canoehead, BSN, RN 6,841 Posts Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience. Feb 16, 2007 Tolerating abuse is an insult to the abuser. It implies you can't or won't expect better from them, so you just put up with it. A respectful response is assertive and let's them know you expect the same respect you give. Sometimes if a patient knows you think they can do better than they have been, and you are on their side, they become much easier to talk to, and can add information that helps provide care.