Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Red Flags

As usual, I will sidestep the daily prompt that asks have I ever suffered from Imposter Syndrome?

Short answer: nope.

I can say, however, that I have felt duped by people. Not necessarily that there was intent to lead me astray, but that was the net result.

Very early in my learning career, which was at home, school, and church, I understood the need to get it right. I also understood that parents, teachers, and ministers had already got it right and I could trust them. It took me a very long time to unlearn that second bit. A very, very long time. I still get caught.

I posted a comment last night on Margaret Rose’s blog in regards to the mediocrity around us, especially in places of higher authority.

The cream may rise to the top, but so does the scum.

It’s a lesson I must learn over and over.

It takes two, doesn’t it?

The first party will boldly go, will damn the torpedoes, and act with confidence in order to gain confidence.

The second party in the equation might be able to discern the hint of bravado, might detect the little white lies and question or challenge the first. At the very least, the second party might reserve judgement until further research reveals the truth or falsehood in first’s story.

Not me. My default position was to accept the other’s story, no questions asked. That is not a healthy place to be, especially when it comes to the big decisions like “Yes, I will marry you.”

I learned a great deal during my recovery work after my second marriage ended. I learned about boundaries. More specifically, I learned that I had boundaries in the first place and that we have a built-in early warning system that sets up red flags when those boundaries are compromised. In hindsight, I saw how many of those red flags I chose to ignore.

Yes, I have been led astray, however, any betrayal was my own.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Inspired by the Daily Prompt

Categories: Personal Growth

Tags: , , ,

45 replies

  1. We do gain wisdom from others though. Those who may not have it all right but have some of it spot on. We just need to learn to discern the difference between when they know and when they don’t. If you figure out how to do that let me know. Would ya?


    • That is just it, isn’t it? During a spiritual growth spurt, I had this motto hanging on my monitor: “Bless you for the lessons you have to teach me.” Sometimes spoken through clenched teeth, to be sure. Hey, if I figure it out, you will be the first to know!


  2. Very thought provoking. However, in regards to “any betrayal was my own” I wonder if there’s another way to look at it? I was raised in a dysfunctional family (alcohol addiction, denial, mental and emotional manipulation, and occasional violence) where I was taught over and over to ignore my feeling that something was wrong. When we are constantly taught to ignore our inner voice of warning by influential people in our life is it any wonder we grow up constantly second guessing ourselves? I’m not saying we don’t have to take personal responsibility at some point, because we really do. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you did betray yourself perhaps that was, in part, due to conditioning. Clearly you have gained a lot of insight and wisdom along the journey of your life and I’m very glad that you take the time to share it with us. You make me think, really hard! I love that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jess. Thanks for this thoughtful reply. I see where you are coming from. It does appear that from my words that I am not taking into account the early days. I agree completely. For sure my inner voice was silenced or at the very least confused. I could cut and paste your description of your family – all but the alcohol and mine was a carbon copy. It took me more than forty years to understand that. My last line about betrayal, though, is my way of saying, I’m grown up now. It’s time to stop cutting myself slack and falling into old habits and conditioned responses. A bit of tough love, you might say.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s an excellent point. As always, you have imparted much wisdom! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gosh, now that I look back on my comment I hope it didn’t come off as preachy. I’ve been juggling a toddler who refuses to take her full nap, wakes up tired, grumpy, and screamy. Perhaps her screaming is not the best backdrop to be writing comments to. If I overstepped, I apologize. I’ll try to minimize the amount of time I spend blogging/child-rearing!



        • Big smiles here, and if I could, I’d hug you. So, a cyber smooch instead: mmmmmwah!
          No preach, no offense. I interpreted your comment to say, “allow yourself to know that you were working within the limits of your resources and less than ideal circumstances.” Something like that? Hope your daughter settles and you can find some respite!


          • Thank you! She is settled, for now. The past week she’s been waking up at 5:30am and shrieking her adorable little head off, for an hour. Have I mentioned that she screams at 95 decibels . . . through her bedroom door? Yes, I’ve measured. More than once . . .


            Liked by 2 people

  3. Yer an amazin woman, Maggie – you strip yourself bare, sometimes. I did it, I know, in my book; but that’s different because you’re not in touch on a daily basis with people who’ve read it … a book is at a distance, whereas a blog is right there in yer face.
    Goodonyer. You got my vote.


    • Martha – FYI, for some reason in the last several days, reader is not showing your posts. I’ve had other people say the same about mine. I’ve reported the problem, but it appears the message has been closed or deleted. I don’t know enough about the support system, but at first glance, it appears rather un-supportive.


  4. Your thoughtful comments are always welcome. I’m sure if you’d lived a boring life, you wouldn’t have learnt to be wise!


  5. I always ignored red flags and chose to think that my gut instincts were distorted instead. Also, I think it’s funny you sidestepped the original prompt because I sat for a long time and decided that if I sidestepped the original prompt (like I wanted to) it was because I was too much of a fraud to answer. But you’ve got that nice confident, “Nope!” going on. Love it, Maggie.


  6. Very very good post! I tend to be overly cautious and assume people are scamming me first. No trusting till proven otherwise in my world. 😦


  7. A very powerful and insightful post – and well, after reading through the comments here, I’m not sure I could possibly add anything more, other than to say, your words have inspired me – and have also made me feel a little less “alone” in realizing and accepting my “truths” – having lived very similar situations and life experiences. And for this, your openness and honesty, this gives me courage to begin sharing my stories – so thank you. 🙂


  8. It is hard when your inner warning system says ‘danger’ but societal convention or upbringing says ‘safe and true’ – how do you choose? Sadly trial and error seem to be the great learning tools in life though personally I would like talk to the higher powers about the curriculum and best practice teaching. But as that is somewhat unlikely as I can’t even get my local member to return an email it seems that until we are taught to trust our instincts as well as acknowledging upbringing we will continue down the thorny path or learning lifes lessons.


    • Jenni, I had a great laugh at your post. After a rather long bout of one of those universal learning experiences, I’m ready to declare to that higher power in charge, “I’m good. Let’s get this graduation over with, shall we? Where is my cap and gown?” You are so right, it’s not so much the learning, but the UN-learning that needs to go before. Thanks for the great comment.


  9. Oy! How you put any words together and make sense is beyond me, let alone post things of such brilliant intelligence!


  10. [hands clasped to heart] ❤



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