Let's Talk Red Flags In Ourselves

I am a firm believer in self-reflection and introspection. As humans we naturally want to be good to ourselves and others. While I’m not using this as an excuse to be a total d*** to everyone else just on the pretense of “well we’re only human,” we do at times have certain character flaws that step out of line. Although I’ve gone through my fair share of trauma and heartbreak, I’ve also been labelled as the following: manipulative, negative, toxic. While I do know that not all of it is based on truth, it helps to eventually notice the red flags in our personalities and character. I’ve compiled a selection of answers to the r/AskWomen thread, “Have you ever seen red flags in yourself? How did you find out and address them?” So let’s take of note of these women’s answers and admissions of their own red flags in themselves and observe that we can always be better to ourselves and everyone else.


1) “Yep. I had a lot of jealousy and envy. There's a lot of messages in our culture about how being jealous/insecure is one of the worst things you can be, and it was really hard to confront and deal with. Working on my depression and self-esteem issues made my jealousy and envy pretty much go away.”

2) “The biggest/worst one is that I have an anxious-avoidant attachment pattern. In other words, I fall into a push/pull dynamic when I start to get close to people — I deeply crave love in theory, but once things begin to get real with a romantic partner, I become hypervigilant for threat cues and have strong urges to either run or sabotage things at the slightest sign of indifference or incompatibility. I learned to relate to people in this way because my childhood was highly abusive, and so were most of the romantic relationships I’ve had. It’s a sort of post-traumatic stress reaction.”

3) “I lie fairly often in a relationship; small lies to get my way. Often I do it unconsciously, and upon reflection, later on, I finally see what I was doing. I also tend to detach during sex even in serious intimate relationships, and I can be a bit callous with my partner's money. I think I found out by noticing a pattern in my relationships and also if I got called out by past partners.”

4) “Yes, all the time. I am incredibly overly sensitive and tend to believe the worst outcome possible of situations/people. My boyfriend often has to remind me that just because my friend didn't respond to my text doesn't mean she hates me, and just because we had an argument, doesn't mean I should always react with tears. Now that I wrote that out, I think my problem is self-esteem.”

5) “I struggle with conflict and confrontation, and I'm not always assertive enough when I need to be. Sometimes I bottle things up for quite a while. I'm learning and growing in that area, though.”

6) “Lots of jealousy to the point where I was I trying to control his porn viewing habits: what he was looking at, how often, etc. Not proud of it. It took him breaking up with me to finally realize that it's not f****** worth it and that my behavior was irrational and controlling. We're back together now, and I honestly couldn't care less about the things that upset me before.”

7) “I picked up a lot of small but unhealthy behaviors from my ex-boyfriend. He was a narcissistic emotional abuser, and I started hearing his words coming out of my mouth. Whenever I didn't get my way, the next words out of my mouth were ‘You hate me, you don't love me at all do you?’ And I didn't mean it, in my head it was a funny joke. But it was the same emotional manipulation my ex used and had the same effect on my SO. My ex used to wear me down with gaslighting and arguments until I would finally say, ‘Ok, you're right. I'm sorry.’ He'd respond with ‘I know you're sorry. Now apologize.’ This was devastating to hear every time. If I ever hear myself say this I'm finding the nearest cliff and jumping.”

8) “My major red flag is that I mask my low self-esteem with nonchalance. I have a hard time accepting praise. I react with complete disinterest when I feel hurt and slighted. I take things personally but say things don’t matter or I don’t care. It’s bad but I’m working on it.”

10) “I punched my boyfriend. I thought I was defending myself as he was so angry. He would shout, a lot, but he was never violent. I had 0 excuse. Once I calmed down, it hit me (no pun intended). Although part of that realization came from him almost leaving me. Honestly I am glad he did that or perhaps it would not have got through to me 100%. Scares me I got that angry. We're no longer together.”

11) “I'm incredibly self-deprecating. An internet friend asked me for a picture of myself and I told her I'm sorry if my disgusting visage makes her go blind. She got the picture and said I was rather cute. I thought she was lying immediately because I haven't heard a woman that wasn't a friend or family call me cute or attractive for years. As for addressing them, it's not that I wouldn't but I can't. I don't see myself as worthy of affection but I want it.”

12) “I can be manipulative. I really think it's a learned behavior from my mother. I didn't realize until I read up in manipulation and abuse in a tumblr post and realized I did these things. I work to not do it at all, but sometimes it will happen. I will address the behavior as soon as I see it and apologize to the person involved.”

13) “I think I used to be that psycho girlfriend all the guys s*** talk about together. When my first love dumped me, I tried to kill myself. Not because I thought it would make him come back, but because I genuinely built my life on him and I had no idea how to continue afterwards. Anyway, I kept calling him at the hospital and I think I unintentionally emotionally manipulated him into continuing to talk to me. I didn't even realize it at the time, but after a few years of reflection, I can see how gross my behavior was. He was basically forced into talking to me because he was probably scared I'd try to kill myself again. That was my main red flag about myself: the fact I depend on other people to keep me alive. Now I treat my relationships differently. It's not that I don't let myself love someone that intensely again, but I don't let myself get overly attached to people and I always remind myself that I need to be my own source of happiness and fulfillment.”

14) “Simultaneous doormat like behavior and stubborn inflexible a**holery. I got therapy to deal with childhood issues and am working on creating a shiny impenetrable spine.”

15) “One of my red flags was selfishness. I would always try to gains things from others and wouldn’t want to return a favor. I wrote sticky notes on the door before I left to remind myself every day to be selfless and it worked.”