You and I have the right to:
- put my needs first – there are times in our lives where we have every right to be selfish. It is our life after all. It is essential that we have concerns and care for ourselves. Within reason, we need to be selfish in order to be happy.
- be treated with respect – I spend most of my time worrying about how I treat everyone else that I forget I deserve the same treatment. For years I feared my father who demanded constant respect. I associated the word with him and that there was no justification for me to get it. I know now that I deserve it too, I deserved it all along. Respect is a basic right.
- express my feelings whatever they may be – Anger, hurt, sadness, fear, happiness: I have the right to feel these things and not have to justify them when I do.
- say NO – If and when I need to, this is an essential right for me, one that I am only just getting to grips with, one that will take more time to develop but one that I hope will strengthen in me. Someone called me a “walkover” recently. It hurt me. I am not a walkover or a pushover. I have a soul and I have rights and I do not appreciate being perceived in that way.
- have opinions and values – they count. They are relevant and as important as yours. They are mine and should not be dismissed at any whim. I am a woman with a mind. Accept it.
- not take on other people’s problems – A very significant right. At times, we want to and will be there for others. That may be part of our character but like anything else, we have rights to refuse this when it becomes too much. Mentally, there is only so much a person can take on. Other people’s problem bring a new stress into our lives, we worry and fear for them, we become consumed by their issues often neglecting our own. It seems selfish and unkind but this is not a right that we demand constantly. I have spent hours listening to the trials and despairs of my family wishing they’d factor in that I have problems too. They didn’t and I was left dealing with theirs, feeding them advice and becoming a confidante to them. A position I was so desperate not to be.
- make mistakes – it’s okay to be wrong. It happens. I have the right to be wrong. Do not punish me because I am not perfect. No is.
Not even you.
Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.
I could easily describe myself as passive.
My mother disagrees after looking through a list of passive behaviours I was given at the course. Certain words that I had highlighted, she negated. I circled “subservient”. She totally disagreed. In all honesty, I have elements of this quality and do not demonstrate or believe I possess it all of the time. However, in the past, it definitely played a strong role in my life. Do I feel that is is easier to agree with people? Yes. I do. The want to have an easy life, a less stressful life, has left me sitting back, being passive and watching others take control of their lives. It’s left me feeling jealous and tired at the monotony of my own.
Once upon a time, I would never have described myself as subservient. Even living with the abuser did not make me feel like that. I fought against it. But as the years have gone by, my reality has changed and I have been left with a life I am not entirely happy with.
I am indecisive especially when it comes to making requests. I plan in my head what I need to say or what I want to do but saying it out loud is another story. I feel nervous and as though I am putting the other person out. I am expecting criticism and fault finding within myself. I constantly criticise myself. It’s no wonder I expect it from others too. That’s not to say that I want it. I don’t.
I put myself down. A lot.
A key sign of passive behaviour. I do not respect myself enough, regularly finding fault in my body image and appearance. I am the person who hears my complaints the most. I do not want to seem aggressive or attention-seeking. I do not put myself first or value who I am. I wish I could.
I run from confrontation. I fear it. It is no surprise after enduring hell with the abuser. I can’t stand it at work or home.
Am I passive?
Yes I am. Some of the qualities will stay I’m sure but I am making a change to the others. I want to like myself and feel good about myself. I want to feel self-value and respect and be able to stand up for myself in challenging situations. I do not want to play the victim or agree to everything for an easier life.
It’s time to change.
Yesterday was the first part of a two day course I am taking called “Assertiveness”. We have been exploring the path of certain behaviours and how each plays a part in everyone, however certain people display particular ones more clearly. Over the next few posts I intend to blog about tracking behaviours and recognising when they appear in others as well as myself. As a result of this, I am hoping to develop a more assertive persona.
The four types of behaviour are:
PASSIVE, AGGRESSIVE, MANIPULATIVE AND ASSERTIVE.
After yesterday I have realised at times I have fallen into most of these types. How I have behaved has altered with certain people. Of course, aggression is more likely to come out with family and loved ones as emotions feel more raw and close. However the one behaviour that stands out in me is PASSIVE. I sit back and let others do the talking, scared that what I may say is wrong. I will be exploring this further as I de-construct my behaviours in the following blogs.