Jean N/20pluscounts : Hello, sorry to keep you waiting. Are you available for a live chat?
Jean N/20pluscounts : Thank you for your post today. Establishing healthy expectations, boundaries, and assertiveness in relationships are skills one can learn. Like any skill it takes time to get good at it. It takes practice.
Jean N/20pluscounts : Are you referring to romantic relationships or relationships in general? That you are aware of the problem and challenges is an excellent start to getting better. The desire to change and that you are motivated will get you where you want to be.
Jean N/20pluscounts : What you described sounds passive. Assertiveness is speaking respectfully, XXXXX XXXXX win communication. Aggression is verbal, physical, forceful, and threatening communication. Passive aggressive is one appearing respectful but only later to "get back" and or manipulate others to get what they want- sort of behind the back, under the table.
Jean N/20pluscounts : I would ask you to think of someone you know or have seen that appears and speaks assertively. What does that person's body language look like? One who is more assertive tends to stand taller, chin up, and uses good eye contact. Much of being strong can start by appearing strong in our body language.
Jean N/20pluscounts : A big piece of being of assertive communication is acknowledging one's feelings, most effective is the use of "I" statements. "I feel concerned, frustrated, angry,(whatever the emotion may be), when...and I want..." It's owning our emotions lessening the chance the person will become defensive.
Jean N/20pluscounts : Often times we are passive because we want to avoid conflict, keep the peace, don't rock the boat. Being passive may seem to work, but one tends to repress their feelings and thoughts to avoid conflict, and it builds up into lots of resentment, animosity etc. The use of "I feel", vs. "you are a jerk and YOU make me mad" can be huge. When we say "you" we are pointing a finger and the other person tends to immediately take on a defensive stance because they feel attacked.
Jean N/20pluscounts : Once you identify your feelings, the next step is to state the facts, explaining what exactly has happened to make you feel as you do. Finally asking the person to "buy in" with statements such as "what do you think, I want to hear from you, how does that sound.." The person feels invited/welcomed into the discussion.
Jean N/20pluscounts : Another way to encourage production communication is to listen. Active listening involves comments such as "I hear you saying...is that right?". Validation, validation, validation of one's thoughts and feelings is really important. When someone feels listened to, that what they have to say is important, they are more apt to return that.
Jean N/20pluscounts : Validation feels loving and supportive; that my feelings and opinions matter.
Jean N/20pluscounts : Boundaries are essential to a healthy relationship and healthy life. Setting boundaries is a skill, that takes practice. It's a skill many of us don't learn. Part of healthy boundaries is knowing and understanding what your limits are. Give yourself permission to put yourself first, that YOU matter. Identifying and honoring your feelings- listen to self, trust your "gut". When we care for our self we are much better able to care for others. We have to fill our self up in order to be healthy in a relationship.
Jean N/20pluscounts : One factor that maintains one to be passive is wanting to avoid conflict and to "please" others. When men are assertive they are strong, when women are assertive they may get tagged as a "b". A couple books to consider: "Women Who Try too Hard: Breaking the Pleaser Habits", by Kevin Leman and "Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships", by Robert Alberti. Your library may have them, or can search on line for them- such as on Amazon.
Jean N/20pluscounts : It is a skill, and with learning anything new it takes time and practice, practice, practice. Sorry I missed you on line. Let me know if you have other comments or questions. Thanks again for your post!