What Are You Teaching Your Ex About How to Treat You?

Question: Can you please explain how I am teaching my ex how to treat me? You write in one of your articles that “we teach people how they treat us”. I somehow get what it means but how does it apply to me teaching my ex how my ex treats me. I recently broke up with my ex because I felt that I was doing all the work in the relationship. This has been my pattern with all the men I dated. I put in all the work 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.

It’s not like I ask for much. I grew up with so many hardships and always taken care of myself. I don’t understand how I’m teaching men to treat me the way they 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 my ex that I want him to treat me as special. Thank you, Yangki.

Yangki’s Answer: I’ll do the best I can to explain 1) what “you teach people how they treat you” means and 2) how you may be teaching your ex how to treat.

What does you teach people how to treat you mean?

It simply means you teach people how to treat you by how you treat you. Another way to say it is, how others treat you is a reflection of how you treat you. It may not even be how you feel about yourself, but how they think you want to be treated.

How you do the teaching is often through your actions and what you allow or don’t allow.

How are you teaching your ex how to treat you?

Because you’ve always taken care of yourself, you 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. Right from the start of the relationship (and without being consciously aware of it), you make it clear in words or actions that you (and only you) can and will take care of you. You don’t expect much so you don’t ask for much.

For example: On the very first date, you insist on paying for your coffee or dinner When your date tries to be a “gentleman”, you declare how independent you are, and even get “emotional” about it. Months later, you find yourself not only paying for all your date bills but also doing all the work to make the relationship work. Even when you ask for help, you follow it with “It’s no big deal. I can do it myself” or “If you don’t want to do it, that’s okay”, etc.

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. your words and actions are saying is “You don’t have to do anything. I do everything for myself and can take care of myself.”

The law of attraction: The energy you put out comes back to you

The “you don’t have to do anything. I do everything for myself and can take care of myself” energy you send out attracts people who do anything for 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 take care of you. You don’t trust that they will or can (at least not to your satisfaction); and 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 care about them and do things 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. It never brings the satisfaction of knowing that someone wants to be there for you, take care of you and make you feel special.

People are constantly looking at how we treat ourselves to understand how we want to be treated; our actions, what we allow and don’t allow.

This is why my approach to attracting back your ex is: if you want to be loved, act like someone who wants to be loved. And if you want your ex back, act like someone who wants their ex back.

Are you teaching your ex to treat you with love and make you feel safe; or teaching your ex to ignore you and make you feel rejected and abandoned?

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    1. says: Yangki Akiteng

      As the article says work on letting 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.”

  1. says: Regina

    first of all, thank you for this insight and countless other life changing articles! now i need to learn to change this but at the same time find a balance within myself and my overly independent vibe.