We teach people how to treat us.
Of all the information we will gather and process from the world to use to make decisions about ourselves, none will be more important than what is reflected back to us by the people we decide to be in relationship with. Of all the decisions we make regarding self-care, making sure that we have relationships with those who treat us with value and positive regard may be the most important. It is important, too, to learn to take responsibility for our part in creating relationships that don’t foster unhealthy patterns. At a deeper than conscious level, there is a tendency to be attracted to relationships that will reinforce the ultimate value we place upon ourselves. If we haven’t learned, for instance, that we have the right to disengage from relationships in which we are treated abusively, it may be impossible to set the kind of boundaries that will end this behavior. Not setting these boundaries is ultimately the same as accepting the behavior (this does not mean, however, that we are responsible for the abuse, that responsibility lies totally with the abuser). Often, it may not seem like acceptance since we may yell, fight, and plead for change within the relationship, but if the behavior continues, it amounts to the same. Very quickly in the process of recovery from addictive behaviors, there is an increase in feelings and awareness of self-worth. This will always lead to the need to reevaluate what we accept in our relationships. Of all the changes that must be made in recovery, this is by far the hardest and the most important since relationships are what link us to our core emotional truths. A massive corner has been turned when we truly realize that with the development of appropriate boundaries, we create the ability to literally teach people how to treat us.