Code Red Characteristics of an Abusive Person, CRCs, Date Smart! Chapter 3.3

Monday, June 15, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Date Smart
<div class=\"postavatar\">Code Red Characteristics of an Abusive Person, CRCs, Date Smart! Chapter 3.3</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle and Dave Coleman (See Relationships page for author information)

Code Red Characteristics of an Abusive Person, CRC’s

Date Smart! Chapter 3.3

(This chapter picks up the analysis from your results of the exercise you took in Date Smart! Chapter 3.2.  Click here to read that chapter and complete the Relationship Addiction Check List exercise.)

No matter how high your score, we’ll provide simple tools to work through your broken picker issues in order to create successful change. Even the worst case scenario can get better if you’re willing to try at least some of the solutions we will offer. Although your score is significant, your recognition that these 15 statements indicate the characteristics of your broken picker is more important. If you’re practicing many of the behaviors in them, it’s critical to recognize the Code Red Characteristics (CRC’s), which will help you avoid making, picking or maintaining bad or poor relationship choices in the future.


Code Red Characteristics are subtle ones found in unhealthy partners and relationships. They can be easily identified if you know what to look for. They’re frequently camouflaged by emotions surrounding courtship. Infatuation leaves us dazed and rationalizing that, “this time things will be different.” Code Red Characteristics cloud your judgment and impede your ability to see signs that should be obvious. Dating smart doesn’t include being dumbfounded or love struck. Feelings of infatuation will eventually give way to clearer images of reality. Most of you wake up from infatuation feeling like you’ve been hit on the head with a board while stuck waist deep in emotional quicksand wondering, “How did I end up here again?” If you know what to look for, you may never have to face those feelings or say those words again.


Below is a list of Code Red Characteristics (CRCs) which will help you determine what needs fixing in yourself, and what to look out for in others. Learning to recognize them can help you avoid making another poor or painful pick. Utilizing all of the CRCs in conjunction with your own personal changes will empower you to quickly determine whether a person is right for you. 


Throughout the book we’ll provide tools to effectively use what we call the 15-Minute Find. This is the process of learning about a person to determine their potential to be a healthy pick. The 15 Minute Find will allow you to assess the relationship readiness of an individual within 15 minutes by asking the right questions, exploring their personal history, and recognizing their current condition in relation to the CRCs. Once you’ve completed the exercises found in the first five chapters, we’ll show you how to use this information with the techniques found in the 15-Minute Find (in chapters six and seven) to complete your evolution into smarter dating. It’s vital to understand that while some people may exhibit a few CRCs, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should bail out on them immediately. Some people’s issues may have been resolved through therapy, self-help groups, or a long-term recovery effort. When choosing to enter into a relationship with a person who has under five years of recovery or displays un-addressed CRC’s, a sense of caution and closer examination is warranted.   


Watch out for the Code Red Characteristics that we list below as you observe others. Being aware of what constitutes an abusive person can keep you from continuing your mistakes of the past. How many of these characteristics are familiar to you?

An abusive person:

1.  May abuse drugs and/or alcohol in the past or present, or may be a workaholic. (“I went through rehab three times, but I don’t think I have a problem. I just like to party a lot.”  “I can see you for two hours this month. Want to do something then?”).

2.  May have unresolved issues of child abuse, neglect or dependency. (“Sure, my dad beat me, but I didn’t care about him anyway. Did I get help? No, he’s dead now. I’m fine.”).

3.  May have a strong need for power and control in relationships. (“It’s my way or the highway”).         

4.  May express suspicion, jealousy, or possessiveness. A short leash or fuse shouldn’t be confused with flattery. (“You should wear this.” “I don’t want other people to see you dressed like that.” “That stuff is fine when you’re just with me.”).

5.  May be easily angered, enraged or prone to violent outbursts and may spend an excessive amount of time screaming at other drivers on the road. (“I’ll teach you to cut me off.” 

6.  May have a damaged sense of self-worth. (“If I didn’t have you, I’d be nothing.” “I can’t understand why you would have anything to do with me.”).

7.  May be unable to relate to others or be emotionally insulated. (“You think it’s awful that the child got murdered? Well, you have to die sometime.”)

8.  May search for the “strong” woman or man who will make them feel “safe” and/or “fixed.”  (“I was nothing until you came along. I’m a new person because of you.”).

9.  May be incapable of commitment to only one partner at a time. If they indicate that their prior relationships failed due to cheating and they’ve done nothing to work on the reason(s) they do (cheat), it’s almost a given that they’ll repeat their actions in the future. They keep cheating because they got away with it the other times.  They may also rationalize their cheating on previous spouses or relationships as payback, warranted, justified or okay. (“Yes, I cheated and I’m sorry. Now let me back in.” “They deserved it for not giving me what I want, sex, money, whatever”.  “They cheated on me first so I thought I’d pay them back before I broke it off with them”.)

10.  May manipulate or pressure to get their way. (“If you really loved me, you would do this for me sniff, sniff.”).

11.  May have only a few, if any, close friends or outside interests. If they don’t like themselves, no one around them is going to like them either. (“I like just being on my own”)          

12.  May be given to minimizing, rationalizing, or blaming others. (“Your friends don’t like me because I’m different.” “I thought you understood how I feel.” “I’m not like that. You made me hit you.”)

13.  May consistently exhibit inconsistent behaviors. This includes mood swings and depression. They may get excessively kind and giving to balance out their abusive side.  “I only beat you for your own good.” “Didn’t I buy you everything here because I love you?” “I can break it if I want to, don’t ever forget who paid for it.”

14.  May deny the problem and the consequences. (“You deserved to get hurt because you pissed me off. You think that gives you the right to leave? I’ll show you.”)

15. May need recovery by admission but is not active in recovery or is still using or abusing. (“I got sober once but those meetings are a hassle, I can control it anyway”.  It’s only a few drinks and my last DWI was over a year ago”.  “I went to treatment but I quit, nobody understood me and they were all fanatics. I can smoke pot, it’s natural”.)


If you currently recognize four or more of these characteristics in someone, it strongly suggests they’re potentially unhealthy for you. If a person exhibits between four and eight or more of these characteristics and has not completed treatment to resolve them, being with them is a potentially hazardous choice. If they have any combination of eight or higher (current or past), you are potentially sitting across the table from the lead character in the next Stephen King novel.

At this point, you might be wondering, “How am I going to find this information out?” Ask, and you shall be informed. By nature, people love talking about them. Many of the CRCs (and questions found in the S.B.V.P. Date Smart! Chapter 3.2) can be re-phrased into questions.  For example: “In this day and age it seems almost everyone is recovering from something. Is anyone in your family recovering from anything?” “How is it that I get to spend time with you? What happened with your last relationship?” “How and why did it end?” “What qualities haven’t you liked about people you have previously dated?” “With your busy job, how do you find the time to date?”  The key is to be direct enough to obtain a clear picture of the person’s six primary relationships and the history that surrounds them, without being blatantly intrusive. (See Date Smart! Chapter 3.4 next week for the discussion of the 6 primary relationships. We will also address defining if a relationship is founded in love or if it’s relationship addiction.)

Please come back each week as we will post the next piece of each chapter broken down into posts that you can comment on, ask questions or share your thoughts. We will eventually update and post the whole book Date Smart!

*Special thanks for co-writing this article goes to Dave Coleman aka The Dating Doctor. Dave and I wrote Date Smart! back in Jan. 2000. The publication rights have now reverted over to us equally and, with Dave’s permission, I have edited the book and modernized some of the ideas we originally wrote. The book, Date Smart! is still available through some stores and you can contact Random House to request the book be reprinted. With enough demand they might just contact Dave and I to republish and possibly write another one. We are basically giving you the book to read in posts and encourage you to visit both Dave’s website and of course all parts of our website Neither the posts nor the book are in any way to be republished or sold or used without our express specific written permission and all posts are copyrighted and protected (ISBN-10: 0761521739, ISBN-13: 978-0761521730). Dave and I have written a number of articles together as well and so this serves as the byline. A huge thank you to Dave for sharing both our efforts and time to write what we hope are insightful, intriguing and informative articles that we share the creative collaboration and credit for working on over a number of years.

You can contact Rick by posting or by emailing:

askrickhead [at] topicisland [dot] com or read posts at Ask Rickhead

You can write Dave at:

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