If someone hasn’t told you to “teach” people how to treat you then I’m sure you’ve told someone else. It’s advice we give when we see people being taken advantage of or taken for granted by someone he/she cares about. I thought everyone considered it good advice until I came across Samantha’s post on Blavity stating that it was actually damaging. Her reason was because it’s just another way to victim blame; according to her, it’s kind of like telling a woman who’s been raped that it was her fault because of what she was wearing. I understood Samantha’s point but I don’t think she fully understands what it means to “teach” someone how to treat you (I prefer the term “teach” rather than train). At first I agreed after reading the entire post then I remembered that the post would only be 100% correct if we were living in a perfect world with perfect people and I’m going to tell you why.
She used a few examples: talking to a guy she was interested in and receiving a random dick pic, someone getting jumped and accusing the person who got jumped, and a child being raised with an abusive parent. Let’s start with example 1. Samantha was disturbed enough to include the incident in her Blavity post, which means she probably no longer talks to the guy who sent the random picture and she probably no longer talks to him for that reason alone. Whether she realizes it or not, she trained that guy how to treat her by showing him she wasn’t going to accept his behavior. Had she let it slide once, dick pics would have turned into creepy, random sexts every other day. Because we are only human, we will always be child-like in a sense where we see how far we can go with people or we play with the power people have shown us we have over them, which is why we HAVE to train people how to treat us in the first place. If a baby cries every time he/she wants a toy and you give him/her the toy every single time, the baby becomes aware of the power he/she has over you. The only way to show the baby that his/her behavior is unacceptable is by creating consequences every time it happens (i.e ignoring the cries). Believe it or not, that’s how a lot of relationships work as well. Because teaching people how to treat you is based on your responses to potential reoccurring incidents, example two doesn’t work in Samantha’s favor because if they try to jump you again and you pull out a weapon or beat the ring leader’s ass, they will LEARN to stop trying you. Because child abuse has absolutely nothing to do with training someone how to treat you, example three doesn’t work either.
If you guys haven’t noticed, no one treats everyone the same. Because we all have different requirements, needs, wants, and standards, people have to treat us a certain way to abide by those things. If I don’t want you to call me after 10pm but you do it anyway and I don’t answer, you’re not going to keep calling me after 10pm because you’re not going to get the results you want. If another girl answers your calls at any time of the night, you’re simply not going to call me after 10 but call her at any time. That doesn’t make you a bad person because you call her after 10, it simply means I’ve trained you to refrain from calling ME after 10. Of course there’s the argument that people should just be good people but that’s the bare minimum. You have to take into account that we don’t live perfect nor predictable lives so it’s imperative that you teach people how to treat you through your responses to their imperfect or unpredictable actions. Teaching people how to treat you is not about blaming the “victim,” it’s about making sure a person doesn’t become one.
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Thanks for reading!