At what point do we say, “Enough”? It needs to be at the point where we’re feeling so desperate to keep someone in our life that we’re willing to let go of everything that needs to matter to us – our sense of self, our values, and most certainly, our boundaries and standards. It pains me when readers tell me harrowing stories of how they’re near begging somebody who doesn’t treat them with love, care, trust and respect, to come back or stay. They’d rather have some crumbs rather than no crumbs because the relationship has robbed them of the strength to leave. I’ve often threatened to show up at their homes by coming through their roof in an orange jumpsuit, intervention style. I may make this a reality the way some of you are going!
It’s vital that we set the standard for how we are treated. This doesn’t mean that we take responsibility for other people’s feelings and behaviour but what it does mean is that we have to recognise that if we do not treat and regard ourselves with love, care, trust and respect, we are putting out the wrong message. We are sending out a message to anybody that is around us that, Hey, this is the standard that I have set for myself. It is OK for you to treat me similarly or worse.
When you are able to be there for you; when you are willing to step up and take care of you, to have your own back, to set the standard of how you will to be treated, you will not accept less from anybody else than what you can already do for you. This stops you from being in unhealthy relationships. This allows you to say, “Hey, I don’t accept that. I’m not OK with what you’ve just said/done”, because you know how you want to feel and how you want to continue to feel.
If somebody is mistreating you and they are at best, taking advantage and at worst, abusing you, if you then turn around and say, “I take the blame for your behaviour” or “That’s OK, I’m not going to create any consequences for your behaviour”, or “I love you, I love you, I love you…. Come back to me… I can’t bear to be without you…”, and this is after they have walked all over you and treated you worse than a doormat, that is sending out the wrong message and it’s not one that you want to continue to put out.
What you’re basically saying is, “I don’t love me. I don’t care about me. I don’t trust me. I don’t respect me”. It’s saying, “I know that you don’t either but I’d rather accept some crumbs rather than no crumbs”. It’s saying, “I don’t feel that I have to set any consequences for your actions…. I’m saying that I don’t think that I can do without you… yeah… I don’t feel that I can do without you who actually, isn’t really there for me at all”.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that it’s better for somebody to be there in a crappy capacity rather than to not be there at all. And in the same way: it’s not better for somebody to be there but emotionally absent rather than being gone all together, because all of these things will kill your soul, they will kill your spirit and they will kill the very essence of you.
They will distort your view of you and they will distort your view of what a healthy, loving relationship should look like. You don’t need to be out there seeking perfection but what you do need to seek is to be with people who are like-minded. If your idea of like-minded folk is somebody who treats you less than something they just stepped on, something is very, very wrong.
The answer isn’t to try to change them. The answer isn’t to try to please them even more. The answer isn’t to keep editing and shaving you down in the hopes that one of these things will spark them into being a better person in a better relationship. The answer is to step right back and to invest all of your energy into evaluating and working on why you are accepting less than what you deserve even from yourself – and that is to evaluate why you don’t care about you, why you don’t even like you, why you don’t respect you, why you don’t trust you. What is it that is in your head and in your past that is telling you that THIS – this sh*tty, horrible relationship, that this horrible way of being – is the best that you can do?
Once you are able to look at what it is that you associate with feeling bad about you as well as what is it that you associate with love, you can then work on and heal those things from your past so that you are not making decisions now based on emotional reasons attached to the past that actually bear no real relation to anything that you are looking to do now and going forward.
If you are doing things because you felt abandoned by a parent or caregiver in the past or you felt rejected, or you are carrying all sorts of unhealthy beliefs about you, what you’re doing right now is responding to those emotional reasons that are not necessarily based on fact. Now, of course, we don’t always do things for logical reasons but once we recognise that we are doing things for emotional reasons that are not serving us right now, we can start to address the source of those emotional reasons and step in and be conscious, aware and present, so that we can take care of ourselves in a better way.
We cannot continue to accept less than what we deserve from others and we absolutely cannot continue to set a poor standard for treatment. We can not basically say, “This is the standard that I’m setting for myself and you can do whatever the hell you like”.
You must set the standard for treatment. You want to be treated with love, care, trust and respect? Treat yourself with love, care, trust and respect, not because you’re thinking, Well if I do this then I can force other people to do that, but because once you start to treat you with love, care, trust and respect, not only will you not accept less than what you can already do for yourself but you will also align you with entirely different people and situations. You will find that you come from a place of love as opposed to coming from a place of crushing you, or of trying to always go around and please and serve others. You will do things from a place of healthy desire as opposed to, Please! This is my need! I want you to be my salvation. That cannot be the way that you live your life.
The way that you feel right now is not going to be the way that you always feel so don’t make how you feel or see things right now into a permanent statement of your future. If it feels as if this person is the sole source of your happiness and at the same time, they’re the source of your misery, you can see where that person has become very skewed in your head and has become the thing that you are dependent on for your sense of self, for your emotions, for any sense of value here on earth, but that doesn’t have to continue.
Yes – it will take time. Yes – it will take work. Yes – it will take some reflection. Yes – it will take a bit of time for you to face up to your part in things. Not a part where you are taking responsibility for other people’s feelings and behaviour but recognising where you are not treating and regarding you in the best way that you can. Love you first. Take care of you. When you do these things, a whole other world is going to open up for you. Believe.