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Expecting Respect, Giving None in Return - Relationship Advice

Updated on March 16, 2011

Dear Veronica,

Me and my girlfriend fight a lot. She just makes me so mad. Its usually over stupid things. She just either won’t drop something or she won’t call me back so I have to text her like 100 times. I think if she would just respect me everything would be fine.

(…)

Is there anything I can say or do to get her to stop this because whatever I am doing now isn’t working.


Java8

Dear Java8,

I left the bulk of your email to me out of this posting because I felt it contained a great deal of private information that shouldn’t be shared online.

A friend of mine recently asked me if it’s that we have unreasonable expectations of others, or if someone else actually has the power to “make” us mad. I think his question should put yours into perspective.

Java8, you need help. Much more help than what I can offer you here. The good news is in your final sentence. You know what you’re doing isn’t working. It isn’t working within your relationship and it isn’t working in your life.

No one “makes” us mad. Only you are responsible for your anger, your temper, your actions, your words, and your emotions. You have to own your anger. It’s yours, and it is not caused by anyone. It’s all you.

You spoke a lot about disrespect in your email. But you view it as extremely one sided. Everything you mentioned was about how you see any thing that happens that didn’t go exactly as you wanted it to go, as disrespectful to you. That’s not what respect and disrespect are about. More importantly, you never once mention how horribly disrespectful your behavior constantly is to your girlfriend.

For example, you mention that your girlfriend won’t stop speaking about a certain subject that you apparently do not wish to discuss. You call this disrespectful. You see what you want is something to be respected. However you completely fail to see what she wants is something to be respected as well. Her wanting to talk about something is important. Whether you think it’s stupid, whether you feel guilty or uncomfortable, or whether you can’t understand what it is she needs from this conversation, is all completely besides the point that she is trying to communicate. Somehow, some way, she is working on the relationship.

And your refusal to hear her should be a great big flashing yellow caution sign to her that this is an unhealthy relationship, and that you aren't a good partner.

Relationships aren’t all smooth sailing. Sometimes you have to talk about things you would rather forget. A large chunk of your email that I didn’t post because it contains too many details, names, and places, refers to this opening paragraph statement of yours. You told me she caught you at something, and when she tried to talk to you about it, you said, “Forget it.” When she wouldn’t, you got furious. You are a kettle on boil, waiting to boil over any minute. And, you blame her for it. You say she's “making you mad” and “disrespecting” you because you don’t want to talk about your mistake.

You don’t get to decide what she needs to talk about. This is especially true when you’re the one that screwed up. Claiming she’s disrespecting you because she’s smart enough to want to know what happened, is just wrong.

It is immensely disrespectful that you think you can tell her to drop a subject, or forget about it, and that’s that. It’s delusional, and it’s scary. It leads me to believe you need to enter into some professional counseling.

You said if she doesn’t text you back right away you “have” to text her multiple times. Again, this is wrong. You don’t “have” to behave in that way, and it is certainly not her or her actions that “make” you have to do anything. You are the sole reason you do these things. You are the cause and you are responsible. Your anger is yours, it is not caused by someone else. Your obsessive control and demand for what you want when you want it, is your very serious problem, not anyone else’s.

If you send a nice text , a responsible person will most likely text you back when they have a moment. It is that simple.

If you send a text while they are busy, maybe in the shower, maybe driving, maybe on an important phone call with a doctor or the IRS or a family member, maybe at work, maybe out of range, maybe while their battery has died… they will text you back later.

If you send a threatening angry text, you may not get a response. Your girlfriend may be thinking she’ll wait to talk to you in person, or she’ll wait until you’ve calmed down. That is her right, and that would be a perfectly normal and healthy response.

You do not get to control how other people will act. Claiming they disrespect you when ever they do anything that was contrary to exactly what you wanted, is not normal or logical. Claiming they “make” you do obsessive, angry, immature or irrational things is wrong, and kind of scary.

Respect is something that you don’t understand. By definition, respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities or qualities.

Right off the bat, you have to see that nothing you are doing is admirable. Telling your girlfriend she doesn’t get to talk about something she wants to talk about, is nothing she should respect. It’s nothing any functional adult would respect. Texting someone 100 times because they didn’t answer you when you wanted them to, is again, not something any person should respect about you. It’s childish, it’s controlling, and it’s wrong. No one should show respect for you or your actions when they are the way you’ve described them to be.

Respect is something earned. What have you really done that has earned anyone’s respect? This is such a big term for you, but nothing you’ve explained supports any reason at all why any person should have any respect for you.

Let’s also look at how you treat others. I know from your email that you don’t show any respect to your girlfriend. That means you don’t show her that you admire her or her actions, or that you hold them in any kind of regard. In fact, you demonstrate the opposite. You tell her what she wants doesn’t matter at all. You show her disrespect constantly.

Java8, I was definitely very forthright with you regarding your actions and the scenarios you described. Now I want to tell you something else. I want to tell you that the fact that you wrote a letter looking for help, especially one ending with “Whatever I am doing now isn’t working,” proves you know you need help. You want to change. You want the relationship to be a better one. You want to be a better person.

This is admirable! This is the kind of thing people respect.

Anyone can be wrong, anyone can mess up. Anyone can simply not know how to behave, or how to have a relationship, or how to be. But it takes a genuine and admirable person to step up and ask for help. It takes an admirable person to realize what they are doing isn't working, and that they need to relearn how to act, and how to view the world and themselves.

If you were to say to your girlfriend that you’re sorry you’ve handled things badly in the past, and ask her to help you find a counselor or a therapist, I bet you she would. I bet she’d respect you for this. This would be the most respectable and manly thing you’ve ever demonstrated to her. Good luck to you.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt disrepected?

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Comments

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  • susannah42 profile image

    susannah42 

    7 years ago from Florida

    Gaining respect is something that needs to be earned. It is worth working for.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 

    7 years ago from Wales

    Hi Veronica,

    This hub is spot on and I loved it.

    To get respect in this world you have to gain that respect and that controller thinks that everyone should be respectful to him by listening to him and doing as he says.

    I had someone like this in my life for far too long and at the end of the day they are just weak people.

    Thanks for sharing this great hub and I give this one awesome/useful/and up.

    Take care

    Eiddwen.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    7 years ago from NY

    Thanks Lindsey79!

  • Lindsey79 profile image

    Lindsey79 

    7 years ago from CA

    Veronica -- I agree with DaNoblest -- great article. I really enjoy how you break down the respect with control. I think a lot of controlling people act exactly as Java8 has. Claiming that people not acting in the manner they wish is disrespecting them, and it's ironic because they can't see that their desire to control is actually the one that is disrespectful.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    7 years ago from NY

    Thanks so much for your comment DaNoblest. Good luck with your situation.

  • DaNoblest profile image

    DaNoblest 

    7 years ago from California

    Very informative hub. I believe this is a problem many people have. They mistake respect for obedience or going against their wishes. I completely agree respect is something you earn through your actions and you have to respect someone else to receive respect.

    Blaming others based on a their skewed idea of respect is also wrong. I live with someone who is like this and they can be pretty unpleasant at times.

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