Psychological Self-Help

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1252
doesn't. If so, these should be clearly described too. Don't
make dire threats, if you can't or won't carry out them out. 
Example assertiveness responses: 
Situation:
Your wife or girlfriend comes home from work and talks
during dinner about office politics and rivalry.
Response:
"Every night this week we have spent the dinner hour
talking about the personality conflicts at your office. I'm
glad we can talk, but I get fed up with the pettiness, as I
see it, of the people you work with. I miss talking about
the news, my work, our new house plans, and how we
are getting along."
Poor
responses:
An unassertive person would suppress his anger and say
nothing or pretend to be really interested. An aggressive
person would blow his top, calling his wife's co-workers
names and telling her how boring and petty she is.
Situation:
Your husband or boyfriend looks (excessively) at
attractive women.
Response:
"You used to be subtle about it, but lately you ogle every
well built woman you see. I feel irritated that you aren't
more concerned about my feelings. I really feel hurt. If
you would change, I'd feel a lot better and I think it will
increase our trust and closeness with each other." This
response was suggested by a perceptive reader who also
suggested another good response: 
"I feel inadequate when I notice you looking excessively
at other women. Therefore, in the future, I would
appreciate it if you would ogle me instead."
Poor
responses:
Pretending not to notice his looking and continue hurting
in silence or turning off sexually or starting to flirt (in
anticipation of his having an affair). Of course, the
aggressive reaction would be to call him a self-centered
sex maniac and to refuse to have sex for several days.
Situation:
A friend repeatedly makes plans with you and then
cancels at the last minute.
Response:
"When we make plans and you change your mind at the
last minute--you've done that two out of the last three
times, I feel frustrated because it's too late to make
plans with someone else. Besides, I start to think that
you don't really want to be with me if you can find
anything else to do. In the future, I'd like for you to tell
me at least an hour in advance if you have to change
plans. Would you do that?"
Poor
responses:
Let it go, fearing the friend will get mad. Or: tell the
friend how inconsiderate she is and that it is amazing she
has any friends at all.
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