By Scott Parker – Clinical Therapist
When others treat you poorly, it is easy to respond with aggression, or to avoid the problem by being passive. Unfortunately, neither approach is likely to help the person get the message and start treating you better.
When you allow others to treat you poorly, you are not helping them to be their best self, and giving up on the possibility of real closeness. These desires, for the growth of the other person and the relationship, come from love, and when communicated in the right way, they can help the person begin the change process. Here are some examples of what you might say:
“I want to feel close to you, but when you speak to me that way, I feel distant.”
“I want to trust you, but when you keep not following through on our plans, I feel like making plans with someone more reliable.”
“I want to support your progress, but when you spend the money I give you on clothes, I feel like I’m not helping you reach your potential.”
It is important to not use a threatening tone, but to communicate that this is a problem you sincerely want to resolve.
Of course, mustering up the love and courage to hold the other person accountable will require change on your part as well. And there’s no guarantee that the person will change their ways in response to your new approach. If the behavior persists, you may have to, out of love, establish appropriate consequences to protect yourself. But no matter how others choose to respond, by shifting from aggression and passivity to assertive love you can become more free and content in all your relationships.