Updated: Aug 28, 2020
People with strong emotions are passionate and interesting. But they may also become very attached in emotional relationships and may have difficulty setting boundaries. This can lead to getting taken advantage of and having volatile emotional relationships.
Some people in emotional relationships will push your boundaries
You might feel like you are doing them a favour by letting them - but actually those people crave boundaries (like naughty children) and will treat you better if those boundaries are clear. Be consistent with your boundaries.
You have a fight or flight response to your own emotions and actions and not those of others.
Assertiveness skills means making your feelings and needs clear to another person. People are much more likely to respect us if we are assertive (which is not the same as being pushy or aggressive)
Actually assertiveness skills is helpful to other people too because clear communication helps people know and understand you in a way that indirect or passive-aggressive communication does not.
Start sentences with "I"
Speak plainly, use facts (not opinions), and
Tell people how you are feeling.
For example: "When you said XXX to me I felt very hurt"
Listen, Validate, Ask for a compromise, Suggest alternatives, Express yourself clearly in a neutral voice (not with anger or contempt). Listening and validating someone is the best way to make them feel that they are understood and that you are on their side.
Listening is an active process requiring full attention (stop thinking about what you're going to say next)
Keep asking questions until you are sure you understand the person
Repeat back what they've said to check you've understood
Validate the person's feeling ("I totally get that you are upset")
Don't mind-read - we are very bad at it (but we think we’re very good at it). Ask questions instead; Avoid the temptation to need to be right!
Saying NO! assertively
If we don't learn to say no because we want to please everyone we can end up getting burnt out. And then we're no use to anyone.
There are 2 steps to doing this effectively:
1. Validate the other person's need and
2. State your preference not to do it.
For example: “I know you want to go to the party together but I've had a rough day and I need to relax.”
If the person gets upset, remember: You have a fight or flight response to your own emotions and actions - not those of others.