arguments or debates.
13. If you begin to notice certain things simply do not add up.
14. If a person tells outrageous stories that may or may not be true.
15. If a person has a history of lying or exaggerating.
16. If a person is defensive.
17.If a person rushes into friendships or relationships with unrealistic expectations.
18. If a person is very critical.
19. If a person lashes out if you disagree or don't go along with what they want.
20. If a person gossips or says inappropriate things about others.
This is by no means a complete list. Only you can know if you are seeing a red flag and if a boundary is needed. Keep your eyes and ears open. Do not deny or validate red flags. If you are in a relationship with someone that exhibits any of these qualities on a regular basis, I encourage you to seek help through your church, a trusted friend, and counseling. Like anything else, the first step is acknowledgment. The second step is understanding what you need to do about it.
A wise counselor once told me, “ These type of people are all around us and while we can't control them, we can begin to see the red flags and put things in place so that we don't get sucked into their drama.” And if we have somehow found our self stuck in the middle of their drama we can choose to place boundaries at any time. We can love from a distance and never cease praying.
There is always HOPE!