Respect was a huge struggle at the beginning of me and Ming’s relationship. I need to feel respected in order to feel safe enough to be close to someone and do relationship. Ming has issues with language, and the respect was secret inside him. He needed to learn how to express it so I could feel it.
Secret kind feelings could fuel you. But if your partner needs access to them more clearly, that can be a struggle. What helps you feel respected? I needed to collaborate with Ming so he could learn how I feel respect and give that to me.
We almost gave up before that point. My issues with how he expressed anger almost did our relationship in also, that first year. I’m glad he was willing, kind, and smart enough to figure out how to help me feel his respect.
I’m a special mammal who was harmed, when I was young. My trauma created a specific matrix of fears and problems. Being crazy and having autism are in that matrix too. Luckily I’m willing to work and will not just curl up in my pain and whimper, shut off. I reach out, speak my truth, and can build something good, with enough patience and nurturing love.
Here’s a list of things that help me feel respected. Some are specific to romantic or family relationships, but some are more general.
ways I can feel respected
When someone considers my needs and acts in my best interest.
When someone sees me for who I am, not just a generic person.
Being listened to and not rushed.
Getting “thank you” and other manners phrases like “please” and “you’re welcome,” so I feel acknowledged and have a sense things are ok between us. Formulaic reassuring!
Follow through–when they show up when they say they will and do what they agreed to.
Being prioritized, not ignored and forgotten in favor of something else that comes up.
Keeping me informed of other relationships and situations that affect my well-being.
When someone asks me questions and has a curiosity about me, not just using me for their needs.
Using my name without shortening it or otherwise messing it up.
When someone understands my intentions or knows they don’t know, and doesn’t assume the worst or assume I’m like them.
Speaking to me and others about my body, values, projects, and needs like they matter and deserve to be honored and cherished.
Introducing me to their friends and family in a way that shows they like me.
When someone sees me as valid and that’s just a given, not up for debate.
When someone acknowledges my expertise in language, art, singing, teaching, plant life, relationships, fatness, or anything that matters to me.
Not being used as legitimizing. It felt disrespectful when people would associate themselves or their projects with me, so others would think they were ok. Felt disrespectful to have my name and image used to strengthen someone else’s without my agreeing to that.
I don’t need to be worshiped on a throne or obsequioused to. But being seen as I am is a basic most people can’t do.
Feeling safe is a struggle. I’m glad every day that Ming does the work to help me feel respected enough that I can be my whole self with him.
Misogyny means others will give props to him and not me, like I’m crazy and emotional, while he’s seen as a man by many people, which means he’s a more serious person and knows more. That can hurt.
But when Ming sees that happening, he’ll step closer to me and give me credit for my work and involvement in our shared projects. Yes, I am bad at being social–I’m stimming and dancing around all the time, and sometimes emoting like the nut I am. But that doesn’t mean I deserve less respect.
Thank you for how you care for others and show up for love. And thank you to Ming and all the good friends who show me what love is and the vast possibilities of social happiness.