Week 2: ARP (1st Red Flag – Urgency, Followed by Cooling)

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Now that you’ve answered my questionnaire and determined you may, indeed, be bad at avoiding relationships and even friendships with Asshats, be sure to bookmark this page.

Because over the next nine weeks, I’m going to take you on an in-depth tour of:

The 9 Red Flags You’re Involved with an Asshat.


The first few red flags may seem innocuous, but you really need to pay attention to them, because, unless you’re dating Charlie Sheen, toxic men (and women) don’t usually treat us badly right away.

They tend to put their best foot forward in the beginning then slowly ramp up their emotional abuse as we become conditioned to bad treatment.

Perhaps an appropriate analogy would be the story of the frog that is placed in a pot of cool water on a stovetop. He swims around in the water, not jumping out, because he feels safe in his element.

He doesn’t realize that someone has turned on the burner. Slowly the heat increases and the frog is boiling before he even knows what hit him.

So let’s start with the less egregious red flags.

The First Red Flag

Toxic men (and women) frequently come on strong in the beginning of a relationship, then cool off fast once you’re hooked.

At first your guy seems infatuated with you, as if he’s never felt this way before. He wants intimacy and sex at hyper-speed.

He makes you feel incredibly special, as if the laser-like focus of his attention might immolate you in the fiery scorch of passion gone wild.

In fact, sometimes we may even feel a little suffocated by this guy.

A recent client I’ll call Chloe met Jim at an Al-Anon support group. (Chloe has allowed me to tell her tale.)

She had a history of dating men who criticized and cheated on her, but when Jim suggested they get coffee together she was excited. This was the first person she’d met in recovery, so she figured he was safe.

On the very first date Jim and Chloe slept together.

She said she couldn’t help herself because Jim just seemed so infatuated with her, hanging on her every word, incapable of taking his eyes off of her. Plus she felt like she knew him really well based on all the sharing he did in their recovery group.

By the end of the first week:

Jim told Chloe she was the woman he’d been looking for his whole life.

He’d already asked her to come home with him for the holidays to meet his family AND he’d already hinted that he might want to live with her.

Chloe was elated. She’d never felt so wanted, appreciated and needed in her life.

Their honeymoon period lasted about one month. Then very slowly Jim began criticizing Chloe, her thick, “bushy” hair, her soft, “squishy” thighs. Every time she picked up a piece of bread or toast he called her a “carboholic.”

Toxic men will often tear their partner down in order to make her feel inferior, thus weaker and easier to manipulate as the relationship continues.

By the end of the third month Jim ended their relationship because he said Chloe loved him more than he loved her.

You can imagine how mind-boggling and hurtful this must have been for Chloe considering how intense Jim was at the very beginning of their relationship.

So beware a lover that:

Comes on strong in the beginning. Chances are love, for them, is like a drug they want to ingest to feel euphoric.

But, once reality sets in – the day-to-day ordinariness of living — and they can’t keep getting that same high from you, they’ll be off to find a new person to sniff, snort or inhale

So take your time really getting to know a potential lover before you dive in. Because it doesn’t take very long before a toxic man (or woman) shows his true colors.

To be sure not to miss any installments of The Asshat Recovery Program be sure to sign up for our newsletter HERE. To start with the FIRST POST in my Asshat Recovery Program CLICK HERE.

To read my WEEK THREE in the ARP program CLICK HERE.

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