ERP 053: How To Build Emotional Assertiveness In Relationship

By Posted in - Podcast February 14th, 2016 0 Comments

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Listener’s question:

“I know that walking on eggshells is a bad thing.  Because whether or not you are doing it, the issue will come up eventually, and if put off it will only be more dramatic later.  I’ve always been such an assertive person, but lately, with my girlfriend, I’ve not been emotionally assertive.  That frustrates my girlfriend and it makes me shame myself.  So a couple of things, I know that I need to not shame myself, and I don’t want to be emotionally unassertive.

Like I make too many assumptions about how she ‘might’ react to something.  Avoid

Then I get caught in this terrible spiral.  I don’t want to burden her with my problems, so I’m walking on eggshells, and then when I finally do tell her, another issue has arisen because I have not been good about being clear with what I need and want.

Like this has happened a few other times in the past when I am upset by something she’s done but have not addressed the issue right away, tried to take off some of the pressure and heat from the situation by sitting on the feeling for a few days.

I don’t know why I do this and I don’t want to do it.  And then I realize that in my fear of bothering her and in my head thinking she won’t want to be with me, I exacerbate the situation even more and it feeds into itself . Which sucks.

My main question for you is, do you have any tips for how I can let my gf know that I am assertive, emotionally and otherwise, and how I can stop myself from shaming myself for having needs? “

Initial Thoughts:

    • Emphasizing Your Best Parts – In dating, it is common to want to show the best parts of yourself. However, if you are too preoccupied with saying and doing the right thing, you run the risk of hiding and concealing who you really are in relationship. If this continues, you don’t have the opportunity to build a solid foundation for an authentic relationship.
    • photo-1452475168325-672188dc4dc3Men Revealing Emotional Needs – When it comes to revealing emotions, men sometimes have a little more difficult time sharing their inner world. Stereotypically, men are taught to be strong and independent. Therefore, it can be a little uncomfortable and unfamiliar for men to discuss their emotional needs and desires proactively.
    • Relationship Model – Thinking about who you want to be in relationship and what you want your relationship to be like can be a helpful. If you know you want to have open communication in your relationship, than you will be more motivated to broach a topic with your partner.
    • Interdependence – Relationships involve some level of reciprocity. “The healthiest way we can interact with those close to us is by being truly interdependent. This is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values.” ~ Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
    • Feeling Worthy – Being in relationship involves receiving, as well as giving. Do you feel worthy of receiving your partners love?
    • Couples holding hands sunlightBeing Seen – Having needs and preferences, allows your partner to know you and experience you. Also, expressing your desires with your partner gives you an opportunity to see how they will show up.
    • Giving Yourself A Chance – Not sharing with your partner out of fear of rejection is like rejecting yourself before your partner has a chance to reject you. Believe me, I understand how scary and vulnerable it is to share what is honest and real, especially when you don’t know how it will be received. However, I imagine you ultimately want to be in a relationship where you are loved….not for being perfect, but for being you.

Tips:

1. Awareness: be clear about how you feel and what you want.
2. Acceptance: What if you accepted your experience as just a part of your process without blame or shame? What if you focused on being real and honest? What if it were all okay? Would you be able to have more compassion and acceptance with yourself?
photo-1430329429612-babb42f886733. Being Communicative: Proactively sharing with your partner (listen to episode to hear examples). Communicating with your partner creates a climate where it is safe to talk about uncomfortable and difficult topics. Together you will be building a foundation for a lasting relationship.

4. Act With Future Relationship In Mind: What kind of relationship are you wanting to build? Is the relationship reciprocal and interdependent? Is it honest and real? These types of qualities require an investment. If you focus on the long-term benefit 9of what your relationship will be like down the road), you will be more interested in putting forth the effort.

Mentioned:

Transcript:

Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: How To Build Emotional Assertiveness In Relationship

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Thank you so much for your interest in learning more about building emotional assertiveness in love relationships.

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