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Introducing a New Blog

“You’re a jerk!” “You’re a piece of trash!

It is no secret that when we are treated disrespectfully, we may have feelings of anguish and be moved to tears, or even suicide.  To deal with these rough feelings it often helps to keep the following in mind:

Illustration by Lois Hubertz

We have all experienced name calling, insults and teasing, even the greatest presidents, the most talented athletes, and every member of your favorite band.  If someone insults you, calls you names, or teases you, it does NOT mean that you are a bad person.

Although being treated disrespectfully does not mean that you are a bad person, skillful handling of these types of situations can have an enormous influence on how much you are liked and respected.  This blog, From Insults to Respect, is designed to help you to learn to handle these challenges, along with other stressful situations.

This blog can be used as a free stress management curriculum, as well as an emotional and social intelligence curriculum. After reading the above first lesson, whenever you are ready to move on to the next lesson, all you have to do is: Look just below this paragraph and you will see a box inviting you to subscribe to this blog. Just below that box, on the right you will see the title of the next post and then double arrows pointing to the right. If you click on the double arrows it will take you to the very next post, which is the next lesson. After that lesson, you can again go to the very next lesson in the curriculum by clicking on the double arrows which appears in a similar place at the bottom right of each lesson, and so on.  In this way, you can go systematically through each lesson at your own pace. 

DIG for the Conflict

About the Author

Jeffrey Rubin grew up in Brooklyn, received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and has taught conflict resolution there as well as at a psychiatric clinic, a correctional facility and a number of public schools. He has published articles on anger and conflict resolution and has authored three novels.

18 Comments

  1. Even if you don’t think that your words hurt, they can. I’m gay and struggling with it. I don’t want people to know yet, but it still hurts inside when someone says that’s so gay because it puts me down.

    • Hi Richard,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, there are certain statements that we hear that are really hard to bear. I’m wondering if you have found a response to such comments that you feel works for you. And when you use that response, what kinds of reactions do you get? I think those of us following the blog would be interested in this and your experience.

      • Stumbled upon this site by chance & been hooked for hours.

        Would be interesting to know the outcome of Richards response and the reaction(s) he got.

        Hi Josh, I hope you are finding the blog post valuable. I too would have liked to have heard back from Richard. I hope he’s doing well.
        Jeff

  2. A whole other area, but one that is rarely thought of in this context. My wife is in local politics. And though she decided to run for office knowing that there would be political opponents, she had not bargained for the name calling and personal attacks on her being. I have sent several letters to one of our regional newspapers on the topic of “political bullying.” One may think of such bullying as much in the American tradition – a to be expected risk that elected officials need to grin and bear. But when attacks get personal, and one’s being is fair target, then it gets intolerable and the people one serves suffer for it. If this site is to amount, then it ought to take steps to explore ways of responding to the worst of attacks. Certainly we can all share stories, but we can form a brains trust to help all see some light.

    • E. Mark Stern, it is good to hear from you. Wow! I’m so sorry to hear about what your wife has gone through from the “political bullying.” Certainly this blog will be seeking to take steps to explore ways of responding to the worst of attacks and to form a “brains trust” to help all see some light. It is interesting that I saw the blog chiefly as a way to promote wisdom with regards to interpersonal conflicts (one person dealing with one other person) and intrapersonal conflicts (Mark dealing with his own disappointment about how he acted). With regards to the intrapersonal conflicts, I was on the golf course a couple of days ago and you should hear the insults the players threw at themselves—it was enough to make a Brooklyn boy blush. Well, OK, maybe not a Brooklyn boy, but pretty much anyone else. The type of conflict you raise is quite a bit different than the interpersonal or intrapersonal conflict I intended to focus on. The type of conflict you have brought up typically involves a team of people (the candidate and her campaign team) designing a communication that really is NOT aimed at the other candidate, although it may sound as if it is, but rather at the group of people who are potential voters. Moreover, the voters often may end up voting for a candidate that they end up NOT liking or respecting, but vote anyway for the candidate because the other candidate is perceived to be even less desirable. And so, a candidate can win even if disliked and disrespected. In interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts winning is a whole different thing, is it not?

  3. I think it has a lot to do with self-esteem. If you feel okay about yourself, the name-calling won’t bother you so much. I am a writer. I have just come out with a memoir about my mental illness called This Hunger Is Secret. Recently, I read aloud to audiences two nights in a row. I am an excellent reader. I say this because not only do I write well, but I read my own writings very expressively and passionately, so my audiences are well entertained by me. The first night, I felt very confident and refreshed by my experience. I guess the audience did, too. I won the door prize. So I came away with this very nice glow. The next night, I came into the room with the glow of confidence from the night before and began to read. This was a club where they really didn’t want prose writers, but fiddlers and harmonica players. I swear, in my whole life I’ve never been kicked off a stage before, but they came up to me in the middle of a sentence and asked, “Is this going to go on much longer? We want to do our raffle.” They didn’t give a hoot. I could have been standing there naked or had ten heads and they wouldn’t have noticed a thing. They cared more about the raffle. Another factor was that I was not their nationality and not a member of the club (this was a club specifically for immigrants) so I was considered an intruder. I decided I was treading on ground where I did not belong. I ended my reading as politely and with the least amount of awkwardness as I could, and thanked them profusely for allowing me and my little service dog to take the stage. Most importantly, I did not leave in a huff. I stayed and smiled graciously at everyone. After all, they were the hosts. If there is one thing I do, maybe this sounds a little extreme, but if, say, a cabbie is rude to you, make a point of overtipping. You’ll feel one heck of a lot better.

    • Hi Juliemadblogger,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I admire how well you handled your rather difficult reading aloud experience.

      It’s interesting that you attribute your ability to act so maturely to your high self-esteem. I’m afraid that my self-esteem is usually in the toilet, so I have to come at acting maturely from a different path. Before I go to a place where I will be speaking, I rehearse in my mind several times how I will react if my audience doesn’t respond in a favorable manner. I go through in my mind acting pretty much as you did. In the event that someone asks me at a presentation that didn’t go down well how I thought the presentation went, I have this very brief well rehearsed response prepared–“I don’t think I connected as well as I would have liked with the audience. I’m disappointed about that.” Then I act friendly and listen to what others have to say. When I get home, I take some time to allow the waves of disappointment wash over me. I have the belief that I have the ability to transformed these feelings of anguish, sadness and tears into something creative, something helpful and beautiful.

      Warm Regards,

      Jeff

  4. It also depends on who is doing the disrespecting and in what context. If your spouse is being disrespectful and it is within a sensitive topic area, emotions are bound to flare. A spouse is someone from whom you might expect more support and understanding tah just anybody else. Siblings might be hurtful also since one might expect support from a family member, but then again many siblings have a history of friction and have been conditioned to expect it.

    • Hi ML,

      Yes, I agree that depending on who is doing the disrespecting and the context I find myself responding differently. That’s why when I rehearse in my mind how I hope to act in the future in some tough situation, I imagine the specific scene and person who I will be engaging with. I find that this often helps me to handle tough situations better.

      My Best,

      Jeff

  5. I’m feeling so traumatized by the entire medical system that I am hitting out at people I love. I have 3 doctors and they won’t work together. I have so many injuries I can’t heal and migraines, I don’t want to keep living like this. I was an athlete once and I didn’t even get out today because my GP just cut me off a drug so I was trying to cut down on it and didn’t sleep properly.

  6. Hi Cassandra,

    Wow! Three doctors and still no help! Yipes!

    I’m not a physician and giving medical advice without meeting you, anyway, would be in no one’s best interest. I wish I could offer you some helpful advice.

    I once had worked with a teenager who had migraines and shortly after teaching him to meditate, he reported that he dramatically improved. I describe a simple meditation technique in my blog post titled, Anger, Rumination and Meditation. Perhaps you might want to give that a try after conferring with a physician that knows you. There is some research that suggests meditation can help some people with what you are going through. I wish I could be of more help.

    My Best,
    Jeff

  7. I am new here, and enjoying the subject matter very much. About getting upset at being insulted or disrespected, my method is a form of survival I learned as a youth in a poor home environment. I withdraw my emotion, and rely on logic, doing the Mrs. Spock act. I sublimate my anger, and make an attempt to deflect the confrontation with logic, rather than emotion. I agree that meditation works, and helps as we learn to focus, and let ‘things go’ in our minds, not to focus on a thought or emotion in that state, helps elsewhere.
    Peace

    • Hi Courtney Reardon. It is interesting how you describe using the Mr. Spock act. I’m a huge fan of the Star Trek series and have imagined being Spock on many occasions as I grappled with my emotions.

      I do think that spending some time experiencing the physical sensations going through me for a few minutes can be helpful. It soon passes, and I can better get on to a more “logical” trek.

      Much thanks for your comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts, logical or otherwise, as you read other posts.

  8. Heya , Nice space to visit, 11 years in State. Prison , Clean & Sober for years , never looked or acted the part , still don’t, I
    am Working to Amend Years of Poor Actions and Attitudes ,I Blame No-One , all me , however , it continues to be a Challenge each day , eg , anger I am often more. Afraid out here than inside , others judgement , Regret
    and at Times ridicule , it hurts , then I often become angry , I
    am Very, Very grateful to have
    1 Last Chance at a Real Life , yet at times I feel way ,way overwelmed . Insight ?

    You can check out my story in
    Cycling mag-William m Albertson, blessings 🐬

  9. I wrote my letter because of one reason. All of the lies being told about me. The hatred towards me. If you knew what i have been going through with my partner and his family…you will understand.
    My point is if this person who is my partners family not the snitch aka liar then why hasnt he said anything to me or my partner. I dont have anything…no assets. Im broke! If i was selling narcotics or doing any kind of fraud….i would have a lot to show. I have nothing. I work hard. I mind my business. I am very kind to everyone even when i am being treated badly. I do not get soo involved in anyones personal life and use it in a negative way. My partner has money. I dont want his money. I want him. I never told him what to do or not do. The police officers who arrested me said wow you are soo sweet. You are nothing they aka the snitch said anout you. They said you are a monster. You can ask everyone i know..past Jobs. Friends and family…i am a good person. But i feel my life is being sacrificed for the man i love. I always stayed quiet. Ignore it…but after living and being with my partner for over 20 years…i became frustrated. The more i searched for answers as to why my partner and his family are the way rhey are. The more trouble i got into. The more i stick up for myself…the more i get haarressed by his family. I would never get involved in anyones relationship in a negative, malitious and minipulating ways. I should have never gone to jail. Rehab yes. Counceling yes. Not jail. Also once again as for me being untrustworthy…is absolutely wrong. My partner was using his grandmothers account and he had paid the electric bill with her account but the electric bill is under my name. I need to have a utility bill under my name. So therefore now i am being accused for fraud. But not my partner. You should see his wordrobe. Its obvious that this family has had a problem with me for a long time. I had told my partner numerous of times that i will always work god willing. I do not want his house…his money..his jewlery. I want him
    I will sign a prenup or any type of agreement between my patner and i. That has nothing to with his family. But my partner has a troubled past that i want him to overcome. If he doesnt want to be with me..i leave! With nothing but my four dogs and cat. What really bothers me is how i have been letting these negative things and people around us for sooo long. I also asked for help for joey and i in many diffrent ways for many different reasons….p.s. The result was me going to jail. Girls in jail were selling crack with their spouse or partner. The bail was set very low and they were out of there before there partner and they were out within in hours. Why did this happen to me. I was a drug user not a seller. I love my partner to death. My mother said you cant help you fall in love with. I feel my partner has issues that need attention and help. I try to teach him to mediate and drink more water. Noone should have interferred with us and our relationship. His sister has a tight hold that had never bothered me till the last day that i realized what was going on. All i did was try to stop the negativity from his family. My partners father told me that they want me out and to be strong or get out! Believe me i was selling..i would have had the money to bail myself out! And i would have never put up a post about what happened to me! I just want the truth and an apologie

    • Wow, Michele, that’s quite a story. I sure hope you can find a peaceful way to move forward in your life.

  10. I specialize with trauma.
    One issue is psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and counselors do not do a complete trauma eval before deciding the diagnosis and course of treatment. People can display symptoms leading to a diagnosis of conduct disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder or depression but the person could be responding to trauma and past abuse. Patients who have a history of childhood abuse and trauma, can’t be expected to answer simple questions like – ‘have you been abused’.
    Many times they can’t remember the incidents- *check that box for dissociation*, if female, check for delusions, feeling empty inside, mood instability, attention seeking behaviors and depression so the patient can easily be diagnosed as borderline personality disorder.
    Many times they are too painful to think about or discuss.
    Society panics if someone says they want to die. They think the person is suicidal. Maybe the self harm behaviors and talking about wanting to die enables them to feel more in control of their life.
    People who have a history of childhood abuse and trauma- have anxiety, PTSD, mood instability, depression, don’t get along well with others and many more symptoms. They are then given multiple diagnoses which makes them feel worse. Stop diagnosing people with each different symptom. Simplify it for them. You can say ‘this is what I see is going on and it shows up with certain symptoms – anxiety, depression, mood instability’. You don’t have to diagnose them with each symptoms. It doesn’t make things better for them. It makes them feel they have ‘another’ disease.
    If someone has severe congestive heart failure, do you also put down the diagnoses poor peripheral profusion, poor tissue oxygenation, cognitive deficiency and memory loss (oxygenated blood isn’t getting to the brain very well), anxiety disorder (they are afraid because they don’t breath well), exercise and heat intolerance. Manipulative behaviors and manipulative – they want to make sure they can get want they need tr because when people feel like dirt, afraid and feel alone. They try to desperately gain some type of control over their life. Don’t forget to list their depression, phobias and delusions. Make sure you give the person a complete list of all there separate diagnosis. It encourages them to feel overwhelmed, like a failure and hopeless. If they say anything about the feelings, you get to add another diagnoses.

    Basically- begin with the belief that each person walking in the room has been abused and has experienced trauma. Because, most people have.

    • Hi D’Ann Colby,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that focussing in on all of the negative labels that some doctors refer to as “diagnoses” can be detrimental.

      In your comment, you advocate that we begin with the belief that “each person walking in the room has been abused and has experienced trauma.” If that is working for you, by all means continue the practice. I begin by being “open” to the possibility that each person walking in the room has been abused and experienced trauma. I don’t like to lock someone into my belief system so I seek to always remain open to a variety of experiences that might have led to the concerns that I am asked to address.

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