Disrespectful Family Member: What Can You Do?
UPDATE: Colleen is featured in the article: How to Deal With Family Members That Disrespect You by Jessa Claire, writer for UpJourney
Family members that disrespect you, say it’s not so! Sadly, the fact is for many homes this is a reality. We all have family members who are disrespectful of us, our time, or our opinions. To think, those who should be closest to you can be the most unkind. It doesn’t matter if they’re your parents, siblings, cousins, friends, or even your spouse. The truth is, dealing with family members that disrespect you isn’t easy.
When they do things like talk about you behind your back, make jokes about you, or act rude towards you, it can be difficult to deal with. And can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. However, here are a few actions you can take to address the toxicity of being disrespected by your loved ones in order to keep your sanity intact.
Here are five ways to address toxic relationships with family members that disrespect others.
1. Don’t take it personally.
Family members who are toxic often say things about others behind their backs, even when they don’t intend for them to be hurtful. They might even try to convince you that you’re imagining things. It sometimes seems like they’re trying to deliberately hurt you, but it could really be because they don’t understand what’s making you so angry.
2. Be honest.
You can only get through a situation with a toxic relative if you’re open and honest with them. You might think it would be easier to simply ignore what your family members are telling you, but it will just get worse over time. Let them know how you feel, why they did something wrong, and what you want them to do differently next time. Letting them know what you expect will give them an opportunity to work with you to create a solution or better yet they might realize that their comments/actions were inappropriate and stop doing it.
3. Focus on solutions.
You shouldn’t let a toxic relative control the way you live your life. Instead, you need to focus on creating solutions that benefit both of you. For example, if you want to spend more time together, you can plan ahead the activities that have predetermined mutually agreed details that allow you to connect with each other. Or maybe you just want to avoid conflict altogether and find ways to remain respectful but set healthy boundaries.
4. Take responsibility.
If you want to change your relationship with a toxic relative, you’ll need to start taking ownership of what you say and do, being sure not to fan the flame of toxicity. This means owning up to any mistakes you’ve made, as well as apologizing for anything you’ve said or done that has caused harm.
Nothing is gained if you simply blame yourself, instead focus on changing your behavior. If you feel like you’re constantly getting blamed for something, then you may need to seek a mediator, a third-party to help, like a trusted friend, family member, pastor, or possibly a professional mental health counselor.
5. Stay positive.
It can be difficult to remain positive when you’re around family members who are negative. But staying positive is an important part of maintaining your own sanity. When you’re around people who are toxic, it can be tempting to become upset, frustrated, or depressed. Nevertheless, these negative feelings will only create problems for you. It’s best to keep things in perspective and not dwell on negative aspects of life; focus on the good things you share with family members.
Mental Health Services Offered At New Heights Counseling
The staff at New Heights Counseling wants you to know, that help is available. Call us at (850) 757-1552 to set up an individual or family session with one of our professional counselors who can help with family relationships and interpersonal issues utilizing appropriate techniques. We help many people overcome anxiety, depression, mood disorders, social phobia, other mental health disorders, and major life situations and challenges. Check out our staff bios on our website at meet our team. Counselors will be there for you no matter where you’re at in the pursuit of wholeness and healing.
We are located on the 2nd floor of WorkSpace Suites at 1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 1057, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. Get directions here on Google Maps or visit our office location webpage. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM. Evenings/Weekends by appointments. Call (850)757-1552.
About the Author:
Colleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling Center, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida as well as an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. She is also licensed by the state of Virginia to provide professional counseling. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.
Colleen has always advocated for mental health wellness and she has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She has been featured on a variety of podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast to name a few. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.