I was raised to believe everything was my fault, and I was always guilty for something. That's not a criticism of my family or a complaint; it's a cultural, religious, and generational thing. It also shouldn't have been a big deal, because I should have just let it go once I grew up.
Instead, somehow I managed to transfer those childhood feelings to adulthood - and place them smack in the middle of every relationship I have. Not just dating, either - I'm talking every relationship. When there's a problem, my first reaction is always that it's my fault. Then I apologize and I try to fix whatever is wrong.
Every. Single. Time.
But, in the last few years, I've started to realize that thinking isn't really doing me any favors. The truth is - I'm not always wrong (I'm not always right, either, but that's a different blog). Sometimes, stuff goes wrong and it's on the other person. Other times, stuff goes wrong and no one is to blame.
I read somewhere (probably Facebook) that we teach others how to treat us. I had to read the quote a few times before it finally started to sink in.
By always taking the blame, I'm teaching others that it's OK to blame me for everything. By always apologizing, I'm teaching others it's OK to treat me as though I'm always wrong.
I figure that probably needs to stop.
I'm not looking to convince anyone I'm always right, and we should do everything my way. I'm just looking to show people (read: Guys) that I might be right, that sometimes I do have a point, and they should listen and respect my opinions and feelings. I want them to treat me well; the way I deserve to be treated.
The thing I'm wondering...if someone makes a mistake and treats me poorly, is it enough to tell him (emphatically, categorically, and specifically) what is and is not acceptable? Or do I have to actually walk away from that person, in order to drive home the lesson?
I'm not looking to get hurt. I'm not looking to be anyone's doormat. I'm also not looking to walk away from something that actually might have potential, just to make a point.
In the end, it may not matter (too soon to tell). But in the mean time, I'm wondering...how do I teach others how to treat me?