I guess we’ve all been there… Someone who treats you with disrespect or who seems to have no respect for others. Perhaps someone who doesn’t seem to have any regard for your feelings, or that you have a personal life.
How to deal with this? Ideally without being equally disrespectful in return?
It’s easy to get sucked into a vicious game of tit-for-tat, or to end up feeling the victim, or even to play along for an easy life.
What are your other options?
Dealing with disrespect
1. It’s hard for us to deal well with any situation if we are not first looking after ourselves. Remember the Ready Brek ad where the child goes off to school surrounded by their own ‘glow’ following a breakfast of the cereal? Create your own ‘glow’ by looking after yourself, so you have the inner resources to be your best in the situation. What that means for you may be different for me. I might need early nights, time with good friends, someone to talk to. You may need a quiet time each day, a monthly massage and a weekly dance class. Do whatever you can to boost yourself so you deal with this from a place of strength.
2. Recognise that you can influence the situation. You can lead by example, and you can ask for what you need or want. This doesn’t mean you can control what the other person does or can rescue them – that’s their job. You can choose what you say or do and how you say or do it. You can choose to be respectful yourself, and recognise that they have value and needs too. You can treat them as you wish to be treated. And you can ask for what you want to change.
3. Realise that it is OK, if not essential, for you to create appropriate boundaries. It is OK for you to have a reasonable work-life balance. It is OK for you to ask to be spoken to in a respectful way. It is right for you to have time for yourself as well as to achieve the tasks required. It is right for you to have opinions and feel able to voice them respectfully.
4. Acknowledge all that you are, all your power, so that you are not trampled on by others. Know that you are still OK despite their disrespect, their words or their treatment of you. Be your full, adult self.
5. Know that it is OK to let go of relationships and to get out of situations. If the relationship or situation is unhealthy for you, you can leave. You have the power to find new, more healthy situations and to develop and nurture new relationships.
6. Recognise that when you look after yourself, and allow yourself to be your full, adult self, owning your power and using your power appropriately and respectfully, you can deal with this and move on.
I want to thank all of you who responded to my What Bugs You? post. I’ve used your responses to write articles, based on the work I do with my clients, around the issues you sent. I hope you’ve found them interesting.
If you have any other issues you want to raise, or would like some professional support in making some positive changes in your life or work, just get in touch. It will be great to hear from you!