Narcissists & Respect

After writing my book, “Regrettably Related: A Guide To Toxic In-Laws”, I was thinking some about it one day.  One of the topics that came to mind was respect.  I thought I would share those thoughts with you.

As I mentioned in the book, I believe many toxic in-laws are narcissistic.  And, as we who know anything at all know about narcissists, they have a fixation with respect.  Sadly, they have no clue what real respect is.

Real respect is not treating people like dirt while expecting them to submit to your will no matter what.  No one wants to be mistreated.  It becomes even more insulting when the person treating you badly demands that you do anything they want.  It’s insulting & disrespectful!

Real respect is treating those your loved ones care about with civility even when you don’t like them.  This is a big one for me.  Probably the biggest part of my issue with my in-laws wasn’t that they hated me.  It was that they had so little respect for my husband, their son & brother, that they couldn’t manage basic civility with me.  That speaks volumes about their character or lack thereof.  I’ve had friends with significant others I disliked, but for the sake of my friends, I would do my best to be polite to the person.

Real respect is earned, & no one can successfully demand it.  My entire life, my mother would tell me, “I DEMAND respect!”  Well, that didn’t work out well for her.  Telling people to respect you never works.  Behaving in such a way that people want to respect you is what works.  It’s much like trust in this way.

Real respect involves boundaries.  It seems to narcissists, boundaries is a filthy, terrible word that never should be uttered.  No one in a narcissist’s life is allowed to have those awful boundaries.  This is one more piece of evidence that proves they have no true concept of respect.  A respectful person has & enforces their own healthy boundaries, while respecting the boundaries of others.

Real respect doesn’t belittle or criticize.  Constructive criticism is fine of course, when said gently.  Anyone who is making a mistake needs to know that they are making a mistake.  However, belittling & harsh criticisms have no place in respect.  If you respect another person, you won’t say cruel things to them, & if they respect you, they won’t say cruel things to you either.

Real respect isn’t selfish.  If you respect someone, you aren’t selfish with them.  You recognize they are an individual separate from you who has their own unique wants, needs & feelings.  You won’t insist on having your own way no matter what.

Real respect means you don’t assume you know best.  Respectful people recognize that other people are individuals who have their own specialties & talents.  They also know that others will know what is best for them rather than assume their way is what is best.

Real respect genuinely cares about other people.  Truly respecting someone also means you care about that person.  You value that person as the unique person they are instead of only what they can do for you.

Real respect means you care about yourself.  Self respect is so very important!  It means you won’t tolerate abuse from anyone.  It means you won’t demean yourself or compromise your values.  It means you treat yourself well.  It also means you take care of your physical & mental health.  These reasons are why narcissists try to destroy their victims’ self respect.  They don’t want them to do these things.  A person lacking self respect is controllable, unlike someone with a healthy level of self respect.

As you can see, narcissists clearly have absolutely no concept of what respect really is.  So the next time a narcissist calls you disrespectful, take it as a complement & remember they have absolutely no idea what respect really is.


Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

4 responses to “Narcissists & Respect

  1. As always, a great and insightful post. I’ve spent so much time recently trying to understand the mind of a narcissist, It’s nice to be reminded how “normal” people are supposed to behave.

    That said, I’m curious to know if you think the narcissist also understands these tenets. One thought would be that they largely act on instinct and don’t really understand. The other would be that they do understand, but view these sorts of courtesies as for people who are less than they are. They are for the weak. And they can be used to manipulate and exploit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!

      Agreed.. it helps to keep us balanced remembering how normal people behave!

      I would guess it depends on the narcissist. Some no doubt understand exactly while others operate more on instinct, knowing something will get them what they want so they do it without knowing exactly why. Either way, no doubt they think such behavior is for the weak & can be used to manipulate & exploit, just as you said.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these things, and trying to ensure that my conclusions agree with a Biblical worldview. One concept I’ve come to focus on a lot is that of dignity. I think that it is closely related to respect, but the subtle differences are important. Dignity is about value, which in the Biblical worldview comes from God. If we talk about respect being earned, I think that is correct to a degree. However, I think we all have a responsibility to recognize the innate dignity a person has, regardless. Demanding respect is still useless, though. And, there is clearly a limit to what respect each person deserves. Narcissists, and others, frequently demand that they be respected beyond those limits. (Still thinking about how to clearly describe those limits.)

    Also… As opposed to self-respect, I would say that we gain much more from recognizing the dignity God has put in us. I think having a sense of our own dignity is better because it relies on God being the foundation of that value. It is more solid when others are assaulting our sense of dignity. I also think self-respect can too easily turn into pride.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hadn’t thought about that but you make a lot of sense! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      I totally agree too about people should recognize the innate dignity a person has. Everyone deserves that. The degree of respect beyond that we show people depends on their behavior. We can show that simple recognition without feeling a deep respect for a person. That was how I felt about my parents, come to think of it.

      You’re right too.. self respect easily can turn into pride. Like everything, we have to be balanced in thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

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