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9 Ways to Deal With Family Members That Disrespect You

by Lily Morgen
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Family Members That Disrespect You

Many people have such family members who disrespect them. You may don’t want to talk to them in your family gatherings because they’re dishonest, manipulating, or disrespectful to you.

Whatever the case may be, remember that you are in control of your life and how you respond to disrespectful behavior is your decision. 

Here are 9 tips on how to handle disrespectful family members so you can maintain peace and stay true to yourself.

1. Try to Understand Why They Behave Disrespect to You

As you know, blood ties are invaluable. If you want to keep your family relationship with that relative who disrespects you does on, you need to try to understand why he or she is behaving disrespectfully to you. 

Try to speak directly, and ask them why they are being disrespectful to you. Listen to their response and take it into consideration.

After listening carefully to what they say, try to you’ll put yourself in the shoes of others, and look at the situation from a different perspective. Then you may know what they’re thinking of you and why they act disrespectfully to you.

If they lie and make up reasons, then you may need further to speak to them like that “I know that you treat me that way intentionally and I don’t appreciate it. It would be nice if you could respect me and treat me in a more respectful way. Maybe there is some misunderstanding between us. And I really want to know why you behave this way with me so that we can solve the problem together”.

Maybe you have to give up if that relative still doesn’t treat you well after your direct communication.

2. Keep Your Distance with Them in Family Gatherings

As a family member, you have to appear at a family gathering sometimes and you’ll see a relative who doesn’t respect you. However, showing up at the family gathering doesn’t mean you need to talk to them or spend time with them. You can keep your distance from them and try to interact with other family members instead.

If they come up to talk to you, it’s ok for you to say something polite but don’t feed their conversation further.

3. Get Help If Your Relative Treats You Disrespectly Because of Addiction

Sometimes a relative disrespect to you only happens after his or her addiction to alcohol or drugs. Addiction can be a major factor in some cases of family disrespect. 

If your family member has an addiction problem, it’s recommended to ask help from other family members to help him or her overcomes it. Meanwhile, seek help from a therapist or a specialist in addiction treatment. 

Better not to drink in a family gatherings, and keeping sober will help you prevent arguing or conflict with this relative.

4. Look Out for Trigger Topics

Watch out for topics that will make you disrespected in your conversations, so that you can better manage the situation. Pay attention to recurring topics or jokes that could cause a reaction that leads to disrespect

Examples could include talking about the past, comments related to money or finances, or any language that is accusatory in tone (e.g. “you always…”).

If possible, try to avoid these topics altogether by steering the conversation in a different direction or redirecting it with humor. 

If they persist, calmly let the person know that you do not appreciate the way they are speaking to you and try to find a constructive solution. Try to stay calm, as things can easily escalate if emotions get out of control.

5. Be Direct to Say That You’re Offended

Be direct to tell that relative that you are offended by their words or actions. Explain why it’s wrong what they said and ask them to stop these kinds of jokes or topics.

Remind your family member that everyone deserves respect, including yourself. Be assertive but not aggressive while expressing your feelings clearly.

If you don’t stand up for yourself, they may not understand the extent to which their words or actions are offensive and disrespectful. Meanwhile,  if you remain silent even when you are hurt, your family member may think that it’s ok to treat you this way.

6. Keep Your Emotions in Check

It’s better to stay calm when dealing with disrespectful family members. Lashing out can make the situation worse, so be sure to take a few deep breaths before you respond in any way.

Also, do not argue with them. It is understandable that you’re angry when facing those situations but it only takes your two to argue. As you know, dealing with a disrespectful family member can be exhausting and difficult, and the argument will not solve the problem or make that person respect you.

Instead of reacting emotionally, focus on responding intelligently. Remember that you are in control of how you react and don’t let their words or actions affect your behavior.

7. Set Boundaries

Be aware of how much disrespect you are willing to tolerate and set boundaries accordingly. Make sure your family member understands what behavior is not acceptable. Don’t let yourself become a victim of their bad behavior.

For example, if they’re consistently negative or belittling, tell them directly that you are not willing to be around them when they talk like that.

8. Don’t try to Fix the Difficult Person

No matter how much you want to change your family member’s behavior, keep in mind that it is not your job to “fix” them or you cannot change them. It is their responsibility to recognize their disrespectful behavior and work towards changing it.

You can guide them but the ultimate decision lies with them. Don’t take on too much responsibility or expect too much from them. Let them be responsible for their own behavior and make sure that they understand their wrongdoings.

It is ok to feel hurt when your family member treats you disrespectfully, but don’t let this define how you interact with the rest of your family members. Focus on being around people who support and respect you and remember that you are never alone in this.

9. Cut Ties if Necessary

Although you cherish the blood ties, others may not. If a certain family member is consistently disrespectful or aggressive towards you, it may be time to cut ties with them or limit your contact in some way. 

This is a difficult decision to make but sometimes it is the only way to protect yourself from further harm.

If you do decide to cut ties with a family member, make sure that you communicate your decision firmly and clearly with other family members. 

Explain to them why you are taking this step and provide that relative with an opportunity to apologize and make amends before severing all contact. It’s hard to change others’ personalities and behaviors, so it is better to walk away from that relative in your future life.

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