What Is Respect?

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn early on that to show respect means that you tolerate abuse, blindly obey & never talk back or confront your parents about the abuse they inflicted on you.  Since you are ignored & invalidated, you also knew that you are unworthy of this so-called respect.


The fact is though that none of this is real respect!  It is some mock version of respect narcissists teach their kids so they can justify their abuse.


If you too grew up with such a skewed view of respect, then it’s time to get a healthier perspective.


Respect should be mutual in a healthy relationship.  Both parties should care about each other & each other’s needs & feelings.


Respect is earned, not demanded.  My mother used to tell me that she demanded respect, which is entirely wrong!  A person can command respect with their actions, but demanding respect never works out well.  When a person is ordered to give someone respect, that person is immediately turned off to the demanding one.


There is absolutely nothing respectful about tolerating abuse.  Standing up for yourself shows that you have self-respect, that you care enough about yourself to want better & to know that you deserve better treatment.


Saying “no” can be a very respectful thing.  Allowing someone to have their way at all times shows that you have no self-respect.  Enforcing healthy boundaries however, shows you respect yourself.  It also shows that you care enough about the other person to want them to do better, because boundaries encourage good behavior.





Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

13 responses to “What Is Respect?

  1. Some respect is earned. Some is deserved just for being human. Narcissists want the first type without cost, but they refuse to give the second type to their victims at all. It is a double standard wrapped up inside a catch-22.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. So few people seem to understand that requiring respect and enforcing boundaries benefits both the victim and the abuser. It’s no kindness to continually enable malicious behavior by allowing it. Abusers need to know that there are consequences for hurting others so that they can have the possibility of repentance and a changed life. But we aren’t responsible if they don’t take advantage of that possibility. Our responsibility is to obey God by living the way that He wants us to and that includes protecting ourselves from abuse, not allowing it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: What Is Respect? – CynthiaBaileyRug | Talmidimblogging

  4. This is so true. I have watched the definition of “respect” evolve over my lifetime.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is really important to understand. Especially when all you have experienced is abuse and disrespect. It takes practice to learn to respect yourself. I had no idea I was so compliant until my therapist started pointing out to me that I wasn’t standing up for myself or setting and/or enforcing healthy boundaries. It was so eye opening to me. Even with his guidance, I still struggle with this and self respect. I feel like I don’t deserve it or that I’m just being high maintenance or demanding. That was programmed deep into me as a child.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is very important to understand! Abused children have no concept of healthy respect. You’re a prime example of that! Thank God you have a good therapist who pointed out to you what he has!

      No doubt it’ll take time to undo that programming. I still struggle with it myself more often than I care to admit. The good thing is that it definitely gets better as you heal. I see no reason that programming can’t be totally undone- it just takes time. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • ibikenyc

      Exactly: How do you know what you don’t know? I struggle with this all the time.

      Your therapist sounds like a gem.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. ibikenyc

    How interesting: I happened to be journalling about respect earlier today.

    I realized that a big part of what trips me up with it is that I equate or otherwise somehow “partner” it with likeability. All my codependency and abandonment stuff makes being not liked feel dangerous. Acting like the eager puppy feels humiliating.

    I wish there were some “School of Normal” for those of us from these profoundly-dysfunctional families of origin.

    Liked by 1 person

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