Blogs


Notices

DBT: Interpersonal Effectiveness

Old 08-17-2006, 10:54 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 1,432
DBT: Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Our interactions with other people are a common source of stress and can lead to unhealthy behaviors. Many people have spent a lifetime suppressing their own values and goals, live with anger and guilt, or living lives of quiet frustration. Much of that has to do with how we communicate with others: at home, at work, at school, and as we go about our daily lives.
Learning to assert ourselves is crucial in learning to say no, building our self-respect, and dealing with drinking or drugging situations.

Examples of situations where more effective interpersonal skills can be useful:

• Asking for things
• Making requests
• Initiating discussions
• Saying No
• Resisting pressure
• Maintaining/upholding a position or point of view

Working on these skills can help you:
• get something you want without alienating others.
If you can’t get something you want, another skill to work on is tolerating your distress about that and accepting your situation.
• improve a relationship.
In a relationship, you will want to learn to improve communication, balance short-term or competing goals with what is good for the relationship, assess unmet desires or inequities, and learn to address issues.
• improve or maintain your self respect.
Working on your self-respect is simply feeling good about yourself and what you are doing, holding to your values and beliefs, and acting in ways that make you feel competent.

Use role models and get feedback. Watch people who you consider effective. What do they do to make other people want to accomplish goals? How do they interact well with others? You can improve your own interpersonal skills by modeling the behavior of others. This takes practice, and feedback from others is helpful.

Our thinking can get in the way! Some refer to these as ‘worry thoughts’. Others may call them irrational, dysfunctional, or maladaptive thoughts. These beliefs may paralyze us, keep us from trying to interact better, or keep us from voicing our opinions or working on our goals. But we can change our beliefs, dispute thoughts that are inhibiting us, and overcome these obstacles. Change is possible.

Common examples:
What-if’s
Worrying about possible consequences, predicting how others will respond (we have a tendency to predict negative responses). Ask yourself: am I fortune-telling?
Absolutes
More predictions: “they always…she never…he refuses…won’t, can’t….” Learn to change absolute words to more accurate ones.
Self-deprecation
If your self-image is poor, you may tend to believe that you aren’t worthy of your own goals. “I don’t deserve this…” I remember reading a sad post on a forum once: “I often think I don’t deserve sobriety.”

Our emotions can be crippling. When we are controlled by our emotions, rather than the other way around, it seems that we just whipsaw from drama to drama, and life seems unmanageable. The mindfulness concept discussed in another essay allows us to recognize the emotions that are distressing. Learning emotional control is another skill to work on. As a first step, simply recognizing when you are being governed by anger, fear, anxiety, or frustration can be important. Take a step back (become mindful of the emotion) and then notice what beliefs and unhealthy thoughts are resulting from that emotion. Most people find it useful to write these thoughts down.

Guilt is a common reaction to emotional conditions. And the combination of emotional distress and worrying can lead to indecision. You simply can’t decide what it is you really want. It is normal to have conflicts about goals and to be moderately anxious about discussing them with someone. We all fear rejection and want to be liked. Sometimes it may seem we will be asking for ‘too much’. Chronic indecision can result from these fears.

So think again: do you know people who are able to get things done, still retain the respect of their colleagues and friends, or who seem able to ‘roll with’ situations they can’t control? What skills do they use? Humor? A sympathetic manner? An ability to compromise?

Some key principles:
Knowledge reduces worry. When we are uncertain about the facts or consequences of a situation, we are more anxious. I sell plants and help gardeners deal with pests and diseases. I find that once they understand the basic cycle of the pest, they have less concern about it.
Worry increases indecision. When you can’t control a situation, learning to accept it is very important. Clarifying your own goals and being realistic can be helpful steps to take, and writing these things down is very useful.
Decision-making is a skill. People who aren’t allowed to make decisions get out of the habit. It may be that you have gradually allowed a relationship to become imbalanced regarding finances, decision-making, career issues, children.
Asserting yourself can be uncomfortable because it is a new experience or may lead to conflict. Your work situation may be authoritarian; if you’re in the military, asserting yourself will have very adverse consequences! Your mother may have ‘always’ bossed you around. So recognize where in your life you can make decisions, and where it is possible to enact change. Reaffirming your own values can be helpful, whether by spiritual or intellectual means.

Some suggestions for improving interpersonal effectiveness, paraphrased from articles by the creator and author of DBT, Marsha Linehan (all in the public domain).

In relationships:
Don’t let hurts and problems build up. Examples? How can you prevent problems from getting worse? Resolve conflicts before they get overwhelming. End hopeless relationships.
Dealing with priorities and demands:
If you feel overwhelmed, reduce or put off low-priority demands. How can you set priorities more effectively? Ask others for help; say no when necessary. Recognize when you are having difficulty saying no. Try to create some structure.
Balancing needs and preferences:
What are the things you do because you ‘want’ to? What are the things you do because you ‘should’? Do you feel these are out of balance in your life? If others don’t seem to value your priorities, you will want to work on getting your opinions taken seriously (communicate more effectively).
To reorder your priorities, you may want to get others to do things. Examples? You may value your free time enough to pay someone to do housework or yardwork, or take a pay cut to shed some job responsibilities. Perhaps you can share resources with others (for day care, for example). And you can learn to say no to unwanted requests.

Interpersonal effectiveness often involves getting others to do things for you, which may seem rude or bossy. But learning to assert your self can be a key practice in attaining sobriety or changing other unhealthy behaviors. Why? Because peer pressure is a major obstacle to abstinence and change. You can change your thinking, communicate more effectively, stay true to your values, and learn to recognize your competence. Then you can say ‘yes’ when you want to, and mean ‘no’ when you say it.

Exercise: try to think of recent situations where you have
• allowed others to set your schedule or make commitments for you when you had other preferences.
• accepted statements of beliefs with which you disagreed without expressing your opinion.
• changed your behavior to suit someone else’s preference, even though it bothered you to do so.
Write a description of one such situation. Express your feelings and opinions about the situation. Describe a more desirable outcome. Roleplay (write the dialogue if you are alone) what you could have said differently: how you could have asserted yourself by asking for what you want or saying no clearly. Describe beliefs or fears you have about that scenario, and dispute those beliefs one by one.

Exercise: Describe a situation where you saw someone assert herself or himself effectively. List the character traits you observed, the things that person said, and how the other people reacted. Describe how they avoided conflict or managed it. Can you describe a recent situation of your own where you could have applied those traits or techniques?
Don S is offline  
Old 08-18-2006, 12:57 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
paulmh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,415
As ever Don, fascinating stuff. Whenever I read a lot of your posts,it reminds me how bereft of so many of these skills - or should I say, unaware of so many of these short-comings? - I was, before I went into recovery. And in turn, how consistent it is to suggest that we treat the whole condition of alcoholism - which of course has so many of the attributes you identify here and elsewhere - perhaps writ large? I don't know - in an attempt to reduce the chances of relapse. But the more contemprary work has so much more detail to it. And I have to inlcude in that some of the Rational Recovery stuff, which does of course bring out the prejudiced part of me!

Only bit I would throw a qualification into here is the bit about asserting yourself in those various circumstances, including difference of opinion. I think what is essential is rather knowing that one has the capacity to assert, whether one chooses to use it or not. The feeling of impotent powerlessness in those situations is a terrible source of resentment and negativity. But the opposite is not necessarily to explicitly assert, but to know wholheartedly that one could.

Not nitpicking, just a first impression. Off to a museum with the kids - like libraries, our secular temples!
paulmh is offline  
Old 08-18-2006, 01:53 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 1,432
I agree with your qualification. Many of the exercises in DBT materials seem almost designed to make people aggressively assertive. Part of that is that DBT was originally developed, I am told, for a demographic that was predominantly female, and that one of the problems identified by counselors was often poor self-respect.
So the exercises are designed to develop the ability, as you say leading to the ability to choose that.
It's taking the 'just say no' concept to a practical level: learning how to say no comes first.
Don S is offline  
Old 08-18-2006, 01:59 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
paulmh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,415
In spite of myself I started reading the article "DBT and Borderline Personality Disorder" - compelling stuff. As you say I begin to see that the background to this work was in working with (primarily) women with self-mutilation problems. However, a lot of the childhood factors resonated with me with particular regard to my son.
paulmh is offline  
Old 08-18-2006, 08:13 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Big Woods
Posts: 521
Last night, after a enjoyable interpersonally interactive day with family, I was awakened at midnight to this: "How can you be so loving and caring one minute and so uncaring the next, you're cold as ice."

First thing this morning I read this thread "Interpersonal Effectiveness."

I barely reacted last night, and though a tad frustrated this morning, I recognize the gross emotional manipulation inherent in that rude awakening.

I don't want to live with that anymore. I won't take on the intended guilt about not being good enough. To not be accepted or appreciated for what all I do have to offer, sucks. I give as much as I can, and it's a lot, but it's NEVER enough to fill that needy/ clingy/ desire that's demanded/ expected of me.

This morning I broadcast today's timely "Thought for the Day"

"The self-hatred that destroys is the waste of unfulfilled promise."
-Moss Hart
American playwright and director 1904-1961

Now then Don S., the question is, how to suggest this material you provide to another who needs to hear this so desperately, but is so unwilling to LOOK at it. I don't want to leave my home but can't keep living this "life of quiet frustration", either.
aloneagainor is offline  
Old 08-18-2006, 11:39 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
body ~ mind ~ spirit
 
brigid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 582
Originally Posted by aloneagainor
Now then Don S., the question is, how to suggest this material you provide to another who needs to hear this so desperately, but is so unwilling to LOOK at it. I don't want to leave my home but can't keep living this "life of quiet frustration", either.
I could not make anyone come on a trip to a place that I thought they should go to. I can only take myself and see who else is with me.

I couple of ideas though:
  • Do not react to emotional manipulation.
  • Ask for a thank you if you feel it is what you want to hear.
  • Quietly and calmly state your own perspective from your point of view. Do NOT use the word "you", only use the word "I" and leave out the emotion in your vioce if possible.
  • Do things for yourself occassionally, regularly.
  • Be prepared to listen to the other point of view, if I have my position, someone else will have theirs.

I used to drink and smoke pot to do something for myself, now I do other things and I really think it is necessary for me to look after me in some nice way - no one else will. And if I don't look after me, no one else will think that I am worth looking after either.

Last thing, after trying .... end a hopeless relationship. Know that life continues and you can live it the way you feel you would like to.

I have just made changes in my own life, it is getting much better .. the emotional manipulation and guilt trips are no longer in my home and I feel better every day. Some very difficult initial steps were needed to be taken by me, but at the end of the day, it is all going to be ok for me, in fact much better than ok ... I can walk in the garden with the flowers rather than on the path with all the weeds and rocks that hurt my feet.

I am not being constantly put down because someone else is insecure. I am not being constantly harassed about doing the right thing, because someone else does not want to do the right thing. I am being just me and that is quite nice to be for a change. I am finding more people who like me for me and are not negative, very uplifting and much easier to wake up to the day, not so many downers.

peace and love,
Brigid
brigid is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 12:12 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
JenT1968's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,149
Blog Entries: 1
very useful advice brigid, I know I need to apply the "I" thing more. thanks
JenT1968 is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:11 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Big Woods
Posts: 521
Interpersonal Effectiveness
Learning through considering the experience and understanding of others. Especially from those who have been there--done that. Which is what's so fantastic about this medium...much appreciated input/response provided above. This is unfamiliar territory for me, actually trying to regain independence outside the usual methods of hiding and secrecy. I'm not sure if it can be accomplished with someone who does play emotionally manipulative games but refuses to see that for what it is. It's like speaking two different languages. I appreciate your list, Brigid, it's right on target.

And what you write about how this works, and that it DOES work, is encouraging. Some curious blend of engagement/ disengagement ongoing here in my mind. I believe I'm fortunate now to be on the right track, confirmed by all I'm reading here. Yes, peace and love. Possible, and real.
aloneagainor is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:33 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
body ~ mind ~ spirit
 
brigid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 582
I have read on this forum wonderful stories of two people working through their addictions and staying together. All in various ways. Some by going to different meetings. I was particularly thrilled at one stage to read someone just did their own recovery and their partner - seeing the positives and wanting them - just could not help but come along and join in - so the relationship lasted and found a new dimension. There are some other people here who have quite a number of years of sobriety and they have done that with a husband/wife. For some time I hoped that would be my story too. But I don't think it will be, I think that there were probably irreconcilable differences beyond the addictions in my case. Anyway, I can't tell the future, for now I am happy with the way things are going.

What I have observed though is that there has been an acceptance of the other person and non-judgement. I wonder if I have been very judgmental without realising how much I have been. I try very hard these days to live my truth and let others live theirs. At the end of the day, whichever brings the most happiness will bear fruit, or stand up to the test of time ( sorry for the adages - they just say what I am trying to say ).

love and peace,
Brigid
brigid is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:38 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bobbybanned's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: head
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by brigid
I could not make anyone come on a trip to a place that I thought they should go to. I can only take myself and see who else is with me.

I couple of ideas though:
  • Do not react to emotional manipulation.
  • Ask for a thank you if you feel it is what you want to hear.
  • Quietly and calmly state your own perspective from your point of view. Do NOT use the word "you", only use the word "I" and leave out the emotion in your vioce if possible.
  • Do things for yourself occassionally, regularly.
  • Be prepared to listen to the other point of view, if I have my position, someone else will have theirs.

peace and love,
Brigid
I am standing on the coffee table, clapping feveriously, shouting, cheering...Bravo!

Brilliant Post!
Bobbybanned is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:46 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bobbybanned's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: head
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by Don S
Learning to assert ourselves is crucial in learning to say no, building our self-respect, and dealing with drinking or drugging situations.
Assertiveness is such a crucial aspect in self achievement. In my life, there is so much that blocks my ability to exercise this. I can check the list on how to do it a thousand times, but still maintain a feeling that I do not possess the right(s). It is a real problem. Hopefully continued, persistent exercise of attempting and benefiting from the attempts will lead me toward that evolution.
Bobbybanned is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:46 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Big Woods
Posts: 521
Yes, yes, "live and let live." Doing the best you can with what you've got.

Recognition, and acceptance, of one's own shortcomings, be open to change, humble acknowledgment of one's own faults, with intent to improve oneself. It really is a solitary pursuit, though it CAN be accomplished simultaneously in a relationship IF both parties are interested and willing.

Lead by example could have positive results if the other is receptive to it. I'm being met with "you're not allowing me to have my emotions. You're telling me my emotions aren't valid. You're not being supportive/ caring/ open enough." And so on. There's not a lot to work with there, so long as the focus is on what the OTHER is doing wrong. Like a cat avoiding its reflection in the mirror...

See, I learn through that example as well. Taking responsibility for oneself, and if another can benefit or learn from another, that's their choice to take up, or not. Ignorance is NOT bliss.
aloneagainor is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:50 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Big Woods
Posts: 521
Originally Posted by Bobby
Assertiveness ... there is so much that blocks my ability to exercise this. I...still maintain a feeling that I do not possess the right(s).
What is it that prevents you? Externals, or internals?
aloneagainor is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 05:59 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bobbybanned's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: head
Posts: 54
Internals.
I see what is going on and allow the information to interfere with my own processes and too often start reacting according to the external rather than sticking to what I hold dear.
The external plays a role, but it is my internal reaction to it that seems to be the issue.
I think.

I think it is years of low self esteem.
Bobbybanned is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 06:04 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Big Woods
Posts: 521
Seeing things for what they are! One has to get out of their own way, perhaps outside of their own head, to see this. So hooray for outside perspective, yes! A willingness for self-improvement is fundamental to begin. From there, see Don's original post above. I've got it printed to hard copy myself.
aloneagainor is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 06:05 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bobbybanned's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: head
Posts: 54
This comment I am making has little to do with this thread directly. But it occurred to me that the various threads that are brought to life here, and everyones responses, they all seem to come full circle. I mean, after a few weeks of participating to some degree, I like to see one particular threads association with another and see how the wisdom that one person shares supports the wisdom that another person shares. I dont know, I just had a moment there where I felt grateful for all of this and thought I would expand on it. Virtual group therapy, gotta love it.
Bobbybanned is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 06:13 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bobbybanned's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: head
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by aloneagainor
A willingness for self-improvement is fundamental to begin.
Couldn't have said that better.
And I suppose it will just be necessary to take some punches along the way. There is no law stating 'things' must 'feel' right to be right. But the word 'training' was invented for a purpose. I believe I need to reprogram myself. The beauty is that I do get to experience the thrill of achieving this.
Bobbybanned is offline  
Old 08-19-2006, 06:26 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
body ~ mind ~ spirit
 
brigid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 582
Originally Posted by Bobby
Couldn't have said that better.
And I suppose it will just be necessary to take some punches along the way. There is no law stating 'things' must 'feel' right to be right. But the word 'training' was invented for a purpose. I believe I need to reprogram myself. The beauty is that I do get to experience the thrill of achieving this.
I have been through some very painful moments, usually when there is a shifting of belief or a realisation that I had caused my own sadness or treatment. Humour and realising i am not perfect helps. I feel heaps better afterwards, a new sense of self and freedom.

I have found it hard to assert myself in some very important areas in my life. I have often understood everyone else's point of view except my own, or not really thought that I was worth it, umm hard to explain, not really that I wasn't worth it, just that other people were more important maybe, more interesting. I felt like they should come first.

I think I am still very considerate, but I am making sure that I get to do my stuff in my way more. It is just finding the right way to express myself, without being overly .... (can't find the word ... ) not pushy, ... aggressive or explosive maybe.... maybe even ... pathetic. Finding the right way to be me can be hard. Calmness and serenity are key for me, hard to have if I inadvertently am not looking after my own interests.

Sometimes I do have to stop worrying about the rest of the world and look at myself and what I need in a situation and believe that it is important for me to get that.

love and peace,
Brigid
brigid is offline  
Old 12-20-2008, 03:55 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Knucklehead
 
doorknob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Davenport, WA
Posts: 4,005
bump
doorknob is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to doorknob For This Useful Post:
Naboo (12-20-2017)
Old 12-20-2008, 04:24 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 26,407
Blog Entries: 1
awsome..thanks DK
Ananda is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:14 PM.