People treat you how you allow them to treat you. Not in the sense that you can control their behavior, but by you making your boundaries known and maintaining them. You can watch the accompanying video here.
If you voice something you dislike and the person continues to do it without a negative consequence, they’ll learn they can keep doing what they’re doing without repercussions. Negative consequences need to be implemented for them to decide whether or not it’s of value to them to continue treating you as they’ve been.
If you tell someone you dislike how they talk to you, or them using profanity, or them calling you derogatory names and they continue to do it and you tolerate it, they’ll learn they can talk to you that way and still have you in their life. Their lack of respect for your boundaries show they don’t take your words seriously.
If you maintain your boundaries and they value talking to you, they’ll learn to speak to you in a respectful way. If they don’t value you, it likely won’t matter to them if you cease communicating with them. In the latter case, how important is it to you to have a person in your life that doesn’t value you and your time?
I know numerous people who’ve dated someone who was a chronic liar and cheater. Some of them agreed to move in with their partner. Some even married their partner. The liar and cheater received positive reinforcement for their behavior. They learned their partner would stay with them in spite of their lying and infidelity. There was no reason for them to change and so they didn’t. The person being cheated on was usually upset; however, it was misplaced anger because they’ve tolerated the behavior and continued to do so. This example highlights larger problems: 1. The significant other didn’t respect them or the relationship enough to be honest and, 2. The loving partner sometimes tolerated the behavior due to deep rooted psychological experiences and may have even believed they deserve to be treated as they were.
The way to determine if someone’s invested in you and the relationship is to maintain your boundary of not tolerating their lies and infidelity. You must be willing to walk away. You could let the person know if they continue their behavior, you will end the relationship. If they cheat again, you leave or have them leave.
If they come back to you to renew the relationship, give yourself time to learn from their words and behaviors, if they did really change. If so, and you want them back, renew the relationship. If they seem the same, don’t give history a chance to repeat itself.
The same is true for people who are abused, whether verbally, emotionally, or physically. There’s a lot of mental health baggage to unpack here because being the victim of abuse confuses the psyche. I’ll suffice it to say, when someone realizes they’re being abused that’s when they should create an exit strategy, seek help, and work toward finding a safe space for themself.
For you, personally, if you suspect you’re being abused, it’s likely you are. If something isn’t sitting well in your gut, pay attention to that feeling, and pay more attention to the feelings that surface during interactions with the other person. An abuser will continue attempting to manipulate your feelings, may gaslight you, and may isolate you from your support network.
Make a conscious decision to NOT allow them to control your feelings. Don’t believe you deserve to be mistreated. If your support network isn’t able to help you, seek a support group.
In a nutshell, it comes down to personal and relational boundaries: emotional, physical, and verbal. Seek professional help if you need assistance developing, voicing, and maintaining boundaries so your friendships and relationships will be healthier. YOU deserve to be treated with respect from each person you allow in your life.
I hope this article, and the accompanying video, have been helpful. If you’ve been on either side of what this article talks about, I’d love to hear from you. Comments are always welcome, as well as subscribing and sharing.