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If you’re often mistreated by one other or many others, you may have a high tolerance for abuse. This happens when you learn to put up with abuse to survive as a child. As an adult, not allowing yourself to be abused is certain to improve your eating.
For example, one client complained about a life-long battle with her brother who had never liked her and always tried to push her around. These siblings grew up with abusive parents, so I wasn’t surprised that one of them grew up to be an abuser and the other to be an abusee. My client put up with her brother turning up at all hours of the night demanding to crash at her place, stealing money from her (he didn’t even have the excuse of being a drug addict), and using her as a dumping ground for his misery. Mostly she used our therapy time to keep asking why her brother treated her so poorly.
Another client made excuses for the way her live-in niece took advantage of her. The teenager smoked pot in her room no matter how many times my client insisted she stop, had her boyfriend sleep over after sneaking him into the house, and barely ever did household chores. Although my client overate due her niece’s brattiness, she also made excuses for her while complaining about her every session. Again, no surprise that this client grew up in an alcoholic home where she was emotionally abused.
The healthy response to abuse would be for these clients to recognize their hurt and anger and use them to reduce their pain and take better care of themselves. However, because they’d gotten used to being treated poorly and had to tolerate early family mistreatment, they had developed a higher tolerance for bad behavior than healthier people have. Because tolerating abuse was the only way they could survive in childhood, they were used to absorbing and complaining about it, but not doing anything about it.
Do you let mistreatment continue when others tell you they would never permit it? Do you have a pattern of being repeatedly hurt in relationships? Do you put up with a great deal of wounding from most or many people and often feel like a victim? If so, learn to pay attention when others hurt you. Choose only intimates who treat you well. Listen to what your friends tell you. If they get angry at how you’re being mistreated, that may mean they have no tolerance for abuse which is healthy. Pay special attention if you were abused or neglected in childhood. Lower your tolerance for mistreatment and it will change your life. For starters, it will vastly improve your relationship with food.
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