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Learning how to be assertive could change your life

(14 Posts)
colditz Sun 06-Jul-08 09:50:17

People have one of three responses to a tense situation.

Aggressive - shouting, waving limbs, hitting, swearing, trying to start a fight
Passive - trying not to react, lowering head, going quiet, trying to keep peace
Assertive - Discussing, stating wishes and needs, trying to resolve the situation.

Out of all the approaches listed about, I think the passive approach has to be the most detrimental to one's mental health. How can your needs be met if nobody knows what they are?

The Assertive approach can prevent build up of resentment, and can also help to prevent a violent outburst. You state your needs, you state what you would ideally like to happen, and then if that isn't acceptable to the other party, you compromise. You are not then left with (passive) the feeling that you should have spoken up of (aggressive) the feeling that you have over reacted.

As our children get older I think it's important to be assertive with them, as being passive will get you walked all over and leave them with no firm sense of other people's rights, and being aggressive could leave them frightened, and with no sense of their own rights.

AbricotsSecs Sun 06-Jul-08 09:53:26

Message withdrawn

stellawasadiver Sun 06-Jul-08 09:58:30

Yes! I agree completely.

In arguments, I go between aggression and assertion, and feel myself getting annoyed with myself for doing it. This happens because DP is always Mr Passive and it drives me mad. I go with assertion because I want resolution, then flail into aggression because I just want a fucking reaction - and back and forth... oh, it's tiring!

We are working on this. I had never thought of it in 'categories' like that though and it makes perfect sense. Thanks Colditz.

colditz Sun 06-Jul-08 10:07:13

It's a summary of the assertiveness talk I deliver to aggressive teenagers but a lot of it is my opinion and I am No Expert.

mamalovesmojitos Sun 06-Jul-08 12:11:50

i am so passive and it has caused me a lot of physical and mental ill-health. the one thing i wish my dd to have, more than anything, is the confidence to discuss
problems calmly and stand up for herself. not to agree with something she doesn't really agree with just for an easy life.

i have improved hugely with counselling over the last six months and i hope to lead by example!

colditz your work sounds fascinating.

colditz Sun 06-Jul-08 13:32:47

It's volunteer work and it is very interesting

bluefox Sun 06-Jul-08 13:50:41

Colditz - another one here who agrees completely with your op.

colditz Sun 06-Jul-08 15:35:53

It comes as a shock to some of the young people I work with that hitting someone is not the most effective way of making people listen. That there is a better, more powerful way, and that way is to stay reasonable and stay within the bounds of the law. If you do that even a teacher cannot pick on you.

And sadly, it comes as a surprise to a lot of young women I know that saying you do not want to do something is not rude. And that not wanting to do something is quite often a good enough reason not to do it.

cornsilk Sun 06-Jul-08 15:42:35

That's really interesting colditz. My nephew used to get into terrible trouble for talking back to the teachers. He wasn't being assertive, he was being rude. If he'd have had this training it would probably have made a big difference.

mamalovesmojitos Sun 06-Jul-08 19:35:14

this sounds like training every child in school could do with.

ime a lot of people fail to master being assertive, it seems to me that more people fall into one of the other two camps. both are as destructive.

a place to start would be for all of us to try in instill this in our dcs.

littlewoman Mon 07-Jul-08 19:23:15

Excellent post. I used to be extremely passive, but have become much more assertive since divorce.

GammaMamma Sun 20-Jul-08 22:47:42

Colditz, can you recommend any good books to read to help me be more assertive?

My pattern is that I tend to get railroaded into doing favours for other people that I REALLY don't want to do, and end up stewing about it for hours. This then builds up in me and I explode like a volcano, so a lot of people would probably say that I'm aggressive.

Strangely enough I was always very assertive at work before having kids, it's since I've become a SAHM that I've noticed this problem, (probably because I'm not a very confident parent - have had counselling for this). I think other people pick up on that and I'm an easy target to boss around...

ThatBigGermanPrison Mon 21-Jul-08 17:15:23

Approach it the same way you would at work, if being asked to add to your workload.

Favours are a call on your time, childcare is call on your time, a job is a call on your time - and you only have so much time, and youhave the right (to an extent) to decide what to do with that time. You also have as much right to say no as anyone else.

So, if someone is asking you to look after their child, or pick up their dry cleaning and you don't want to (which is a GOOD ENOUGH REASON), so, "I can't do that for you today, but maybe I could check my diary and give you a hand another day? Let me get back to you on that,but I can't tell you which day until I know my schedule. Bye!"

GammaMamma Mon 21-Jul-08 20:41:52

TBGP you're so right. I shall try that approach.

I think I put other people's needs above my own rather than realising that actually I don't want to have people round for coffee/pick their kids up from school etc/speak to them on the phone at length every single sodding day...

I'm quite a recluse really, and think I should try to be more happy in my own skin, tootle along to the playgroups, socialise and chat and then get out of there, without all the demands (committees, meetings, coffee mornings) that I'm starting to feel on my time.

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