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Dirty John: The Truth about Toxic Relationships

I watched a true crime series (Dirty John) on Netflix recently, and I was left in awe. I kept on screaming at my television screen. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love watching true crime documentaries—The ID channel is my best friend. I think I should have been an investigative journalist or detective. Well, enough about me.

Dirty John recounts a story about a woman, in her late 50’s who came in contact with a guy named John, on a dating website. Things moved by so quickly between them that they moved in together. John told her countless lies, about himself, his profession, and just life in general. There was no truth in him. Just so I don’t give much of the story away, I am going to dive into toxic relationships; the signs, and how we can avoid them.

Image courtesy of Raw Pixels

Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships don’t often start toxic, they are usually charming, romantic, and everything that you have dreamed of. Think about it; if you meet someone, and the first thing they do is verbally abuse you, or hit you, you will probably press charges or run for your life. The person who attacked you will be labeled a perpetrator or criminal, and not a potential lover. But these perpetrators, know how to play the game right.

They are experts at winning their victims over before they start abusing them. They show so much interest in their victim; they learn about them, they study what they like, and show them love, in a way the victim might not have experienced before. That way it becomes difficult for the victim to leave, or like in the case of the woman in Dirty John; dangerous to leave.

The Signs

The signs don’t take time to show up; they are almost always there. Your spirit is the first thing that you should trust. That thing on the inside of you that alerts you, even when you don’t know what to look out for. Trust your inner man, and avoid the situation altogether. Here are a few signs you should watch out for:

. They don’t have any family or friends; you can correspond with.

· They always want to isolate you from your friends and family

· Their stories about their past and present, don’t add up

· They don’t have any money, so all the financial responsibility falls on you

· They are quick to call you names in an argument

· They are not accepting of your friends and family

· They have nothing they are doing with their lives

· They lie, even when it’s not necessary

Flee from such people; chances are they are looking for someone to control and leech on (parasitic relationships). All these signs, the children of the lady in dirty john could see, except for the lady herself. The “love” she had for John, blinded her. But John hated her kids; he would make degrading comments about them. He would tell her the kids were jealous of their relationship, and how he would harm them; if they kept meddling in their relationship. He didn’t want her interacting with them.

No good partner will ever do that. They will want to bring both families together, by all means. They will take an interest in your life, and all that comes with it. If a potential partner, is saying bad things about your family and wants you to stop hanging around them, then you are in a toxic relationship.

How Can We Avoid Such Relationships?

When you meet someone, especially online, tell your close friends and family about it. Share the details of what they are sharing with you, with your family. Someone else will be able to pick up on things you may not see. Trust your spirit. If there is any uneasiness, on the inside of you, whenever you speak with or speak about this person, then they are not a good fit for you. There is something dangerous, waiting to happen.

Do not underestimate, the power of a simple background check. John had a criminal past that he kept away from his victim. If she had just done her research, she would have discovered a slew of things, and probably never made it to a first date with him. So background checks are critical, especially if you meet the person online.

Most predators, look for their prey online. They are everywhere, from social media to dating websites, and even the Christian dating sites as well. I have watched a lot of true crime shows, with predators who were on Christian dating sites.

If you are in a country like Nigeria, electronic background checks, do not exist, as far as I know. But a simple google search and the traditional research we carry out in Nigeria should do the magic. If you go to your family, with a potential spouse, after they meet him or her, they go and do their research.

With the person’s name and where they come from, they can find out about their family, their generation, what the family does for a living; if the family are good people. If there is any such thing as madness (psychiatric issues) in their lineage—yes this is true. After their research, or background check, they give you the go ahead or the no-go area.

If they don’t have any family or friends, don’t even venture into anything with them. No man is an island; even if the person grew up in an orphanage, they are supposed to have relationships with those they grew up with. And as they continued in life, they should have met people along the way, that they formed friendships with.

Relationships shouldn’t be done in isolation. There should be trusted people involved. People you both can talk to, people you can air your frustrations with. A solid family system should back you guys up. So if anything goes wrong, you can get the support you need. John, well

Dirty John, had a family, but he wasn’t on good terms with them. He lied about them and had a woe is me mentality. The lady fell for it and was in for a treat.

You can find out more information about this story in a series of articles, published by

Los Angeles Times, and an accompanying podcast series. You can also watch interviews with the real victim, Debra Newell on YouTube. And also catch up on the Netflix Original Series, Dirty John, on Netflix; starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

If any of these signs stand out to you, please be quick to seek help, especially if it will be dangerous for you to leave on your own. If you have experienced a toxic relationship and will like to share your story, leave a comment below in the comments section, or send us an email to

We have come to the end of Love Month! it's been an incredible month of discussing all things relationships. Hope you enjoyed the articles and stories and were able to learn a thing or two. If you love a particular kind of story or article, let us know, so we can better serve you. Also remember to like, share, and subscribe; never to miss an update on Let’s Talk Nation.

About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer and content creator on She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.

Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.

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