Ask Kari: I want more out of a relationship — why can’t I stop being a pushover for men?

Dear Kari,

I want to change being a pushover for men, but I don’t know how. How can I make a permanent change this year that will last? I know that I settle for less than I really deserve and want in a relationship. I give in to accepting however a man treats me, even if it’s abusive or thoughtless. What’s wrong with me?

--Looking For More

Dear Looking For More,

Simply by noticing that something is not working in your life is a good first step to change. Now, reflect on what change would look like to you (e.g. how you would act in a good relationship, how you would be treated in a good relationship, how would you establish good boundaries of behavior that you feel are respectful in a good relationship). Then, focus on those initial few changes that matter the most to you and put them into active practice by reciting them to yourself daily. Use those few statements of desired change as a reminder to yourself each day how you want to live your life. Finally, share the statements with the men you date as the behavior that you offer and expect back. This is how change happens, by practicing it each day. Good luck!


As published in the January 2016 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.