#AskAthena: I'm Tired of Men Who Treat Me Badly. How Can I Change It?

Why self-awareness is key to breaking a bad boy habit

Our self-help columnist Athena Laz is a qualified psychologist and the creator of the self-help programme Own Your Inner Power. She works with women worldwide, helping them to reclaim their lives and their ability to feel good. You can see her work here.

Q: Hi Athena,

I’m writing in because I went through a very hard time. I worked with a life coach but it did not work. I feel like I’m actually a bigger mess because of it. Pretty much, I feel like I always land up with men who are bad for me. I’ve tried positive thinking and affirmations but neither worked for me. I want real love. I am so tired of men who put me down and treat me badly. How can I change this? – Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I can hear that this has been a painful process for you so I just want you to know that you can get through this! As for having a bad experience with a life coach unfortunately there isn’t much I can do about that – the industry is so unregulated that you just can’t tell what kind of help you’ll get. Licensed psychologists have to train for a minimum of six/seven years before they are able to work independently with others. There is a reason for this; so that they can provide ethical and effective care. That said, the best place to start your process of healing is by raising your level of self-awareness. Make a time and space for yourself when you won’t be disturbed and think about the questions below. These are aimed at raising your awareness around any unhelpful belief systems that you may have around love relationships.

Self-reflective questions

  • What are your beliefs around intimate relationships?
  • Do you believe that you are worthy of a good relationship?
  • Did you grow up in an environment in which loving, health relationships were modelled for you?
  • If yes, what do you value about that relationship?
  • If no, how do you think that influenced you?
  • What does a healthy relationship look like for you?
  • If a man were to treat you well, what would that mean about you?
  • When men treat you badly, what does that mean for you?
  • How do you respond when people treat you poorly?

Once you’ve reflected and answered these questions, try and see if you can notice any patterns in your history. Sometimes we simply play out bad relationships because we haven’t learnt an alternative way of relating to others. With your query it’s best to work with a licensed professional who can help navigate this for you.  You can also watch my video on how to create better boundaries and healthier love relationships here.

Take care,

Athena Laz

You can follow Athena on Instagram here and see more of her work at Athenalaz.com. You can also receive her free video course, designed to help you heal negative self-talk. If you have a question for Athena, e-mail  her here.

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