"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 "...that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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Dating Red Flags-Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Dating Red Flags

Relationships bring companionship and love into people’s lives. However, not all relationships are healthy and there are quite a few red flags you should keep an eye out for when dating. It is important to know the boundaries between a healthy and unhealthy relationship. Here are common dating red flags you should be aware of:

  1. Listen to how they speak about past relationships.

If your partner speaks very highly of their ex or if they constantly talk poorly about them, It can be a sign that they are still invested in their past relationship or that they are a bitter person.

  1. Is your partner proud of you?

If they never bring you around their friends or their friends still don’t know who you are, it could be they are ashamed of you or the relationship. Either way don’t ignore your instict on this one.

  1. Keeping score constantly.

Someone who constantly keeps score of who did what in a relationship is probably someone who often tries to guilt trip others. Keeping score will quickly build anger and resent in a relationship.

  1. Your partner uses sex for gain.

Someone who uses sex as a reward or withholds it as a punishment is manipulative. This is manipulation and over steps all boundaries a relationship should follow.

  1. They never put effort into the relationship.

It is obvious whether someone wants to be with another person. If you are feeling pretty one-side in a relationship, it won’t be healthy for you to stick around with someone who will leave once something “better” comes along.

  1. Your partner cannot apologize.

Everyone makes a mistake now and again, but the mature thing to do is accept your faults, apologize, and move on. If your partner can neither apologize or accept you’ve made a mistake, run.

  1. If you argue, they get hurtful.

People tend to disagree, that’s normal. What is NOT normal is when someone who says they love you brings up hurtful comments if you get into a disagreement. Red flags like this one can signal abuse.

  1. They are violent.

If you are disagreeing or just going about your business and your partner is verbally, emotionally, or physically violent, no matter what you did, you did not deserve it. It is difficult to get out of a situation like this but you will be much safer once you are free.

  1. They always attempt to change who you are.

Constantly overstepping boundaries by trying to change the person you are is not okay. The person you are with should be with you because they like the person you are, not to mold you into someone else.

  1. They don’t listen to you.

Whether you are trying to tell them you like your food cooked a different way or something else entirely, your partner should listen and take the feedback well. If your partner gets mad that you are trying to tell them something, that’s a bad sign.

  1. Listen to the way they speak.

If you are always hearing them using “My/Me/I” statements and never using “We/US”, they probably don’t see a future with you; on the other hand, they could just be nervous you don’t feel the same way.

  1. They always guilt you into doing things.

Whether they try to guilt you into having sex or spending time with them, you need to set boundaries up really quickly.

  1. They attempt to control every aspect of your life.

It is one thing to help someone when asked but it is an entirely other thing when a significant other tries to tell you exactly what to do.

  1. They are always flaking out on you.

This stands true especially when you first start dating. If you make plans and they are always cancelling last minute, you probably are not high on their priority list.

  1. Your loved ones don’t like them.

Your loved ones look out for you and they know you well. If these people who get along with you and are close to you don’t like the person you are with, they may not be the right one for you.

Chances are, if you searched for this article, you could be in an unhealthy relationship. Your subconscious picks up on signals you might not even notice and can lead you to find out more. If you are in an unsafe or doomed relationship, it is okay to get out. You deserve dating someone who will put effort into being with you and that actually enjoys spending time with you as much as you enjoy spending time with them. Love doesn’t have to hurt.

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Burn out-Confident Counseling Northborough Ma

Signs Of Burn Out

Signs of Burn Out and How to Fix It

Many people suffer from too much stress and often begin feeling helpless, exhausted, and very unhappy. These are all signs pointing to being burned out. In this state, things will often seem pointless and bleak and your energy levels will be at an all-time low. There is hope though, burn out is not the end all, be all.

What is Burn Out?

In the simplest terms, it is the state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion by too much stress for too long. If you have felt overwhelmed and like you are unable to keep up, you are at risk of becoming burned out. As your stress builds up, your energy and will to overcome it lessens. Your productivity and energy will be gone and you may feel depressed. Everyone has bad days here and there, but if every day feels like a bad day, you are probably suffering from being burned out.

What are the Signs of Burn Out?

Emotional Symptoms

  • If you have stopped even attempting to care about what you usually love doing or things that need done.
  • Instead of having one or two bad days every now and then, every day is a struggle that never seems to end.
  • Feeling helpless, having self-doubt, or feelings of being a failure.
  • Feeling trapped and defeated.
  • Suddenly feeling like nothing truly matters and emotionally and mentally detaching from the rest of the world.
  • Loss of will and motivation.
  • An increased bleak perspective on the world.
  • Decreased levels of joy, happiness, and pride.

Physical Symptoms

  • Feeling very fatigued the majority of the time.
  • Becoming sick more often than usual.
  • Lots of body aches and headaches.
  • Changes in appetite or changes to your normal sleep patterns.

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Ignoring responsibilities and procrastinating.
  • Removing yourself from others and staying in isolation.
  • Procrastinating or just not completing things because it takes too much energy.
  • Using things like food or drugs as a coping mechanism.
  • Using others to take your frustrations out on.
  • Deciding not to come into work, deciding to leave early or come in late just because you want to.

How Can I Fix Having Burn Out?

Use the “Three R” method to start dealing with your burn out problems.

  1. The first step is to Recognize. You need to actually step back and recognize if you are suffering from being burned out.
  2. The second step is to Reverse. You need to undo the damage that has been done by the mountain of stress. Manage the stress you’ve been dealing with and seek the support you need.
  3. The third step is Resilience. Start taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health to avoid any future burn outs.

There are also a few other ways to start your recovery from this mental state. Sometimes it is already too late to prevent this exhaustion and you have passed your breaking point. If you try to force yourself through it instead of taking the time you need, you will only make it worse.

  1. Slow Down!

Once you’ve passed your breaking point, simply trying to force your attitude to change or looking after your physical health won’t be enough to fully bring you back. You need to take a break and let yourself calm down before you start trying to tackle anything else. Give your mind and body some time to rest and recuperate.

  1. Get Some Emotional Support.

Don’t isolate yourself from the rest of the world, it won’t help. Your friends and family are going to be a very big part of your healing process and they will help you to get better. It can really and truly help to let someone else know how you’re feeling without expecting them to try to fix your problems. Make sure you are going to be talking to someone who knows how to listen and won’t automatically fault you for feeling the way you are.

  1. Reevaluate Yourself.

When you’ve passed your breaking point, you know something in your life is not working the way it should. It is a good time to go over your goals and the things you have in life. Is there something you feel like you aren’t doing that’s making you unhappy? Take the time it takes to figure out what set you off.

  1. Face Your Problems Head On.

You probably got way too stressed out because you were avoiding the problems in your life and not addressing them with a plan on how to fix them. Take the active route instead of the passive route in the future and you’ll begin to feel less helpless and more powerful in your everyday life.

Being burned out is a serious problem and it is one you should never be ashamed of. If you have felt helpless and trapped, take a step back and try to figure out why you’ve been feeling this way, then try to do something about it.

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Dealing with Intrusive House Guests Assertiveness- Confident Counseling

Dealing with Intrusive House Guests

Intrusions from carefree guests can be very stressful. It seems like everybody knows, at least, one person that wears out their welcome after a get-together or comes to stay a week and is still there 2 weeks later. Some people can take advantage of a friendship and never display an ounce of guilt or remorse. When this happens to you there are 3 ways you can react. You can be too passive and let the guest take advantage of your kindness. You can also be too aggressive and bring the friendship to a screeching halt or you can be assertive and cope with the problem in a positive and proactive way. Assertiveness is crucial in dealing with intrusive house guests.

Plan & Prepare – The easy way out would be to never invite a potential intrusive guest to a party or for an extended stay in your home. The truth is, you might actually like the person when they are not overstaying their welcome. They might be funny, fun to be with, and a good friend for the most part. However, even the best of friends can clash when boundaries are not drawn and avenues for friction are left wide open and unattended. Whether this person has been invited for a short get together or is coming for an extended visit, prepare for their arrival and have a plan in place to prevent the inevitable.

Establishing Ground Rules – There is a good reason rules exist. They are there to keep things under control. Some people are afraid to set ground rules prior to a planned event because they don’t want to hurt feelings or seem like a “party pooper”. It seems no one wants to be that type of host, but if you don’t pursue this course of action, you are asking for your area to be intruded upon. When boundaries are not set situations can get out of control. Some guests can perceive “no rules” as “anything goes.” Sure, we would like to believe that everyone we know will always be respectful and considerate when invited into our home, but unfortunately, reality tells us something different.

You can prevent guest visits from becoming intrusions by setting the rules prior or at the start of the event. Sometimes it is easier to explain the rules to the entire group so no one feels singled out. Once all the guests have arrived gather them together and make a quick speech. The process does not need to take long, but it needs to be clear and direct. Let everyone know that when the party ends everyone goes home. If there are areas of the home that are off limit; let it be known at this time. If you have spent your hard-earned money on a beautiful carpet or new furniture, ask everyone to be careful. Establishing clear ground rules takes assertiveness, but it can save you unnecessary stress in the long run.

Don’t Be a Doormat – Nobody should voluntarily want to be treated like a “doormat.” But you know the old saying, “nice guys finish last.” There is nothing wrong with being nice, but you cannot allow some people to mistake “kindness” for “weakness.” Just like a wolf, lion or tiger zeros in on the weakling in the herd; the intrusive guest could take advantage of your weakness and move in for the proverbial kill. Your inability to say “no” or to “draw a line in the sand” on specific issues may be perceived as permission to proceed guilt-free. It is imperative that you stand up for yourself and your home against guest intrusions.

The Clear & Direct Approach – Assertiveness is considered to be the ability to express your feelings in a direct, clear, and effective way. It is about standing up for what you want and believe. You can accomplish these goals and still respect the rights of your guest. You can handle guest intrusions while still being proactive and positive. Let’s assume you are letting a friend or relative bunk at your house until they can find a job and their own place to live. It is good to be in a position to help, but boundaries must be set to keep the stay from being “open-ended.” If you simply say the guest can stay until they obtain their goals; they might take it as permission to stay as long as needed.

Let your guest know from the start what you expect. For example, you can ask them to clean up after the mess they make. You should set a time limit on their stay or simply let them move in and forget about it. Unless the guest is only staying a night or two, a different set of boundaries must be set. An extended visit of this type is not a vacation. The guest should be treated respectfully, but their amenities should be more controlled and limited. Visits turn into intrusions when the host lacks assertiveness.

The rules of mutual respect can be observed, but be firm on your objectives. A true friend will not overstep their boundaries unless they assume that none exist. Prepare and address guest intrusions with an honest straightforward approach. There is no stress-free alternative to assertiveness in this scenario.

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Help your teen heal after sexual assault Teen counseling Northborough MA

How to help your teen heal after sexual assault

Being the victim of sexual assault is one of the worst things anyone can experience. Discovering that your teen was a victim of sexual assault is the worst thing any parent can hear. Anger, sadness, shock, blame, and helplessness are familiar feelings where you’ll wonder what you could have done to prevent this from happening to your child. While you’re struggling to deal with this wave of emotions, it can seem daunting to understand the best way to help your teen.

As a counselor in private practice, I have worked with several teens that have been sexually assaulted and have worked closely with their parents on how to cope and be the best support possible. I hope this article helps you be the person your child needs.

It’s important to contact the police and take your teenager to the hospital to get the necessary medical care and a rape kit completed. Your child may disagree with going to the authorities initially, however that might change later with time. By going to the authorities, you have a higher chance of preventing this perpetrator from sexually assaulting another person.

An important message for you to convey is that you are here to listen. It is common for sexual abuse survivors to blame themselves, hesitate to tell family for fear of hurting them, or feel stupid for “allowing” this to happen to them. The best thing anyone can do is offer genuine support without any judgments. Do your best to enforce the message that your teen is not to blame regardless of what they were wearing or doing.

Creating a safe place where your child can express all their feelings around the trauma is key. It can be helpful to share your experiences with these emotions as a way of normalizing them for them. Just be careful to not make this be about yourself and stay focused on their feelings. Offer ideas that might help them such as finding counseling, going away together, discussing the loss around the trauma and the meaning. I have worked with teens that were virgins when they were raped and discussing this loss was an important part of their healing. They often worried about having future conversations around how they lost virginity. Support their worries and brainstorm solutions to them.

Find counseling for yourself. This is helpful for two reasons 1) it takes away the negative bias for your teen to see you go into counseling which could promote them to see a counselor too and 2) you will benefit from getting support around how to cope with all the feelings you are facing around this traumatic news. It is important to continue going about your daily routine like before. Right now your teen’s world is upside down and the more normal the rest of the world seems the safer they will feel. If you start to panic and allow yourself to fall into a depressive state, your teen might spiral out of control too. Thus counseling for yourself will help you have an outlet for the spiral of emotions you are facing.

Watch out for extreme behavioral changes like isolating, depressive comments or suicidal remarks. It is common for people to engage in self-harm behaviors like cutting, burning self, promiscuous sex, and substance abuse after traumatic events as a way of coping and gaining back control. Talking to your teen about your concerns in a supportive non-judgmental way will increase their chances of listening to your ideas for help.

Research the consequences of self-harming behaviors such as cutting becoming addictive and a source of future shame if there are scars. Teens often don’t realize the long-term effects of their actions and are often surprised to know that it can become addictive. Try to discover what is triggering them and offer suggestions for ways they can release their emotions such as drawing, hitting something, screaming, going for a walk, taking a hot shower, etc. There are a variety of pleasurable activities that someone can engage in as alternatives to cutting.

Search for teen groups for survivors of sexual support and offer to go with them if they would like. The Rainn (Rape, Abuse and incest National Network) is a great resource for information and finding local groups. Finding others that have gone through similar experiences will be a great way for your teenager to relate to others and get their feelings out and not bottle them in. Recommend counseling for them and offer to attend with them for added support.

If they are engaging in dangerous behaviors or have suicidal thoughts, please take them to your local Emergency Mental Health Department or Emergency Room.

Remember that it’s normal to feel lost and confused. What just happened is not a normal circumstance and so you are having a normal reaction or an abnormal situation. You don’t have to face this with your teen alone, please call a counselor for individual or family guidance. If you can take away any message from this article it is for you to listen to your child, talk to them, validate their emotions, and find support for both of you during this difficult time.

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Reasons you are still in an unhealthy relationship-Confident Counseling Northborough MA 01532

Reasons you are still in an unhealthy relationship

Over the years I have worked with several people who struggle to find healthy relationships or leave unhealthy ones. After a while I began to notice constant patterns/themes to why people don’t leave their unhealthy relationships. Here the most common reasons you are still in an unhealthy relationship that may apply to you.

Change is hard

Of course it is. It’s easy to become content in our routine even if it is making us miserable. The problem with letting the challenge of it and fear of the unknown stop us from making better choices for you is that you are allowing fear to dictate your life. Let me tell you that it never ends well.

You’re afraid to be alone

Who doesn’t enjoy companionship, most of us do. The problem as mentioned before is that fear is not your best friend here. Yes, fear helps keep you alive in life or death situations but it isn’t helping you now by keeping you paralyzed in an unhealthy relationship.

Would you really be alone if you left? What about your friends and family, do they not count? I understand that those relationships are not exactly the same as an intimate one.

The question really comes down to why do you believe you would never find another person you would be interested in or who would be interested in you. How realistic is that really? I’m not saying the minute you leave your relationship, you’ll be in a new one, nor am I encouraging that anyway.

You’ll want some time to grief the loss and focus on rebuilding yourself during your single time. However the odds that you’ll be single forever just seems so unrealistic given that you’ve clearly found people who show interest in you otherwise you wouldn’t be in a relationship to begin with.

You doubt you can do better

Why? Who told you that this? Usually if you do enough self-exploration and introspection you will find an automatic belief about yourself which has built over the years usually stemming from childhood and early life experiences. Examples include: “I’m stupid,” “I’m not lovable”, “I’m not worthy”, “I can never do anything right”, and the list goes on.

Figure out what your automatic belief is that you’re carrying around. You can usually find it during difficult times in your life or when you make mistakes which then reaffirm your automatic thought about yourself such as “You see I knew I couldn’t do it right, I never do anything right.”

It won’t help if your partner encourages these negative thoughts about yourself. Ever wonder why they verbally abuse you? Most likely it’s because of their own low self-esteem and their fear of losing you if you realize how negative they are and what you’re true value is. Either way those aren’t the qualities of a happy person so you can definitely do better.

It’s too late

Says who? The only time it’s too late is when you’re dead and if you’re reading this now then the odds are very likely that you are still alive. Many people find new love in their golden years and you can anytime you want to be open to it.

But they have so much potential

If I had a quarter for every time I heard this. “I know he’ll be nicer once he goes to counseling, if only I was more patient, if only I loved them more, if only they loved me more”, and so on. Do you plan other aspects of your life on this idea? Would you move in to an apartment infested with cockroaches and lead paint on the notion that “well once the landlord decides to fix the problem it will be wonderful.” I didn’t think so.

You need to remember that “What you see is what you get”. If you aren’t comfortable with dating someone who smokes don’t date them thinking well I know he’ll quit one day. The only person in charge of making change is yourself. Why waste time waiting for the other person to make changes they may or may not stick. Do yourself a favor and find someone who already has the qualities you want today.

You’ve invested too much already

I understand that this one is difficult to let go of. You’ve spent years if not decades building a life together, investing time, emotions, and finances that you find it difficult to let go and walk away. Chances are that most of your memories together include pain and resentment. What will you have to show for that? You won’t get a medal for sticking it out, just more damage to your self-esteem.

You believe “true love” bears all

Yes the best kind of love is unconditional and like the relationship with our children or our parents we love them no matter what. Does that mean you have to tolerate everything they do? No! You can love someone and still chose how much you want them around.

True love does not mean sacrificing yourself in an unhealthy or abusive relationship because at the end of the day you should also love yourself. How else can you expect healthy relationships if you mistreat yourself by tolerating abuse? You can set limits like leaving and considering a future relationship only once they’ve gone to counseling and stopped the behaviors that pushed you away to begin with.

We have children together

More reason why you should leave. By you staying in this type of relationship you are teaching your children to tolerate the behaviors that are unhealthy to begin with. What message do you want to leave your children? Most likely not that one.

You’re children will be grateful to see you caring for yourself and wanting to teach them healthy examples of adult relationships for them to model once they grow up.

Did any of these reasons resonate with you? So now what? Remember that you only get one chance at life and will you look back and regret having stayed in an unhealthy relationship more than leaving it. If you know you want to leave but feel stuck then it’s time to see a counselor who can help you gain the strength to move forward in whatever direction that is. They won’t be able to make the choice for you but they can prepare you for the challenge and support you while you make difficult decisions.

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Confident Counseling Teen Counseling Northborough MA 01532

How to boost the self-esteem of your teen

Learning how to boost the self-esteem of your teen is a challenge if you aren’t sure where to start. As a parent you want the best for your children. You want them to filter out everything negative and only accept the positive. You focus on praising them and telling them they can be anything and do everything they set their mind to. Then your child hits puberty and starts doubting themselves either because of a teacher, another adult, the media, a peer, a bad experience… The list goes on and you realize just how fragile a child’s sense of self can really be at that age. You struggle seeing your child, full of potential, withdrawing, dropping activities, or worse self-harming and/or contemplating suicide.

I often have parents ask me this question when they feel lost and worry about making things worse. I’ve seen parents increase the control in their teen’s life only to push them further away and I’ve seen parents disengage, find a counselor, and pray for a miracle. Either extreme isn’t helpful. In order to answer this question, we have to look at the source of their doubt. Is it due to their surroundings outside the home, within the home? Is it due to a negative experience like failing at an activity/hobby, trauma? Gender is also an important factor and what they learn to value (e.g. appearance, strength).

Here are steps you can take to help build your teen’s self-esteem

When they do well, praise them while also emphasizing the importance and value of the experience not just the achievement

If you focus on performance you send the message that the goal is to excel which if internalized can lead to anxiety, low self-worth, and depression. There is no such thing as perfect whereas good enough is attainable.

Show interest in their activities while also acknowledging that they are a whole person outside of their hobbies

They are not just a “football player, or a photographer.” It’s easy for parents to get so excited about their child’s interests that they go overboard and unintentionally put pressure on them (e.g. calling them “my artist”). If they decide to no longer pursue that interest their sense of worth and value may struggle.

Give them space to make mistakes without expectations for perfection

Trust your teenager with clear expectations on what you will allow and not allow. I have worked with parents that are so afraid of their child making mistakes that they restrict their movement even though the child is getting all A’s and stays home. The parent is then surprised to find that their teen is keeping secrets and refuses to share their day-to-day events with them.

How will your child learn if not through mistakes?

I urge parents to keep open communication with their child accepting that their child will mess up. I would even go a step further and share stories of mistakes you’ve made and lessons you’ve learned. This will encourage open communication with your teenager.

The key for a parent is to be seen as a safe resource of trusted and reliable information so that your teenager relies less on their peers, who lack the experience and who might have wrong intentions.

That’s not to say that you should give your teen free rein. Boundaries are still crucial, however not allowing your child access to the internet because you worry they will come across something “awful” sends the message you don’t trust them. Why should they trust themselves when their own parents don’t? Instead turn that topic into an open educational conversation.

As a parent, model healthy self-esteem habits

  • Are you preoccupied with what others think about you?
  • Are your standards realistic and are you accepting of your mistakes?
  • Do you emphasize the importance of superficial goals such as weight, status, or money?
  • Do you focus on your need to know all the right answers and be perfect?
  • Are you emotionally available and able to show your vulnerabilities?

These are subtle messages that we send to our children about how we place value and expectations on ourselves and others. I was working with a teenager who struggled with her physical appearance. Whenever she had acne she would avoid her sport practices, games, friends, and skip school because of how “ugly she felt” and because she worried her friends would talk about her behind her back.

It wasn’t surprising to find that her mother also struggled with her appearance, focused on losing weight, went on diets, and made critical remarks of others based on their appearance.

This mother thought she did a good job at hiding her own self-esteem issues with her body and didn’t realize that her daughter still got the message that her value depends on her appearance.

Unfortunately, the message “Do as I say, not as I do”, does not work with our children. They look to us as guides for how we take the messages imposed through the media; culture, peers, and family and how we either reject or accept them. That’s not to say that parents are 100% at fault if their teenager struggles with low self-esteem. What I’m saying is that parents do play a powerful role in laying down the foundation.

I would love to hear your ideas, questions, or thoughts on ways to help boost the self-esteem of your teen. Leave a comment below.

Here is a short video demonstrating how a girl’s parents and peers influence their self-esteem.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS8OmSQpb9A” ]

 

 

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What can I expect from counseling?

What Can I Expect From Counseling?

If you are in counseling or are thinking of starting, you may have asked yourself “What can I expect from Counseling?” With how the media portrays counseling, it isn’t surprising to have questions or even concerns about what counseling will be like for you.

Of course it is important to understand that counseling is only as effective as you make it. What I mean is that most of the work done in counseling actually comes from you, the client. Imagine the counselor as a guide showing you alternative ways of approaching situations or handling your problems. You as the client have to choose one and carry it out. If you aren’t following through or actively participating, then counseling will be ineffective.

Here are expectations to have for counseling

  • You should expect to increase your awareness of what is causing your struggles and what the roadblocks are.
  • You will be taught new skills and tools to manage your struggles in the present and for the future.
  • Understanding the limits of confidentiality, you can expect a safe place to talk about anything and everything that is on your mind. The limits being that the counselor has a legal obligation to report risk of suicide, homicide or current child or elder abuse. Privacy can also be compromised depending also on whether you have an active court case or if you use your health insurance.
  • You shouldn’t feel judged or worry about scaring the counselor with what you have to share.
  • You should expect to work with a trained professional or have them refer you to someone who will be able to better serve you should they not have the right training or skills to help with your issues.
  • You should feel hope and relief after your sessions.
  • You may feel discomfort and emotional pain depending on what and how severe your struggles are.
  • You should expect to feel “contained” by the end of your counseling sessions and not left unstable or vulnerable.
    • This is important for clients with trauma. As a result, your counselor may wait to discuss a difficult subject at the start of a future session and not at the middle or end.
  • You should expect an environment where are you free to express positive and negative feedback about your counselor’s style or direction of treatment without worrying that they will get upset or offended.

Effective counseling promotes your growth as a person and healing from pain.

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What Are Your Boundaries?

Last time I shared one simple assertiveness technique The Broken Record to use when someone insists on having you do something that you can’t or don’t want to do. Before you can be effective with assertive techniques, it is important for you to know what your boundaries are.

Boundaries are like imaginary lines between you and others. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and from taking others’ comments personally. In order for you to have healthy boundaries you have to know your feelings and values as they relate to yourself and others.

Here are some examples:

  • Psychological – Do you take other people’s comments personally? Do you struggle with feeling responsible for other people’s negative feelings or problems? Are you aware of your own feelings?
  • Material– What do you think of lending or giving things to others (e.g. money, car, clothes, etc..) and what does that look like for you?
  • Mental – What do you believe in? What are your opinions?
  • Physical – Who can give you a hug/kiss/handshake? What are feelings about sharing your space with other people?
  • Sexual– What is your comfort level around sexual activity?
  • Spiritual– What are your beliefs around a higher power/faith?

Boundaries protect your well-being and can change over time. When you know what your boundaries are, you know when and why you need to assert yourself.

 

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Assertiveness: Simple Technique Anyone Can Try

I specialize in assertiveness training and enjoy seeing clients stop being taken advantage of in their life. One of the most common struggles they face is being unable to say “no” without feeling selfish or guilty. They tell me “I’m always taken advantage”, or “my friends know to call me for everything,” or “I can’t say no to my family and now I resent them.”

One technique you can practice is called the Broken Record Technique. Try it!

How it works is that you find a sentence saying that you can’t do something and you keep repeating it when asked why.

Here is an example:

A friend asks Sara to lend them $100. Now Sara has the money but needs it to pay her bills in a few days. Sara says: “I’m sorry but I can’t give you $100 right now.”

  • Her friend might then say: “but why not, I really need it?”
  • Sara replies: “I wish I could but I can’t give you the money right now”
  • Her friend: “I will pay you back as soon as I can.”
  • Sara replies: “Unfortunately, I don’t have $100 to give you right now.”

As you see, Sara repeated her reason over and over while keeping the conversation from getting too personal. This method can be effective and is simple to practice.

Now if the person you are talking to becomes angry or disrespectful then it might be best to leave and think about the future of that relationship.

If you would like more specialized training around assertiveness skills, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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