Respect and disrespect are two faces of the same coin. You yourselves are unaware of that thin line between these two phenomena and unintentionally cross it. Family is one place where sometimes things are taken for granted, and in a toxic one, you might have some doubts about how to deal with family members who put you down. Therefore, you need to understand the signs of disrespect. But an outsider is not the culprit every time. Instead, they are our family members. You need to learn how to set boundaries with toxic family members and how to deal with family members who put you down.
1. What is Definition of Disrespect?
In simple words, when someone lacks basic manners while interacting, then it is disrespectful. It can be defined as a lack of respect, courtesy, manners & discipline. (Also read What is an Unhealthy Relationship?)
2. What is a Toxic Family?
Toxicity eats every relationship, whether it be a parent-children relation, friend-friend relation, or a couple. A family that doesn’t respect your boundaries instead, burdens you with emotional distress & creates a stressful environment for you to live in is known as a toxic family. It is not necessary that every time the whole family is toxic, often only parents, in-laws, partners, or siblings are toxic. (See How to Ask Someone to Do Something for You)
3. What are Signs of Disrespect in Families?
Disrespect is not always in the form of using bad or abusive words. It may not be easy to recognize the signs of people treating you disrespectfully, but a few are mentioned below for you to reconsider:
- They are always trying to control you even when their interference is not required. They try to control you for pity things like what to wear and where to go, even when you are an adult. They will make you do whatever they want by using food or money. (See Am I Passive Aggressive?)
- They spy on you and invade your personal space.
- Sometimes, they even force you to make such decisions with which you are uncomfortable.
- You will need to learn how to deal with family members who put you down in situations when they will blame you for everything going wrong in their lives.
- They make you confused between punishment and discipline because what you may think as a result of your mistake was actually their way to punish you for not doing what they expected from you.
- Threatening is another sign of disrespect among families. Father was threatening your mother that he would divorce her if her son or daughter did not follow his rules. Or, they blackmail you by suicide attempts only to make you do what they want.
- They are never satisfied no matter how hard you try. They will never be happy with your achievements because they cannot stop comparing you with others.
- They are never concerned about your feelings or emotions. (See How to Heal Yourself Emotionally?)
4. Why and How to Deal with Family Members Who Put you Down?
An unhealthy behavior or situation that gives you a negative vibe or makes you feel unwanted, or even just bad about yourself is most likely not a perfect and healthy family to live with. It is not easy to recognize the causes of their behavior because they will not make themselves approachable to you. And also the dynamics of toxic families can be hard to deal with. There is rarely any chance to change a person if this toxicity is a part of their personality. But if they have become toxic because of some dark past experiences, their ego, their expectations, their upbringings, etc. then you may consider the following points:
- Try listening to what their point is and how or why do they feel you have wronged them. Do not interrupt while they are singing their song because then the topic will take another turn. (See What is the Difference Between Hearing and Listening?) But listening or discussing any topic that results in a tense environment is not advisable. There is no use in discussing any such topic at the cost of your peace of mind. If you are uncomfortable talking about it, then avoid it.
- Since you have been facing it for a long time now, you must be aware of triggering topics and situations. It is best to avoid them at all costs as you have to take care of your mental health.
- Never let them take upon you and control your emotions. Hold your anger because it will only leave you in regret as they are your family members.
- At last, never try to fix them because they cannot be fixed. You cannot change anyone’s mentality. So, it is better to accept them the way they are and move on with your life.
5. Why and How to Set Boundaries with Toxic Family Members?
The first step in how to deal with family members who put you down is to realize that no one has the right to invade your privacy unless you let them. But sometimes toxic family members do this purposely, and you feel helpless. Learn to set boundaries and avoid conflicts.
- Be responsive and present at the moment so that you can control your emotions. Do not over-react, do not get aggressive or violent.
- Say it clear and loud but not in a disrespectful manner. Tell them about what you are not okay with. You should never harm yourself or them in any way because it will not help or change them in any way.
- Value yourself and those who value you. Value the opinions and help of those people or family members who are really courteous with you and only focus on them.
- How to deal with family members who put you down is by avoiding contact or hanging up a phone call and that can be an easy option to drop out from an argument. It may seem disrespectful sometimes, but politely bidding farewell and ending the call can be tried at least.
- Never hesitate in asking for help from a third person like a friend, another family member, or a therapist.
- Never let their opinions define you and make you the person you are not. Never let these experiences turn you into one of them in your future because you would never want your kids to face the same situations as you.
- Maintain a distance to keep your mental peace intact, or be ready to walk away if needed. Therefore, leaving politely is the last step of how to deal with family members who put you down. (Must read How to End a Toxic Friendship?)
These boundaries are essential because they are like guidelines for people. It allows every family member to grow and learn in their own safe space and seek help from each other when needed. (Also read 10 Golden Rules of Life).