My high school days were clouded with colourful dreams. Each time I thought of the future, I saw a clear path beautified with sparkling rainbows. I mean, what could go wrong? I was a good student who with a landslide victory won a major school election to become Vice President of the school’s media club.
Honestly, I was so certain I would be dazzled by life’s perky treats the moment I made it to university and earned good grades. Alas! Adulthood teaches you that life is not all rainbows and unicorns. The step to a life of comfort and impact is in no way simple.
As an enthusiastic student in the university studying Philosophy, I once asked my lecturer where I could work after graduation apart from becoming a lecturer like him? I looked forward to being inspired, but to my surprise, he laughed and simply said “Anywhere.”
This was the first time this wordsmith had answered a question vaguely. Honestly, it did not leave a good taste. Frankly, as a youth in a developing country, being told you can work anywhere was best interpreted as nowhere.
Accordingly, for the first time, my future was unclear. The uncertainty was disturbing, so I asked myself, what is the way forward?
A Clearer Path
Self-development became a necessity if I was to find my place in this cycle of life.
Growing up, I loved creating stories and I believed that words were mightier than swords. Therefore, I took to content creation. This passion led me into discovering the Udacity Digital Marketing Nanodegree Program.
Reading about the Udacity learning platform left me in awe so I swiftly jumped on the opportunity to win a Digital Marketing Nanodegree scholarship.
Indeed, the people at Udacity are in all ramifications excellent. The challenge phase was like an amazing appetizer, it made me burn in desire for the Nanodegree Program.
Consequently, I juggled through the daily hassle and bustle of life to ensure I was well prepared for the final assessment. This time around, my dreams came through. It wasn’t beautified with sparkling rainbows but it was a package of hope. A chance to learn a skill from which I can commence a clear career path.
Furthermore, the world is fast becoming digital in all ramifications. Tapping into the digital world equipped with an important skill like digital marketing learned from a great learning platform like Udacity will be life-changing. For the first time in a long time, I am confident of better days. And this time around, it is not based on childish wishful thinking but because I am obtaining a skill with immense value.
Irrespective of social class, gender, and level of popularity nobody likes to be alone. People want to love and be loved. Hence, the world is filled with countless love songs. Unfortunately, in our quest for love, we sometimes form a toxic relationship. Timely Identification of red flags is vital.
Accordingly, this article highlights and discusses five red flags that indicate a toxic relationship. However, before slamming the nail on the head, let’s walk through the basics.
The word relationship refers to a shared bond between people. There are various forms of relationships, and each of them can either be toxic or healthy. However, this article is concerned with romantic relationships.
A romantic relationship is a bond between two people which is characterised by physical intimacy and deep emotions. Romantic relationships are usually sexually active, nevertheless, there are exceptions. In a romantic relationship, both parties are expected to respect, admire, love, trust and care for each other. Unfortunately, in reality, some supposedly romantic relationships are simply toxic.
What is a Toxic Relationship
A toxic relationship is a relationship that is unhealthy to the parties involved. In such a relationship, happiness is short-lived. A toxic relationship can be physically and mentally harmful.
In toxic relationships, instead of blossoming, we tend to shrink daily. Toxic relationships are stressful and unnecessary turvy-topsy. A relationship can become toxic when the people involved are not compatible, or one of them is violent, disrespectful and manipulative.
The effects of a toxic relationship are huge, yet people often do not realise that they are in one. Some people are so used to toxicity that they think it is normal. Such a thinking habit occurs mostly when one was raised in a toxic home.
The worst outcome of continuing a toxic relationship is making babies together. The innocent children are either raised in a toxic environment or go through life with the pain of being raised in a broken home.
A stitch in time saves nine, and prevention is way better than cure. Once you identify the about to be enlisted red flags zoom off. Love does not have to be tough and harmful. Never settle for a toxic relationship. Here are some relationship red flags.
5 Red Flags That Signifies a Toxic Relationship
Relationships are not a walk in the park. It will not always be lovey-dovey and love will certainly not always be the language you both will speak. There will be days of disagreements and feuds, and that is normal.
Nevertheless, regular fights are a red flag. Compatibility is key in any relationship and a relationship devoid of compatibility is heading for doom. A relationship between two compatible people will not have constant fights. There will certainly be disagreements but it won’t be the constant characteristic of the relationship.
If you and your partner are always at loggerheads then it is time to reconsider the stance of that relationship. Compatibility of ideas and values is key. A toxic relationship is devoid of compatibility and this leads to constant fights and feuds.
Honestly, regular fights should not be swept under the carpet and viewed as normal. If you are always fighting with your partner, visit a therapist. If therapy cannot fix the underlying issues then it is time to go separate ways.
Being in a relationship filled with constant fights is toxic and draining both physically and mentally. Moreover, raising children in such an environment is disastrous.
Constant fights are a sign of a toxic relationship.
A toxic relationship is loaded with disrespect. Disrespect in relationships can occur in various modes. If your relationship is disrespectful it is the hub of toxicity. Never settle for a relationship that is characterized by constant disrespect.
Some modes of disrespect include;
Disregard for your opinions
Bringing your issues to social media
Speaking to you in an unruly manner
Questioning all your actions
Causing you frequent embarrassment
Accommodating the disrespect given to you by their family and friends.
If your partner does any of the following then you are in a toxic relationship.
When Your Partner is a Narcissist
Narcissists are manipulative and control freaks. Staying with them is hell. Narcissists are egocentric and will always put themselves first. In relationships, both parties must be willing to make sacrifices for each other and narcissists won’t do such.
Again, narcissists enjoy pulling others down and will make you feel guilty even when they are at fault. Dating a narcissist is a recipe for a toxic relationship. They are experts in gaslighting. Once your partner exhibits signs of narcissism that is a crystal red flag.
People ought to flourish in relationships, and dating narcissists will certainly do the opposite. Leave a narcissist with the speed of light.
An abusive relationship is toxic. Any relationship that condones any form of abuse is toxic. A relationship that is either physically, psychologically, or emotionally abusive should be left without looking back.
Considering violence, both parties in a relationship must always keep their hands to themselves. No disagreement should ever result in violence. Listen, no one has the right to physically hurt anyone (except in self-defence) and condoning such an attitude is against the tenets of self-love.
A violent relationship can lead to death or permanent disability. The moment your partner results in violence that is a red flag you should not condone.
In the same vein, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse is a huge red flag. Hurtful words hurt deeply and can reduce your self-confidence to dust. If your partner regularly says hurtful things to you, that should be a deal-breaker.
Partners ought to inspire and cheer for one another. It ought to be a thing of joy watching your partner soar. In a relationship, both parties should be confidence boosters for one another. You are both a team and should act as such. Jealousy should never creep into your relationship.
If you notice your partner is in an unhealthy competition with you, and rather than push you towards success they pull you back, that relationship is toxic. Candidly, this should be a deal-breaker.
To be loved and loved is a beautiful feeling and experience. However, you have to do this with the right person else you could end up with grave regrets.
If you observe any of these five red flags that indicate a toxic relationship in your relationship, then you need to rethink that relationship.
Paedophiles are people sexually attracted to children. They are as real as day but difficult to detect like a fallen pin under the night sky. When the world was singing out their hearts and dancing to the rhythm of R. Kelly’s melodious songs, who could have guessed that the ace artiste was a paedophile? Therefore, knowing how to protect children from paedophiles is crucial.
The resonance behind paedophilia is never justifiable even when thought about from a topsy-turvy position. In a world characterised by anxieties, and ruthless challenges, snatching the innocence of children, thereby leaving them scarred is a beastly behaviour that should be vehemently prevented.
I randomly remember the case of a mother who walked into her home and was welcomed by a sight that took her consciousness away. Her little boys who ought to have been playing with toys or doing kids’ stuff, were both unclad fiddling their genitals. How did they learn such idiosyncrasy?
The boys were questioned and they innocently mentioned that they were just doing what their aunt usually does to them behind closed doors. Everyone turned to the accused, ready to devour her, but she uttered words that left everyone frigid. She pointed accusing fingers towards the lady’s husband and narrated how he had abused her since she walked through their door as a 13-year-old girl. In return, she was just performing on his kids all he did and has continued to do to her.
Sadly, the above is just one instance out of multiple devastating cases of paedophile activities. Therefore, protecting children and teenagers from paedophiles is a matter of urgency. Learn how to protect children from paedophiles.
Tips On How To Protect Children From Paedophiles
Lately, the internet is filled with reported cases of the brutish activities of paedophiles. Sometimes the relationship status between the victims and the perpetrators of this crime drops your jaw in astonishment.
There are reports of fathers defiling their children. While this may come across as unbelievable, it is a sad reality. Therefore, no one can be entirely ruled off. At a time like this, being informed on how to protect your children from paedophiles is a must.
If no one can be trusted wholly, fierce measures must be taken to safeguard children.
These measures are:
Arm Your Kids With Knowledge
Knowledge is indeed power and the key to clogging the wheels of paedophiles. Arm your children with appropriate knowledge of their genitals and the activities of paedophiles.
The moment they begin to speak, teach them the correct names of their genitals. Equally, educate them that no one has the right to touch their genitals and if anyone does, they should report to you immediately. Normalize asking your children/wards questions about their day and the activities that took place in your absence.
I beam each time I recall the day while walking through a crowded Park, someone accidentally grazed my nephew’s behind and he turned around and loudly said;
“Do not touch my buttocks!” At the time, he was just a little over two years of age.
Groom your children from an early age that it is wrong for anyone to fondle their genitals and uncomfortably caress their body.
Tell Them About Paedophiles
We tell our kids folktales and myths to instil in them various moral lessons. On television, they watch Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other stories that fill their heads with the illusions of a charming prince coming to sweep them off their feet and witches. While the above is alright, how about telling them about issues that are real, important, and will shield them from being violated.
Tell them about paedophiles and the damages they can cause. You can channel your inner creativity and educate them through the use of a story.
For instance, here is a quick story I just composed.
The Dark Side of Smiling Joe
Once upon a time, there lived a man known as smiling Joe. He was called smiling Joe because he wore a wide grin each time he saw children. He loved to play with children and would easily earn their love by giving them candies, biscuits and other yummy goodies. All the children loved the generous smiling Joe. Smiling Joe was not just loved by the kids, their parents loved him too and would let their kids play with him and spend time in his home. Unknowing to the parents, smiling Joe had a dark and dangerous side. He wasn’t as nice as he seemed.
Smiling Joe was a paedophile. A paedophile is a person who likes to touch children wrongfully. Normal people are attracted to their fellow adults, but smiling Joe was a dangerous weirdo that prefers children. He only acted kindly to earn the trust of parents and lure their children into his house. When alone with them, he will begin to touch their bodies, especially their buttocks, penis, and vaginal. He would give candies to the children to pacify them and ask them not to tell their mummies and daddies.
One day, the fake smiling Joe tried his antics on a new kid whose family just moved into the neighbourhood. Unknowing to him the kid has been informed never to let anyone touch her private parts. And if anyone does such, she should scream for help and report to her parents. The kid did as she had been told. She screamed and shirked for help even though Joe tried to shut her up. Fortunately, people heard her scream and banged loudly on the door. A scared Joe opened the door but before he could speak, the child yelled;
“He was touching my vaginal!”
Angrily, the people grabbed smiling Joe and sent him to jail. Other parents began questioning their kids and the children told them all smiling Joe have been doing to them. The parents wept and henceforth they told their children to scream each time someone tries to touch their private parts.
The use of stories will help younger children understand who are paedophiles and how they must never condone their antics.
Kindly note that women can be paedophiles and you can tailor your own story.
Teach Your Children Contentment
Paedophiles weaponized gifts, money and yummy meals to lure innocent children. Teach your children contentment so their innocence will not be snatched through the use of material things
Establish A Strong Bond With Your Children/Wards
In parenting, trust is key and no bestowed faith should be broken. Create a strong bond with your children so that with ease they can unpack their day’s activities to you.
Children/wards suffer in silence in the hands of paedophiles because they are not comfortable enough to share what they are going through with their parents or guardians.
Some paedophiles threaten to harm their victims if they speak up, it is therefore imperative to form a huge bond that will transcend beyond the fear of being harmed for speaking up.
Believe Your Children/Ward When They Speak Up
Never shut a child up when they speak their truth, else they would opt to suffer in silence.
Some victims suffered at the hands of paedophiles because their parents never believed them. There are several cases of little girls who were for years abused by their step-fathers because each time they spoke up their mothers never took their side.
When your kids tell you, someone uncomfortably touched them, never wave it off like it means nothing. Thank them for notifying you, and ensure to keep such a person at arm’s length even if they are relatives.
Always, listen to your children with keen interest. Let them know they can count on you.
Never Be Too Busy To Care For Your Children/Wards
Children never beseech their parents to bring them into the world, therefore, when you have them they are automatically your responsibility. Consequently, no one should be too busy for their children.
Accordingly, quit leaving the grooming of your children in the hands of strangers and relatives.
Activities such as bathing the little children should be done by the parents. While bathing them be observant and question them about any sore or changes you discover. This measure is imperative to avoid your children being violated under your nose.
As a parent, you must be observant and vigilant. Access to your children’s bodies should be limited.
What must be done when a paedophile is caught?
Always take legal actions against paedophiles. Nothing diminishes the healing process of victims of molestation more than the fact that their abusers got away with their crime.
Never try to hide the deeds of a paedophile. Ensure they are arrested and the law serves its course. Victims get closure when justice is served. Never sweep the issue under the carpet irrespective of who the paedophile was.
How can victims wholly heal?
Child molestation affects both the body and mind. Get victims medical help and therapy.
In paedophilia limited to the molestation of children?
No, paedophilia is not limited to the molestation of children. Flaunting your genitals in front of a child, having improper sexual conversations with children, practising sexual acts in the presence of a child are parts of being a paedophile.
How can children be protected from paedophiles?
Kindly follow the discussed measures of this article.
Do paedophiles also abuse toddlers?
Sadly, even innocent toddlers are sometimes victims of paedophiles. Toddlers can neither speak nor defend themselves. Therefore, be very protective towards your toddlers and babies. Be mindful of who you to hold your children.
Paedophiles are a threat to the well-being of children. Therefore, we must get real with our children and inform them of the existence of these dangerous beings. Remember, knowledge is power. How informed are your children? If you follow the discussed measures on how to protect your children from paedophiles you will be protecting your children.
“She held a knife to my throat ready to slit it open but was screaming for help. While she was howling to be saved, I was the one being endangered by her. Her voice shrieked like a victim in dire need of protection, but her hands firmly gripped the knife keeping me under her mercy. In horror, I looked upon the woman I love, the one everyone thought was too delicate to hurt a fly, once again abusing me emotionally and physically while maintaining the font of a victim… No one believed the truth so I got dubbed an abuser. The pain of being accused when I was the real victim is what I hope to topple with alcohol. Believe me, men are also victims of abuse.”
To be abused is to be repeatedly treated with violence or cruelness. Abusive relationships are so soul wrecking that even after years of liberation, victims are left traumatised and deeply scarred.
Abuse occurs in several forms and they all have detrimental impacts on victims.
Societal Bias Towards Male Abuse Victims
While the efforts put into promoting female victims of abuse to speak up is laudable, there is a need for a mental awakening to the fact men get abused too. To say men do not get abused in relationships is to say men don’t cry, and both assertions are simply falsehoods.
The abused stories of male victims are easily downplayed and made a caricature. Their stories do not trigger the outrage the stories of abused females command, hence, many simply swallow their truth and save themselves that additional pain of being ridiculed over their truth.
Ignorant statements such as;
“How could she have hurt him? He is stronger while she looks delicate.” Are used to refute the claims of male abused victims. People forget that abuse is tilted towards willpower and not physical strength.
An individual in love though physically stronger might not want to retaliate even when being hurt. That aside, society is visibly biased on these issues, therefore when a man retaliates violence for violence, it is scarcely viewed as self-defence. Society ignores the fact the man was first hit and simply tag him as an abuser and the lady a victim of abuse.
Most female abusers are aware of this societal bias and weaponize it against their victims. So a man gets struck and his abuser in a mocking tone says;
“I dare you to hit me back. Let’s see who will get ruined.”
He knows if he fights back he would have fallen for her bait so he swallows his pain and continues to get abused.
Some Real-Life Abuse Stories of Male Victims
In my research on male abuse, I was able to come across real-life stories of male abused victims. The story of a family member’s co-worker struck me the most.
The young man had worked overnight due to some technical issues at his workplace. This is a fact my relative and other workers of the company could attest to. However, his pregnant wife had other ideas.
Upon his return home, she could not accept the truth so she grabbed a knife and stabbed him. What snatched him from the cold arms of death were neighbours who heard his scream of anguish and came to his rescue. He had to undergo surgery to pull out the knife. Words of his predicament got to his workplace and they visited him and foot the bills.
What left me mystified is the fact this case of abuse didn’t make headline news nor was the wife penalized. Like tons of other victims of abusive relationships, he went back to his abusive wife and they are still married. My relative vividly remembers him telling her that he had a dream that his wife would one day kill him. Yet, he is still with her.
Just as abused women find it difficult to leave their abusers, abused men suffer the same tragic fate.
Aside from this story, I was able to unearth some other stories of male victims of abuse. Someone I know cancelled his wedding plans abruptly. This was a shocker as it appears he was madly in love with his partner. In my quests for answers, I discover it was an abusive relationship and he was the victim. Regardless, he was willing to marry her.
The stress of planning a wedding triggered her aggressiveness to the height it became difficult to quietly condone and sweep under the carpet. Shortly, very close friends caught wind of the situation and threatened to cut all ties with him if he proceeded with the marriage. Still, he was adamant.
However, the deal-breaker occurred a few days to one of the marriage rites after she poured his meal on him over an argument and stormed off. This time, her apologies couldn’t cut it and the wedding was called off.
Before I forget, years before I ever thought of writing this piece, one of my dearest friends went through the horrific experience of a knife being held against his throat by his then-girlfriend.
Sincerely, if men are encouraged to be more expressive about their truth, we will view the world with a different disposition. Indeed, men are also victims of different types of abuse.
Types of Abuse
Men are victims of various types of abuse. Society claims that a real man does not talk too much, consequently, a good number of men silently go through the most.
Here are some of the abuses people endure including men.
Verbal abuse is a form of abuse where words are the weapons of mass destruction. Words are like lances, they can pierce deeply if the intention is to cause pain.
Some men suffer from verbal abuse in their relationships. When next you see a man unwilling to go home, ask him why and pay attention to him.
Verbal abuse has impacts on the victims. The impacts include,
A decline in self-confidence
Fear of expressing your thoughts to avoid a counterblast.
The scary part of verbal abuse is that it can be masked as simply criticism or an opinion. Many victims of verbal abuse are unaware that they are been emotionally abused. They only know their partners frequently say extremely hurtful things to them.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
Men are equally victims of emotional and physiological abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse can be pulled off in the form of;
Gaslighting and Provocation
Belittling of Your Efforts
Deceit, and lots more.
Some women are narcissistic and are experts of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is tricky because it is difficult to pinpoint if you are not observant.
If you have a partner that belittles your efforts, intentionally provokes you then act innocent, constantly compare you to others in a bad light, manipulate your emotions in the sense that; today they are cold towards you and tomorrow they are hot for you; kindly critically analysed your relationship and you will see that it is emotionally and psychologically abusive.
An emotionally abusive partner is toxic and such a partner will slowly wane your confidence, smile, peace of mind, and happiness.
Men equally suffer from domestic violence. Some men are being violently abused by their partners.
There is a loophole in teaching boys not to hit girls, without teaching girls never to hit boys. Some women slap, stab, and violently abuse their partners. Some do this knowing fully well if their partner retaliates it will not be viewed as self-defence. Rather society will make utterances such as;
Why didn’t he just walk away?
He is a weak man for retaliating.
Real men don’t hit a woman no matter what. If she is hurting you just walk away.
Also, it is easier for women to flip the switch and act as the victim and the world with a sway to their corner.
It is saddening to know that there are so many abused men roaming the street masking their pain with faux masculinity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why do men stay with their abusers?
People stay with their abusers for different reasons. Men sometimes remain with their abusers because emotions have a destructive way of clouding judgements. Also, Some victims of abuse feel they can fix whatever is wrong with their partners but in the end, they only end up hurting more.
In addition, abusers are experts of manipulations. They will hurt you today, then apologise and make you incredibly happy tomorrow. That way, it becomes somewhat difficult to let go of them. Finally, due to the kids procreated in the relationship some men remain with their abusive partners.
As a man, what should you do in the face of abuse?
Gather evidence! Society has proven to be biased on these issues so gather enough evidence to back up your truth. After which, don’t just walk away from the relationship, sue your abuser.
When men normalise speaking their truth and suing their abusers against all odds, it will help rewrite the narrative of men always being the abuser.
How can abused men heal?
Attending therapy can help abused men heal. Healing is very important because hurt people end up hurting others. Victims of abuse should seek all the help they need. Bottling of emotions has never helped anyone.
How do you know your partner is abusive?
If your partner is showing traits of any of the types of abuse, they are abusive.
How do you leave an abusive relationship?
Leaving an abusive relationship requires determination and mental readiness. If you both share a house, pack your belongings and leave. Equally, ensure to block them on all social media platforms.
Note that if your partner is violent and extremely manipulative, never tell them you plan to leave. Silently set your plans in motion. Be smart enough to compile enough evidence in case they try to flip the story. Finally, if your partner was violent, file a police case and get a restraining order.
What factors can keep people in an abusive relationship though they are eager to leave?
Some factors bind victims to their abusers though they are mentally ready to leave. Such factors include;
Financial incapability to care for yourself and secure an apartment.
Societal pressure to maintain a marriage.
The fact children are involved.
Men are also victims of abuse and should be listened to when they cry out for help. The assumption that men are always the abusers is a falsehood that must be discarded.