Happy Mental Health Monday! Right now I’m in the middle of a series on healthy trust and safety. Here’s what I’ve talked about so far: Losing Our Safety and Characteristics of Unsafe People {Part 1}{Part 2}, and {Part 3}. These characteristics are from the book Safe People. Today I’m going to talk through the last few characteristics of unsafe people. These are red flags that are beneficial to look for in those whom you have allowed into your life. Remember that when we look for these characteristics, we are looking for the degree at which they occur, not if they have ever occurred (we can’t be perfect people!).

Unsafe people condemn us instead of forgiving us. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who constantly held the past and your mistakes over your head? Safe people confront and forgive in healthy and appropriate ways. “People forgive can-and should- also be people who confront. What is not confessed can’t be forgiven…Therefore, you shouldn’t discount someone who ‘has something against you’, labeling him as unsafe. He might actually be attempting to come closer in love, in the way that the Bible tells us we are to do” (p. 50). People who are safe see that we are imperfect, know our failings, and love us anyways. This is a healthy and safe relationship.

Unsafe people are unstable over time instead of being consistent. “Are you the romantic/trusting/naïve type? If so, you’re particularly vulnerable to unsafe people because you tend to trust people immediately instead of putting them through the test of time. As clichéd as it may sound, time is indeed the best judge of character” (p. 54). It’s dangerous when we trust immediately, as we don’t have a good idea of who we are trusting. With time we give people the chance to earn our trust, which helps keep us safe and healthy. Put people through the test of time and make them earn your trust.

 Unsafe people are a negative influence on us, rather than a positive one. Safety in relationship breeds safety. Have you ever been in relationship with someone whom you’ve had to hide your weaknesses or imperfections from? This isn’t safe, and will not breed safety in relationship.

Unsafe people gossip instead of keeping secrets. Have you ever been hurt in relationship because something you told one person was leaked to others? “No matter what, this is nothing but destructive. We all need a place for our secrets to be held and respected. Secrets don’t get well without relationship. We’re all looking for safe relationships where someone knows all of our parts. So, when you divulge a private matter with another, it’s a big deal. You are taking a risk with an important part of your soul. And when confidence is broken, so is trust, hope, and healing” (p. 59). Gossiping cannot in any way lead to trust and safety in a healthy relationship.

So there you have it. Not only are the characteristics outlined in these 4 posts important to know in terms of being wise in who we chose to trust, but it is almost meant to encourage each of us to become safer people for others around us.

Now it’s your turn to share! What characteristic of safety was the most surprising to you, or the one that you tend to skim over when “evaluating” people?