Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Respectful Relationships

By Barbara Alvarez 

There’s being respected in the relationships you have with others – family, friends, coworkers, supervisors and your significant other. Every coin has two sides. The “respectful relationships” coin is no different. The other (negative) side of the coin is one filled with disrespect, bullying and outright abuse. Let’s talk.


Copyright Life Mental Health, used under Creative Commons 2.0

Your siblings are your first friends. You play, fight and get along with them. Personalities from sibling to sibling differ, with some being more assertive while others are more shy.

If you are a shy sibling, it’s likely your brothers or sisters have figured this out. “Hey, let’s thump her! She won’t tattle.” THUMP! And off you go, fighting tears and massaging a sore noggin. Maybe you’re the assertive one and you jump all over your shy sibling. Either way, it doesn't feel good.


When you get together with your friends, your interactions, decisions and activities follow a familiar pattern. Some of you make the choices about activities while the rest of you shrug, sometimes with your usual good nature and you go along. “Sure,” you say. “A movie sounds good. I really don’t care. Whatever you guys want to do.” Your lack of assertiveness can soon backfire on you, as your friends begin taking advantage of you.


At work, you get along with some of your coworkers. You like them and hang out with them on breaks and at lunch. Other coworkers, you've learned to avoid because they just seem to have a constant chip on their shoulders, or they have learned they can shift their work over to you – and you won’t say anything.


Supervisors? Yes. While they are above you in the food chain, they should still treat you respectfully. Maybe they do, even if they do seem a bit...standoffish or distant.

Or maybe they figured out pretty quickly that they can take out their bad moods on you, swear at you when nobody else is around and, in general, make life miserable for you.

Copyright Used under Creative Commons

Significant Others

This relationship has the most potential to destroy you if it’s an unhealthy one. Because your boyfriend – or girlfriend, if you’re lesbian – has become so emotionally and physically intimate with you, every negative interaction, word and action can destroy your self-image. Disrespectful relationships can too easily become violent, abusive ones. Let’s talk about respecting ourselves so others will respect us.

Developing Respect

You can’t be treated with respect until you've learned to treat yourself with respect. That means asserting your rights, choices and your decision to be treated right. Sure, you may think, “Well, of course I want to be treated right!”

Copyright Zen Sutherland, used under Creative Commons License

Thinking isn't action. Not until you've learned how to non-verbally communicate your good feelings about yourself to others. Once you've learned how to do this, it’s time to start communicating to others, “I won’t be mistreated any more. If you want to spend time with me, treat me right.” Communicate specifically how you will and won’t be treated. Go through this process with everyone in your circle. If anyone you associate with refuses to treat you right, cut them out of your life until they decide to change. Remember, you are a person of worth and beauty. Communicate this and expect others to start treating you with the respect due you.

Barbara Alvarez earned her journalism and mass communications degree in December, 2006 and has been writing professionally since that time.

Alvarez has written and self-published two books, one non-fiction and one fiction. The non-fiction is intended for a military spouse niche. This book is written under a pen name: Diana M. Lopez.

The fiction is intended for anyone who loves to read about strong men and stronger women who confront conflict even as they learn to adjust their beliefs about relationships and love.

Alvarez plans to write until she is very old – it is in her blood, along with crochet and cross stitch. She is the mother of two grown sons.

You can keep up with Barbara at her website, or follow her on Facebook.  Of course you can also keep an eye out here for more of her work on I Feel Delicious!

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