I want to say something about the “you have to earn my respect” and “lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect” memes and sayings I’ve been seeing. Yeah…here’s the thing:
Human decency and respect is not something others have to earn from you, it is the price you pay to live among others. And victims of mistreatment are NEVER to blame for the actions of others.
Victimizing and blaming victims for their victimization perpetuates a culture of entitlement, which in turn influences the next generation into knowing very little about their own human rights because it’s people who don’t respect others and who perpetuate the ideas that they have the right to determine who should or should not be respected who call the shots. It perpetuates a culture that doesn’t know anything about teaching the next generation boundaries or autonomy because they’re taught first that they have to earn self-worth from the validation of others, and then that self-worth can be negated if another person decides their actions, way of speaking, dressing, or way of living doesn’t qualify them for human decency and respect. .
Short of someone actually physically attacking you, If you cannot show every person you meet basic human decency and respect, the problem is not them, it is you. The problem is not lack of firm boundaries, the problem is the people who push people’s boundaries because they’re uneducated or ignorant of the concept of consent, the most basic of human rights. Yet those are the people allowed to dominate the conversation with catchy, contemptuous sayings with no real meaning beyond “correct my behavior for me, or don’t be surprised when I and my cohorts treat you poorly.”