What to do when you feel disrespected

Here are some ways to determine whether or not you’re being disrespected and, if so, how to deal with that disrespect.

What to do when you feel disrespected

Are you being disrespected by someone you know? It’s hard to know what to do when you feel disrespected — especially when you’re being disrespected by an important figure in your life, like a romantic partner, colleague or friend. 

Here are some ways to determine whether or not you’re being disrespected and, if so, how to deal with that disrespect. 

Signs of disrespect 

  • Your time keeps being taken for granted
  • They’re is spreading rumors about you
  • You’re not part of an “in-group” of friends
  • Your family members make mean remarks about you
  • They’re body language is aloof and standoffish toward you
  • Someone is taking credit for the work you do
  • You’re always getting left out of plans with people who say they want to include you
  • Your partner is monopolizing your time
  • You’re being pushed to your emotional limit without remorse
  • You’ve made previous requests to be treated different without success
  • You’re getting talked about behind your back

How to start building respect

1. First ask yourself: is this true disrespect, or something else?

Just because someone is behaving poorly, it doesn’t mean the intent is necessarily to be disrespectful. When judging someone else’s behavior, it’s best to always assume positive intent — in other words, even if they’re being incredibly frustrating, assume they’re not doing it simply to be mean, painful or hurtful. 

So, is this really disrespect? Or is it something else? 

It could be that this person is trying to get your attention. Maybe your partner feels ignored, and so they’re giving you their best comebacks and digs. Or maybe your colleague is overloaded at work and has been taking it out on you. It might even be that your parent just got some bad health news, and they’re letting the excess stress spread into their exchanges with you.

Of course, it might just be disrespect for disrespect’s sake. But to assume so before you look at the other alternatives could ultimately harm you. 

2. Next ask yourself: are they capable of giving respect?

Once you know why the person is being disrespectful, ask yourself: can they actually give you respect? 

Answering this question will save you a lot of trouble down the road. Sometimes people just aren’t capable of being the way we want them to be — regardless, we keep banging our head against the wall in an effort to make them change. But if they’re not going to change, there’s no use trying to make them different than they are. Trying to will only hurt you more. 

If they CAN change, then it’s worth having a conversation with them about what’s going on. If they CAN’T, then you need to ask yourself the question below.

3. Then ask yourself: what do I want out of this relationship?

When you’re being disrespected, what do you really want out of a relationship with the disrespectful party?

Every relationship exists for a reason, and everyone has “goals” in their relationships. Narrowing down your goals can help you determine how to best approach the situation. For instance, if your goal is to truly strengthen the relationship and make it an important part of your life, then you’ll need to deal with this disrespectful behavior up front and center. However, if this is low-grade disrespect from an oblivious party — like an annoying coworker who makes snide remarks in meetings — then it might not be worth ending your career over a big blowup fight. 

4. Finally, identify your goals

Figuring out your relationship goals can help you more accurately tackle disrespect in your life. To do so, think deeply about the person you’re approaching, and how to best bring up your grievances. 

Do you want constant communication in a friendly, respectful way — like, say, a romantic relationship should ideally have? Do you want a non-confrontational family dynamic with your mother so that you don’t have to skip family holidays with your brothers and sisters? Or do you want to be seen as competent and capable in front of your boss so that you can ultimately gain a promotion and move onto another career?

Getting specific with your goals will help you tackle the disrespect you’re receiving in a more tactful way. For more help, talk to our team of coaches to learn about ways to ensure you’re getting the respect you deserve.

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