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Getting Around Speaking Our Needs


Last week at the Live Happier Wine Night we discussed the topic of Speaking Your Needs. I wanted to share one of my favorite parts of that discussion–and the part that generated the most ah ha’s.

As you know if you have been following me for a while I am a HUGE believer in speaking up for yourself.  To Live Happier, you have to not only know what you need but know how to speak up for it. Unfortunately, many of us weren’t taught how to speak up for ourselves growing up, so we learned a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms to get around speaking our needs.

Here are some of the most common tactics for getting around needs.

Passive Aggressive:  Agreeing to do something and then sabotaging it later—being late, doing a half-assed job, punishing your partner for the tiniest thing.

Keeping Score:  You don’t ever have to ask for a need because you have a running tally in your head “well I did this for him, so he has to do that for me” You justify the need by keeping score.

Bait and Switch:  I confess I am guilty of this one.  So you ask for something and then later fill in what you really want.  “Can you run to the grocery store to get milk?  Oh, and can you also get eggs, butter, spinach, and bread?” “I want to go to this party this weekend.” And then on the way there “By the way, there are going to be 100 people there, and you won’t know any of them.”

Expecting a Mind Read:  Saying, “I’m fine” when you aren’t and expecting your partner to pick up that something is wrong. Hinting through your tone of voice or veiled comments that you need someone to do something for you.

Dancing Around it.  You want someone to come over, so you say, “Remember the last time you came over wasn’t that fun?” Not directly asking for the need but dancing all around it. Linda might say “Wow, I am so tired from work today, would be nice if dinner just magically appeared.”

Shut Down and Pout. When mind reading goes bad, and the need doesn’t get met—you do a shutdown and pout.  This is the classic “nothing is wrong” don’t worry about it. And then you don’t talk to them for another week. Jan might just stop talking to her husband altogether or go on a protest by not doing the laundry for a week.

The Super Giver: You give and give and give seemingly without needs.  You tend not to recognize that you have needs at all until you just hit your wall.  All of the sudden you are just DONE and you take everyone by surprise by blowing up and storming out. Pay attention to how much you deflect your needs into caretaking rather than speaking up for yourself.

Recognize yourself in one of these–you are not alone.  Here are some ways to speak your needs in a healthy way.

Why Your Needs Aren’t a Priority to Your Friends and Family

It All Starts With Speaking Your Needs

I would love to hear from you in the comments:  Do you use any of these tactics?  Did I miss one that you have seen or you use personally? What do you struggle the most with when it comes to speaking your needs?

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