top of page

Disrespect & Mental Anguish

Being disrespected by someone can cause Mental anguish and cause upset and conflict.

In this blog, we look at why disrespect can have a massive influence on someone's mental health and cause them great pain.

No-one wants to be disrespected, yet many are, usually for an individuals gain.

Brendon Buchard of inspiware is quoted as saying:

"When someone disrespects you, beware the impulse to win their respect. For disrespect is not a valuation of your worth, but a signal of their character"

These are powerful word, from Brendon. Often, we tend to take it upon ourselves to earn the respect of those who treat us disrespectfully. It is better to avoid that impulse and instead to focus on two things. Live your life true to your value and show respect to others, not because of who they are, but because of who you are.

Usually, the main reason for the disrespect is down to the character of the person, they usually feel one of four things and this is why they are disrespecting you.

  1. They feel threatened by you

  2. They feel intimidated by you

  3. They want to prove a point to others in your team / organisation

  4. They want to stamp their authority

These four reasons are usually why the disrespect starts and continues, the person feels that their position within the organisation or group could be threatened by you. You may have more experience than them, you may be the elder person within the group.

Feeling threatened usually occurs when a person takes over a role or is new to a group, they feel that they need to intimidate you and prove a point to the others in the group that they are the boss, they are in control, but they feel threatened and intimidated by your position, your contacts, your standing within the community, your long standing history.

New bosses often feel intimated by the elder person within a team, they want to be the centre of attention, they want to implement new ideas, but feel that you may be a stumbling block, you may be the person that other people contact when they need help, people will confide in you and not them.

By not appreciating and utilising the knowledge of a person and instead disrespecting them will lead to disaster for one or both parties. The recipient will experience anxiety and stress regarding the incidents and this can lead to mental anguish.

Dr Ruth Lee Johnson in her article "Suing for Emotional Distress: "Outrageous!" states

Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), also known as intentional infliction of mental distress or the tort of “outrage,” is a tort claim for intentional conduct that results in extreme emotional distress. The elements are:

(1) The defendant acted intentionally or recklessly; (2) The defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous; and (3) The defendant’s act is the cause of distress; and (4) The plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendant’s conduct.

People hurt each other’s feelings all the time. As such, courts have held that an IIED claim must be based on more than bad conduct. Liability does not extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, or petty oppression. Instead, the conduct must be so heinous and beyond the standards of civilised decency that it is utterly intolerable in a civilised society. The legal classic formulation of the standard is whether the conduct would cause a reasonable person to explain, “

The full article can be read here:

Peoples feelings are hurt every day, we disagree with people, we receive comments that hurt us, but to disrespect someone and not acknowledge their achievements, dedication and hard work is disgraceful.

An article in the Institute for Safe Medication Practices looked at Disrespectful behaviour.

Disruptive Behaviour

Egregious conduct clearly evident in the behaviour and/or speech

Demeaning Behaviour

Patterns of debasing behaviour that exploit the weakness of another

Intimidating Behaviour

Implicit or explicit behaviours or threats used by one individual to control another; abuse of power through threats, coercion, and force of personality

Passive-Aggressive Behaviour

Negative attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance; make cooperative, compliant, or pleasant comments but behave otherwise

Passive Disrespect

Uncooperative behaviours that are not malevolent

Dismissive Treatment

Behaviour that makes people feel unimportant and uninformed

Nonverbal Insidious Behaviour

Subtle unspoken behaviour that may seem innocent enough but is nonetheless disrespectful

Systemic Disrespect

Disruptive behaviours so entrenched in the culture that the element of disrespect may be overlooked

Disrespect causes the recipient to experience fear, anger, shame, confusion, uncertainty, isolation, self-doubt, depression, and a whole host of physical ailments such as insomnia, fatigue, nausea, and hypertension. These feelings diminish a person’s ability to think clearly, make sound judgements, and speak up regarding questions or concerns. Disrespectful behaviour is also at the root of difficulties encountered in developing team-based approaches to improving organisations.

The full article can be read here:


Look at the behaviour patterns above, are you guilty of disrespecting someone? Does your behaviour fall into one or more of the categories above, stop and think about how your actions are affecting people around you, it may be family, friends, colleagues,clients or members of an organisation.

Ask yourself, why am I doing this, what is my goal? How am I affecting this person, am I effecting their mental state, am I disrespecting them? Look at the behaviour patterns and before sending the email, before posting online, stop and think, does it fit into these categories. Ask yourself why?

We have all been guilty of disrespect at some point in our lives, situations we find ourselves in, anger, guilt and jealously all play a part. We are human beings and our first instinct is survival, but stop and think about your actions and how people are perceiving you. Take our 11 step challenge on the Halt2Proceed program.

"Live your life true to your value and show respect to others, not because of who they are, but because of who you are."

324 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page