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How could I have been more assertive in these situations and how can I be more assertive generally?

(13 Posts)
DemelzaGee Wed 12-Apr-17 13:09:12

I need to more assertive, and have had a few situations recently that have made me very aware of that fact. I have looked around locally for assertiveness courses and can't find anything, so thought I'd post the scenarios that have happened to me recently and ask how you would have handled them so I can hopefully pick up some tips, also if anyone can recommend any good assertiveness books or websites I'd really appreciate it.

First situation: I was in a shop and went into a corner to look at a rail of clothes that was right near the windows. Behind where I was standing there was another display. A man in a wheelchair came up beside me and blocked me in so I had the rail to my front, the window to my right, the display behind me and his wheelchair to my left and was stuck. He looked at the same rail as me and after a few minutes I said very politely and kindly "Would you mind just moving back a few inches so that I can squeeze out of here please?", and he said gruffly "I'll move when I've finished". He didn't finish for 10 minutes and then moved his wheelchair back relatively effortlessly and easily, it look less than a second for him to move back the few inches I needed him to move so I could get out! During the 10 minutes I asked him again twice to move and he again refused. His wife was standing next to him and just smiled apologetically at me, but didn't ask him to move!

Second situation: A couple of weeks ago a friend, whose son is my son's friend at school, invited DS and I round to her house on a Saturday so the boys could play and we could have a catch up. I arrived at her house on the day that I'd been invited round to find that her husband was there and I was told to drop DS off as my friend had decided to go shopping with another friend and so there would be no catch up! She didn't even have the decency to text or phone me to let me know, and just let me turn up there thinking we'd made plans. However I lamely accepted it and duly did as I was told and didn't tackle my friend as I'm a bit scared of the fall out....

Last scenario is DH constantly talking to me like he's in charge of me and telling me what to do and also always getting annoyed if I won't do as he says. We run a business together and we were in a shop a few days ago and I got a waited-for email on my phone from a client. I stood there for 30 seconds and typed a reply to the client, and DH started ordering me around saying "NO, LEAVE IT NOW, DO IT LATER" (we were only browsing in a shop, I wasn't needed by DH for the time it took me!). When I said "No it's ok I'll just do it now" he stormed off and said I had an attitude problem. He always expects me to do as he says and gets cross when I don't. He does nothing in the house and yet moans at me when things are messy or don't get done because I've been working. When I try to tackle it with him I'm apparently causing an argument or have an attitude problem!

How can I be more assertive? Please help!!

Shoxfordian Wed 12-Apr-17 13:19:09

For the first one, I think the man was very rude. I don't know what more you could have done other than say again, please can you move so I can leave and maybe moving towards him slightly so he pushed back but v difficult

Second one, you could text her and say you'd been looking forward to catching up. Ask to reschedule. No need to be overly confrontational as I'm sure she knows she was rude.

Third one, you have a husband problem, not an assertiveness problem. Solution? I think you know what to do

Thinkingblonde Wed 12-Apr-17 13:28:50

No 3 is your biggest problem. Next time he moans about the house being messy show him where the hoover is.
Tell him that you don't appreciate being treated like a child and the only one with an attitude problem is him.
It is hard at first being more assertive...the first time I stopped being a doormat and told someone to leave my house no one was more surprised than me when he actually did it.
The first time I refused to lend someone some money... she never asked again.

Happybunny19 Wed 12-Apr-17 13:34:56

Is your self confidence suffering because of your husband's behaviour towards you? I would imagine if I were treated like that by my OH regularly i would feel pretty low and lack much confidence to be assertive too. I think your husband's bullying you and you feel unable to stick up for yourself.

How is your relationship in general? Has he always behaved like this with you? I wonder if you're able to stop working together, as he clearly considers himself ​the boss. I would look for alternative employment in your position.

The man in the shop was clearly a rude, obnoxious git, whose wife is well used to looking embarrassed about, nothing you did wrong there (although i would likely have told him exactly that to his face after waiting ten minutes). The other mother was also rude and i would make a comment next time she suggests similar "oh are you actually going to be there this time?".

Racmactac Wed 12-Apr-17 13:35:17

Wow the man in the wheelchair was rude. I think I would have said very loudly no I need to go please move NOW. If he still refused I would have told him and wife that unless he moved smarting I would wheel him out the way. And then done just that.

Just text your friend and say I was looking forward to catch up why didn't you let me know you'd made other plans.

Third one well your dh sounds like a knob. If tell him quite clearly to stop telling me what to do I am not a child.

I had a strop at dh last night because he is messy and I came home from work and had to tidy up. Told him very clearly I am not the bloody skivy tidy up after yourself because the children follow your example. He said sorry I know your right and tidied up. You have to put your foot down or you will get walked over.

Say it like you mean it, the man with the wheelchair - it's not an option to move - he has to do it, speak loudly and decisively. Practice in mirror

DemelzaGee Wed 12-Apr-17 13:51:17

I do feel quite bullied by DH if I'm honest. He hasn't always been like it, it's happened in the past 8 years since our youngest child arrived.

My dad is the same with my mum and my mum has lost all power and control over her life and is terrified of upsetting him. I don't want to end up like that

Happybunny19 Wed 12-Apr-17 13:59:00

Your first step towards assertiveness needs to be standing up to "D"H. Are you able to get a job away from him? Working with a spouse has got to be difficult in normal, happy circumstances, but you can't keep working for a bully who follows you home to bully you there too.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 12-Apr-17 15:40:16

Unfortunately abusers often show their true colours when DC come onto the scene.
Can I suggest you contact Womens Aid and enrol to do their Freedom Programme.
It will help with your self-esteem.
Spotting red flags and setting some boundaries for yourself.
I think it will be a real eye opener in understanding that your DH is abusive towards you.
You know no different as you grew up with it.
Take that first step - call Womens Aid.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 12-Apr-17 15:41:32

And if the rude guy in the wheelchair had done that to me after I asked nicely for him to move, I would have bloody well moved him myself!

Joysmum Wed 12-Apr-17 15:50:01

Wheelchair man was ride and there was no avoiding other than to wait. I'd have said I need to get out NOW, and if he had t moved second time of asking I'd have got in his space and blocked him from seeing what he wanted to with a remark to the wife that being in a wheelchair doesn't give him a

Joysmum Wed 12-Apr-17 15:52:08

...free pass to be an arsehole.

I'd have texted the friend saying I was disappointed she'd forgotten our arrangement and to let me know when she wants to reschedule.

Dh would have got a 'I beg your pardon?' along with the look.

happypoobum Wed 12-Apr-17 15:53:03

I suspect that number three is affecting your overall self esteem and leaving you feeling unable to assert yourself in normal situations.

I agree the man in the wheelchair was very rude - I would have got louder and louder and called for someone in the shop to help me if he wouldn't move. I had to do that on a bus once when a very large man had sat next to me and refused to move to allow me to get off.

Second one is a bit rude but I wouldn't be overly worried, she may have forgotten exactly what was arranged.

DH sounds like a wankbadger. What are you going to do about him?

handslikecowstits Wed 12-Apr-17 15:58:30

In the short term, this book might prove useful: www.amazon.co.uk/Woman-Your-Own-Right-Assertiveness/dp/070437269X/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=PEAGBK7WA9F91CDV5KDB&tag=mumsnetforum-21 It's the updated version.

In the longer term, it seems as though you've swapped your husband for your father. Some therapy might be useful as unless things do change you will end up like your mother.

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