Someone said this phrase to me recently in regards to why she stayed in an unhealthy relationship. She shared that she allowed her ex-husband to speak and treat her unkindly. In other words, she did not stick up for herself and accepted the abuse. It was at that point in her story when she said, “You teach people how to treat you.” And, it’s true! We all know intuitively how we want to be treated. I would assume that we all want to be treated with respect and taking it a step further, with love, appreciation, and gentleness. However, sometimes we find ourselves in friendships, romantic relationships, and work relationships that do not align with our wishes. How we respond to how the other person treats us dictates how we respect ourselves and how we teach the other person what is acceptable and what is not. Of course this is easier said than done, especially when there are other factors to consider. The important point is knowing that you have the power to teach someone this important lesson. So assuming you can, some responses include confronting the person, offering another approach to how they treated you or what they said, or refusing to interact with them until something changes. Unfortunately, if you believe they will naturally change on their own without your intervention, this unhealthy trajectory will continue. So assess your situation, figure out how you’d like to be treated, and determine how you will approach the person. There is hope; (some) people do eventually change and respect your wishes. If they don’t, then you will have to change how you will allow them to affect you.
Do you have additional suggestions?