Homework Number Two: Online DBT Class

So I have now have my feedback from my second week of homework from the online DBT therapy course which can be found here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/dbtclass/. I am really so pleased that I have found this group, and although I find the homework hard, it is so good to have feedback from it.

My homework, on Getting want you want, using the acronym DEARMAN.


Using Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

Name _________Shelley_____ _________ __ Week Starting ______23/02/2013

Fill out this sheet whenever you practice your interpersonal skills and whenever you have an opportunity to practice even if you don’t (or almost don’t) do anything to practice. Write on back of page if you need more room.

PROMPTING EVENT for my problem: Who did what to whom? What led up to what?

I work for my mother within the family business, and if a client phones up with a problem, regardless of who caused the problem, she normally belittles me by saying to the client that `SHE will do the job next time to make sure it is done properly’ when I am the one that has done it. This morning when she said it on the phone I asked her afterwards why she feels as though she needs to belittle me so frequently, and she brushed it off and wouldn’t give me a correct answer, and then became defensive and accused me of being in the wrong. I believe she just doesn’t like admitting that she has done something wrong/taking the blame for something, and it is easier to blame me.

OBJECTIVES IN SITUATION (What results I want):

When I asked her, I wanted to understand why she felt it was perfectly fine to belittle me in the way she did. I wanted her to understand that I found this hurtful, and that I wanted her to stop doing it, and start taking some responsibility for her own actions, rather than blaming someone else (me).

RELATIONSHIP ISSUE (How do I want other person to feel about me):

I want her to respect me enough to stop doing this and to think of my feelings

SELF RESPECT ISSUE (How I want to feel about myself):

I often blame myself for mistakes and call myself stupid, or feel as though I need to punish myself. When I feel belittled by her, I have to work hard to not allow myself to believe what she is saying about me. Example: I inspected a property, which was perfectly fine. The landlord went in 2 weeks later and it was messy. He called to complain, and obviously the tenants in the two weeks between had caused damage. I know I cannot help that – I can only inpect what I can see at the time – but my mum told the landlord that SHE would do the inspection the next time so that it was done properly.
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _______

What I SAID OR DID in the situation: (Describe and check below.)

DEAR MAN (Getting what I want):

_____ Described situation? _____

Mindful? NO I was to begin with, but allowed myself to be too involved in the situation

YES Expressed feelings/opinions? Told her that I felt belittled and upset

YES Broken record? Repeated how I felt during the conversation

YES Asserted? Clearly stated how I felt and what I wanted to change

NO Ignored attacks? When she became defensive, I allowed this to get to me/upset me and then backed off, and started to doubt whether I had a right to question her

NO Reinforced? Because I had been upset, I had to spend effort keeping myself `together’ rather than concentrating on my DBT skills

YES Appeared confident? Initially I did

NO Negotiated? Not applicable I don’t think

GIVE (Keeping the relationship) :

YES_____ Gentle? _YES____ Interested? _YES____ No threats? _YES____ Validated? _YES____ No attacks? _YES____ Easy manner? _YES____ No judgments?

FAST (Keeping my respect for myself):

_YES____ Fair? _YES____ Stuck to values? __NO___ (No) Apologies? _YES____ Truthful?




I wasn’t able to reinforce my thoughts, or stay mindful (I allowed her being defensive to detract from my goal)


When challenged, I began to doubt my own thoughts


Feeling hurt about how I was being treated made me emotional



And my feedback:

Through your effective utilization of wise mind and the observe and describe skills you were able to reflect on the interpersonal exchange with your mother. Through that reflection you were able to recognize, identify and acknowledge the prompting event, your objectives and your utilization of “DEARMAN”. Your relationship with your mother appears to be a toxic relationship, but one that you can’t avoid because not only is she your mother but your employer as well. There are five distinct signs that one is in a toxic relationship: It seems like you can’t do anything right. Everything is about them and never about you. You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person. You are uncomfortable being yourself around that person. and You’re not allowed to grow and change. A toxic individual behaves the way he/she does essentially for one main reason; he/she must be in complete control and must have all the power in his/her relationship. If you want to improve your relationship with a toxic partner/person you have to be willing to leave the relationship if nothing changes. If you are unwilling to do so, you have very limited power available to you. Your toxic partner will know ultimately regardless of what they do, you really won’t leave. The bad news is that you cannot change your partner. The good news is that you can change yourself which may lead you to behave differently with the toxic individual, resulting in them deciding to change his/her behavior. Essentially what you do is calmly, but firmly confront the toxic behavior. You do this by identifying the behavior(s) to the toxic individual, letting them know they are not longer acceptable and suggesting alternative behaviors that would work better. Once again, you have to believe you deserve to be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect in a relationship or you will not continue that relationship. When one has not option to leave the relationship in any way, you have to radically accept that you can not change the toxic individual or their behavior, but you can change how it affects you and how you act, think, and behave. Keep up the nice work.

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