I just finished When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel Smith and it is without a doubt one of the most useful self-help books I have ever read.
The premise is that as a young child we are taught by our parents to feel shame for mistakes we make. That we are ‘bad’ if we do what our parents consider wrong. The main issue is that we operate our lives within a completely arbitrary framework of rules and what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. So as a parent, when your kid does something wrong you can claim that you’re not the one responsible for punishment, but that some external force is. “God says so”, “Those are just the rules we live by”, “If you don’t do this than nobody will like you”, etc, etc. Really, anything where they try to instill guilt into the child in order to get them to comply with their actions.
This is a form of manipulation. And we learned ways to cope with this manipulation as adults that may not be optimal.
Imagine if our parents just said, “I understand you don’t want to do this and you don’t like this. But I still want you to do it and you don’t have to like it. All you have to do is do it. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do in order to do the things we do want to do”
Way more assertive and gets the point across assertively.
As we grow into adulthood and people constantly try to manipulate us, we have to properly deal with it. Ranging from employer-employee relationships, friendships, lovers, family members, and complete strangers. This book provides strategies and examples with dealing with virtually every kind of social encounter.
Your mother-in-law intruding on your life inappropriately? Your girlfriend acting irrationally? Are you too sensitive to criticism from others? Handling hecklers in public speaking, salespeople, and friends who take advantage of you. Customer wigging out on you? He really covers everything.
You learn techniques such as BROKEN RECORD, FOGGING, NEGATIVE ASSERTION, NEGATIVE INQUIRY, and SELF-DISCLOSURE. You can use a combination of these techniques to handle any discussion, verbal assault, etc.