For a great many years of my life I thought that the world was just packed to the brim with nothing but people who could surely qualify as consummate “takers”. In my opinion, a taker is one of those people who no matter what, feels as if they are owed something, that it is YOUR duty (if you are any kind of friend/relative at all) to be there no matter what….whenever THEY come calling. How about this…., ever had that day when you thought your literal world was crashing in on you, you call this certain friend/relative that you just know will be there to tell you that everything is going to be just fine. You know this with every fiber within you simply due to the countless times that you have been there for them, so of course calling in this “rare relationship marker”, is not even a question.
You make the call, only to have your “personal savior”, either tell you that you are over-reacting, being a Drama Queen (or King), or they are simply “too busy… or wrapped up in their own personal Armageddon”….sound familiar? Of course it does….we have all experienced this whether we admit it or not. So the fact that we all are victims of this type of abuse is really not the issue, the issue is what do we do about it, and how did it happen in the first place?
Let’s address the “HOW” first; how we find ourselves in this position, time and time again is simple….we condition others that it is okay to treat us this way. If we were to be honest with ourselves, truly looked over our shoulder at the history between us and the offender, we in most cases would see that WE actually have allowed this very person to do this very thing to us on more than one occasion. The moment we allow others to say, do , or treat us in a manner that makes us feel not so good about ourselves, or that pressures us into doing or agreeing to something that we truly would rather not , and we say nothing about it….well, we have just conditioned or “trained” that person that it is okay to treat us in this manner. Our silence in situations that leave us feeling taken advantage of, preyed upon, or simply invisible, is in essence the license that we have issued to the very ones that have driven over us time and time again.
If we want others to respect our boundaries, standards, or belief systems, then we must not issue licenses to reckless drivers. When we give people certain permissions even once with our silence, by not expressing when something doesn’t make us feel good….well, we are in effect ‘TRAINING OTHERS HOW TO TREAT US’, so do we truly have a right to be upset or surprised when reckless drivers use these permits we have personally given them? I don’t think so, and you won’t either if you truly get it. So remember, although silence may be deemed “Golden”, not everyone subscribes to The Golden Rule…so be smart and be expressive.
Loren Michaels Harris