Note: I’ve added to this post thus changed the date of publication.
I was raised that an opinion or feelings communicated to my parents was an act of disrespect. I later married a man who was quite a psychological bully as well. Between these three people, it has never set well with me to be assertive. The solution is typically to become neutral and complacent. Sometimes, complacency is a difficult mode to find. I would say that is even moreso adequate as an effect of the accident that I experienced. My old being knows nothing outside of complacency and submissiveness. However, there is a new improved fighter in me, and that fighter does not always want to be complacent if there is no middle grounds. I want others to be themselves and somehow find a way for me to be myself simultaneously. What then is the answer? Assertion! Interestingly, it seems to almost relate to my spinal injuries as my muscles redevelop, as I must build a backbone. However, these are psychological muscles that have spent an entire life sleeping. Awakening these new muscles and acting upon them may be rejuvenating at times; however, there are moments of lifestyle shock to the point of great displays of emotions. Largely, there has been a notable display of tears. I feel like I am utilizing muscles that have never been used, as if that part of me was paralyzed. The silver lining of this is that exercise is strengthening and enpowering. The details to recognize is for whom are you trying to be assertive?
- Is it a self-gratifying action?
- Is there fulfillment for both parties?
- Is it sacrificial to your fulfillment?
- If so, is there a long-term objective for which your assertion has a plausible cause?)
If your cause is for one party and not both parties, then there is likely to be pain, especially if you care about the other party as well as yourself, especially if you have a low self image. The goal should be either of equal fulfillment or the hopeful future of it while training yourself to be strong and do something that is not unpleasant for either party. When you have never grown a backbone, it may be enpowering when you do; however, if you are anyone like me, it may be painful at times. However, I have heard of physical “growing pains.” I know that this area in my life is exhibiting growing pains at times as well.
One way that I am traveling down this road is to also at times be assertive towards my husband in a sensual way. Even that has been a foreign concept. However, with his desire for us to appear and be equal versus me having him on a pedastal, this has forced this whole issue now that I am more brazen in life. As stated, some of these experiences have been agonizing; however, having fun and being assertive in a playful way with my husband helps me build these muscles in an amiable way. That way when I am in more serious circumstances when I need to be assertive in order to not be lost in the situation, I have already had practice in a more affable position.
I am going to digress to make a point. You all may have read more about me and know that I have eight children: seven that I birthed. When I had the first child, it is as if I was a pendulum on a grandfather clock and was offset to the left. When I had the second child, I was offset to the right… I slanted in the other direction. That is the same stance I have taken through lack of experience and… ignorance with this new idea of assertiveness.
I must say that being assertive is a new experience for me, and there have been some feelings of lifestyle shock due to grooming from my parents and first husband on how a child and wife should be. My first few experiences seemed caustic to the receiver. In two out of three of the first occurrences, I wanted to have a voice. HOWEVER, I was catty while attempting to have it. (I was not being a pendulum in a neutral environment, rather being offset.) I have a major pet peeve in reference to someone stating what I think or feel as if it is a fact. The flip side of the very same peeve is to state that I am not listening EVEN WHEN my whole focus IS where it should be. When this is done, I feel like a child.
When I began having an idea of what assertive is, I took things too far in my communication and dismissed remaining neutral and even being humble (offset again) to my instructor during a lesson. The way that I have planned is to not get emotional if I am told I am not listening. Instead, refocus and either state my understanding or ask for the content to be repeated. That way, I give my instructor a chance to clarify or me even a chance to show I AM listening but may be misinterpreting the concepts and execution of the lesson.
My latest attempt at assertiveness was excruciating; however, it was centered. I have been trained so long to follow my superiors that standing up for something that bothers me makes me feel as if I am wrong. I had decided due to the decibel level of Packers games that the one the following day I was leaving home to attempt to find sanity by listening to my favorite band on the beach. Every fiber of my being did not want me to leave the house, as I have never done this previously for my own sanity. As I was working through this, the only way I was focused is realizing I was executing what I would advise someone else to do. Nothing in me enjoys “me time”… at least not that I know yet. So leaving my children and husband was extremely painful; however, by leaving, I knew everyone would be happier than I became stressful and maybe even requesting the guys tone down. I am not a believer in the phrase, “If Mommy isn’t happy, no one is.” Furthermore, I will do everything I can within reason to keep that from occurring. Thus, I left even though it broke my heart. After all, the sound of angry screaming would not cause me to remember the life I once lived, as that is often standard for me to experience more than ever.
Even though this procedure was arduous, I feel that I have begun growing muscles in my back to create a backbone that allows me to either say how I feel or act out on how I feel in regards to keeping my sanity versus losing my cool.