When clients experience low mood or anxiety, more often than it is underpinned by an inability to be assertive around certain people or situations. This is then met with anger, frustration, self-critical thoughts or disappointment within themselves.
This takes us back to our original question, why do some individuals find it difficult to stand up for themselves?
From when we are born to the age of 18 our personalities are forming, we are gleaning what we know about the world, people and ourselves. I often explain this to clients as the ‘dry sponge’ analogy. The explanation which depicts us as ‘dry sponges’ and which are then placed in a pool of the ‘world’, in which we absorb our values, rules, personality traits, and self-worth. A typical example of how this can be a negative experience is bullying. Children spend up to 40 hours a week in a school environment. If bullying is taking place, what is that child absorbing? That they’re ‘weird’? stupid? Worthless? Not good enough? Boring? Different? Weak? Or perhaps it is taking place at home through a critical parent or family member that inferred to the child that they are all of the above.
This then forms a huge part of our self-worth. So how can this affect our ability to carry out assertiveness in a healthy balanced way? It all comes down to self-esteem. If your boss calls your ‘stupid’ for not carrying out a project properly, how are you meant to disagree with that statement if you believe it yourself? You are then left with frustration and spiraling distorted thoughts like ‘I should have stood up for myself’, ‘I bet everyone is thinking I’m stupid anyway’, ‘I should just leave this job because I’m not good enough for it anyway’.
How CBT treats this problem at its root cause, is to seek out these core beliefs about yourself and to rectify the hurt that was incurred while you were absorbing the world around you. We devise targeted treatment plans to not only address these kinks in our armor but can teach healthy assertiveness skills with a hands-on, collaborative approach with your goals in mind, and always keeping a solution focused approach.
For more information as to how Jessica Leigh can help you, please request a callback today from www.jessicaleighcbt.com. We would love to hear from you.