Why Do We Allow People To Treat Us Badly? (Here’s How To Break The Cycle)


From a young age, we are taught to believe we are bad, wrong, unworthy, and are made to feel guilty. This is due to family dynamics, schooling, interactions with peers, and society. As we grow and mature as individuals, we carry around these childhood wounds that reveal themselves through our interpersonal relationships, how we define our self-worth, and our overall ability to take responsibility for our actions and lives that we’re actively or inactively creating as inhabitants in the world. If these wounds are not healed, recognized, and even avoided, it only makes for broken adults who in fact are truly scared children—just wearing larger sized clothing fitted to an aging body.

I have had the unique privilege to meet people from all walks of life—both as a New Yorker and from extensive traveling. They’ve come from all parts of the world with various cultural backgrounds, ages, religious affiliations, occupations, and experiences. By intently listening to stories told by complete strangers, dear friends, and some of my closest family members, they trusted me by revealing their hearts, sorrows, and fears. Sometimes there are no words to give, but I can provide an ear, a hug, and presence—sincerely showing care and concern, but with respect to my personal limits.

What I have learned from others along with my own life experience is that whether it is an isolated incident or everyday battle of survival and endurance, we allow people to treat us badly—both consciously and unconsciously. We allow others to criticize, judge, abuse, and diminish us because we couldn’t find our words to defend ourselves as we may feel overpowered and weak. We believe that we deserved it, and we accept that we aren’t good enough. But those same people who caused us harm, are also living the same reality—of feeling so incredibly bad about themselves that not only they inflict internal pain, but outwardly project it on to people that appear easily manipulated.

Even the strongest men and women who are highly intelligent, successful, career and family oriented, and level headed have at some point or another fallen victim to turning over the sense of self to someone else that will cut them down. But why do we allow this? Why do we allow the cycle of co-dependency and ill-treatment to continue? Again, it’s because we don’t feel worthy. Once we take a moment to reflect on the areas of out life—the people, situations, and circumstances that we’re in at present, we can begin to think about how and why we got here. Is it something we were born into? Is it something we settled for? Do we feel trapped and hopeless? By facing what or who is causing us harm and pain, we can make conscious choices to change ourselves, how we interact with others, and make a concerted effort to change our realities. We can begin based upon how we feel, think, and perceive who we are as individuals and what makes us special, unique, and valuable. We can begin to heal those childhood wounds that want to close up once and for all and be filled with love rather then remain as gaping holes of despair.

We are treated based upon how we believe we deserve to be treated. By allowing others to determine who we are or what we aren’t, we are giving away our power to those who have no business even possessing an ounce of it. By allowing others to demean us and put us down, we are silently accepting false perceptions. And by resigning ourselves into believing life is hard, difficult, and cruel, we are only limiting ourselves by internally dying day by day rather than expanding and living through rejuvenation. It’s all about choice and perspective.

If something or someone is making us unhappy or afraid, we can choose to seek refuge and disassociate. On the other hand, there are really incredible and remarkable individuals within your family, circle of friends, place of employment, and complete strangers who are happy to help if need be. We are all in this human experience together—if we collectively make decisions to better ourselves and in turn seek to better the lives of others, on a larger scale, we give each other support to stop accepting the minimum and empower ourselves to receive and give the maximum with balance. And to those who are treating us and others badly, they equally need compassion and forgiveness—because they too are scared children who have a lot of healing to do as well.