How is it possible to reach adulthood and not be able to ask for what you want?
I don’t mean, standing in your local supermarket asking for whatever brand of tomato sauce you want or standing in the wine aisle asking for a bottle of prosecco, I mean asking for whatever your real and important requirements are from another person; actions or behaviours that you need in order to function as a healthy emotional being. Needs that if you don’t get them met will leave you feeling down, depressed, unwanted, unvalued and not cared for.
Too often I speak to individuals who have this sense that others should just know what they want.
Their significant others, their friends, their children, their parents and anyone else that is close to them should just know what they want. They shouldn’t need to ask for it.
Now you may read this and agree. People that love you should just know. Maybe they do. I mean how can your other half not know what makes you happy, he’s been around you for long enough, he must get the sulky face you pull when he doesn’t put the bin out when it’s full or your boss must know that you want a promotion, he or she must have seen that you’ve been working your arse off for the last 18 months and your kids must clearly know by now to pick up their pants and socks off the floor your face says it all right? What conclusion do you draw from their lack of attention to your non-verbal requests?
Do you feel that they just don’t care, they take you for granted or you’re just not valued etc.…. You get silently angry and annoyed and feel more and more unappreciated.
Whose responsibility is it to get your needs met? Why do you feel that other people should interpret your needs for you? Why do you feel that hinting is a good way of communicating?
Here’s the thing:
Children hint, hope and wish.
Adults communicate what they want clearly and verbally.
Being an adult means that you must be able to:
Identify what you want
Be responsible for asking for what you want
Express clearly and respectfully what that looks like without blame, putdowns or accusations.
Be open to the person that you’re asking saying no. (There is nothing wrong with someone saying no there are always more people to ask if you’re not limiting yourself)
In this way you are meeting your own needs.
We all have a survival need to be acknowledged. In order to be taken seriously by others, you must commit yourself to setting clear and healthy boundaries. These boundaries are essential and set the foundation for how others will treat you.
These boundaries must be verbally communicated. As challenging as setting healthy boundaries are. In order to have healthy relationships with others you must be able to communicate to them what is acceptable to you as well as what isn’t.
This means knowing and understanding what your limits are. What are you willing to accept? What makes you feel uncomfortable? What makes you feel stressed? Identifying what these things are will help you in setting healthy boundaries. If a person or situation is triggering feelings of discomfort or resentment this is a pretty good way of identifying where your boundaries have been crossed.
You also need to be prepared for those that will come and run right over the boundaries that you’ve set. They can and they will but how you respond is the crucial part!
If you are a person that feels a lot of guilt or has fears of abandonment you may fear losing a person or upsetting a person if you enforce your boundaries. To allow others to invade your boundaries is a choice that only you can make and in which case you will have to live with the consequences of the choice of not honouring your own needs.
The past often sets us up with the ability or lack of ability to set and enforce our boundaries.
Truly loving yourself and understanding your emotional pressure points will help you to understand yourself and what makes you tick. With this introspection you will be able to identify the ways in which you have been ignoring your own pain and suffering in order to keep others happy or just simply to keep from rocking the boat.
The topic of boundaries is a big one as so few people seem to have them. Even fewer people seem to have them and enforce them. It is much more common for people to be resentful and angry inside due to their own unwillingness or unawareness of their part in their predicament. This resentment and anger often festers under the surface of the relationship leading to dysfunction and strain.
They end up doing things they don’t really want to do or engaging in situations they don’t really want to be in feeling powerless. Is this how life should be? Don’t you want better for yourself? If you don’t create a better life who will?
I wish for each and everyone of you to commit to honouring yourself. To honour the hurt, wounded, sad, abused part of yourself that allows others to mistreat you or take you for granted.
I would like to invite you to explore ways in which you can set and enforce healthy boundaries. Understand that there is a big difference between being spiteful or uncaring and protecting yourself from discomfort and intolerable behaviours or situations.
As difficult and scary as enforcing your boundaries are. You will be much more empowered for doing so.
For help and guidance around this please comment or get in touch.