• IdiotTheWise

LESSON 31, U3, S9. GIVE skills.

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

This weeks session was interesting but I struggled with it, struggled to stay focused and tuned in because my head has taken a battering this week. Work, art deadline, coming off of medication slowly, unwell father (the virus), unwell wife of said father (the virus), unwell friends daughter (the virus). Damn this virus to hell. And everything concerning it.

So, I will at least try to to focus now, a bit, although I have texts from the hospital coming in every 5 minute. Tricky surreal times these covid19 days.


Let's start here:

Class slide shows, images and people from session but no notes. They're staying in my note book until I can trust this app again. If ever. Homework tasks to follow.

Identify 6 Key Interpersonal Skills.

“Man is a knot into which relationships are tied.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Relationships are inextricably linked to human life.  We depend on one another for connection, meaning, and a sense of purpose.  While developing one’s core sense of identity and self-sufficiency are invaluable to our development into strong dynamic adults, we are not separate from our connections with others.

A great deal of happiness and success in life can result from identifying and strengthening one’s basic interpersonal skills.

Ideally, these basic social skills are learned in childhood through appropriate parental modeling of social behaviors and interactions with peers, but this doesn’t always happen.  Just because your childhood or adolescence was less than ideal (or even if it was fkin terrible), you have the choice now, as an adult, to learn to do things differently.

A small excerpt from homework materials:

Effective Interpersonal Skills to Improve Relationships

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook (McKay, Wood, & Brantley, 2007) from which I am learning lots, identifies six crucial interpersonal skills to learn and practice in order to change the way that your relationships feel.

(1) Knowing what you want

What are some typical ways that you “know” what you want in your relationships with others?  It may be sensed as a deep yearning or even a mild discomfort with an interaction.  The important idea here is to be aware and pay attention to what these feelings are telling you about your deeper interpersonal needs and desires.

(2) Asking for what you want – in a way that protects the relationship

Do you notice that your interactions with others go more smoothly and manifest more positive outcomes when you ask for what you want in a direct, yet non-attacking, manner?  It can be difficult to directly state our needs or wants to others for fear of rejection or simply not being capable of being assertive.  The DBT mnemonic device, D-E-A-R M-A-N, is an incredibly useful tool for remembering some of these basic assertiveness skills.

(3) Negotiating conflicting wants

Part of being able to skillfully negotiate in relationships begins with a willingness to let go of the need for there to be “winners” or “losers.”  If you are excessively focused on being “right,” then you may just end up being “right” – all alone.  Negotiation means being willing to compromise with the other person so that you each get some of your needs met.  It helps to remember that it is unrealistic to get our ideal outcomes each and every time.

(4) Getting information

An important piece of the foundation of basic interpersonal skills involves being able to ascertain exactly what it is that the other person needs, wishes for, fears, etc.  We can be blocked from getting this key information when we: (1) believe that we already know what it is that the other person wants; (2) project our own needs, wishes, or fears onto the other person; (3) excessively worry that attempting to gather pertinent information will be experienced as prying; (4) are paralyzed by fear of hearing the “worst possible response” from the other person; and (5) are unsure of exactly what information is important to gather.

(5) Saying no – in a way that protects the relationship

There are three basic ways of saying “no” to another person: (1) in a flat powerless manner that gets overpowered; (2) in a hard, tough, and aggressive style that pushes people away; or (3) in an assertive way that validates the other person’s needs and wants while also setting clear boundaries about what you will and will not do.  The first two styles of saying “no” chip away at the foundation of relationships by making one person feel controlled and resentful.

(6) Acting according to your values

When we act in passive or aggressive ways in our relationships with others, we are denying both the other person and ourselves the possibility of a meaningful connection.  The first step to acting in accordance with your values in relationships is identifying what those values are.  Ask yourself what kinds of relationships you really want to have with others.  What is your idea of a trusting loving relationship or a meaningful friendship?  In order to begin to build the kind of relationships we truly desire, we must first know what we would like those relationships to look like.  Try beginning new relationships or infusing existing relationships with your identified values.  Communicate to others what it is that you value in another person and be prepared to act according to those values in your relationships.

Dr. Christine Meinecke, psychologist and author, explains that “becoming a self-responsible partner involves developing new interpersonal skills by becoming an expert user of your own brain.” 

She likens this process to learning how to inhibit negative emotions or “train your dragon.” 

An important aspect of learning how to identify the most basic of interpersonal skills begins with feeling a sense of control, ownership, and trust over yourself.

How can you begin the lifelong process of improving your relationships with others through being mindful of these basic interpersonal skills?  A good place to begin may be to simply focus on employing one new interpersonal skill in your life today.

Etc etc. It goes on. Great material to learn from.

More class:

All of the above topics and issues were discussed in depth and skills and practices joined together from other sessions and also discussions reexamined and dots joined up that has helped made sense of our direction in therapy. It all starts clicking together like a very complicated jig saw.


Using RAVEN skills, complete task one.

Further negotiating skills to emloy:


Task 1: List 3 examples of recent conflict and negotiation practices listed above, used to find a solution and way possible forward.

Conflict 1:

Person "R". Third strike being a condescending rude prick, thinking he just can be without being called out on it. Also seen him behaving rudely and arrogantly towards friends and others. Call him out. His response was passive aggressive, dismissive, patronizing, smug.

I saw the red mist . I'm glad we are on virus lock down.


Tit for tat.

I think I used the tit for tat method in my search for a solution. Validation, an apology which wasn't easy to achieve. Once he half offered an "offer" to apologize I offered him an apology for my aggression, which was genuine aggression. Tit for tat. Yet i still had to push him for actual apology which is testament to his character. Once it was delivered in a dismissive patronizing manner, I drew a line under him and any friendship with some honesty about my feelings towards him.

I could of handled it better. Noted.

All the best to him but adios to that and that's not an impulsive BPDesque impulsive bridge burning SNAFU. I thought it through.

Conflict 2:

Person "R". Trying to communicate is a hard task with this person. Very little insight to my mental health issues and patience with it. Butts in, rolls eyes, makes disapproving noises, miss communicates. On my front I get frustrated with far to easily and get highly strung and sometimes angry which is is unfair and counter productive.


Take Turns.

An ongoing effort on both of our parts to take turns. Not talk over each other, not butt in and "listen". We both need to be mindful and aware of the need to get this right in order to make life smoother. We are very different characters. The ability to take turns will keep things calmer negating the negative reactions that drive me fucking mad and my temperamental reactions that drives "R" mad. Boundaries. Respect.

Conflict 3:

Take Turns and Split The Difference (attempted but failed)

a and b:

Person "B". After asking this person not to feed my cat and not to keep my cat in his place beyond 6 pm so she doesn't become to accustomed to being in there and eat to much too, he agreed to my request. I know he loves the cat and likes the company so of course I'm happy to compromise and share her to a degree. Perfectly normal. My request was reasonable, friendly but firm. Unfortunately "B" decided not to play the game and repeatedly feed the cat and keep her in his place until late at night. Eventually, once i had established the facts and caught him red handed with my cat at gone midnight after asking him at 8 pm if he had seen my cat, I had to get angry and pissy to get my points in to his stubborn lying brain. So any take turns and split the difference practices were out of the window as he would not be honest and play nicely. So now he has no access to my cat app apart from outside or in place when he visits for a cup of tea. Shame. I was very mindful and before though in trying to negotiate a normal every day arrangement.

I will keep keeping record of this conflict jazz and monitor myself over a period of time. I will use some kind of score system for each case so i can monitor and track my progress in achieving less conflict in my life. That will be another blog entry then in six months. I will use a chart something like this:

In the following tube of you link is a video by Debbie (therapist) from longvago about boundary bubble work.

Link: https://youtu.be/p9g_gSsl5Uc

This was part of my homework resource material. Worth posting up.

Next up is Problem Interactions which i will do tomorrow as I am shattered. it's 2 pm 😴

Note: I hate this app.

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