April 26, 2015

Simulated Soul Mates: What I Wish I’d Known about Yellow Flags.

red light, yellow light, red flag, yellow flag

There will be people who travel through our lives—who appear to be, even advertise themselves as, a magnificent presence.

They may sparkle and draw us in like a magnet. They pull us together—they complete us. Then they deplete us.

We may have heard about relationship Red Flags, which should stop us in our tracks, but there are also Yellow Flags—which like a yellow traffic light should tell us to slow down. The problem is, our society is fairly unaware of the more subtle warning signs of impending relationship doom.

Over the span of our lives, we will encounter many different types of people.

Some will wave pretty hefty bright red flags—things like lying, stealing, cheating. Others will seem like our absolute perfection—these we might call “soul mates” (at first). They are charming, brilliant and beautiful—even if their outsides are unappealing, their insides seem to make up for everything they appear to lack. But we must consider a very subtle, seemingly benign (and definitely more cheery looking) Yellow Flag. It’s the idea that, “He is perfect for you”.

Add a little wind to that flag and you might get a good smack from it.

Not all people will be on our side, no matter what they profess. I used to think at least most people were, but now I think this isn’t true. There are people seeking an ego feeding frenzy and we might look a bit like fish bait.

It’s likely this person is someone we had a weird feeling about, but we chose to hit our danger override switch, rolled out the red carpet and let ’em in.

This type of person will feed on our finances, our flesh, and our soul. It might be because they lack something that we have. This could be considered predator-like behavior, and there are ample labels and diagnoses, but the terms aren’t really important here.

What is important is the awareness that “Mr. or Ms. Perfect” just may be “Mr. or Ms. Perfectly Simulated to be Tailored to Me.” This means that they will observe us and imitate us so we will like them, gleaning all the necessary information from us to exploit and then make a quick getaway on to their next victim.

Some Subtle Yellow Flags to be aware of:

1. You perceive them as the single best person in the world— with a knock your socks off golden aura that you can literally taste when you’re in the same room.

2. They insist that you are soul mates. This could be experienced with thoughts such as: your life finally makes sense with them; you’ve found your purpose to walk on the planet. Been waiting to exhale? Now you finally can.

3. They insist they feel connected to you immediately. They are instantly your new best friend. Not only that, they are the best, best friend you’ve ever had. They completely trump every other person in your life. And you love it.

4. They seem a little jealous. When we matter enough to evoke some possessiveness from another soul, it can be great feeling, but when it borders on “insanely jealous” including fabricating facts—that yellow flag is heading straight to red.

5. They constantly shower you with love and attention and tell you how amazing you are. This is called “love-bombing.” Cults practice this to get new members. They seek to make you feel that you are a part of something bigger than yourself, that you’re special. This love-bombing will cause your brain to release dopamine resulting in a serious natural high. Then you will get addicted.

6. They don’t seem really “there.” They will abandon you in conversations or disappear for days or weeks. They will practice something called “intermittent reinforcement” which is when you are given attention intermittently or unpredictably. They do this, in combination with love-bombing to set you up to be a love junkie—always craving and needing the next hit. Intermittent contact is not something that people who really want to be in your life will do. It’s a game.

7. They have a history of difficult “ex’s” and don’t take ownership of any problems. Couple this with name-calling and character assassination and you can only guess who will be the next crazy ex. You.

8. They can be cruel, then kind, but you still adore them. They can be verbally or physically abusive, but remain the love of your life. You love them, but also hate them. This is cognitive dissonance. It’s when your reality and true reality don’t line up. There’s only one truth here. You need to figure out which is which.

How can we fix the situation? How can we make things work? The fact is, maybe we can’t.

We’ve heard the saying “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” and while this may not be completely accurate, it’s important that we recognize destructive patterns of behavior, and ask ourselves a few questions:

Do we believe that these patterns can change?

Is this person capable or even desiring of growth?

Do they have a consistent desire to be a better person?

If you can answer, “yes” to these questions, you might have a workable (though difficult) situation. We then have to ask ourselves if we really have what it takes to give ourselves to someone who may never be able to really give anything back.

If we notice some of these Yellow Flags waving in our world, we need to be on red alert.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is bad, but it should signal us to proceed with caution. In the end, awareness and self-protection are the only tools we have to manage the difficult situations and relationships in our lives, so we have to arm ourselves.

We may save ourselves, or someone we care for, a lot of heartache by being in the know.


Relephant Reads:

How to Recognize Narcissistic Abuse.


Author: Dawn Raymond

Editor: Renee Jahnke

Image: Danielle Buma-Flickr

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