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Assertiveness

Posted by missophelia , 24 March 2010 · 45 views

I am not assertive. I probably couldnít assert myself to save my life. Just the thought of it makes me anxious.

One of the biggest problems I have with my mother is being able to stick up for myself. When she starts berating me, Iím more like a dog with its tail between its legs. I feel like a weakling to admit that Iíd rather run and hide, then confront my mother.

I have that problem with others, too, but with my mother, it is the worst. I donít know what it is about her, about the way she is and the way she talks, that makes me feel so panicky.

I know that her molesting me when I was 10 had something to do with it. Repeatedly I asked her to stop. She didnít, not until I had asked her many times. But then, to walk away and ignore me?

I felt rejected. I felt like I wasnít the little girl she wanted. Over time I felt like I would never be the daughter she wanted. But thereís more.

When it happened, I spoke up. I didnít stay silent. I kept asking her to stop. And when she did, her reaction was to reject me.

Dr H thinks that my lack of assertiveness, my fear of confrontation, stems from that. How she reacted when I tried to stand up for myself then, is what Dr H thinks I fear will happen if I stand up for myself now. And not just with my mother, but with everyone.

I donít know if my mother would reject me now if I stood up to her. If I want to be honest, I think itís very possible that she would.

I wonder if working on how to stand up to my mother will help me be able to stand up to others. Since she is the one I have to deal with right now, Dr H thinks she is the one I should start with.

But why is it so hard?

Every time I think about being assertive with her, all I can see is her face. That look she gets on her face, when something Iíve said or done doesnít meet her approval. Or when, in her opinion, the way she sees it is the only way it should be.

Things were much easier for me when I cut her out of my life. I didnít worry about what she would think. I didnít get that feeling in my stomach when I was going to see her. But now I know I was only running from the problem. And it didnít make anything any easier for me now. In fact, it might have made things worse, because over time everythingís built up to now.

So, Iím supposed to imagine a typical conversation with her, and how I would handle it once she starts in on me. What kinds of things Iíd say, and what she would say in return. And then, how I would assert myself to stop her behavior.

Cut her off by telling her I was through talking about it (whatever it is). That I wasnít going to talk about it anymore. That I donít want to hear what she has to say. Or change the subject, and not let her go back to whatever it was. Say it doesnít feel right to talk about it.

Or, these Dr H suggested. Tell her to leave my house. Or just hang up the phone on her. Yeah, right.

I canít imagine telling her I donít want to talk about it anymore, let alone tell her to leave my house. How do I do any of that?

Like I said, just thinking about standing up to her makes me anxious. I have run the options through my mind many times. I have tried to imagine what she would say in return.

Sheíd give me the ďOh, (my name)Ē, or sheíd say I was being ridiculous. Or, the one sheís best at--when her back is in the corner, she likes to bring up things from my past, things Iíve done that I shouldnít have, or that I didnít do right. And remind me of them, over and over.

Sheís really good at ridiculing me, or repeatedly telling me the things Iíve done wrong in my life. At several different points in my life, I have said to myself that I would never tell her anything again. I kept a relationship with her, but kept all of my conversation ďsurfaceĒ. Nothing personal or important.

I thought it was a way to safeguard myself, and to keep the anxiety away. But I still got anxious. Just thinking about seeing her or talking to her can make me very anxious.

I know Iíve written briefly about this before, but itís been on my mind all day, and I think maybe I need to keep writing about it. Maybe if I keep thinking about how to stand up to her, and imagining the conversation, it will become easier to actually do. And maybe after I do it once or twice, it will be a lot easier.

I really need to try and stand up to her. Because the more I let her get to me and donít say anything for myself, the more problems Iím going to have with anxiety, and feeling weak and powerless against her. I know I need to feel self confident and strong, and I canít get to feeling that if I keep having this problem with my mother. I also think that if I can work on standing up to her, and succeed, that it will help me be more assertive with others.

I just have to keep trying.



You are pushing yourself too hard. You are working on changing a behavior that has been going on for many years therefore it cannot change overnight. I know as I deal with the same kind of mother. The reason that your mother makes you so anxious is that at 10 years old she was the most important person in your life. It is suppose to be the strongest bond, mother and child. Mothers are suppose to protect and love unconditionally. Your mother betrayed you in the worst way ever. When you were being the bravest of 10 year olds and repeatedly asked and probably begged her to stop you were not doing what she wanted you to do so she rejected you. Therefore you became a child without a mother, a mother your deserved, a mother you were suppose to have. and a mother who treated you with love, respect and support. You lost all that when she molested you. This is horrendous. I suggest you begin slow such as small issues of boundries. Perhaps when she calls on the phone and says something that is critical or judgemental you could perhaps say " that is inappropriate mother and if you continue in this line I will end this conversation by hanging up". Be aware when you begin to set boundries even small ones others around you will change also and in ways you will not like. Just practice say no. Someone judges or critisizes you say no to it. It is their own opinion and really only those who truly care about and support you on your path in life deserves to give their opinions. Opinions are not facts. Others opinions may not be your opininions, Your opinions are the most important. You are being so hard on yourself. Baby steps are fine. Please take gentle care of yourself. I am here to listen my friend. I so relate to you pain. Blessings missophelia :hug: :hug: :hug:
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missophelia
Mar 25 2010 01:59 PM
bellachai

Thank you for your kind comments.

Maybe I am pushing myself too hard. I just hate feeling the way I do, where she is concerned. I know I won't be able to change myself overnight, but I'm looking at my options.

I know that everyone's opinion is not what I need to listen to, or follow. I know I need to do what I feel is right for me, even though others may disagree and sometimes be overbearing about their opinion.

I keep hearing that I'm too hard on myself. I think that you also feel that way, I should start trying to give myself a break. It's funny how I can give advice, or suggestions, and not put those to use for myself. Baby steps are fine, and I will try to make progress using them.

Thank you for your encouragement. You are indeed a friend, a good and caring friend.

:hug: :hug: to you, too

bellachai

Thank you for your kind comments.

Maybe I am pushing myself too hard. I just hate feeling the way I do, where she is concerned. I know I won't be able to change myself overnight, but I'm looking at my options.

I know that everyone's opinion is not what I need to listen to, or follow. I know I need to do what I feel is right for me, even though others may disagree and sometimes be overbearing about their opinion.

I keep hearing that I'm too hard on myself. I think that you also feel that way, I should start trying to give myself a break. It's funny how I can give advice, or suggestions, and not put those to use for myself. Baby steps are fine, and I will try to make progress using them.

Thank you for your encouragement. You are indeed a friend, a good and caring friend.

:hug: :hug: to you, too


What we know and what we actually believe deep under sometimes are two different things and reconcilling knowledge and belief is difficult. We seem to need more proof.

I read once that what we teach others is what we ourselves need to learn most ourselves. My therapist also told me once that by teaching others we learn ourselves. So it all good.

I so can relate I have same issues with my mother. Onward we go slowly maybe but persistantly.

Blessing to you missophelia :hug:
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missophelia
Mar 25 2010 03:10 PM
bellachai

Yes, onward we go. It may be slowly, but that is fine, because we can't afford to stop and stand still. Not our hearts, our minds, or our souls can afford to stop.

I think it's true that by teaching other we ourselves learn. It's so easy, for me, to give compassion and caring to you or others here, because that's how I am, and how I feel for everyone here. But it is so strange that I can't extend all of that to myself. I really need to learn by the things I say and do for others.

I'm sorry you have the same issues. It doesn't feel very good.

Peace to you, my friend. :hug: :hug:

bellachai

Yes, onward we go. It may be slowly, but that is fine, because we can't afford to stop and stand still. Not our hearts, our minds, or our souls can afford to stop.

I think it's true that by teaching other we ourselves learn. It's so easy, for me, to give compassion and caring to you or others here, because that's how I am, and how I feel for everyone here. But it is so strange that I can't extend all of that to myself. I really need to learn by the things I say and do for others.

I'm sorry you have the same issues. It doesn't feel very good.

Peace to you, my friend. :hug: :hug:


Well we can learn from each other and that is a good thing. All I can say is me too and ditto.

blessings to you my friend :hug: :hug:
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missophelia
Mar 25 2010 05:06 PM
bellachai

Thanks

I'm glad we have each other.

:hug: :hug: :hug:

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