All relationships we engage in have a certain power dynamic, whether obvious or subtle. Between two people, there’s often a leader and a follower, one passive and one more aggressive, and these roles can be constant, or we can alternate between the two. When it comes to romantic relationships, the stakes are higher, and the dynamic often more apparent. As children, we commonly model ourselves after our same sex parent, and this can have a great influence in how we act within our love relationships as adults. If you’re a woman who had a mom who had overbearing tendencies and “wore the pants” in the family, you’re likely to follow similar patterns in your own relationships. If you identified with a passive parent growing up, you may lean towards being passive as well.
The problem with identifying and then emulating with a passive parent in a romantic relationship is that you can put the needs of your partner ahead of your own, at your own expense. When you don’t value your own voice, you will travel down a road that can make you feel lonely, unimportant, and resentful. When you put someone else’s needs ahead of your own, you’re saying you’re not as important as them, and you tend to bend further than is healthy. And oftentimes, we’re so inside our own patterns it’s hard to even recognize when we’re acting them out.
Signs You’re Letting Someone Walk Over You
1. You avoid saying or doing certain things for fear you may “set them off” and make them angry/disinterested.
2. They flirt with other people in front of you.
3. You often get blamed for the things that go wrong, and you take the blame, believing everything is your fault.
4. You get stood-up, or plans with you get cancelled; you seem to be a last priority. You still keep going back for more though…
5. You continue to bend, and make personal sacrifices to please them.
6. It’s obvious to everyone (even you), that you like them more than they like you. You keep trying to get them to love you as much as you love them.
7. You call them (or text, or email) more than they do you.
8. They only seem to make contact when they need something, or want some kind of personal gratification.
We really do teach people how to treat us. When we undervalue ourselves, and act like we’re not really worth much, whether consciously or unconsciously, most people will follow your lead. It’s up to you to create your own boundaries of how you want to be treated, and remember no one is responsible for your happiness (or unhappiness), except you.