“You teach people how to treat you.”
Dangit. I so wish that weren’t true.
Seriously, that’s one of the most sobering thoughts I’ve ever stumbled upon in the world of recovery and psychology and healing and wholeness.
Every day of my life, I taught the people around me how I wanted to be treated and what I would consider to be acceptable behavior.
I taught them this by not speaking up when hurt. I taught them this by staying in the room. I taught them this by reacting the same way each time. I taught them this by remaining in relationships fraught with toxicity. I taught them this by coming back for more.
I taught them.
I hate this thought process, obviously, because it places the responsibility squarely on my own shoulders for years of heartache.
I won’t go into the tiny details like I was convinced I couldn’t leave and such, because frankly, that’s not the point.
Staying or leaving, I could have chosen other ways to deal with things.
I’m thinking about this now because I’m looking at my children differently. I’ve got three years left with my daughter under my roof, four years left with my son.
I look at my daughter and want a different life, a different set of relationships, for her. I want her to know not to jump into the cycle of harm and stay there. I want her to know what to look for, what to stay away from, what it’s okay to say no to. I want her to know what she can and cannot expect a relationship to do for her, what she can and cannot expect of herself in a relationship.
And I look at my son and want different choices, a different set of standards, for him. I want him to know how to treat people, especially women. I want him to know that a needy woman cannot be rescued by another human. (Bless all our needy hearts!, but we can’t.) I want him to know what it looks like to honor and cherish. I want him to know that there is another way, that his past does not have to define his present or his future.
I want them both to know that God wants so much more for them and from them compared to what they’ve seen. That God makes it quite clear how we should treat others and therefore, how we should expect to be treated. That yes, we are to turn the other cheek, but not to the detriment of our souls and hearts and minds.
So today I will show my children how I am to be treated and in turn, they hopefully will begin to see the same for themselves. If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.
It carries over into professional relationships, too. I used to wonder why one of my clients felt it was okay to call me in the morning at 7:30 a.m. Then I realized….it’s because I answered the phone and talked to him!
wow…just wow…well said…I can relate and have prayed the same prayers for my own kids…
Mine are 21 and 17 now..we are on the other end of ‘hard’…
I can tell you this, which you already know, God will answer and I believe that one day, you will enjoy a seat at the ‘parents’ table and you won’t be alone …and you will be completely happy….and your daughter and son…will have that mate that you desire…cause God will answer….I just know it!
Elizabeth, I have just come to see your blog from Mid-Day Connection…What a blessing you are and I can only believe how God is using you to encourage other women into the place of finding that “Jesus is Enough.”….Yes, I myself have found that it is a lonely place being yoked to an unbeliever….until I remember the truth that He will never leave me nor forsake me and it makes it all better remembering God’s Truth and knowing that He is Faithful to His Word….when Jesus did not trust men for He knew what was within them..John 2:24…He only trusted His Father….Trusting Him and Him Alone with you…blessings my sister in Christ…..
Praying that my husband will come to see and make a commitment to Christ and we can find a new life together in Christ….I believe, he is one step away….