Blog Post

Anger and Disrespect

Out of my work with all the anger management clients, I am told that “being disrespected” is the number one thing that makes them angry. This makes sense. Who would not be angry with being disrespected?

Here is my question: What does it mean to be disrespected. My clients have a variety of answers for this one. I do not think there is any one consensus on the definition of “being disrespected.” It is a feeling that people get and they know it when they see it. Since this feeling is rather subjective, I want to point out that there is a great possibility that its the person’s thinking that is causing them to feel disrespected, even when there is truly no disrespect.

A person often feels disrespected when, for example, their child does not do as they are told. However, does the child say, “I want to disrespect my parent by not doing as I am told.”? I really doubt that. The problem here is the parent views the behavior as “disrespectful,” instead of seeing that there may be many reasons the child does not do as he/she is told (because they simply don’t want to do it, they have ADHD, they have some strong negative feeling and so on).

I encourage my clients to look at the actions behind another person’s “disrespect.” A lot of people behave in a “disrespectful” manner because they are scared, they are trying to look tough to cover insecurities, they are blind to their own behavior, or they are simply angry in general.

If you immediately tell yourself that you are being disrespected when a person does not behave the way you want them to, remind yourself that you are jumping to conclusions and then think about the alternative reasons the person is acting that way. Few people make it a goal to disrespect others.