Why Don't You Speak Up For Yourself?Why Don't You Speak Up For Yourself?

My counseling clients often complain to me about interactions they had with a partner, friend, parents or co-worker. When I asked the question, "Why didn't you speak up for yourself?" here are the most common answers I receive:

"I want to keep the peace."
"I don't want to rock the boat."
"I didn't know what to say."
"It won't change anything."
"He/she won't listen."
"We will just end up fighting."
"He/she will make it my fault."

Charlie is in his early 70's, and has been married to Esther for 43 years. Charlie and Esther love each other very much, but there has always been a problem in their marriage, and Charlie finally decided to get some help with it.

The issue is that Esther often speaks to Charlie with a harsh, demeaning, parental tone - telling him what to do. All these years, Charlie's way of dealing with this has been to comply - to be the 'nice' guy and try to 'keep the peace.' But every once in a while he suddenly blows up, scaring and hurting Esther. She has asked him over and over to tell her what's upsetting him so much, but when he has, she doesn't listen and turns it back onto him. In his mind, he has been in a no-win situation. The last blow-up led Charlie to seek my help.

The problem is that Charlie had never said anything to Esther in the moment about her tone. When he did say something, after the fact, Esther would have no idea what he was talking about, so she would explain, defend, and turn it back on him.

"I don't know what to say," said Charlie.

"Charlie, how do you feel inside when Esther speaks to you with a harsh, demeaning tone?"

"I feel small, diminished, like I did when my father would criticize me. I feel like a helpless little kid. I hate it. It hurts me."

"And when you suddenly blow up, what do you say?"

"I tell her to shut up."

"Are you telling her to shut up about what she is saying?"

"Yes."

"So you don't say anything about her tone of voice or how you feel?"

"No, I don't think I have ever said anything about her tone of voice."

"Charlie, if you were to say something in the moment, not about what she is saying, but about how she is saying it, what would you say?"

"I'd say, 'Your tone of voice is harsh and diminishing and it hurts me.'"

"Great! Would you be willing to say this the next time Esther is harsh with you?"

"Yes!"

The next week, Charlie reported that he and Esther had a great week together. He had quietly responded the way we had rehearsed and he was shocked at how Esther responded. Instead of getting angry, defensive, explaining or attacking, she said, "You're right. I'm sorry. Thank you for telling me."

All this time Charlie was certain that if he spoke up for himself, things would get worse. Instead, he discovered that Esther was very open to hearing his feelings and experience when it was in the moment, and was thrilled that he finally spoke up for himself.

Telling others what they are doing wrong, or trying to get them to stop doing what they are doing will generally lead to a difficult interaction. But speaking up for yourself with the intent of taking loving care of yourself will make you feel much better, even if the other person doesn't hear you. At least you are hearing yourself, and this is what is important. And you might be surprised at how the other responds!
by Margaret Paul Ph.D.
References and Bibliography
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process, featured on Oprah. Ready to join the thousands who have discovered real love and intimacy? Click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available.
Rated:NR/0 Votes
5 Views
Add To My Article Reading List
Add To My Article Reading List
Print Article
Print
More Article By Margaret Paul  Ph.D.
More Article by Margaret Paul Ph.D.
Share
More Articles From Relationships
More Articles From Relationships
Related Articles and Readings
Public Speaking The Art of Speech Making By: Robin Chandler
How do you speak naturally while all those people are watching you?This document covers hints and tips on public speaking and presentation skill, dealing with public speaking nerves and anxiety, public speaking skills and public speaking techniques, public speaking training.Common Fears of Public SpeakingWhat happens when you have to speak ...
How to Use Public Speaking to Attract Clients By: Steven Van Yoder
When Robert Middleton moved his marketing consulting practice, Action Plan Marketing, to Palo Alto, California several years ago, he started his business from scratch. He had left his well-established client base several miles away and now had to find strategies to generate new clients.Because Middleton had always spoken to promote ...
Public Speaking Learn Public Speaking Material Easily Using Bits AKA Chunks or Series By: Tom Antion
A bit is a section of public speaking material that is so related that it makes it easy for you to memorize. Each point flows naturally from one to the next so you can deliver the information without notes (if you know your material).Until I learned about bits, I never ...
Public Speaking is an Art By: Nate K.
Public speaking can be referred to as an act of speaking to a group of people or a crowd This act of speaking is done in order to convince and entertain the people in a formal and polite ...
Public Speaking Deep Penetration By: Tom Antion
Many people that know me or have had me do a public speaking engagement for them know that I am a real stickler for pre program research. This research allows you to connect with the audience on much deeper levels than you could have without it. There are many ways ...
The information provided in this article and/or the comments is the sole responsibility of their respective authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of ezinepost.com. ezinepost.com  does not endorse any article and/or comments published by our web users unless otherwise noted. 

Member Panel

login to submit articles and more

StatisticsEZINEPOST.COM

  • » Active Categories: 419
  • » Active Articles:252603
  • » Active Authors:31917
  • » Active Members: 38237
  • » Statistics Updated:
    - Tue Sep 1st, 2020 09:28AM EST