I am a firm believer that we teach other people how to treat us.
The way people treat us generally has its roots in the way we treat ourselves as well as how we decide to show up in the world. Are we assertive and clear with our boundaries, or do we allow other people to push us around? Do we practice healthy self-care, even while we may be caregivers to family members? Is our self-respect non-negotiable, even when we are experiencing difficulties in our lives?
Or—do we allow anxiety and fear to rule us when we encounter situations that we simply can’t control? Do we go along to get along, giving in to what other people want just so that we can avoid conflict?
If you are the loved one of someone with an addiction and you are allowing yourself to be manipulated, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re doing that—and to be as honest as you can in your response. One of my favourite sayings comes from Eleanor Roosevelt, who so aptly told us, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When we choose to feel inferior to someone else—when we put someone else’s needs ahead of our own on a fairly consistent basis rather than take care of ourselves, we act in ways that allow that person to manipulate us.