Bad Behavior in Relationships–How Much Should You Put Up With?

Bad behavior can of course mean something different for each one of us.

And you can experience it from family members, co-workers, friendships or the person behind you in line at the grocery store.

It can mean:

–Consistently putting dirty dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher

–Sarcasm and belittling you

–Ignoring what you say and not listening

–Cheating on you

–Not following through on agreements

–Periodic rages and bursts of anger

–Withdrawing and not speaking to you

–Regularly telling lies

–Shoving, hitting you

And the list could go on and on…

Each of us has an idea of how we’d like to be treated and when another person doesn’t follow through like we’d like them to…

We label what they’re doing or not doing as “bad behavior.”

And in that labeling, we add to a possibly contemptuous situation.

Should you put up with what you’re calling bad behavior?

While there’s no single answer, here are a few guidelines for you to consider if you’ve been putting up with bad behavior…

1. Honestly decide if this behavior is a deal breaker or not

We use the term “honestly” because so often, we tell ourselves a story like–

–“It’s not so bad. He didn’t mean it.”

–“She said she wouldn’t do it again.”

Consider if you’re making excuses for very serious behavior issues that you don’t want to live with any longer.

That can be scary because there can be all sorts of reasons you’re staying in an unhealthy situation.

Only you can decide when you’ve had enough.

If you could use help in deciding, contact us here for a no-charge conversation…

2. If the behavior is not a deal breaker in the relationship, without blaming yourself, consider how you’re contributing to your upset.

Are you mulling the behavior over and over, even when it’s not happening?

Are you focusing on what’s wrong rather than on moments of connection and what’s going right?

Are you not appreciating how the person is contributing to your life because you’re so caught up in focusing on the bad behavior?

Just take a look inside yourself and allow yourself to see the truth in your answers without making “you” wrong.

From seeing something new, it might be that you can make an other choice when the behavior happens again.

We’re not saying to “just put up with it”…

But we are saying that when you see how you might be contributing to your anxiety about this situation, you may find some ease that you never knew was there.

3. Take a look at what’s really underneath your irritation and you might invite a discussion with an open heart

Susie remembers several years ago how Otto’s tone of voice sometimes felt to her like he was putting her down and that she was stupid.

He in no way thinks she’s stupid but those were the thoughts she had and the meaning she placed on his actions when he sounded condescending to her.

This always ended up in a disagreement and both of us feeling disconnected for a time…

That is until Susie saw that she was reacting to old beliefs about herself…

That she perceived her father thought she was stupid at times when she was growing up–especially when she wasn’t able to do something “right.”

She’d turned Otto’s tone of voice into her father’s supposed disapproval (even though he’d been dead for many years) and was triggered because she felt like Otto thought she was stupid as well!

When she saw this, she was able to have a discussion with Otto about it and because he didn’t feel attacked in the moment, he was able to see something new also.

He saw that his intensity and tone of voice didn’t have anything to with Susie. He told her that in those moments when she might ask for help, he felt uncertain he could problem solve the situation.

His tone of voice had indicated frustration with himself and his supposed shortcomings.

When we both saw how we had been contributing to this situation with the stories we believed…

There was much more ease when the pattern came up again.

Bad behavior is in the eye of the beholder and we invite you to take a close look at what’s happening.

We invite you to take an honest look and make choices that are loving and healthy for both of you.

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