“we accept the love we think we deserve.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
For the longest time I believed I was worthless. I would allow others to badmouth, disrespect, and take advantage of me; letting them dictate how I felt about myself.
By nature, I am an amenable person; I don’t like conflict and prefer being on good terms with those around me. I guess I am the textbook definition of a people pleaser. Before, I had this distorted notion that the best way to interact with others was to give. If I had the time or resources and there was someone in need, I would give it without a second thought. The idea of being a giver was something that I was raised with, so it never really clicked that others weren’t raised with the same ideal.
One thing about being nice is that people view it as a weakness. Amiability, to them, is an inherent character flaw meant for exploitation. So I was used beautifully.
Sometimes sly comments would be made about my appearance that belittled me, but because I preferred to avoid confrontation, I would laugh it off and pretend that the jab hadn’t stung. My time and resources would be exploited, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no. Under the guise of friendship, wolves would approach and tell me about certain character flaws that I should consider working on; and like an idiot, I would internalize the remarks and blame the flaws for my crappy relationships.
Then one day I just decided that I wouldn’t take it anymore. Saying no didn’t make me evil, and being assertive didn’t equal bitch. If you asked me for too much I was happy to say the sacred two-letter word. N-O! And I would do so with relish because it empowered me. If an individual made a comment that I felt belittled me I would pull them aside and let them know how it made me feel. If someone came to me with a character flaw that she wanted to “help” me with, I would listen with one ear and keep it if it was actually true. I was on a roll and it felt good.
I realize now that I was receiving crap because I felt I deserved crap, but once I realized that I needed respect, I sure as hell demanded it. Shoot! Now that I have tasted heaven, I am no longer returning to the hell that was my personal relationships.
Were there ever moments where you accepted disrespect?