We become so used to the relationships we have, that often we are not surprised by certain situations when we should be. I take that back, sometimes we are a little surprised, but we are so used to the status quo of our everyday relationships, we don’t notice things we should be noticing.
What I’m specifically thinking about is the way we are treated by others. And even more specifically, how we are treated by the people we spend most of our time with. Those are the people that we tend to accept and easily live with POOR treatment from.
I have a friend who is so poorly treated by her family members (ex-husband and children), that she doesn’t usually even see it. She has been shown that she doesn’t matter, that she does not have value, and they continually put her down. They even quantify her level of love for them by her willingness to be pushed and told what to do. So when they continue to walk all over her, she doesn’t feel anything but sad. She’s not angry when they are jerks, she doesn’t stand up for herself and say to them, “you don’t run my life”, and despite being quite the adult, she even apologizes when they are mad because of the rare occasion when they say “Jump!”, and she can’t. Her unavailability to jump when told to, becomes reason for them to harass, to label her as not caring about them, and inevitably she is left needing to try and explain herself, when really, her living her life shouldn’t be explained to anyone or apologized for.
In telling me what is said to her, and what is expected of her, she doesn’t even hear what she’s saying, so when I come out with advice about how she owns herself—nobody else does, she isn’t sure how to hear that. She hasn’t belonged to herself for so many years, that continual put downs, and the endless pushing around means that she is always living with the knowledge that she needs to be ready to jump when told to.
There are many things difficult for me to stomach in this situation because of the importance I give self-esteem and self-respect. And no “Christian” people should be allowed to call themselves so when they harass, belittle, bitch, and pick at a person like this. For them to feel they own anyone to the point that they think it’s ok to dictate choices, actions, and even availability… well, blow me down, I am in awe. She even has to continually lose hours at work to be running around, for these family members, and that is totally expected of her.
It wouldn’t matter who this friend was, how well I know her, how much I care for her. To hear how she is talked to, how she is put down in every way thinkable, and for her level of love to be continually measured by her willingness to jump, I would still be giving the same advice.
- Stand tall!
- Say “NO” more often.
- Teach them how they are going to treat you.
- Notice when they are telling you that you are last on the list of people who matter.
- Excuse yourself from being a punching bag.
- Refuse to acknowledge being TOLD how much you love anyone based on your availability to jump or do what you are told.
- Accept you are not a slave to anyone, and YOU OWN YOU!
- You can’t change them, but you can change how you react.
- Know they will not like you being strong.
- They will be very bugged by not having you to push around, because they can’t push most people around the way you have allowed them to push you.
- Consider saying “no” when you don’t want to. Not just when you can’t.
- Be strong, realizing that if you are weak you are teaching them you are willing to be walked all over.
- Notice all wording that sounds like you are being told what to do, and repeat it back to them. Insist they hear what they are saying.
- Show that you think it’s strange, and unacceptable.
- Don’t let them make you hate life.
- Consider opening your door less. (how available you are)
- Look at your beauty more, and remember most of the world sees it.
- Accept there are people in this world who will never want to change.
- Accept you can’t change others.
- Negativity and put downs are sticky, the faster you refuse to listen to them, the less they stick.
- Do your best to remember others who think highly of you, and don’t ask you to jump are important too.