Coping With Being Disrespected

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Unfortunately, in the society in which we live in there are innumerable opportunities to be treated disrespectfully. Most often people tend to experience this at work and in romantic relationships, but this also occurs in other social groups, between parents and children and among friends. Having people disrespect you can be one of the most painful and demeaning things to go through, and can contribute to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. None of these things can be positive, so it is essential that you quickly take steps to remedy the situation:

  1. Do Not React – This can be difficult and we have all failed when it comes to this step. But it is the very best course of action. This allows you to calm down and think over the things that were said, the attitude of the other person and your own true feelings towards the situation. Reacting can make things worse rather than bringing you closer to a solution.
  2. Think It Over – Shelve the issue in your mind, and set aside time to think over it in detail. Write down some important points while they are fresh in your mind if you like, but give yourself some time before you think about the situation and analyse your true feelings over what occurred.
  3. Seek Advice – This step is optional, but there is usually no good reason to face the situation alone. Ask advice from a friend, mentor or the Human Resources Department (if at work). Find out what your options are and what might be a good course of action.
  4. Determine A Course of Action – It is important in this step to carefully determine how much pain was caused to you by what happened, and how much pain will be caused to you if you decide to confront the offender. For example, if your Manager has disrespected you, might you make your work life harder by confronting him? Could you even lose your job? Both these outcomes could cause you more pain than the initial incident. However, if you keep trying to ignore this behaviour, it could be equally detrimental to you emotionally, and considering the circumstances, finding a new job might in fact be best. Weighing up these different scenarios will ensure that you achieve the best outcome possible for you.
  5. Act – As soon as you have followed all the above steps, act on them. The longer that you wait, the more chance that the disrespect could continue, causing you even more pain.

Finally, you must remember that we cannot just expect people to show us the respect that we feel is due to us. People have different boundaries and standards when it comes to the way  they want to be treated, so it’s up to us to help people to understand what we in particular need to feel respected. It is equally our own responsibility to stay away from people who refuse to show us a reasonable amount of respect. 


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