As women of color, staying “woke” is pretty much a necessity these days. Fortunately, it is also trending which makes the quality an admirable trait to have. So when film director Jordan Peele dropped the highly discussed racially conscious horror film “GET OUT” that has broken all kinds of barriers in Hollywood (yassss!!), it was like a breath of fresh air that enlightened us on levels that we didn’t even know existed. One of those levels being the sunken place.
Peele’s amazing perspective of oppression made me realize that the sunken place is a real thing that doesn’t just exist in racism. It also exists in romance. If you’ve ever listened to a woman who got out of a toxic relationship and was able to heal from it, the majority of them will tell you that they had lost themselves in the relationship. I know because I was one of them, wrote a book about it, and as a result have talked to many women who had the same experience. So from a former victim of what I’m calling “the relational sunken place”, here are a few warning signs that you might be sunk in your relationship:
- You are isolated from your family and friends – Can you think of the last time that you had an honest conversation with a trusted family member or friend who you could trust and bare your insecurities to? If it is hard to remember, then that is a problem. In the film, the very first thing Rose (the main character’s girlfriend) did to Chris (the main character) was take him to an isolated place where he knew no one and had no allies. If your man has encouraged or literally created distance between you and the ones who you know love you and want the best for you, that is a big red flag!
- You ignore things that just don’t feel right – Some call it “women’s intuition.” I call it Holy Spirit. Whatever you want to call it, listen to it! If strange things happen in your relationship that makes you uneasy or gives you pause, acknowledge it and act accordingly. When ignored, a series of events that don’t sit well with your spirit is mistakenly called coincidences. When acknowledged, a series of events that don’t sit well with your spirit is called a pattern. If you don’t acknowledge the reality and see the patterns, you’ll be sunk before you know it.
- Your loved ones advise you that something is wrong with the relationship – The thing about red flags is you can’t see them when you’re in the relationship. Yet others on the outside can see them clearly; especially the ones who know and love you. In the film, Chris’s best friend Ron was the one on the outside of the relationship, piecing together the things that Chris couldn’t see. In the end, it was Ron who rescued Chris. If a loved one that you genuinely trust advises you to rethink your relationship, just give it some thought. You don’t have to take their word alone, but you shouldn’t dismiss it either. Receive the information and proceed in the way your spirit leads you.
The purpose of highlighting these signs is not to convince you to leave your relationship. It is to keep you from being lost. In the film, Chris was tricked into the sunken place by a seemingly innocent invited by his girlfriend Rose. She used deception, manipulation, isolation and help from her allies to trap him. She even used his love for her against him. It was his romantic relationship that led him to the sunken place. Essentially, the entire film can be summed up by saying that a young man fell in love with the wrong person and lost himself. Sound familiar? Women lose themselves in toxic relationships every day. I know because I was one of them. In the journey of finding myself again after the fact, I learned two important things that the list above ultimately boils down to, (1) never sacrifice who you are in a relationship; and (2) trust yourself. If you find yourself incapable of doing either one of these….GET OUT!
Peele came through for the culture with this film and we are so proud of him! #Salute