Negative Assertion - Tricks of the Trade

Published on April 15, 2018

Negative assertion rule is a great one when dealing with criticism and so can be used to great effect. e.g brother states “your always late when I need you” and he says this as I walk in the door 45 minutes late. I could chose to respond in an unhelpful negative way and just dismiss him and tell him to shut up or I could use the helpful method by agreeing with him. And saying “ yes it is true that I am late today but I was not late before or any other time, I am here now lets talk…..With this Negative assertion rule you agree with the grain of truth to keep the channel of communication open but then swift to get to point and use the time to talk about the purpose of the meeting

Broken record is simply saying the same thing over and over until the other person hears it. This is useful when dealing with other aggressive people and they don’t listen

F Fair to myself and others
A No Apologies for being alive
S Stick to values (not do anything I’ll regret later)
T Truthful without excuses or exaggeration
Use the ‘I’ when dealing with discussing how you feel about a difficult situation. I might say “ I felt disappointed with the way the exam turned out” may open up the conversation to others

Instead of “You made me fail because of your snoring” which would not have a constructive conversation and just be counter-productive. No one can really argue with how you feel when using the ‘I’ method but they can argue if you are accusing them and then the walls go up and nobody gets heard. Never use demands as this is a sure way of hitting the wall. “You must or You should “ is never a good idea when negotiating as this will lead to you losing every time as the other person will not listen. Delay the response is a good way to giving you time to respond. This is particularly useful if you feel pressured to give an answer but an instant way rather than a meaningful one. This will provide you with space to think about options and consider the best one. So the typical responses here are “Can I think on that…..” “I will get back to you” “When can I discuss it with you again”, “leave it with me and I will get back to you”

Step Tip for dealing with anger
Top tip Follow a Anger 4 step approach
1. walk away-decide to come back to situation in one hour and then make an excuse to walk away e.g. need to make a call or I am late for an appointment must dash!
2. Get calm- go for a slow walk or another activity which slows you down
3. Rethink- How do you want others to think about you? How do `I want to think of myself? Am I fostering/nurturing (looking after) the relationship with myself and the other person
4. Come back with a response- this can be a response to self ‘I am annoyed about……but now it’s ok and life goes on’ or a response to the other person to say “lets agree to disagree” or “ I am sorry”

The Anger 4 step approach is tapping into the idea of hindsight is golden and “I wished I had acted differently and if so then I would act like this…..”

Well the 4 step just helps to create a pause button while you collect your thoughts and decide a course of action. Pause and rewind can cause you to feel hot with anger and Pause and fast forward can help you see the potential consequences before they occur and help you to salvage the situation before it becomes a problem.
ask yourself this question, Do I need to waste my energy on this? Is it really worthwhile in upsetting myself and others to get something that I need this desperately and demanding stance? If no then give it up and move on… is just too short for drama and tantrums

Being comfortable communicating

Another motto is needed here, Practice makes permanent and so try using your new found skills over and over. Remember that task confidence is developed when you practice

Secondly you trouble shoot when you develop task confidence along with an enjoyment as the confidence grows. Remember that your confidence level will begin low but then it will grow. We all have to learn and start somewhere
We as human beings are social by nature and so you will find your style and way to communicate that will reflect your strengths and personality traits

Just say what comes to mind and leave it to others to pick it up and respond. Try not to imagine how it sounds or view yourself with your minds eye from another side of the room as this will create unnecessary anxiety

G Gentle manner without attack or threat
I Interest in the other person
V Validate the other person without judging
E Easy manner (with a little humour?)

Don’t fulfil fear’s need to rehearse over and over! Just say IT! And I am sure with your spontaneous stance the occasion should bring you some pleasure in the short and long term

Category(s):Anger Management, Communication Disorders Problems

Written by:


mbroa003 belongs to Broadway-Horner Consultancy in Sri Lanka

Mental Health News