Disclaimer: Still not a professional nor have I ever claimed to me. My experiences and interpretations of DBT material are my own.
Other people should be willing to do more to do more for my needs.
This is a statement which came up during my weekly DBT homework. Our task involved examining a collection of myths relating to interpersonal effectiveness, identifying which ones we subscribe to and developing counter arguments to them to break down these roadblocks.
This is one which really stood out to me because it is a belief that I have been quite wilful about. I do believe that the people who care about me most have truly done what they can to support my needs, the pitfall here is that there are people who I expected would display compassion when my needs weren’t being met whose actions have left me feeling at a loss.
‘Should’ is the problematic phrase here. They definitely could be more willing, but who I am I to assess the priorities of others? Referring back to my most recent post where I quoted my group leader, interpersonal effectiveness asks us to place ourselves and others on an equal playing field. Once again, I have been finding myself conflicted by these different principles of DBT. It is ideal to be able to place ourselves and others on equal footing, why can’t we expect that others will do the same for us?
Some people prioritise others over themselves to the point that their own needs go abandoned, something I used to do regularly. I bottled up my emotions and even thoughts, believing that asserting myself would be selfish and lead to isolation. I did this until I simply could not take it anymore; ironic that this is what led to my isolation, no? I’m ashamed to admit that my former priorities did invert at times; it’s not that I didn’t believe that other’s needs should be placed on equal footing to mine, I just don’t think I identified some of these requests as needs and that is not my call to make.
Enter my epiphany: my priorities have needed intervention to the point that I have enrolled myself into an intensive six-month training course to not be a destructive wreck, how can I expect that other people have sorted out on their own? I do naively wish that they would realise that just because I am diagnosable mess doesn’t mean they have their shit together, even on comparable level. It just means that I’m doing something about my baggage.
The conclusion that I’ve come to is that it is unwise to extend myself to accommodate the needs of others when they are unwilling to do the same for me and it is unreasonable of them to request that I do this. Neither of us are doing something ‘wrong’, but we have incompatible priorities.
Should, expect, good, bad, wrong, right. I’m learning that these words offer limited practicality. I hope to write a glossary of DBT encouraged and discouraged words in the near future to help me work on my new vocabulary; stay tuned!
TLDR: Just because my personal ethos is ‘don’t be a dick’ (yes, I realise I fuck up here on occasion) doesn’t mean everyone else tries to live by that value. They’re just not worth my time if they don’t.