The First Red Flag
Written by: Brittany Sandone
If you would have told me at age 20 or even 22 that I would end up in an abusive relationship, I would have called you absolutely crazy. I spent countless hours in college classes where Domestic Violence was heavily discussed. I saw the red flags. I knew the signs. I was aware of the hotlines and places to turn if I needed help. But instead, I pretended it wasn't’ happening.
Thinking things to myself like:
“This is just temporary.”
“He is so protective over me so he must really care about me.”
“If I just do whatever it is to make him happy, he will stay.”
“He doesn’t want me around anyone else because he wants to spend all of our time together.”
NO, NO and NO!
Abuse is abuse. Mental, emotional, physical...it doesn’t matter. Trust your gut and don't ignore the red flags. My great grandmother always said….”The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”. As much as I tried to convince myself that he changed, he was always an abuser and wasn’t going to change for me.
We had been dating several months and things seemed great. I knew his past (cheater, liar, sketchy), but I thought that since he seemed so in love with me, things would be different. The first time that things took a turn (for the bad) was at my friend's wedding. Those of you that have been in a wedding before know that your day as a bridesmaid starts at the crack of dawn. Hair, make-up, pictures and just simply celebrating. I didn’t have my phone with me for obvious reasons, and that did sit well with him (red flag). As I was standing at the altar next to my friend, I couldn’t find him in the crowd (red flag). As soon as the ceremony started, I grabbed my phone to make sure he was safe and I had TONS of texts and missed calls from him (RED FLAG). Not nice ones either. I was told that I was lying about getting wedding pictures taken. I was told that I was purposely not responding. I was called a slut because I was “probably sneaking off hooking up with someone else''. He went on and on about how I should have had my phone with me. You know what this isn't over...his suit didn’t fit. He had to go buy a new one and somehow it was my fault (red flag). Believe it or not, he talked me into sending him $300 for part of the suit. Without question, I did it because I was trying to please him.
When I got those texts, I sobbed immediately. I showed another bridesmaid the texts and voicemails and she ran me to the bathroom. I sobbed in a bathroom stall at my good friend's wedding. The other bridesmaid told me that how he was talking to me was not okay. I knew in my gut it was not okay, but I stuck up for him anyway.
The night was awkward between us, but he acted sweet and innocent in front of everyone else. Like he was this great, loving and supporting boyfriend...but it was all for show. I ended up going to my hotel room because I couldn’t handle him and the personality change. He followed me of course. His way of trying to fix things was to become intimate, so that’s exactly what we did. That night set the tone of a lot, and I mean a lot of unhealthy boundaries during the next few year(s). That night was the first night I saw the real him, and I wish I would have listened to my gut.
Looking back now, I knew why I was trying to say. We had experienced a miscarriage several months before and all I wanted was to be pregnant again. I didn’t care what I needed to do to have a baby. I was still mourning the idea of becoming a mother and if being treated like this was the road that lead to conceiving a baby, then I was planning driving down that road until I had a baby in my arms.