What “You Teach People How to Treat You” Means

why-you-are-not-treated-as-specialQuestion: You write in one of your articles that “we teach people how they treat us”. I somehow get what it means but do not know how it relates to my love life. I’ve been in several relationships but all ended because I felt that I was doing all the work in the relationship with not much input from the men. What hurt me most is that the same men treated other women they were involved with the way I wanted them to treat me only that they didn’t treat me they way they treated them. It’s not like I ask for much. I’ve always taken care of myself and don’t understand how I’m teaching men to treat me the way they have treat me.

When I read where you say “we teach people how they treat us”, I wonder how that could be in my situation since I made it clear to the men that I wanted them to treat me as special. Can you please explain more what “we teach people how they treat us” means?

Yangki’s Answer: First of all, you sound like a special woman to me — and should be treated as special.

It is however, true that “we teach people how they treat us”. How you do the teaching can sometimes be subconscious but often it is something that is learned behaviour. From what I read in your question, because you’ve always taken care of yourself with not much help from others, you consciously or subconsciously do not expect anything from anyone. You’ve learned that no one is going to be there for you, except you.

When you get into a relationship, you don’t expect the other person to give you what you want and right from the start of the relationship (and without being consciously aware of it) make it clear (in words or actions) that you (and only you) can and will take care of you because you don’t expect to be taken care of — at least not to your satisfaction.

For example, may be you don’t share how you feel and keep everything to yourself, or only share what you think the men want to hear. Or may be you don’t ask for help and if you do, you follow it with “It’s no big deal. I can do it myself” etc. I’m not saying this is what you do, but this is an example of how “we teach people how they treat us”.

So even if deep down inside what you really want is for someone to be there for you — to put you first, to worry about you, and make you feel special etc. subconsciously what your energy (and words and actions) is saying is “I don’t expect you to be there for me and take care of me. But don’t worry, I can take care of myself.

The irony is that this “subconscious energy” often attracts people who will not be there for you, and won’t take care of you. And even when you do attract someone who is capable and wants to be there for you,  you don’t know how to allow them to be there for you and/or take care of you. You don’t trust that they will or can (at least not to your satisfaction). So you do it all by yourself even when that’s not what you’d have preferred.

Some people can go living the frustration of feeling like “nobody cares about me” all their lives. They go from relationship to relationship looking for someone to be there for them but not allowing anyone to. Others turn their frustration to trying to “force” it out of their partners — nagging, demanding, complaining, playing mind games etc. but it never ultimately brings the satisfaction of knowing that someone wants to be there, take care of you and make you feel special.

It’s only when we let go some of our beliefs, assumptions, expectations and habits that are not serving us that something begins to shift — and often to our pleasant surprise.

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11 Comments

  • Its very true… I attract men who treqt me horribky always hopin to get their affection now married, if I gain weight my husband treats me like utter crap!! It upsets me so much and im so insecure.I.allow him to treat me this way… my mind set is if he doesnt eant me heavy than he doesnt deserve me smaller either

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  • I consider myself a good woman by all accounts and have been told by people close to me that I’m a good person. But when it comes to relationships, I always get you’re a “bad person” attitude and treatment from men. I’m very loving, good listener, giving, never complain and I’m always very understanding even in situations most women would act up. But whatever I try to do to show them that I’m not the person they think I am, only makes them more sure that they know me and I’m a bad person.

    My last ex tells everyone I’m the worst woman he’s ever been with, and says nothing about his ex wife who cleaned him out of everything he owns. I took care of him and lent him money when he had nothing. I never asked for the money back but he paid it all back when we broke up because he says he wants to cleanse himself of me. How is what I’m doing teaching them how to treat me? You tell me.

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    • It’s sad that this is your experience. I’m tempted to go the “conventional” way and blame it on the men but the reality is we teach people how they treat us. We may not always be responsible for how others treat us but if person after person treats us the same way, it says the problem is not with the other person but with since we’re the only common denominator in all those experiences.

      Trying to be good may exactly be the reason you’re thought of as “not” a good person. You can not see and therefore cannot help others see your innate goodness when you’re too busy trying to be good. If you truly believed you’re a good person, there’d be no need for you to “try” being good. Anything that involves “trying to be” screams “NOT!” that’s why there is the “trying”. It doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t come across as authentic. It’s not attractive.

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  • This has shaken me to my core. I am one of those people who defines oneself as “a person who doesn’t need other people,” and have always attracted men who reflect this back to me. I’ve been wondering why and then I read this! The insight I’ve taken from the post is that I have to find a balance that works for me.

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  • I’ve been abused and neglected by women all my life. I know there must be an energy I’m putting out to attract these women and believe me I do not want to be this way, but I do not know how to change that energy.

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  • I agree with this post. I’ve dated women who have not had the experience of being treated well and they expected me to be like all the other men. I felt as though they did not believe I loved them and would do anything for them. I finally left the relationship.

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  • I’m just out of a relationship in which I did not feel special. He expected me to dress in a way which is modest and dignified yet when we were out he ogled and made comments about how sexy the other women dressed in scanty clothes looked. I’m still trying to rebuild my self-esteem and this will surely be handy for me in my next relationship.

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  • I’ve always dated women who played games because I was clueless and treated ALL people the way I wish to be treated. In the process I’ve been cheated of a car, thousands of dollars and have had my heart broken in so many places that I don’t trust women anymore.

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  • He treated me like a princess but when I caught him with my best friend he smiled and said “Did you think you really think you were that special?” It broke my heart into pieces.

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