Week 1: The Asshat Recovery Program (A Questionnaire, do you Qualify?)

Welcome to my How to Avoid Toxic Relationships to Find Real Love Tutorial.

Over the next several months we’ll be working together to discover if you’re in a toxic relationship and, if so, how to extricate yourself in order to find the love that will help you navigate the pitfalls of life, instead of being one of them.

I want to start today off by asking you a few questions in order to see if you qualify for the Asshat Recovery Program.

Raise your hand when the answer is “yes” to any of the questions below. (Yes, I will see you through the computer screen.)

1. Have you ever hidden in an unmarked van wearing headphones so you could hear what was happening inside of your boyfriend’s apartment — which you wire-tapped while he was at the gym — because you think he might be cheating on you?

Female Spy with frame

Shannon quietly raises hand. I’m kidding. I was in an unmarked sedan, not a van. But let’s take it down a notch or two.

2. Who here has snooped through their lover’s cell phone, desk, car or underwear drawer to find evidence of infidelity?

3. Who here has lain awake at night listening for the sound of your lover’s car because he was supposed to be at your house hours ago and hasn’t arrived or called and isn’t answering his cell or text messages?

4. Who here has waited for the phone to ring, then kept checking the phone repeatedly to see if it’s working properly?

5. Who here has been in a relationship that made them feel insecure and bad about themselves?

6. Who here keeps dating the same guy/gal over and over, just in a different body?

7. Who here has wanted a committed relationship, but has never been able to attain it?

8. Who here would like to have get married and have a family, but feels like it’s just never going to happen?

9. Who here is successful in other aspects of life; school, work, but can’t get it together in their personal life?

10. Who here feels finding the right relationship is their number one priority?

If you answered “yes” to two or more of the questions above (even if the details are a bit different), chances are you are either in a toxic relationship or vulnerable to attracting another one.

And I should know.

I’ve been married fourteen years to a man who makes me want to be a better woman. He’s the love of my life. However, it wasn’t always like that.

If you’ve read any of my previous Asshat posts you know that I spent a total of ten pretty miserable years in two different relationships with two toxic, emotionally abusive men who I refer to as the Greek God and Mr. Cruelly Handsome, in the hopes they won’t sue me.

Jealous woman with frame

Here’s the thing about toxic people. We don’t have to judge or revile them. They are, quite simply, damaged people.

I was a toxic person in one of my relationships. I was immature and damaged, because I came from a dysfunctional home.

The man I was dating at the time finally had the strength to walk away because he realized he couldn’t change me and that I was the only one who could choose to fix the damage and grow up.

When we’re dating a toxic or non-commital person, we don’t know why he’s damaged, and even if we think we do know why he’s damaged, we must accept the fact that WE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FIX HIM.

I repeat.

WE CANNOT FIX HIM. Ever. Not under any circumstances!

Witchcraft 2 with frame

So, ideally it would be best if we know how to recognize toxic men before we get hooked.

Which is why I’d like to share the 9 Red Flags you might be dating a toxic person over the next 9 weeks.

To be sure not to miss any installments of The Asshat Recovery Program sign up for Shannon’s newsletter HERE.

7 Comments
  • If You Think 'This' is Normal in a Relationship, You're in Trouble - Democratsnewz
    Posted at 23:47h, 14 September Reply

    […] And if you’d like to start reading my online Asshat Recovery Program from the beginning CLICK HERE. […]

  • Cindy
    Posted at 14:54h, 18 September Reply

    I was in an abusive marriage for 36 years. He did not act like your dating description above while we were dating. But there was a red flag when he turned over the chess game when I won and pitched a nasty fit when a tennis ball hit him. I was blessed with a great counselor for awhile. She told me to read The Verbally Abusive Relationship book. I did not see us in the book until something occurred. I read and highlighted our issues in one night! It addresses all abuse! The whole book was yellow highlight. It made me realize it wasn’t me. However, I strive to help him but you can’t force someone who won’t even recognize their issues. He left me after 36 yes of marriage. I think it was because I did not agree with his put downs! His excuse? I had a bad attitude! Please take my advice. Get out early if they don’t seek help. I wasted my youth and opportunities of youth. Good luck!

    • Shannon
      Posted at 20:31h, 18 September Reply

      Cindy great advice and I will definitely be reading that book!

  • Pia
    Posted at 12:05h, 15 October Reply

    Also read Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft. So enlightening.

    • Shannon
      Posted at 22:57h, 18 October Reply

      Will do Pia. I haven’t heard of that one. Thanks!

      • YMBWU
        Posted at 22:48h, 19 October Reply

        When searching for advice on neutrality in abusive relationships I came across Lundy Bancroft’s name and numerous quotes, which is how I found your blog today. Serendipity.

        • Shannon
          Posted at 16:22h, 20 October Reply

          I love serendipity!

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