I believe that we teach people everyday how to treat us; we do this with our words, our actions and even our silence. If we choose to stay in a conversation while someone is belittling us, swearing or calling us names, we teach them that this behavior is okay. If we repeatedly ask our partner to pick up their clothes and then we pick them up for them, we teach them to ignore our requests. If we sleep with our partner when s/he repeatedly treats us disrespectfully and in a cold-hearted way, we teach our partner that we do not need to be treated well… we just need to be thrown a few crumbs now and then.

I believe we have more control over how we are treated then many of us realize. There are often many steps we can take to teach those around us to treat us well. We can set a limit, make a request, get outside help or leave the situation or relationship if necessary. We can’t change our partner, however we can change what we put up with from our partner. The first place to look if your partner (or anyone else) is not treating you well is… at you. What is it that you are putting up with?

Challenge: Pay attention to how you are teaching others to treat you…and make sure it is the right lesson.


  1. says

    This was one of the most profound learnings I have had in my life. In my 20’s, I was in a very unhealthy relationship which I was terrified to leave. It was easy to feel victimized since his behavior was so egregious. When I finally rustled up the courage to leave, a friend shared the wisdom with me that “no one can abuse you without your permission.” Wow! It was a total revelation to me at the time. And I have never gone back! My husband treats me so kindly and with so much love and compassion because that is how I treat myself.

  2. says

    I couldn’t agree more, Lisa. It’s one of those things about life that’s hard to see … but so true it’s staring us in the face. I spent years screwing up the courage to demand better treatment — and my life has not been the same since. Bravo!

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