Assertiveness

I have never been very good with confrontation. In general, I avoid it if at all possible. I just feel really uneasy confronting people who I might have to continue to interact with; I guess I just worry that if I do things wrong, the relationship will become antagonistic, and it will be really problematic to be around them anymore. I’ve had a real problem with this since getting to Menninger, and there have been several instances that have been really annoying or unpleasant for me, but I failed to do anything because I just didn’t feel like things going totally wrong.

The first instance, at least for me, is my roommate at Menninger. He was a quiet guy, and never revealed much of himself to anybody in the unit. But while he was my roommate, He had some habits that really bothered me. For one, while I am normally a night person, at Menninger, I tried to get up every morning at 7 and go to bed around 11. Sadly for me, my roommate stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning, and left the lights on his side of the room on, which made it hard for me to sleep. To compound this, he made a lot of noise – moving around a lot, showering at midnight, chomping on ice. But though I complained to the staff about it, I never confronted him – I actually bought a blindfold to sleep rather than assert myself.

There’s another guy whose behavior has bothered me. I tend to find him very smug and superior, and he says, or has said, a lot of offensive things. Some of this I don’t understand, because it’s obvious he’s smart – he doesn’t need to prove it, and the continued attempts to do so just make him seem insecure. He also tends to push boundaries, especially physical ones, which bothers me because, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like being touched, especially not by people I don’t trust or know well – both of which apply to him. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to confront him about these things, among others, because I just don’t want the awkwardness that will ensue afterwards, because we will both have to see each other on a regular basis. 

It’s a big deal for me to even confront someone about a little thing – when I first came to the step-down, my first apartment-mate – who has since moved on – got up in the middle of the night, after I was asleep most nights, and ate some of my food. He never asked to do so, and I never gave him permission, but he did so anyway; it took me several days to say anything to him about it, and while he seemed very apologetic, promising to buy me more of the food he had gone through, he hadn’t done so by the time he left several days later. I never bothered to ask him about it again.

All of these things are on me; they were problems I had, and it was my problem to solve. I’m just a very passive person, and I prefer, it seems, to be walked on rather than have an awkward social confrontation. My time at Menninger hasn’t done much for this problem of mine besides point it out, because I have difficulty finding the courage to assert myself. I know I don’t need to be overly aggressive, just assertive, but even that seems to be an enormous effort for me. It’s an uncomfortable truth, and a hard one to face, but it is one I need to face unless I desire to be walked on for the rest of my life.

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3 comments on “Assertiveness

  1. Laurel says:

    Ill drink to that!!!

  2. Laurel says:

    1 more thing. You deserve a hell of a lot more than to be walked upon !!

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