Homework number five: Online DBT Class

This week was a re-cap of the Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, from the free on-line DBT class group http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/dbtclass/
Write out your examples of using the skills, made up or for real!
Practising the skill FAST

Yesterday I had a situation where the postman who delivers the mail to work made an inappropriate comment. I was the only one in the office at the time and he said “If I wanted to have sex with you, now would be the best time”. Unfortunately I was caught unprepared and immediately responded in my ‘defensive mode’ which for me, is to flirt (as I always feel uncomfortable around men who intimidate me). I replied “Bring it on”, even though I actually meant the opposite. He moved towards me, and jokingly went to touch my breast, and I froze. Thankfully, he didn’t, and I’m sure that sounds worse than it actually is, as maybe it was all meant in jest, but it still made me very uncomfortable. I have the opportunity today to behave skilfully as I am prepared in advance that he MAY be inappropriate again as I am alone in the office again.

My plan:

Be Fair: The postman is not acting appropriately. Perhaps this was an oversight on his part and a one off, therefore I am not going to report him. Perhaps I am giving him too much credit and another girl might have reported him as soon as it happened. But, if it happens again, I will have no hesitation in reporting him. I believe this is BEING (more than) FAIR.

No Apologies: I am not going to apologise or feel bad about feeling intimidated, awkward or uncomfortable. It is not fair on him to make me feel like this. A postman (or any man who is in his position) should NOT EVER discuss anything like this with a client. It is completely inappropriate and I am completely justified in feeling like this.

Stick to Values: My values tell me that he is being inappropriate and I am not willing to make any allowances for him.

Be Truthful: If it happens today, I am going to hold my head up high and tell him that he is acting inappropriately and making me feel uncomfortable, and if it happens again, I will report him. (Well, I’m going to try my best. Typing that out made my stomach turn over with fear and anxiety)

And my feedback:
Through your effective utilization of wise mind you were able to reflect on the interpersonal situation in order to recognize, identify and acknowledge the prompting event and your utilization of the “FAST” skills in this situation. Your practice was a good example of someone not only acting inappropriately and crossing personal boundaries but also crossing professional boundary lines. It is important that those boundaries are not crossed and if they are, appropriate consequences need to occur. By asserting your personal rights and the “FAST” skills you were able to set those personal and professional boundaries. Utilization of “I” statements as well as what you will do if it happens again is important. The formula, “When you…I feel…If you….I will….If you continue to…..I will then….” Your practice demonstrated not only your knowledge of this but your plan/script asserts this. Remember you have the personal right not to feel sexually harassed. If the situation were to continue, it is important that you follow through and report him.  Keep up the nice work.

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