How do I stand up to people who hurt me and still love myself?

I’m unable to put people in their right place without feeling terrible about myself though I dislike what they do. I seek external affirmation too much and don’t see myself making right decisions without asking an opinion. It hurts a lot.
Asked by Yay
Answered
12/06/2021

This is such a great question and one that is so critical for social and relational development. I see that you are able to recognize when people aren't treating you in a way that fosters a healthy connection with them and that is actually the 1st step: recognizing when your expectations arent being met. That is so critical. 

I wonder if the difficulty with "putting people in their place" is due to your thoughts about where they will go? Validation seeking typically is caused by a lack of confidence that the people that you care about will still care about you enough to stay in your life after a situation of potential conflict. That need to have a relationship is normal because we ALL need love and acceptance. It becomes harmful when that need puts us in the position to be harmed or otherwise disrespected.

Healthy relationships are the ones that heal us and teach us, but that also respect and accept us; whether we completely agree or not. 

I might also take a look at how you were raised. Only because, there can be many indicators there to show us how this need took its shape. What experiences did you have? How were you parented? What did those relationships look like? What were your early dating experiences? All of these answers can help shape the path that causes this thinking that you are experiencing now to take its current form. 

Lastly, determine for yourself what you want and need in a friendship. What does that need to look like for you to feel healthy, supported, and cared for? It may be difficult to hold someone accountable to a standard that you haven't even created for yourself. Once you are able to determine what you need that to look like, you can lovingly redirect those in your life that have meaning so that you advocate for yourself but also preserve the integrity of those relationships that mean so much to you to begin with. I hope that makes sense. 

For some of these things, I recommend actually speaking to a counselor in order to uncover and resolve any of the long-standing issues that may have come from your past. Then you will be much more equipped to work through the challenges that come with developing a healthy mindset to go into these relationships. Good luck to you moving forward. Take care! 😊

(MAMFT, LPC)