If People Had Warning Signs

If people came with warning signs, what would yours say? I think often about this, about what people might need warning about when approaching me. As if I were a highway to somewhere and my landmarks needed explication. As if all who approach might need instruction on how to handle what’s ahead. As if there is some impending danger on the highway of me.

My favorite warning sign is in Oklahoma:


I don’t know why this is my favorite. It makes sense, since the sign is just outside a state prison. But it makes me giggle, every time. It’s just so absurd and serious at the same time. Maybe my sign would be that way, ironic.

I imagine it would say something like:

1) warning: rigid walls and bad boundaries ahead.

Or, something more serious:

2) warning: prone to clinginess AND withdrawal in relationships.

Or, if I’m being a little more kind to myself:

3) warning: tenacity may be overwhelming but effective

Oh, or if I’m being really, really serious:

4) warning: inner child seeking rescuer

This could go on and on. I recently had a conversation with the “friend” from  When Hurt People, Hurt People. She implied that the issues with C were my fault. That I was the one with all the boundary issues. That C was in the right and that I was the problem because clearly the “friend” and I had boundary issues, too. It made me question myself, maybe I was the problem. Maybe I’m going to screw up any therapy relationship. Maybe I should come with a warning sign.

5) Warning: ruiner of relationships.

I know this is shame. I know shame says, I’m bad. I’m wrong. I’m to blame. I know shame says, it’s all your fault. I get that. But, I still worry. I still hurt. I still think maybe I should come with warning signs.

via Daily Prompt: Warning

14 thoughts on “If People Had Warning Signs

  1. I really love #3, because like you said it is more kind. This is a great exercise, another one I may try. I know shame is the automatic, and hard to overpower, but just because you have your stuff doesn’t mean you deserve blame. We all come with emotional baggage. Perhaps warning signs would make us a little more sensitive to the people we meet.

    PS. I love the sign about the inmates, how funny!


    1. That’s a good point, “perhaps warning signs would make us a little more sensitive.” That would be ideal. It reminds me about that saying, if we could see souls. If we could see each other’s souls how differently might we treat each other?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! I feel like so many people forget that there are battles we can’t see waging on in people’s heads. Because they don’t experience it, they are quick to judge. Which is why we judge ourselves. Maybe that would become less judging and more accepting with the visual reminder that forces us to consider other people’s baggage in interacting with them.


        1. Maybe if we could slowly get rid of the stigma attached to being transparent with our pains. It’s so taboo to just put that all out there. Maybe that’s the problem.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that’s a good one. Also rings true for me. I love reading everyone’s warning signs. It reminds me how human it is to suffer, and how human it is to struggle. How our essence, no matter our experiences, is essentially the same. We were built for survival and love, despite all the hurt.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure what my warning sign would be — I’ll have to think about it. I do want to share that once when I was extremely depressed I drove past a sign that said “Blasting Zone Ahead”, and I imagined it having a line like a car wash I could drive through and obliterate my bones. Such is the mind on depression…

    Great post, KD!


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