Warning Labels…

Erin Schaden
4 min readNov 30, 2023

I think people should come with warning labels. Alerting the rest of us about your idiosyncrasies that are most likely to cause us heartbreak and pain. I think this would do a great deal to assist the development of kinder, more gentle human relations.

And they could be changeable warning labels as we progressed and matured, and mellowed as the case may be. Or not.

My current warning labels:

Flees when startled

Easily startled

Needs a lot of structure, routine and calm

Is very good at creating chaos to undermine the structure, routine and calm

Doesn’t sit still well

Has more energy than should be allowable for one human being

Is hard to keep up with

Standoffish

Opinionated but doesn’t want to argue with you about your opinions about her opinions

Has more words than should be allowable for one human being

Is really good at cross exam, doesn’t always leave that in the courtroom

Organized to a fault, and it is a quite large fault

Oversexed, but under actualized

And that is just a beginning, really. If I gave you all of them, you might stop reading and then never return. And the idea that there are those of you out there that read this shit every day really keeps me going.

I would really appreciate others having the following warning labels:

Will love bomb you, then treat you like shit

Great at giving love then taking it away

I will pull you close, then push you the fuck away

I will accuse you of things I did/do to make you doubt your own reality

I lie…a lot.

I am severely emotionally damaged but I have no intention of actually doing anything about that but I will tell you I will then drive you crazy with my untreated crazy

I will tell you I am great in bed and love sex, but then withhold sex from you and make you feel like you aren’t attractive enough for me even though it is my issue

I will not block women from my past after telling you I would repeatedly and then treat you like crap for being upset about my failure to follow through

I will make promises I have no intention of keeping

I will talk to other women behind your back and then lie to cover it up, and I am will be very good at lying, so much so you doubt your own reality

Those are just a few of the warning labels I would like to see on future men that I date…

And I think some of them should be neon, flashing and with sirens.

On second thought, universe can you just stop sending me men that need these warning labels to begin with? Thanks, really appreciate that!

The truth is that most people do have warning labels, we just fail to read them carefully or to grant them the import that they really should be given.

Well, at least that is my experience.

I have seen the ending in every beginning in some fashion. Mostly because I am looking for it. But I will admit I do this spectacular job of kidding myself, which I recognize now has been such a subtle violence to myself and my wellbeing. All this failure to heed my own trepidation and feelings of being in peril.

It really has never been my failure to notice the warnings going off, it is more my own stubborn insistence that I can somehow alter the course, change the outcome, love the person through whatever trauma they are living. It is my own arrogant need to be the salve that resolves so much in others that has caused me to be in harm’s way repeatedly!

And I see that now.

Well, truth is I have seen it for a long while, I just couldn’t seem to do anything about it. I kept calling things that were not really love, love and then insisting that the poor treatment I received was somehow excusable due to the other person’s trauma or history or whatever.

Finally, I am no longer willing to do that. Poor treatment is just poor treatment regardless of the reason. Why on earth would you sign up for more just because the person has a great backstory? Or an empathy inducing one?

And while I would greatly prefer other people’s warning labels be the size of billboards and with all the attendant neon coloring lest they escape my attention, I know now that it was never their presentation that caused me to miss them. It was always my stubborn, self indulgent, obstinate insistence that this time it would be different.

And so I would sign up for yet another fucking disaster that would threaten to take me out, wring me dry and damage me emotionally, one mo time.

As a means of changing that which has plagued me about myself, to myself, I am going to do a better job of allowing my own warning labels to shine brightly. I mean, people should know what they are getting into.

And I will also, give other people’s warning signs time to glow up and then believe them when I see them. If you tell me, through your behavior, you care more about yourself than you do anyone else, I can just believe you. I don’t have to stick around anymore to prove you right…to both our detriment.

I am kind of looking forward to identifying people’s warning labels. I might even start a new journal to catalog them and study them. I know, this probably doesn’t sound like a great time for you, but for me, the evolution or devolution as the case may be, of human relations is fascinating and something that I enjoy studying immensely.

And by studying, I guess I mean, living, loving and learning. I may never get it right but I am getting it better, slowly one day at a time. Again, still.

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Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.