Tori’s first book is Sour Grapes into Wine: How to Leave a Toxic Relationship to Create a Productive Lifestyle and she’s got more on the way.
She’s also an active kickboxer and during our conversation, all I could think of was “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.”
I’d like everyone to stand up and give Tori Autumn a big round of applause for taking part in our exciting adventure.
Tori is a D.C. lifestyle blogger and author on a lifelong mission to empower women so they can achieve their goals. Her debut book is entitled Sour Grapes into Wine: How to Leave a Toxic Relationship to Create a Productive Lifestyle. When she’s not writing or working in television production, Tori enjoys kickboxing and trying out new restaurants.
Tori and I talked about relationships (duh!), changing vocations when you realize your dream may not be so dreamy, doing seminars, public speaking, the influence of childhood memories, the value of crowns when growing up, book signings, networking, the value of tough relationships in building self-confidence, being honest with your feelings, learning about yourself, blogging, why you never want to be around Tori when she has a smoothie in her hand and more.
An excerpt from Tori Autumn’s Sour Grapes into Wine
Chapter 2: What are the Signs of Unhealthy Relationships?
No matter how charming your partner was at the beginning, or how great the relationship seemed at first, there were always signs that something is not quite right. We’ll go through these signs in this chapter so that you can recognize them in future.
It’s important to keep a straight head, especially when starting out. I had a terrible habit of overlooking these fairly obvious signs because I was so focused on being in a relationship.
Getting Serious Way Too Fast
Be wary if your partner is pushing you to do things at breakneck speed. Like, moving in together, or getting engaged before you are ready. Healthy relationships develop naturally – you both need time to get to know each other properly before taking the next step.
If your partner is pressuring you to move in with them after only knowing you a few weeks, for example, that’s a huge red flag. Why the hurry?
Ask yourself one question – am I ready for this step? Do I feel as though things are moving too fast? Your feelings are just as valid as theirs are.
Are you doing the pressuring? Do you feel like you need to be in a “serious” relationship? Do you feel like your biological clock is ticking and that you “should” have a baby? Are you pushing to meet your partner’s parents so that things feel more official?
If either of you is pushing the relationship forward too quickly, the chances are good that you are looking for some kind of validation.
It is especially important to be careful of going too fast if you have just gotten out of a relationship with someone – you need time to heal before moving on to your next relationship.
Emotional and Physical Abuse
It starts off with little comments that chip away at your self-esteem. If you tell him that he’s being offensive, you are told that it was only a joke. These escalate to indirect comparisons to other women and their body types/attributes. And again, if you complain at this treatment, your feelings are brushed aside.
You start to argue and start to use the same dirty tactics. You keep feeling that you need to become meaner and meaner. You strike out in any way that you can. The argument becomes a game, and the winner is the one whose feelings are hurt more.
Or, the winner is the one who cares less – this is not a game that you are meant to win. He seems to gain pleasure in getting you upset and getting you to lose your temper.
The arguments are followed by the silent treatment. You will usually be the one to reconcile – it’s not very often that he’ll break first. “We’re cool again,” you say. This cycle will be repeated over and over again.
You get into another fight, things escalate, and you try to normalize it. You tell your friends, it’s OK. He didn’t break any bones. When in reality, he has broken a lot more.
This vicious cycle of sadness and outrage keeps repeating itself over and over again. You think he’s going to change; he thinks you’re going to change. You become so embroiled with what you’re doing “wrong” that you don’t realize just how abnormal this situation is.
And, believe me, there is never any good excuse for physical violence. No matter what you said, there is never any reason for him to lay a finger on you.
And, if you think that it will improve just because you act “properly,” think again.
So, a guy looks at you across the bar, and he gets upset. You want to hang out with your friends, and he gets jealous. It’s flattering at first that he cares so much about you that he doesn’t want to share you with anyone else.
You start dressing down so that you are not as noticeable or, he even starts telling you what to wear. He doesn’t like your friends or family, and so you stop seeing them as much. If you greet another man in the street, he flies off the handle, even if it is someone you have known for years. You get told something along the lines of, “I trust you, but I don’t trust them.” When it comes to your family or friends, he tells you that they don’t treat him properly or they make him feel uncomfortable.
All this is, is another form of control. He wants you isolated. He wants you to be completely dependent on him, without any external support.
Becoming Emotionally Codependent
This type of relationship is the kind that makes you attached to the hip with your boyfriend. Wherever he goes, you go. And vice versa.
You find yourself giving more and more during the relationship and getting little in return. It could be using your last dime to pay a bill for him, or always supporting him in the things he does. The support is never returned, though.
The result is always feeling in a state of lacking or depletion. You’re putting in more into the relationship than he is and finding yourself frustrated because he can’t even do the smallest things you ask him to.
Whenever you find yourself bringing up the issue with him, he becomes defensive and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. This is a huge red flag – he is showing you that he is an emotionally unavailable man.
It wasn’t like that when you first met him, but he is comfortable that he has you hooked now. It will only get worse.
These are all red flags that the relationship is unhealthy. It’s going to be hard to be consistently happy in any of these relationships. It’ll be like you are on an emotional rollercoaster ride. This keeps you feeling as if you are emotionally stuck.
You are going to learn some hard truths in these relationships, and it may seem easier to ignore them. The only way to get past them, though, is first to admit them and accept that things are the way they are. People can and do change, but it may not always be in the way you expect it to be. It may not necessarily be in the areas you feel need to be changed.
Look at how you spend your time. If you are in an unhealthy situation, your first response usually is to try and dull the pain. For me, this meant overeating and gaining thirty pounds. I also found myself spending money I didn’t really have to get temporary relief.
For others, it could be turning to drugs, or alcohol, or some other form of addiction. It doesn’t matter what it is – they are all harmful.
Of course, everyone should treat themselves to retail therapy every once in a while, but to go on a shopping spree you cannot afford every paycheck is not your permanent fix. In fact, the stress of feeling financially insecure is just going to add to the strain of the situation.