La Belle Negresse

Etiquette for Everyday Living

Respect Me or Else…

family word

You must  teach people how to treat you. That most certainly includes family. We often get comfortable and allow members of our family to get away with things we would never tolerate from an outsider or a friend. We assume their treatment of us, good or bad is part of being a family. They say things and do things that they wouldn’t dare do/say to an outsider, but because we are their daughter, sister, niece…. They think it’s acceptable to treat us with little to no respect and we are to accept it as normal behavior.  I have a friend who recently bought a house, because she is single and childless, members of her family think it is normal to invite themselves over for days/weeks at a time… some even bring friends. This of course is upsetting,  and my friend complains about it to everyone who will listen….. Everyone but the people causing the distress. When I ask why she puts up with it, her response is always the same…. “They are family, you don’t put out family.” When I ask about her 2 siblings, both of whom live less than an hour away and have ample space in their home to accommodate friends/family, she looked at me like I had three heads, “ My family would never dare impose on my siblings, everyone knows they don’t play that…they are very particular about their space.”

Every family has a favorite child, cousin, aunt… that person who is available to all, and will extend herself no matter the request. If you are that person, like being that person, and your loyalty is reciprocated.. More power to you. But if you’re constantly giving, your home is a 24 hour shelter, you are a walking ATM machine, your time is their time, they do (fill in the blank) to you, but would never try it with other members of the family with similar or same resources and it’s affecting your quality of life… that is not part of being in a family, you are being disrespected and abused. Stop it!! People will say and do, what they feel/know you will allow… especially family.

The flip side to that is how you treat yourself and your family, will set the tone for how they treat you. There are women who act like immature children, and therefore are treated as such.

Are you the daughter constantly in need of help from Mommy and Daddy…..can’t seem to get it right on your own? Never mind you’re practically hitting 40.

Are your children a burden, because you live by “It takes a village to raise a child” …. Was a village needed during conception?

Do you act first and think later, because somehow it always works out… thanks to the kindness of members of the family.

Are you the “crazy cousin, daughter, sister…” unreliable and indecisive.

Respect is earned and given based on how people see you. And how you treat yourself. If you’re tired of being the crazy sister, daughter, cousin… that everyone picks on and ridicule, stop acting in ways that says I am confused, immature and need guidance from everyone about everything.

It is within our family that we learn how to treat others, what to expect and accept. What you accept from them will speak loudly of the treatment you will accept and expect from others. No matter the ties, everyone must treat you with respect and gratitude….. but you must demand it. Both by action and speech!


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