Do you feel like your family treats you differently from others? Perhaps you’ve noticed a lack of respect in their interactions with you?
If this is the case, you’re likely feeling hurt by their behavior. You may also feel a sense of abandonment, betrayal, or even worse, feelings of anxiety or depression.
After all, we tend to feel things much more intensely when it comes to our own flesh and blood.
In this article, I’ll be covering 8 warning signs your family doesn’t respect you, followed by possible reasons why, and finally, what you can do about it.
I hope reading this can offer you some clarity on your situation, as well as a way to move forward with your life.
Let’s jump in:
1) Constant criticism
Do you feel like your family constantly puts down your decisions?
It feels like you can never get it right – there’s always someone criticizing your choice of partner, clothing, or career, just to list a few things.
This is a sign that there’s a lack of respect.
As an adult, you are free to make your own choices. And your family, while they can share constructive feedback, shouldn’t feel like they can sh*t all over your decisions.
2) Dismissal of your feelings
I’ve often felt a lack of respect from some of my extended family members. Growing up, they’d be quick to brush off my feelings…
If you’ve experienced this, you’ve probably heard things like:
“Stop being so sensitive”, or, “Why do you take everything to heart?”
Forget the fact that these family members have hurt you with their harsh words or actions – they then have the audacity to blame you for feeling upset!
3) Ignoring boundaries
Now, if you really want to know whether your family respects you or not, think about the boundaries you’ve set…
You might have asked your mom to keep certain information private, yet she spreads it across the entire family.
Or, you’ve asked a sibling to respect your personal space and belongings. But for whatever reason, they keep crossing that boundary.
Whether it’s emotional or physical, if they can’t stick to the limits you’ve put in place for your own well-being, it’s a sign they don’t respect you.
4) Belittling your achievements
In an ideal world, family will support and cheer you on as you achieve your goals.
In reality, it’s rarely that straightforward.
Take my partner, for example. He’s done so much with his life, especially for someone coming from a small farming village.
Yet his family will downplay his achievements, even mock them. Sometimes I wonder if it comes from a place of jealousy or resentment.
Either way, it’s still a clear indication that they don’t respect him, which is pretty heartbreaking.
5) Talking over you
This next warning sign is easy to brush off, but it’s a pretty clear example of a lack of respect.
Let’s say you’re sitting around the dinner table, discussing everyday things. Whenever you start to speak, your family just continues to talk over you.
They don’t allow you to share your opinion or introduce a new topic to the discussion.
This shows they don’t value your opinion or contribution to the conversation. This is a crappy situation to be in, I know.
Don’t worry – later in the article I’ll share potential reasons why your family might disrespect you, and what to do about it.
6) Disrespecting your time
Picture this – you’ve spent all day cooking, cleaning, and preparing your home to welcome your family for dinner.
It hits 7 pm, and no one has turned up. You check your phone, perhaps you got the time wrong…
Nope. It’s there in black and white.
Sure, your family might have some convincing excuses when they eventually turn up, but all it really displays is that they don’t respect the effort you’ve gone to or your time.
And this translates into not respecting you as a person – why is your time worth less than anyone else’s?
7) Excluding you
Do you ever hear about family meals or get-togethers after the fact?
Do your family members “accidentally” forget to send your invite on a regular basis?
If so, this is another warning sign your family doesn’t respect your involvement. For some reason, they don’t think it’s important for you to join in with the rest of them.
I can imagine how much that must hurt – it’s happened to me with friends. But family is a whole different ball game, and being excluded can be incredibly painful.
8) Always blaming you
A few years ago, two of my cousins (sisters) fell out. I was staying at their house. I had nothing to do with the fallout, yet somehow I got blamed for the entire thing.
I remember then not understanding why everything was being pinned on me.
But over time and viewing these particular cousins’ behavior towards me, I’ve realized it was because they didn’t respect me. It was easy to use me as their scapegoat.
And ultimately, they didn’t care about hurting my feelings in the process.
Can you relate to this?
If it’s a one-off, you can put it down to a misunderstanding. But if it happens often, unfortunately, it’s a clear warning that your family lacks respect for you.
So, now you’ve got an idea of where you stand with your family, you might be wondering…
Why doesn’t your family respect you?
Before I get to things you can do if you feel disrespected by your family, let’s look at a few reasons why you find yourself in this situation in the first place.
Bear in mind though, these are pretty general reasons which don’t take into account specific family dynamics or history.
- You have different values and beliefs: If you’ve gone against your family’s traditions and norms, they might find it hard to understand your way of life. But instead of trying to bridge the differences, they may end up disrespecting your choices.
- Unresolved issues: If you’ve experienced rocky relationships with certain family members that have never been worked through, they might still hold onto negative feelings which lead to disrespectful behavior.
- Lack of communication: If your family struggles to listen and empathize, consider your viewpoints, and ask questions, they might disrespect you as a result of not understanding you.
- Control or power dynamics: If one or more of your family members displays toxic behaviors such as being controlling, they may use disrespect as a way to keep their power over you.
Ultimately, you’ll have to consider your specific family situation to truly understand where this lack of respect comes from.
And once you’ve done that, check out the tips below:
How to deal with a family that doesn’t respect you:
Here comes the daunting part – actively dealing with a family who clearly has zero respect for you.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to protect your mental and emotional well-being, so always keep that in mind when the tough gets going…
- Set strong boundaries: And make sure you stick to the consequences if boundaries are disrespected! Yes, you’ll upset a few people, but they might take you more seriously the second time around. And for repeat offenders? Consider whether it’s worth keeping someone like that in your life.
- Be assertive: Learn how to stand your ground and stick up for yourself, all whilst being calm and collected. Express your feelings clearly and don’t allow others to walk all over you.
- Improve your communication skills: Your family could probably benefit from this too, but you can always lead by example. Learn how to express yourself without getting frustrated, but also to listen actively to others.
Now, the tips above won’t work unless your family is willing to make an effort too. And the truth is, you can try until you’re blue in the face, if they don’t want to make positive changes, nothing will work.
In that case, I suggest two things:
- Seek professional help: A family therapist could help you and your family work through past issues, communicate better, and move forward in a respectful, healthy manner.
- Move on. If your family continues to disrespect you and therapy isn’t an option, protect your mental and emotional health by having as little to do with your family as possible.
I know that dealing with difficult family members is taxing. And that’s why you need to put yourself first.
Ultimately, some relationships can be salvaged if you and the other party both want to make it work.
But for those that are past being saved, you may need to get on with life without those family members around.
You might find your life is better for it!