Tips for How to Deal With Disrespectful Family Members

Tips for How to Deal With Disrespectful Family Members

Published On: March 14, 2024

You’ve got a gathering or birthday party coming up, and you’re already dreading it because of that one disrespectful family member. Maybe your uncle won’t stop harassing you about why you’re still single, or perhaps your mom makes snide comments when she thinks you’re out of earshot. Whatever the case, you’re sick of it and wondering how to deal with disrespectful family members.

Below, you’ll find actionable tips for handling rude family members and dealing with family members’ disrespect.

Understand Why They’re Being Disrespectful

You probably don’t care why your family member is disrespectful; you just want their behaviour to stop. But understanding the source of their disrespect can help you make a plan to nip it in the bud.

Perhaps that family member has some unresolved trauma causing the disrespect. Maybe they’re still mad at you for something that happened decades ago.

Stress and mental health issues can cause people to act rudely, too. Knowing they’re going through a tough time can help you understand their disrespect.

Learn to Use “I” Statements

When managing disrespectful behaviour from family, it’s important to avoid “you” statements and stick to “I” statements instead. “You” statements make it sound like you’re blaming the person, and they’ll likely become defensive.

Instead, use “I” statements to convey your feelings without coming off as accusatory. Here’s an example of how to deal with disrespectful family members with “I” statements:

  1. “You” statement: “You always ignore me when I talk to you.”
  2. “I” statement: “I feel sad when it doesn’t seem like you’re listening.”

Employ Active Listening

When a family member disrespects you, it’s tempting to lash out and give them a piece of your mind. This is a mistake, though, as tensions will flare, and the disrespect will probably escalate.

To avoid this, try active listening. This technique involves giving your full attention to the person and demonstrating that you’re trying to understand their viewpoint.

While listening, say things like “Tell me more,” “Go on,” and “I see.” You should also maintain eye contact (unless the other person seems uncomfortable with it).

Use the Grey Rock Technique

Disrespectful people often love getting a reaction out of you. Instead of giving them what they want, use the grey rock technique. With this technique, you only respond to the person when necessary. Give short, non-committal responses, and don’t display any emotion.

Keep Your Distance

Sometimes, addressing a family member’s lack of respect seems to have no effect. If your family member continues to disrespect you, remember that there’s no law saying you must spend time with them.

If the disrespectful person enters the room, simply leave or talk to someone else. If they call you, calmly say, “I am not putting up with this disrespect. If you can’t be respectful, I’m hanging up.”

Learn More Tips for Coping with Disrespectful Family Members

If you need more strategies for dealing with disrespectful relatives, contact Bayridge for online therapy and counselling services. Our therapists can teach you invaluable tips for how to deal with disrespectful family members in your life. For a consultation, call (905) 319-1488.

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