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All of this – and you have to fully acknowledge this – is about them, not you. See, if your response to their behaviour is to smooth things over, take it, ignore it or accept it, you’re teaching them that their behaviour is acceptable and they’ll keep on keeping on.If you find yourself on the receiving end, think “” and recognise that the stuff in their head is theirs alone, and you’re not responsible for any of it. I learned something from TV’s Dr Phil that I’ve always remembered. People are dumb like that, they’ll do what works until they have strong evidence that it doesn’t work, and that’s evidence that only you can create.It doesn’t mean that you’re rocking the boat, and it doesn’t mean that things will get worse. Let them know you expect them to treat you differently.Watch out for the thoughts you’ll have that make it easy to not start teaching them how to treat you, then start as simply as you can. When a light is shone on what’s been happening, putting a stop to put-down behaviour can happen pretty quickly.I’m not qualified to comment on the deep issue of emotional or domestic abuse, and while the line I’m drawing is a grey one, I’m making a distinction between emotional abuse (defined by the US Department of Justice as “causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends, destruction of pets and property, forcing isolation from family, friends, or school or work”) and consistent, verbal put down behaviour; that ongoing state of power put in place by someone in a relationship for the purposes of control, self-validation or transference. People sometimes say silly things (I know I do) and taking everything personally is going to turn you into an anxious, paranoid wreck.
Below, I’ve given you ideas for how to change things if you’ve been receiving hurtful put-downs, but at this point I feel duty-bound to say something.With pain as a foundation, that anger and bitterness leaks out as behaviour – regardless of the impact or intention. Being in control of the environment has a substantial impact on the level of stress we feel.If you believe that you’re in control of your environment – even if that means keeping someone else “in their place” – you’ll feel much more certain about what will happen, and that sense of autonomy and certainty fuels the release of the brain’s feel good chemicals.Doesn’t matter if it’s from a best friend, a family member, a support group or a professional – it’s being supported that matters. You can’t reach into their head and change their thoughts and behaviour, and it will always remain unacceptable to be on the receiving end of put-down behaviour (no matter how your brain might try to trick you into thinking it’s okay).People either get how things need to work or they don’t, and there’s no way you should suffer at the hands of someone who just doesn’t get it.
But sometimes it can take a while to shift thinking and behaviour that’s been well-rehearsed on both sides.