We accept the love we think we deserve

Recognizing poor treatment is the first step to walking away 

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
We deserve more than the poor treatment we often accept.

The relationships we form bring us joy and fulfillment, including friendship, romance, and family. While strong social connections allow us to navigate life in a positive way, other relationships may hinder our wellbeing.

Poor treatment manifests itself in various ways, and sometimes the signs are difficult to see while in the relationship. A few examples of poor treatment are a lack of respect and trust, toxicity, abuse, feeling uncomfortable, a lack of boundaries, and one-sided efforts.

Acknowledging such treatment and the characteristics of unhealthy relationships are the first step in understanding the importance of walking away. Let’s break it down.

A major aspect of a successful relationship is respect. When there’s a lack of respect, one person doesn’t care about the feelings, thoughts, and opinions of the other, which causes hurt and resentment. Trust is also important for building a healthy relationship. If someone isn’t willing to be open and giving with the other person in a relationship, it’s difficult to feel valued.

A relationship can become toxic when one person isn’t genuinely happy for the other person’s successes, turns them into a competition, and creates constant conflict.

Abuse can be physical, verbal, mental, or emotional. This includes manipulation, gaslighting, undermining the other person, saying hurtful things, and using their insecurities against them.

After acknowledging the signs of mistreatment in a relationship, it should be easy to walk away, right? Wrong. This isn’t necessarily the case, for several reasons.

It’s easy to convince ourselves we’re the only person who understands our partner. Subsequently, we compromise our own mental health to avoid conflict with them.

It’s also common to think we can change a person, and we stay in hopes things will get better. However, change is internal, and the person needs to acknowledge the issue and must be willing to grow for change to happen.

Your partner is completely out of your control—whether you want to believe that or not.

Another reason we accept poor treatment is we fixate on the good things our partner does to compensate for all the negative things they’ve done. This can result in excusing their behavior because they’re in high stress situations.

We have a higher tendency to stay in relationships like these when this person has been in our life for a long time. In fear of losing this person and being alone, we would rather stay in a position of mistreatment.

Lastly, and the most difficult to face, is we accept the treatment we think we deserve.

If we have low self-esteem and a negative view of ourselves, we’ll be more inclined to let others treat us poorly. This allowance is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves.

There are many ‘what if’s’ involved in ending a relationship, like, ‘what if I will never be able to trust again?’ or ‘what if I end up alone?’ These are valid concerns which can leave someone confused, and hesitant to end a relationship. However, it’s important to understand you’re not defined by your partners’ treatment of you.

Although ending a relationship causes a great deal of pain, it’s important to walk away when we’re being mistreated to protect our own wellbeing. Negative relationships can quickly become emotionally draining. It disturbs our peace and takes up our mental energy.

We must remember we have the strength and resilience to leave a relationship where we’re not respected or valued. We’ll encounter several people in our lifetime and continue to learn and grow from the relationships we form.

Don’t stay in a toxic relationship in fear you’ll never find something better. You will.


abuse, love, Relationships, Toxicity, Trust

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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