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As a lifetime people pleaser and doormat please tell me what happens when you start being assertive?(18 Posts)
I won't go into the back story but let's just say I am the worst kind of people pleaser. Trying to please everyone, agree with everyone. End up pleasing no one and having people turn against me which is actually my worst fear.
On top of that after abusive childhood I am a doormat (i understand the two probably go hand in hand) and I will do anything to keep the peace and keep other people happy often railroading over my own wishes.
I got a confrontational text this morning from someone and I toyed for a second with responding assertively instead of apologising (for something I didn't know I did,) asking what I can do, flattering etc. But the thought of being assertive and saying what I thought filled me with so much dread. I started out doing it but did a turn around at the end where I apologised because my imagined consequences were too dreadful.
Please give me some encouragement and tell me how people actually react to you when you do stand up for yourself and when you DO get angry and express your feelings.
Do you get more respect?
Reply and let them know that they were rude/aggressive and show you can do the same! I'm often guilty of being a people pleaser until it pisses me off so much I explode and can be a right bitch! I'm now trying to respond before it gets that bad!
They hate it. They ramp up the aggression to try and keep you in your box.
Do it anyway.
I Would imagine that those who are used to you rolling over will not be pleased and will react badly.
Thats where you realise that they are not people (the kind who would take advantage of you) that you should worry or care about. They are not worthy to have you in their lives and if they are going to be pissed that you refused to roll over then screw em.
Might be worth getting some councelling as that is a hard habit to break and you deserve to be treated with respect
It depends who it is, really. Some might respond by being more aggressive, others will back off. I think it depends on whether they think you're serious or whether they'll be able to 'put you back in your place'.
Also, if you're the non-confrontational sort, like me, and get very anxious about aggression and fighting, make sure your assertiveness is of the 'firm and stubborn' type rather than being aggressive back. Don't get drawn into an argument. Some people thrive on it and it'll just stress you out. Just keep repeating the same 'I said no' or don't even reply if you've made your point. You're allowed to say no politely then walk away.
What was the text about? Tell us and we can help you
Following.. as I also worry too much about pleasing others and get anxious at the thought of ever offending anyone or causing conflict. I need to be more assertive but it's a hard skill to learn where deep down I think you always fear rejection!
I read nice girls dont get the corner office which has really helped me to be assertive without being aggressive.
If someone's sending you a deliberately confrontational text, I'd rather ignore it. They know they're trying to get you to apologise. If they persist, just say 'We both know I didn't do that. Not interested in getting into an argument' and leaving it like that.
I was always apologising to the ex to keep the peace, even when he'd done something awful (Me being upset made him feel bad apparently and I'd have to apologise).
The moment we split and I stopped, he kept poking with the passive-aggression and the gaslighting for while, but when he realised he'd lost that particular way to manipulate me, he stopped. Remember you don't need to get into the argument at all. That's their territory. Firm and stubborn is the way forward.
You will lose friends. I had masses of people just melt away. It was very painful, but of course they were never really my friends in the first place.
You can be assertive & not rude (you can be rude if you want to be though!)
Took me many years to change from being a pleaser but WOW it feels damn good!
Now I feel that I'm being more honest with my friends, family & myself.
You might lose the people who were not worth having on the first place. With others, you'll have friendships with healthier boundaries. The key is to turn around your thinking. You are a person of value and if those people deserve your friendship they'll still like and respect you when you disagree with them. It took me a long time to learn that and I still slip back into old ways at times.
As others have sad they ramp up the aggression and control attempts, try to guilt trip you, gaslight you - basically try every trick in the book to get you to "behave" again. When they finally realise you are standing your ground and not budging you will probably loose a lot of people from your life - they were the users and abusers who only wanted to be in contact with you whilst you were doing their bidding.
I recognise where you are coming from, and by the sound of it have a similar past.
Assertiveness doesn't have to be inflammatory, of you stick to saying what your experience is. So instead of saying " that was rude " you could say " I felt uncomfortable/ hurt/ disregarded when you said that", in that way you are owning it, and people tend to respond well to it.
Or ignore rude texts.
Start off small. Like saying no to cashier or chugger. And don't give a reason. A great mantra I've adopted is don't complain, don't explain.
As a people pleaser I used to feel the need to apologise and explain everything. It's been really liberating not to put others first, except my children of course.
What the worst that's gonna happen if you don't please the other person? They won't like you? So what! They won't talk to you? So what! They get verbally abusive? That makes it easier for you to have nothing more to do with them! Good luck, my dear.
I had an abusive childhood, the whole process of stopping being a doormat is very painful but find your rebellious streak and nurture it, grit your teeth and stand your ground. Its like ripping off a plaster, short term pain for long term gain.
To a certain extent it doesn't matter what they do- not taking their reaction into consideration when choosing whether to act is part of being assertive.
Obviously being assertive doesn't mean being a total arsehole and it's always good to be kind, but if you need to make a point because a line you care about has been crossed, then you need to make that point. You don't make the point in consideration of the reaction. Defending your boundaries is about you not about them.
I wouldn't respond in any way whatsoever to a confrontational text. I'd just ignore it. I'm not dancing to their tune.
When you plan to stop being a doormat, maybe you imagine yourself giving all kinds of sassy clapbacks to the people who used to walk all over you. In reality, us genuinely assertive people simply don't engage with it. Ignore. Blank. No response. Walk away. Here's why...
Imagine you are a doormat. They are wiping their feet on you. You start to stand up and say "hey no! I won't let you do that any more!" Problem is you are still standing right there on the doorstep. You tussle as they try to wrestle you back onto the floor. You are probably weaker from years of lying on the floor so you are at a major disadvantage. What you should do is quietly stand up and walk off with not a word about it. Don't go back and have an argument on the doorstep either. It's a hell of a lot harder to get you back on the hall floor if you won't even acknowledge their invitation to their house iyswim.
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