There are many assertive communication skills that help reduce codependency. If you aren’t assertive, over time this can lead to a lot of stress, anger and resentment. There are four types of assertions that you can use.
Being Assertive Versus Aggressive
Being Non-Assertive violates your own rights by failing
to express your feelings, thoughts and beliefs honestly and directly. It gives the message that you are apologizing or uncertain about yourself.
When you are codependent, you often take care of others at the expense of yourself. The message is ”I don’t count” or “My feelings don’t matter”. The goal of being non-assertive is to appease or satisfy others and to avoid conflict at any cost.
When you are aggressive, you stand up for your own personal rights by violating the rights of others. This is not effective, since it breaks people down instead of helping them. It involves using criticism, sarcasm, gaslighting and condescension.
Using aggressive communication is often dishonest and ALWAYS violates the other person’s rights. The usual goal of aggression is domination and winning and forcing the other person to lose. The messahttps://mftherapy.com/dating-tips/what-is-gaslighting-and-how-to-identify-it/ge conveyed is “This is what I want and what you want is irrelevant and doesn’t matter”.
The purpose of being assertive is to promote a sense of worth in one’s self and in others and to know and express what you feel and believe. Using assertive communication skills allows you to express yourself without violating the rights of the other person.
It promotes mutual respect and caring. Assertive communication skills build self-esteem and self-respect. It keeps you from starting to feel stress and anxiety, anger and resentment. You might not always get one hundred percent of what you want, but you can feel good by not compromising yourself in the attempt.
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU LEAVE FEELING EMPTY OR ANGRY FOR NOT EXPRESSING HOW YOU FELT OR WHAT YOU THOUGHT?
Four Assertive Communication Skills
Basic Assertion refers to a simple expression of standing up for personal rights, beliefs, feelings, or opinions. It does not involve other social skills, such as empathy, confrontation or persuasion. It doesn’t involve expressing affection and appreciation towards other people.
Examples of basic assertions are:
When being interrupted: Excuse me, I’d like to finish what I’m saying.
When being asked an important question for which you are unprepared: I’d like to have a few minutes to think that over.
To return an item to the store: I’d like my money back on this saw.
To refuse a request: No, this afternoon is not a good time for me to visit with you.
How to tell a parent you don’t want advice: I don’t want any more advice.
Often people want to do more than simply express their feelings or needs. You might want to use these assertive communication skills to express affection and appreciation or convey some sensitivity to the other person. When this is the goal, the empathic assertion can be used. This type of assertion involves making a statement that conveys recognition of the other person’s situation or feelings and is followed by another statement which stands up for your own rights.
Here are some examples:
When two people are chatting loudly while a meeting is going on: You may not realize it, but your talking is starting to make it hard for me to hear what’s going on in the meeting. Would you keep it down?
When telling a parent that you don’t want advice: I know that you give me advice because you don’t want me to get hurt by mistakes I might make. At this point in my life, I need to learn how to make my own decisions and rely on myself, even if I do make mistakes. I appreciate the help you’ve given me in the past and you can help me now by not giving me advice.
This approach can benefit you by taking a moment to try to understand the other person’s feelings before you react. This can help you keep some perspective on the situation. It reduces the likelihood of you aggressively overreacting when irritated.
An Escalating assertion is one of the assertive communication skills that involves starting with a “minimal” assertive response that can usually accomplish your goal with a minimum of effort. This first level of assertion involves no negative emotion and has only a small possibility of negative consequences.
When the other person fails to respond to the minimal assertion and continues to violate your rights, you then gradually escalate the assertion, becoming increasingly firm. The escalating assertion can start as a request or a preference and escalate to a demand or an outright refusal. Here is an example that starts with an empathic assertion and escalates to a firm request.
You are in a bar with a woman friend, and a man repeatedly offers to buy you drinks.
First Level Minimal Assertion: That’s very nice of you to offer, but we came here to catch up on some news. Thanks anyway!
Second Level Escalated Assertion: No, thank you. We really would rather talk just to each other.
Third Escalation: This is the third and last time I am going to tell you that we don’t want your company. Please leave.
The Importance of Speaking Assertively
It is very important that you speak assertively when delivering these statements. This means using a calm, matter-of-fact tone of voice which simply gives information. That way, you won’t come off as threatening by speaking in a menacing tone, which relies on too much emotion to carry the argument.
Instead, you want to rely on facts and information. You can also simply give information about the consequences which will occur if the situation is not equitably resolved.
Confrontive Assertive Communication Skills
Confrontive assertion is used when the other person’s words contradict his deeds. Assertive communication skills can involve objectively describing what the other person said would be done, what the other actually did do, after which you express what you want. The entire assertion is said in a matter-of-fact, descriptive way, as follows:
I was supposed to be consulted before the final proposal was typed. But I see the secretary is typing it right now. Before he finishes it, I want to review the proposal and make whatever corrections I think are needed. In the future, I want to get a chance to review any proposals before they’re sent to the secretary.
I said it was O.K. to borrow my records as long as you checked with me first. Now you’re playing my classical records without asking. I’d like to know why you did that.
Assertive Versus Aggressive Confrontation
In contrast to an assertive confrontation, an aggressive confrontation involves judging other people-rather than describing their behavior. Aggression makes others feel guilty or ashamed.
For example, saying this in a highly emotional voice: Hey those are my records!! Evidently your word means absolutely nothing to you! Just for that I want my records right now and in the future you’re going to find them locked up. Then you’ll have to ask me first.
Remember, when using these assertive communication skills, if you stay matter of fact, calm, descriptive and informational, you can feel proud of how you handled yourself. Not only that, you will be modeling these skills for the other people around you. Your children, co-workers and friends can now learn by watching and listening to you! This is empowering and builds self-esteem.
Assertive communication skills are great for stress management. They have a much higher likelihood of promoting self respect, respect towards others, and understanding. It promotes caring and kindness towards yourself and others, rather than disrespect and shame.
If you would like to learn more about assertive communication skills and you think I can help, please feel free to reach out by phone 310-314-6933 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.