I was privy to a conversation this week about some friends worrying that one of the mates was going to get back involved with a guy who was no good for her. Now the chap is the one responsible for his actions and yes I was in agreement that he was wrong for treating the girl badly. However, I also think we all need to accept some responsibility for when we get treated badly. Before you kick off hear me out.
I spent 10 years in an abusive relationship, emotional, financial, coercive control and physical violence. Yes it was bad. Yes he was wrong to treat me in that way. But we all know that. However, I allowed it. I left and return numerous times, I set boundaries and then went back on them time and time again. I didn’t learn from my mistakes and I tolerated too much. That was my doing.
Now I know and my regular readers also know that walking away from these situations is not always that easy. I get that, more so than anyone. I really do and I’m not saying that it’s easy or that we should blame and shame victims. At the end of the day it’s the fault of people that behave in nasty ways, they’re the ones to blame for any upset and damage caused. But as victims we also need to learn to take responsibility for our own happiness, safety and well being. We need to learn that we cannot change the actions of others, only our response to it.
We need to learn not to keep doing the same thing over and over. Making the same mistakes over and over. We need to stop allowing people to treat us like shit. Because that is our responsibility and as long as we allow people to treat us badly in whatever sense that is, then people will continue to.
So as I was privy to this conversation my comments and reaction were that we cannot prevent the girl from going back, but we can try educate her and give her the strength not, knowing that it’s not the best for her. We also cannot keep saying “I hope he doesn’t do that to her again” but instead say, “I hope she doesn’t allow him to treat her like that again” notice the difference. The second sentence gives her power, ownership and responsibility over her own treatment, life and relationship happiness and there’s a big difference between worrying about someone doing something wrong and worrying about someone being able to handle if is someone does.
Take responsibility for your happiness and your reaction to how people treat you. You cannot control what they do, but you can control how and when you walk away from it.