CREATING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Relationship Principle: The closer people are to me, the higher my expectations for treatment will be.
I’ve always found it interesting that so many people accept the worst treatment, not from strangers and acquaintances, but from the people closest to them. I’ve seen men and women alike, set very healthy limits with strangers yet accept the most outrageous behaviors from their loved ones.
Some people would never allow a stranger to hit them without having that person arrested or charged with assault, yet when it comes to their partner pushing them or even breaking their nose, they do nothing. If an acquaintance calls them an idiot, they will be offended and set a stern limit, yet when their partner does the same, they shrug it off and say nothing. This also happens in reverse: some people can’t imagine swearing at an acquaintance; yet swearing at their partner is just a part of life.
Although there are many reasons this happens, and I don’t want to minimize all the dynamics that go into this phenomenon (especially domestic violence), the bottom line is: too many people accept too many behaviors that should be, and are, totally unacceptable.
What’s wrong with this picture? It’s as though we have it all backwards.
If we want to create healthy relationships, we have to incorporate basic principles into our life. One such principle is: The closer people are to me, the higher my expectations for treatment will be.
I understand the closer we are to people, the more intense our feelings and reactions become. I also understand that it is a gift for our loved ones to let us into their inner circle. It is likewise a gift to let them into ours. This gift is to be cherished, not taken for granted or abused.
We are the only ones who can insure it is not taken for granted. We are also the only ones who can set limits on how our loved ones treat us. The clearer we are on what those limits are, the more able we will be to enforce them. Some basic limits include: no name calling, swearing at, yelling, intimidating or becoming physically or emotionally abusive in any way. If any of these are happening in our relationships, we are not living by this basic principle.
We deserve to be treated well--always--by everyone. We especially deserve to be treated well by our loved ones. No one can insure that we are treated well except us. We need to know that we deserve it, and then take steps to make sure we are—by everyone, especially those closest to us.
Challenge: Begin to incorporate this principle into your life and know that those in your inner circle need to treat you better than anyone else in your life.