When our children attend school, public or private, there are many lessons we teach them to help them navigate this new social space. Of course we tell them to trust their teachers and to always mention if they are experiencing something that makes them feel bad. But it can be hard as a parent to fully defend against bullying or mistreatment in the classroom until you learn that something is wrong and are able to escalate it. When this happens, we can feel tremendously angry about the whole thing, and understandably so.
However, despite aging, it’s important to know that this is not something that is solely within schools. Unfortunately, throughout your life you are going to come across people who wish to mistreat, who abuse, or who simply get away with trying to hold power over you. It happens everyday, and to almost everyone at some point in their lives.
Does this mean it is acceptable? Absolutely not. Standing up for yourself when being mistreated is an important thing to consider, and to understand deeply. If we expect our children to do it, we should also put those lessons into practice. Here’s how to ensure that you can stay on top of this completely:
Understand Your Boundaries
Everyone’s boundaries are different. Some are okay with allowing people into their personal space, some are not. Some may wish to be more forward on a date, some would rather get to know a person deeply before becoming even slightly intimate. We all have different boundaries, and what is important for one person may not be for another. But there is no ‘abuse’ boundary. Being yelled at, physically attacked or the victim of aggressive behavior is not something you tolerate due to your ‘boundaries being a little looser.’ In this way, it’s essential to understand your rights and what you are willing to accept. We would heavily recommend that for anyone, a baseline level of zero should be the correct way to view any abuse. No tolerance for this is the only way to go.
For example, if you’re in a relationship and your partner decides to call you stupid for forgetting the milk from your groceries that day - do you accept this? Is this a little thing? Perhaps today. But it is indicative of dismissive behavior that can often begin a slow process of being viewed as less than a person. When you have your boundaries in check, you would bring your partner up on this treatment the moment it starts. Ensuring that you have this in place could be the best thing you can do for yourself.
It’s one thing to allow your boss to scold you for missing something they had trained you and trusted you to complete. It’s another thing to allow them to completely denigrate us and attack our character, our personality, or insult us. Understanding what authority can do and cannot do is essential to identifying mistreatment. If hired to work someplace, respecting the wishes of your boss is important. But respecting and tolerating their abuse? Not at all.
It’s in this way that you can properly consider how abuse starts. It’s often denigration, or singling out, or making you feel like you cannot do anything right. These warning signs are important to look out for and understand if you ever hope to stand up for yourself.
Address The Issues
The moment you feel you are being mistreated, stand up for yourself immediately. Bring it out and talk about it right then and there. If you do not feel safe, immediately report this to the police or someone, such as HR at your firm. This is a band-aid you have to rip off immediately. It cannot be allowed to grow. Some physical ailments, for example, have a better chance to heal if a doctor catches this ahead of time.
The same goes with mistreatment. Understanding your rights, the signs of abuse and the difficulties associated with this should lead you to completely laser in on this and find a measure to resolve it, sometimes amicably, sometimes not. But if you never mention it, things will grow. This happens in a family where everyone is afraid to mention the father’s drinking, or a range of other social scenarios such as this that need work. When you address the issues, you help take some of the stigma out of developing your approach properly.
From time to time, a business or organization will mistreat you. It might be that they have taken your money and have failed to provide a product, that they are not honoring their warranty promised to you, or in the worst case that medical malpractice lawyers with years of experience are needed to help you find the financial compensation you deserve.
Corporate mistreatment can be a scary prospect. We can see this institutions as huge, looming entities with a massive legal team just ready to pounce like a viper if we step out of line. But remember, you have a contract signed with this company. That is not open for debate. Additionally, you are protected by many consumer laws or perhaps the bond between a patient and doctor. This means that you may not be in as vulnerable a position as you think. This is why many companies, such as Amazon, are often quite happy to give away a free month of their premium service if they think that a customer has been inconvenienced, potentially allowing them to once again ingratiate themselves with the customer and develop more of a welcoming relationship to this end.
It can still feel scary. But the alternative is simply accepting this treatment, which means it could happen to someone else in your position. That is never a positive prospect.
With this advice, you are sure to better yourself, especially if facing mistreatment from many angles. You deserve to stand firm in your self-respect, after all.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.