Looking up the criteria for a diagnosis got me thinking. For one particular diagnosis you had to have 9 of the 11 sypmtoms. For another you had to have been presenting symptoms for 6 months or more. You have to fit the criteria to get the diagnosis.

For most of my life, loving me seems to be the only criteria I made for myself as a reason to keeping someone in my life. “But he really loves me!” How can I break up with him when he loves me? Never mind that he does drugs, is abusive, and treats me like garbage, when he LOVES me!  I have a few others too. “We’ve been friends forever, ” and ” I can’t lose a relationship I’ve had for so many years!”  My reasons were flawed because they didn’t take into account the ME in the relationship. Just them. How they really make me feel was never even put into perspective. I set my relationships on permanent cruise control.

I keep people in my life that hurt me. I always have. I have never had boundaries. Only after a person has gone above and beyond to hurt me do I finally see who they really are. I make excuses for people and I give chance after chance. It seems desperate now that I give it more thought.  But it has just been a way of life for so long I saw no other way.

If I put a positive spin on it, I do this because I see the good in people and I choose to ignore the bad. The negative spin would be that I do not value myself at all and therefore allow people to take advantage of me. The middle ground is where the real truth lies. It’s both. I love people and I assume they love me back. But that is not enough.

After my best friend’s husband locked me in his garage and tormented me, I stayed friends with her. She said she loved me and didn’t want to lose our friendship. Our friendship lasted only  a few more weeks. 2 more weeks more than it should have.  Her loving me ended up not being quite enough when she  demanded  that I forgive him. It took her telling me to forgive her sex offender husband for me to say,  “That’s it, friendship is over!” The day she told me she couldn’t leave him but still wanted me to come over probably should have been an indicator that the friendship was never going to work, but I didn’t see it.


This repeated behavior must have been extremely upsetting to my husband who has to endure watching me get hurt repeatedly because of my inability to value myself more than making excuses for others.

There are a LOT of behaviors that manifest after a childhood of abuse. We are used to ignoring the bad, because it was a survival mode skill. But as adults we have to recognize these behaviors as ones created in a time that has now past. We nolonger need to just “get through a moment” by pretending the bad is not happening. That skill served us well but is detrimental to our growth now.

How many of us have allowed our boyfriend, spouse,  or significant other to berate us? Betray us? How many of us have allowed our friends or family chance after chance because we feel we owe it to them for one reason or another? How many of us are so accustomed to allowing repeat hurt that the cycle continues on?

I was talking to my husband about a friend who has really let me down. I was telling him, “But she really loves me, I know she does.” Then in the same breath I said,  ” But so did the man who molested my whole childhood.” And so did that last guy I dated who was incredibly abusive.

So is loving me the only criteria for having someone in my life? Has someone loving me entitled friends and family to stay past their expiration date? YES!

I’ve now adopted and instilled a new criteria. This criteria has nothing to do with love. Love is a word easily spoken and not often acted upon. Having someone say they love me is nolonger a qualifier to stay in my life. My new boundaries have less to do with how others feel about me, and more to do with how I feel about myself.

We nolonger need to settle. We nolonger need to excuse the inexcusable. We deserve better. So without further adieu…

To fit the criteria of a person who I trust in my inner circle of life, a staggering 9 out of 9 attributes must be present:

1. I will feel valued.

2. I will feel respected.

3. I will feel safe.

4. Promises to me will be kept.

5. Honesty will remain constant.

6. Trust will be a priority.

7. Our relationship will have integrity and loyalty.

8. I will be treated with gentleness.

9. I will be spoken to and regarded with the utmost kindness.




6 thoughts on “Criteria.

  1. That is a good list. I also like to say that i am forgiving. But I was forgiving to a fault. My therapist told me to hold into my anger with my ex as it does not allow him a way in to hurt me or disappoint me


  2. This struck so many chords in me. Others, just about everyone, can tell when they find a person who they can get away with looking out only for their own interests. And in that, in my inability to look out for my own, I do get taken advantage of and treated as second place.
    How could I know otherwise? When my core formed I was taught to sustain terrible injuries and love those that committed the crimes. It is not something that disappears with time. It is something I keep working at, loving myself. Because I’m still learning that I am indeed lovable.
    You new definition of love, with those nine standards is excellent! And useful as a guide to remember as I make choices for myself, and how I treat myself and think of me. Once I hold those standards for myself they will transfer to all other relationships. Thank you!


    • I understand that so much! It is not something that disappears with time. I didn’t realize until 2 nights ago that I would have to make a conscious effort to implement my new standards on a daily basis sunce it was almost second nature to let people run all over me. I feel better already just creatung them. I’m so glad you could connect to it and that it can help you. It’s a big step, realizing that you should be honored, valued, and loved, and that you deserve these thing! We all deserve these things. It is just more challenging when weve been programed for so long that we were not worthy. Sounds like you and I are working in the same things. Redefining our core with new rules. Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it helps greatly, you’re list.
        I’ve known all along in my head that I should be ‘honored, valued, and loved’ but not in my heart, soul or being. That is a new feeling and I’m liking it.
        Yes, sounds like similar work that we are doing… : )


  3. Bethany, I can very much relate to this! For those who have been abused it is a hard lesson to learn. It seems we suffer over and over again. The instinct to protect those who harm us runs deep. Very well said!

    Liked by 1 person

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