Part of my own journey has been finding my voice. Giving myself permission to be more assertive. It’s scary because sometimes I feel I will be told “NO” or someone might not like me. But as I’ve grown in maturity I’ve discovered that assertiveness actually creates the opposite effect. Let me explain.
It’s kind of counter intuitive. Our fear tells us we may get turned down, but the truth is, and this has been verified by many clients, when you speak up for yourself, people respect you more. When you cower in fear, like a puppy dog, more assertive people will simply take advantage of you.
This is what happens in cases of wrongdoing. When we do something to hurt our partners, they are so full of anger and rage, we become afraid to say anything that might topple over the apple cart. This is understandable and we have to remain empathetic to their trauma and hurt.
But, when is enough, enough? At what point in the process do we have the right to use our voice and demand the verbal abuse stop? Yes, we did wrong but that does not give the betrayed partner the right to constantly berate, insult and verbally abuse us for the rest of our lives.
I recently had a betrayed partner come to my office to introduce herself after her husband’s session. And what she said, really made an impression on me. I asked her if she had any questions and she said, no, I know my husband has a disease of addiction and I want him to get better, and I’m going to stay with him until he does.
There is no clear cut answer to this question. We all have to use our own judgment as to whether 4 months, 6 months, 2 years or 5 years of bringing up the same thing over and over again is enough. Or is it time and can you give yourself permission to finally use your voice and set some communication boundaries for yourself.