The foundation for effective assertion is your own thinking. Your thinking can either block you from being assertive or help you become more assertive. When you are in the process of developing a new assertive pattern, you will want to develop new ways of thinking as well as new ways of saying things. Here are some examples of ways of thinking that block and help you.
I badly need this person’s approval.
I must never hurt anyone’s feelings.
I’d be a selfish person if I asked for what I want.
I couldn’t stand any scenes.
I would like this person s approval, but I could live without it.
It is unfortunate that someone’s feelings may be mildly hurt.
It is part of the Judeo-Christian ethic to think of myself as well as others.
While it would not be pleasant to have a confrontation, I could certainly stand it.
|NON-ASSERTIVE, ASSERTIVE, AND AGGRESSIVE MODES OF BEHAVING
|I can’t do it.
This is new to me, but I can try.
I must get what I want.
I should do it.
I’m an undeserving person
— not as worthy as others of happiness or success.
They’re right; I’m wrong.
I can’t get what I want —I’m too weak.
|This is new to me but I can try
It would be better for me to do this.
I’m neither worthwhile nor worthless.
E we are all entitled to our opinions; if we disagree, we can try to work out a solution.
I’m going to try to get what I want, but I’m going to be somewhat flexible, if necessary.
|I must get what I want
I know what’s best for everyone —they must do things my way.
I’m wonderful — they’re rotten.
right — I’m right — and everyone else is awful and stupid if they don’t do things my way.
I can’t get what I want and that’s awful.
Depression/Anger at self
Appropriate negative feelings (frustration, disappointment, apprehension, annoyance)
Asking in an indirect or manipulative way
Giving in or giving up
Forthright stating of opinions and desires
pursuit of reasonable and realistic goals
Willingness to compromise
Slamming doors, throwing things
Inability to express wants because so enraged
Unwillingness to compromise
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ASSERTIVENESS
To increase others’ cooperation, respect, and love, try following these three rules:
#1:If people do something good to you, do something good to them.
#2:If people do something bad to you, and don’t appear to realize they are doing so, reason with them — but only on two separate occasions.
#3:If people are inconsiderate a third time, do something equally annoying to them, but without anger, guilt, fear of rejection, risk of physical harm, or risk of financial harm.
If the person’s poor behavior occurs again, you have four options:
Option #1: Tolerate it without resentment.
Option #2: Protest (by using Rule #2 and possibly #3).
Option #3: Separate or divorce.
Option #4: Tolerate it with resentment.
The first three options will probably lead to eventual relief. Option #4 tends to increase your suffering.
When do you have a right to protest? When you are less than Just Reasonably Content (JRC). If you do not stand up for your rights, over time you will likely experience these consequences:
- You will be unhappy.
- You will become disturbed.
- You will gradually fall out of love.
- You will want to end the relationship.
If the other person won’t change, decide to put up with the problem and tolerate it without resentment (Option 1); or implement Option 3.
GIVING AND RECEIVING CRITICISM
Delivering criticism and being criticized are probably two of the more difficult aspects of human relationships and interactions. Because there are many times when these behaviors are appropriate and useful, it is important to learn the differences between negative feedback (appropriate criticism) and inappropriate criticism.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN APPROPRIATE (ASSERTIVE) CRITICISM AND INAPPROPRIATE (AGGRESSIVE) CRITICISM
- I) Assertiveness involves letting someone know in a non-threatening wa that you don’t like something they have said or done or are doing.
“don’t like the way you’ve been keeping your office late/y.”
“I find it inconvenient when you come in late without a phone call.”
- II) Assertiveness may also involve letting someone know that you think their actions, appearance, or something they said was inappropriate or could use improvement.
“Your lateness imposes a hardship on the rest of the staff. I would like to discuss it with you.”
“I didn’t like your making that decision without consulting me. It’s important to me to be included in those things.”
III)Aggressiveness, on the other hand, includes negative feedback, but it also includes a moralistic judgment or a demand for change.
“You’re getting to be a real slob —just look at the mess your room/office is in!”
“I’ve had it up to here wit/i this business of your coming in late without a call.”
“You knew I wouldn’t agree wit/i you, so you just went ahead and did what you wanted.”
IDEAS TO BEAR IN MIND WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO CRITICIZE SOMEONE:
- Criticize the behavior, not the person.
“I thought you were harder than necessary on Julie.”
(instead of, “That was really an inhumane thing to do.’)
2.If possible, put your comments in the form of a suggestion for change.
“Let’s meet once a. week — say, Wednesday morning — and plan our schedules together for the week.”
- Keep it brief. And avoid the urge to bring up past experiences or predict future
“I wish you would ask directly for things, rat her than hint around.
(instead of, “You’ve been doing this for years. Won’t you ever learn? You’ll probably never just come out and say what you want!’)
- Take full responsibility for your opinions, feelings, and desires.
“I didn’t like the way you said that.” (instead of, “Boy, what a stupid thing to say!’)
5.Avoid the urge to re-make the other person. If you are making yourself angry, no amount of reassurance or apologizing will make you feel better. You will have to change your own feelings.
DEALING WITH “CRAZYMAKING” PEOPLE
Types of Difficult People
Don’t blame yourself for all of your misery. There are five types of difficult people who often contribute to making life difficult for us.
Bullies: Use violence, threats, or profanity to get what they want.
Brats:Nag, whine, or cry like children to get your pity.
Control freaks:Take charge, give orders, and have difficulty letting others do things without interfering.
Losers: Sabotage good fortune and can’t tolerate success and happiness because they feel unworthy.
Slobs /Neatniks:Casual, carefree people /Compulsive and extremely orderly people.
Rational Strategies for Dealing with Them
Bullies:Avoid them, separate or divorce. Don’t quarrel — they may become dangerous.
Brats: Stop indulging them. Treat them as grownups.
Control freaks: Give them orders; take charge. Give them a taste of their own medicine (unless it’s your boss!).
Losers: Don’t sacrifice too much for them; they will only use that to punish themselves. Refer them to therapy.
Slobs /Neatniks:Each has a valid lifestyle, but trying to live together is often a disaster if they are not willing or able to make major compromises.