I just finished listening to a podcast from this weekend’s Emotional Abuse Recovery and Resilience Summit put together by Stacy Brookman, a Resilience and Life Storytelling expert.

She interviewed Natalie Hoffman, a writer and life coach for women of faith into destructive relationships, who also runs Flying Free, an education and support Community. Her new book, Is It Me? Making sense of Your Confusing Marriage will be released in November 2018.

Hoffman says that one of the most important things we can do to avoid an emotionally abusive relationship is first be aware of what to look for. More importantly, however, is that we are invested in our own well-being, and that we are able to refuse to move forward in any relationship with red flags.

Saying no to something that feels good is very difficult, but it is exactly what is necessary during the beginning of a potential emotionally abusive relationship when an abuser is “love-bombing,” or attempting to influence us by demonstrations of attention and affection.

Natalie provides a list of 10 specific red flags, contrasted with what a healthy relationship would look like, which she has listed on her own website, www.flyingfree.com. I have summarized the red flags themselves below.

1. When you try to have a discussion about a problem, your partner doesn’t attack the issue, but attacks you.

2. When you ask your partner to stop doing something, he will deny, shame, minimize, or blame you for the problem.

3. You have lost who you used to be and are instead trying to be what your partner wants.

4. Your partner may use the Bible to control and shame you.

5. Your success elicits your partner’s criticism. Your partner often rains on your parade.

6. You can’t trust your partner all the time.

7. When something happens, your partner says it didn’t happen (known as “gaslighting.”) This creates confusion and self-doubt in you.

8. When you have a setback or fee