One of the most powerful coping skills are learned to use are my words with the belief that I deserve to be treated with respect. I found this definition from Psychology Today:
Demonstrating assertiveness means there’s no question where you stand, no matter the topic. Cognitively, to be assertive implies a lack of anxious thoughts in light of stress. Behaviorally, assertiveness is all about asking for what you want in a manner that respects others. Assertive people don’t shy away from defending their points of view or goals, or from trying to influence others. In terms of affect, assertiveness means reacting to positive and negative emotions without aggression or resorting to passivity.
I needed to be taught how to do this. I appreciated my counselor finding a book to help me with vocabulary and examples:
New Assertive Statements. Revised to my own words from the book Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them
My words are in italics. The rest is copied from the book on page 215.
* It is not OK for you to talk to me this way. variations You may not talk to me like this.
* It is not OK to treat me this way. variations You may not treat me like this.
* Screaming isn’t going to work anymore. variations Yelling will not make me change my mind. I decide whether or not you are yelling and it won’t work. Speaking intensely is just your way of down playing throwing a tantrum.
* This is one time you can’t intimidate me. variations Speaking intensely is a form of intimidation and it isn’t working this time.
* I know that this has always worked before, but I want you to know that it’s not going to work anymore. (I am not sure how or when to use this one.)
* I will not stand here and be screamed at. variation I do not appreciate being yelled at. I am leaving the room until you calm down.
* I will discuss this topic when you have calmed down. variations I am going for a walk now. When I come back I hope you will be calmer and we can discuss this then.
* I will not accept being put down by you. variation Jokes like this are only thinly disguised put downs. I don’t find this funny.
* People who care about me don’t treat me this way. variations I don’t treat people I care about this way. I expect the same from people who care about me.
* You’ve controlled me with this behavior in the past but I want you to know that that’s over. Use this one when he starts bringing up other issues not relevant to the topic being discussed.
* I’m not the same person I used to be. Can’t think of a different way to say this one. I like it just as it is.
My own list:
* We are not discussing that subject at this time.
* Saying that nothing you do is right is not helpful to finding a solution to this discussion.
I like the asterisks at the end to remind myself that I can keep adding to this list.