mizarchivist: (Glam at 40)
[personal profile] mizarchivist
Today's session (ref to session 1 and session 2 here) focused on improving assertiveness.

Types of communication-
Passive: deny your rights while respecting rights of others
Assertive: stand up for yourself while respecting others
Aggressive: stand up for yourself while denying rights of others
Whether aggressive or passive, there are a lot of pitfalls that keep us from actually saying what needs to be said.

What trips us up while we are trying to talk

  • get upset (brain shuts off, fight/flight/triggers)

  • minimize importance of what we are thinking or feeling (can't accurately judge our own needs or advocate for them)

  • straight up not know how we are feeling (same as above)

When someone is talking to us do we

  • have words and body language not match (glaring, but not angry - or, claim nothing is wrong but tone and body language indicate that's not true)

  • sarcasm  (easy for listener to feel like the situation is getting combative)

  • joking (easy for the listener to feel that their feelings aren't important)

When someone is talking, how often do we not hear beause we

  • rehearse what we are going to say (too busy waiting to talk, you aren't attending to what's actually said)

  • judge what is being said (getting caught up in judging, you miss the nuance and point of view trying to be conveyed)

  • problem-solve/fix (even if it's not requested/wanted/appropriate)

  • lose focus/day dream/check out

  • change the topic (humor/arguments to avoid a hard thing)

  • placate (end the pain, defer your needs in order to come to a resolution and be "nice")

When we are trying to listen, are we

  • filtering (not listening to all the words)

  • looking for a hidden meaning

At the end of it, all these pitfalls keep us from speaking assertively.

Tips on how to have helpful communication

  • avoid judgement words (that's dumb)

  • avoid "you" messages (why are you yelling at me?)

  • stick to the problem at hand, not dredging up old history (Just like last summer when you...)

  • leave body language open

  • be calm (easier to fully listen and absorb the informatin)

  • be organized (what do you really want to convey)

  • be clear (avoid vague and global statements. Actual examples)

  • ask for feedback (are you being heard/did you hear them)

Framework for assertive communication

  • Describe the situation and stick to observable behaviors

  • use "I" statements instead of "you" statements

  • Concisely say what you want (the other person to do)

  • avoid being mousy or bullish (overly passive/assertive)- be open.

So what does this mean for me?
I am dealing with some bone-deep default settings that swing me into passive land. It never occured to me to question this as a problem or something that needed evaluation. It's how I've always been, as far as I know.  So, on a good day, I will think to check in and not assume things, but when I'm having a bad day and feeling insecure, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, it's easy for me to fall into traps: Don't be a nuisance; If someone's engrossed, they don't want to be bothered; Carry all that emotional labor and then some.  It was hard to come to the realization I was sabotaging myself (oh look: making judgements about my sense of self rather than seeing it as revising skills...) I am getting over that initial reaction. Bring on the skills!


  • stop being afraid of others' potential anger or disapproval and find out what's really going on.

  • be fully present when listening to someone (I will rehearse, judge, problem-solve, or placate pretty easily)

  • advocate for myself if I feel like I'm not being heard

  • do not deny my own needs for so long I go into crisis and can no longer talk effectively.

Self care is awesome!!
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