Are You Teaching People to Treat You Badly?

When someone yells at you, do you respond by trying to make things better for that person? If your wife is angry, do you buy her flowers? Do you make a special dinner for your husband to try and make the abuse stop? Do you think this will make them behave differently? Abusive people are very unlikely to change their behavior if they are rewarded for it. Behavioral psychologists call this the “Law of Effect” which says that behavior changes based on its consequences. Responding to bad behavior with kindness reinforces the bad behavior. Expressing your unhappiness at ill treatment will help to end it.

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