What do you do when you’re being disrespected at work, at home, or in any other situation? Whether it’s an occasional occurrence or a frequent one, it doesn’t feel good when it’s happening and it’s tough to keep your emotions under control when you’re under attack.
However, please keep this in mind, especially if you’re the target of frequent disrespect from the same person: If someone has a habit of disrespecting you, they probably do it to others, too. While there are times when you need to (respectfully) stand up for yourself or someone else, people recognize bad behavior in others, so don’t feel foolish or weak if you let a few snipes just roll off your back without responding to them or lowering yourself to that level.
For example, I was once completely disrespected while presiding over a board meeting. One of my board members disagreed with what I planned to do to fix a certain situation, actually making faces and gestures to demonstrate what a total idiot that person perceived me to be, causing extreme discomfort for the rest of the board in the process. Not wanting to disrupt the board any more than necessary by engaging that person at that time, I simply reiterated my plan, and went on to the next item, rather than cause a scene by “defending myself.”
After the meeting, I began doubting myself and second-guessing my decision not to say anything, wondering how I could have handled the situation so “badly”, when one Board Member came up to me and said, “Wow, [that person] took condescension to a new low today, but you took professionalism to a new high.” Her comment really showed me that people recognized who was behaving badly, and who wasn’t, and that she (and the entire board) were grateful not to have had the situation devolve into sniping and fighting at the meeting. What an eye-opener that was…
Remembering this situation helps me keep my emotions and actions in check and the goal in mind; it also helps prevent me from saying or doing something I may regret and that may actually keep me from achieving those goals. I know it’s difficult to do “in the moment”, but I also know that whenever I let someone get to me so badly that they cause me to behave in a manner that does not reflect who I really am, I walk away feeling worse… not about them, but about myself.
And if given a choice, I would always rather walk away wishing I could have succeeded in inspiring someone else to behave better than feeling regret over not having succeeded in keeping myself from behaving badly.