May 5, 2021

Victim Blaming Post #8: Ignoring Red Flags

Victim Blaming

I can't count the many times I've heard women say "I ignored the red flags", or "I painted the red flags green", or have heard the question "Why do abused women ignore the red flags in the beginning?". Maybe some women really do ignore red flags, I'm not implying it's not possible. But do the majority of us actually ignore red flags? Is that why a woman ended up with an abuser!?

I don't believe so, because many times there really AREN'T red flags. We may look back and think they look like red flags, but were they actual red flags at the time? Let's take a look at what it means to "ignore a red flag" :

Ignore - 

"to intentionally not listen or give attention to; refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionallyn; pretend not to notice someone or something; refrain from noticing or recognizing" 

Pretend - 

to claim, represent, or assert falsely; to make believe

Red Flag - 

Warning of danger; warning or indicator, suggesting that there is a potential problem or threat; something that indicates or draws attention to a problem, danger, or irregularity

For example, my husband knew I was a recovering addict before he married me. He knew my problems. He knew about my past cheating, porn, lying, gaslighting, etc. Could those have been labeled as red flags that he ignored? I don't think so, because as far as he knew, I was sober. And I was, and still am. 

But what if I chose to lie about being sober back then, or I choose now to relapse in my addictions and cheat on him? Someone could easily tell him "Well, she DID tell you she was an addict and a cheater, so why did you ignore those red flags?" etc. But was there any actual red flags back then? Nope. 

Many times I don't think alot of the "red flags" people talk about are legit red flags. I think they just LOOK like it in hindsight. Back then, women assumed their partners were healthy functioning adults (because thats how they presented themselves when they entered the relationship). And in a healthy adult, many things aren't red flags. If someone takes their phone into the bathroom, or extra long showers, or stays at work late, or has a really stressful day and is impatient, etc - would we call those red flags if a healthy adult did them? No. So why do alot of things from a womans past suddenly become "red flags she ignored" simply because she found out in the future that a person lied to her? Yes, she can see current red flags now that she knows the TRUTH, and all those things listed could be current red flags of an abuser because she knows the truth. But I don't think knowing the truth suddenly makes the things in the past automatic red flags (and by then the abuser "chopped off" her legs, which makes walking away a tad more difficult, eh?). 

Calling things from the past a red flag implies that it's something that COULD have been seen and noticed. Therfefore also implying the victim ignored something she should/could have seen. And if she ignored something she should/could have seen, then that is also putting blame on her for ignoring it (Ex. If we ignore looking at the traffic lights when going through an intersection, and we get into an accident, who's fault is it?). And I don't think that's accurate or fair - if a woman didn't know it even existed, how could she have ignored it? If we can't consent to something we didn't know, how could we ignore something we didn't know? If you legit didn't hear what I said, would it be accurate to say that you ignored me? The wording we use to describe things has a huge effect on how we see things, and how others see us. 

Again, I'm not saying NO ONE ignores red flags. It definitely happens. For example, if you tell a woman that a man is a CONVICTED child molester and she dates him anyway, then yes, I'd certainly be more inclined to say she ignored that neon flashing red flag 😊 But if he never told her he was a child molester, can we say that she ignored red flags every time he was super nice and interactive with children, even though many healthy adults are also nice and interactive with children? No, I wouldnt say that is a "red flag" she ignored.💗

Other Articles :

Victim Blaming Post #1 Codependency

Victim Blaming Post #2: Reactive Abuse or Mutual Abuse

Victim Blaming Post #3 The Drama Triangle (Karpman Triangle)

Victim Blaming Post #4 Stockholm Syndrome

Victim Blaming Post #5 "Learned Helplessness"

Victim Blaming Post #6 Trauma Bonded

Victim Blaming Post #7 : Prodependency

Victim Blaming Post #8: Ignoring Red Flags