I need to learn to be more assertive

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by KFld, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. KFld

    KFld New Member

    The topic of my counseling session last night ended in my needing to learn to be more assertive and stop worrying about everyone elses feelings. I'm also supposed to figure out before next Thursday where this came from. Why do I let people walk all over me and say whatever they want and I am so afraid to open my mouth?? My counselor pointed out to me that I wasn't born this way. Something in my life has caused this, but I have been like this for as long as I can remember. Confrontation and saying how I feel makes me a huge ball of anxiety. I bite my tongue all the time and then totally regret it afterwards. Even my husband, after all he has done to me, there are so many things I want to say to him, but I'm afraid to hurt his feelings????????

    Take this morning, he comes in before I leave for work and he starts putting pressure on me to answer things I don't even have answers to yet. He wants to know how I'm feeling about what is going on and if I have any intention on ever working on our marriage? I should have said, at this point no, but this move is what I need to do to figure out if I'm ever going to want to. I didn't say that though. Instead I said, I haven't even gotten as far as thinking about that yet, because to be honest would cause confrontation. To give him a direct answer and say right now, no, I'm working on myself right now and whether I'm ever going to be interested in saving our marriage in the future isn't even one of my priorites right now.

    I have to learn to do this because all this does is give him false hope. I have to be honest with my feelings. I don't think I'm in love with him anymore and I don't think I have been for a long time, and maybe if I had been honest with him about this years ago, we could have dealt with it a long time ago.

    I am going to call him tonight and be honest with him and tell him, no, I'm not concentrating on saving our marriage right now, I'm concentrating on me and nobody else. I can't worry about how this will make him feel. I know I will feel better afterwards and that is what has to matter to me right now.

    Anyone else out there have this problem.
     
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Karen, you could be describing me.
    I have been a confrontation avoider for as long as I can remember.

    Strangely, it doesn't crop up at work...there I am able to assert myself and speak my mind, without feeling anxious about it. And it doesn't happen with my children, either.

    It seems to crop up only in personal relationships. Boyfriends when I was younger, my ex-H, even my darling SO (although he knows I do this and will ask me, "Is that a 'Trinity nothing', or a 'nothing nothing'?" when I say nothing's wrong)

    I'm not sure what's at the root of it either, and it's something that I'm about to address with my therapist. If I gain any insights, I will let you know.


    Don't be so hard on yourself, though. You have a lot on your plate right now, getting ready to move into your new place, thinking about your future, and everything else that's going on. It's no surprise that you don't want to add a big confrontation into the mix.

    All the best,
    Trinity
     
  3. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: KFld</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

    I have to learn to do this because all this does is give him false hope. I have to be honest with my feelings. </div></div>

    :rofl:

    Kiddo, you're still doing it. You're not supposed to be thinking about giving HIM false hope right now. You're supposed to be putting "Karen" first. Do yourself a favor. Do something for you that is impulsive. I'm not sure what it should be, maybe take yourself to a fancy restaurant, call your BFF Jill and get a massage & pedicure, buy that painting that you want to hang in your townhouse, walk out of work declaring that you are taking "sanity" time and go eat things that are bad for you, you get the picture. But: it has to be purely for YOUR enjoyment. Put yourself first.

    in my humble opinion, you're not ready to answer the question. Until you have practice putting yourself first, you should answer his question clearly, concisely and without anxiety.

    "I'm not ready to answer that question". If he argues, repeat yourself. "I'm not ready to answer that question". Then he'll most likely say something that will be incitefully stupid like "well, I'm not going to wait around forever". And you advise him that that's up to him.

    Make it clear that you're not ready to answer that question. Don't let him draw you in.

    Keep digging deep to find out your motivation for not wanting to upset the apple cart. And DO NOT let him take you away from that persuit.

    You're a great, intelligent individual. Don't live your life for everyone else because they wouldn't do the same for you.

    I hope I didn't offend!

    Happy weekend!
    Beth
     
  4. saving grace

    saving grace New Member

    Yes Karen in a way I do, I only have trouble with it with certain people. I dont know why but with some people I can say what I feel and with others I cant. I havent seen my half sisters in over a since difficult child moved out of her house. There was a huge argument, one that had been brewing inside of me for as long as I can remember, I could never say what I thought with her. I then told them that I cant see or talk to them until I can figure out what is going on with me and my life and I only had enough energy for me and for difficult child at the time. I have felt so much better. I can honestly say I havet spent much time trying to figure it out, but I dont really miss them at this point. We have communicated briefly over email and thats about it.

    I think its great that your trying to work on you right now. Tell H that its not personal that your answer is not about him personally. That this is happening to you and that you need to figure it out before you can figure out him.

    Grace
     
  5. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I was this way in my first marriage. I was always worried about everyone elses feelings and didn't take care of my own.

    I've learned to be upfront now. I finally figured out it was better for everyone if I just spoke up.

    Now, if my husband hurts my feelings, he knows it. In the past, I would just start building a wall between me and whomever and not speak. My relationship with my ex just got worse. If I had troubles with friends, we eventually stopped wpeaking, because I just couldn't bring myself to talk about whatever bothered me.

    Some of it was me protecting my pride. I didn't want to be vulnerable to anyone else. Some of it was me avoiding confrontation.

    I have a very good relationship with my husband because I talk. I'm still working on getting him to speak up when he has a problem, but at least on my end, I'm open.

    Take care of yourself, be honest with him and then move forward. Continue to take care of yourself, you will be happy with your life again. (((hugs)))
     
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    It has always been difficult for me to find a balance between being honest and trying not to hurt other's feelings by caring for my own. I am not sure I entirely agree that 'some' thing happened to you to 'make' you this way. If it's via nurturing that we end up any which way, I think it's a life long process - it has been for me. I received very mixed messages from my parents, extended family and authoritive figures, such as teachers, growing up (as I'm sure you have). On the one hand I was told I could be anything I wanted and that I should always look out for #1 (me). But through actions and expectations of others in my life along the way, I was taught to always be thinking of others' needs first, put my own feelings last and, for me, that translated into me deferring to others all the time, being taken advantage of, not thinking I deserved better, coming last, etc.

    It took a long time for me to figure out that I can be true to myself, take care of myself and nurture myself without hurting others. It's okay to say "no" and it's okay to tell people, "you know, this really isn't working for me and we either need to find a way to make it work or I need to step away from this situation". KNOWING that you need to preserve yourself and actually doing it are two different things. I've back slided many times over the course of my life, with H, exh, my dds, sister, mother, etc. But I think we keep learning and each time we grow from being able to say "no" and taking care of our own needs first.

    A good example is the stuff I'm going through right now with my difficult child. In order to preserve myself I have to tell her "no, you can't come home yet" and although there is a part of saying no that breaks my heart (she is my daughter!), I know that I have to do this for myself. I know that I am getting more from this break than she will. I know that I need to be kind to myself and figure out a few things for me, for H even...and difficult child has to take a back seat presently.

    That's what you have to do with your H. He needs to take a back seat while you figure out what's right for you, what you need right now. You need to nurture yourself over anyone else at this point and it's HEALTHY to care for yourself above all before you can even beging to care for anyone else. By being honest with your H about where you stand and how you feel may seem cruel or hurtful, but it isn't. It presents him with an opportunity to grow as well and learn from this. It frees you to focus more on your own needs and perhaps, he can focus on his in a healthier fashion than he has in the past.

    Sending many gentle hugs - hoping for the best. Be good to yourself.
     
  7. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: nvts</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: KFld</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

    I have to learn to do this because all this does is give him false hope. I have to be honest with my feelings. </div></div>

    :rofl:

    Kiddo, you're still doing it. You're not supposed to be thinking about giving HIM false hope right now. You're supposed to be putting "Karen" first. Do yourself a favor. Do something for you that is impulsive. I'm not sure what it should be, maybe take yourself to a fancy restaurant, call your BFF Jill and get a massage & pedicure, buy that painting that you want to hang in your townhouse, walk out of work declaring that you are taking "sanity" time and go eat things that are bad for you, you get the picture. But: it has to be purely for YOUR enjoyment. Put yourself first.

    in my humble opinion, you're not ready to answer the question. Until you have practice putting yourself first, you should answer his question clearly, concisely and without anxiety.

    "I'm not ready to answer that question". If he argues, repeat yourself. "I'm not ready to answer that question". Then he'll most likely say something that will be incitefully stupid like "well, I'm not going to wait around forever". And you advise him that that's up to him.

    Make it clear that you're not ready to answer that question. Don't let him draw you in.

    Keep digging deep to find out your motivation for not wanting to upset the apple cart. And DO NOT let him take you away from that persuit.

    You're a great, intelligent individual. Don't live your life for everyone else because they wouldn't do the same for you.

    I hope I didn't offend!

    Happy weekend!
    Beth

    </div></div>


    Yep, yep, yep. The fact that you said you were worried about giving him false hope was what jumped right out at me too. NVTS is right.......this is KAREN time right now. You have to think about what's right for YOU and not worry about him right now. HE'S the one who started this whole thing and if he can't see or accept that, then that's his problem. Yes, there is quite the history between the two of you and yes, I'm sure there are still feelings on your part but the whole point of this separation is to give you time to decide what you want. Don't let anyone push you to make a decision before you are ready or push you to do what you don't want.
     
  8. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Thanks everybody.
    By the way mstang and nvts, I've taken the first step and admitted I have a problem, now my next step is working on it. Kind of like AA huh? :smile:
     
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh yeah, I am a BIG pleaser personality. I am not sure if anything happened to make me that way, or if it is just that when the people around me are happy, I am happy. It should not start with someone else though. I know that. But, I still do not practice it.

    Tonight I have to tell boyfriend something he said to me was offensive. It happened a week ago. I always take some time before I talk about this type of thing. Sometimes I never say anything ever.

    I also am not the type to build that wall though either. I let things roll probably too much. But, this one thing really got me thinking. And I have to mention it.

    Anyway, you have every right to take your time and you should not feel worried about his feelings. He sure was not worried about yours feelings while he was out with some other woman as your mom was dying. Was he?
    Just tell him to back off and give you space and time. You have not decided anything at this point and you are only working on Karen at the moment.
    Done.

    I know - easier said than done when you are a pleaser.

    HUGS!
     
  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey! Mstng! Congrats on your 1000th post!

    :smile:
     
  11. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Karen,
    I am like that too--I hate confrontation, makes me feel very anxious inside. I think mine might come from having a very authoritarian father (I am always nervous and scared around authority figures like bosses) and also he was embarrassing. He would deliberately seem to pick fights with people--like at stores he would get offended if the clerk asked him for his driver's license (instead of asking for "identification") and make a big deal of it. Once our family was at a restaurant with a diner and nearly got kicked out because my dad unplugged the jukebox (he didn't like the music playing). So, I am acutely aware of when people are acting like idiots and feel responsible for them doing so!

    I think you are doing a great job--you are working on you!

    Jane
     
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    K,

    Ask your therapist if she is able to perform EMDR therapy or recommend someone for it. I think you would benefit greatly from it's advantages especially since you are finding out there are many layers to Karen. (this is good EMDR speeds things up)

    I loved the EMDR sessions I had. It differs from CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) in the fact that you are put into a trance state and taught HOW to cope with things in an internal way. I have used the techniques to find car keys, figure out WHY I was a door mat etc.

    Most people I have found in life are not confrontational because it is easier to stick your head in the sand than face the sand storm. (no offense to anyone) I used to be the same way. But it really IS NOT easier because eventually there are issues you HAVE to deal with and sometimes years of hostility, aggrivation, resentment, worry and loathe go into the unconscious part of your brain. The feelings get stored and only are present when that particular subject is brought up. Then when it does? It's usually KABOOM. And then the person you :kaboom: on doesn't understand what in your world is going on and then you get labled (take your pick crazy, high strung, witchy with a b, koo koo) and all it would have really taken is for you to say what you mean and mean what you say.

    It will come with time. You really can't learn to stand up for yourself over night. It's a series of therapy lessons. Wait till you get to the one where you have conversations with the positive you and complimentary you - the you YOU is the negative nelly. It's a scream. But very VERY insightful.

    Hugs - and don't tell him what you think now - really. Just say "Right now, I'm concentrating on becoming a better me and if that leads me back to you and our marriage - so be it, if it leads me other directions so be that, but if we're EVER to work on US we both have to be the best individuals we can be - if you are serious about reunification of our marriage maybe you should be working on finding the best YOU and we'll meet in the middle when we can."

    If he balks that then put your forearm across your forehead and say "FRANKLY RHETT I DON"T GIVE SLAM." :whew:
     
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Karen, count me in as another one. I do have my fair share of Aspie so sometimes I can rely on the "rules" instead of pelasing others. I learned how to do this years ago, but some days I am not so good at it.

    I do appreciate the post, it makes me think of what I need to work on, and what skills I want my kids to have. (The kids should please ME, not the other way around!!!)

    I know where lots of my roots lay, and that I found a lot of help in AL-Anon Adult Child literature and meetings (those Adult Child meetings more than reg alanon, but all of allanon was helpful, just to different degrees. I felt wierd going, but mostly because I am an Adult GrandChild - we don't exactly have separate meetings, just Adult Child ones in my area).

    I find a lot of different things help. They are pretty much unique to each of us.

    You will find what works for you. Remember, part of the deal is PICKING who you please, you can't please everyone at once.

    Oh, and Karen, YOU are a person who deserves pleasing also!!!

    Hugs,

    Susie
     
  14. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I did call him this afternoon and give him a little dose of honesty, because I felt I needed to do it for me.
    I told him that my first priority right now is not working on our marriage, and that my first priority right now is me and finding out what I want for the rest of my life. He wasn't really happy about it, but I told him, you asked me to be honest, so I'm being honest. I told him I owe it to myself to be honest. I also told him that I cannot even put a time frame on how long it is going to take me to figure out what I want and if he can't wait and moves on, that is the chance I will just have to take because I am going to make sure that I do not regret whatever decisions I make and I also never want to go through this again.

    He mentioned something about having to be totally honest with me in letting me know if it's going to take months then he probably won't be able to wait that long to start a new relationship and then he said something about everybody needing a relationship and that I'll probably need to have one soon myself. I said, a new relationship is the last thing on my mind right now. I can't even think of a new relationship until I fully deal with what happened with this one, and I will not bring any part of this into a new relationship.

    So I feel good. I was honest about what I need, and he was honest in saying he didn't know if he could wait. Now that I think of it, he didn't wait before, so why would he wait now!
     
  15. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    You are an amazing woman! I have to say, it's a typical tactic to try to "scare" you into giving a time frame. I love your outlook about him not waiting while you were together! :wink:

    You are going to be fine! I think just about everyone of us has tried to be people pleasers. Deep down it's probably rooted in some perceived insecurity. Name it: big nose, over-weight, large bust, parents/family with drug/alcohol problems, aggressive/abusive relationships. Lack of self-esteem with a touch of pride!

    I sat in a meeting today and didn't want to harm the principals reputation in front of the regional office manager that showed up at the school during yet another difficult child 3 meltdown. I can't figure out why I cared considering this witch has put me through a living he** over the last year.2mos.

    Go figure! :rolleyes:

    Beth
     
  16. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: nvts</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hey! Mstng! Congrats on your 1000th post!

    :smile: </div></div>

    Holy Cow!!! Didn't know I've "talked" quite that much on here!
     
  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Good for you, Karen!

    And by the way, he was playing "dirty pool" by coming over when you were trying to get ready for work and pushing you for answers! Talk about putting you on the spot!

    I think that part of the problem is that we were all raised to be "nice" to everyone and to not say hurtful things or hurt others' feelings. I can look back at my upbringing and see how I was programmed to be a doormat from my very early childhood! They didn't necessarily do us a favor by teaching us to always be "nice"!
     
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Karen, you've said in past posts t hat you were raised in a way that taught you to keep the peace at all costs. A lifetime of this sort of indoctrination doesn't go away overnight.
    You also married early, so you didn't get independent time to develop your own sense of self; it's always been tied up with someone else's needs.

    For me, I was a timid mouse, scared of confrontation to the point where I had to write a letter to my uni lecturer complaining about a change in marking tactics, when most students would have simply walked up to the guy. I was always terrified of bursting into tears in front of someone like that. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is the same at the moment. has been for years.

    I grew. It took time, I was in a job where I was bullied by a number of co-workers and had to find my own way of coping. I learnt to stand up for myself and learnt to value what I was doing. I took a self-esteem course and my friend finally said, "If you get any more self-esteem, I'm leaving town!"

    That said, I know I can now be tough when I feel I need to be. I no longer respond to bullying tactics by shrinking away, now I fight back by taking action. If some people consider me to be becoming the bully, in my response to bullying - it is a sometime response when reason fails, it is not something I do simply to acquire personal power at someone else's expense. While I continue to try to be a peacemaker, I will no longer put up with injustice - it's a red rag to a bull, for me.

    This took time, for me to develop this. It took a lot of fear to be overcome but each tiny victory made me feel stronger and more capable of climbing the highest mountain.

    I think your husband turning up to nag at you NOW - he wants to know where he stands so he can go out and pick someone up with a clear conscience (unlike feeling like he has to sneak around). His comment apparently encouraging you to find yourself someone new - it's his way of giving himself permission to do likewise. "Well, SHE's gone and got herself a boyfriend!" He was also fishing... he probably still can't accept that there is nobody else. For him it's always been all about sex, and getting as much of it when he can. Of course, he translates that into "attention to my needs" but for him, what else is there in a relationship? Companionship, nurturing, TLC - it all boils down to sex.

    He was wanting answers and a way to feel comfortable with himself for looking around. He's probably getting antsy. How long has it been? (allegedly). A guy can only go without for so long. And somewhere in there, he wants to enjoy his escapades without feeling guilty about you.

    Basically, he's wanting your permission. He'll do it anyway, he always has, but this time a bit of permission would let him enjoy himself a lot more, he's been made to feel very guilty lately and it's cramping his style.

    Again, it boils down to what HE wants.

    So why can't you find a way to determine what YOU want? And go get it, without feeling guilty?

    Marg
     
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Karen,

    GOOD FOR YOU! I had to chuckle to myself (as if it were no mystery) when he said "well if you don't do X I'm going to do...SOMEONE." Would have given a dollar to see the look on your face to that one. It's certainly not taking you the same length of time to see the forest for the tree anymore. Good on ya.

    -Yes.....patterns rarely change in people who don't think the problem lies with them.
     
  20. KFld

    KFld New Member

    My bff Jill wanted to ask him the other day if he should go for a catscan or something because she thinks maybe he has a brain tumor :hammer:

    He stopped by to see her and as he's telling her how he wants nothing more then to save our marriage and hopes someday I can forgive him, and then starts asking her if she see's this girl Judy who lives down the street from her ever and if she does to let her know he's seperated!!!! This is a girl who he went to school with and he knows she's divorced. This is so difficult for me because she tells me these things that I want to confront him about, but I can't because then he'll know she's telling me everything he tells her. He also told her about something that happened around 5 years ago while I was in Maryland with the kids. Apparentley he met some girl in a bar and she gave him oral sex. Jill said she couldn't believe he was telling her these things, but he in the same breath keeps saying this affair was the first time anything like this has ever happened and then asking about the girl down the street. Jill is usually very good at comebacks and setting people straight when they contradict themselves, but she said most of the time he just leaves her speechless.

    I will eventually find a way to bring all of these things to his attention, without letting him know where I heard it from. I guess the important this is that I know and it makes my decision to move out even easier.

    I know this sounds like highschool stuff, and perhaps Jill should stop letting him confide in her, but I think I would be missing a lot of what he's really doing if he stopped. Are guys that dumb? Sorry... hope I didn't offend anyone, but really, I think he really believes she isn't telling me any of these things.
     
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