What is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive. It is a skill that, unfortunately, many do not have. Symptoms of a lack of assertiveness include:
- Feelings of Depression
- Feelings of Anxiety
- Feelings of guilt when you think about telling friends or family “No.”
- Lashing out at others or being “passive-aggressive”
- Difficulty disagreeing with people who’s views you feel are wrong.
- Seeking validation (assurance) from others
- Difficulty sharing your opinions
- Feeling “walked-over” or like a doormat
- Always yielding or giving in to what your significant other wants
- Using manipulation or withdrawal of affection to get what you want
- Using aggressive physical or emotional behavior to get what you want
- Seeming suspect due to your need to over-explain your actions
- Dissatisfaction with sexual intimacy due to inability to state what you want
- Frequent fights with your partner “blow ups” over seemingly small things.
This skill deficit results in loss of income (from being too passive or afraid to ask for a raise),dissatisfaction in relationships (from being afraid to ask for what you want or need), loss of time(from being unable to tell friends and family members no), and possibly even physical or emotional harm (from not recognizing how your “agreeableness” is being interpreted). Fortunately, in the context of the individual, it is a learnable skill. In a relationship, it is a teachable style of communication.
How Can I Help?
I offer counseling to teach this most important skill and/or provide problem-solving therapy for a current situation in which a lack of assertiveness is causing you problems. If you don’t know what you don’t know, you can’t fix it. For some, getting to the root cause of your lack of assertiveness provides the solution to all other assertiveness problems. Others may be looking for immediate tips to help them move forward. As a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional counselor, I can provide assistance in both areas. I specialize in helping people identify, understand, and ultimately solve the problem they have in standing up for themselves or confidently stating their wants or needs without feeling guilty.