I have a serious problem with defensiveness when my wife starts criticizing me. WISNIFG was written for me and I just re-read it and outlined the material to help internalize it. Fogging, Negative Assertion, and Negative Inquiry are the exact tools I need and I'm finally using them how I should. I'm sharing the TL;DR summary. If you'd like the full outline (too many nested bullets to post here), PM me.
Summary of Assertive Rights – You have the right to: 1 – Be the ultimate judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself
2 – offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior
3 – judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems
4 – change your mind
5 – make mistakes – and be responsible for them
6 – say “I don’t know”
7 – be independent of the goodwill if others before coping with them
8 – be illogical in making decisions
9 – say “I don’t understand”
10 – say “I don’t care”
TL;DR Summary of Assertive Skills
Broken Record (verbal persistence) – keep saying what you want over and over again in a calm repetitive voice, without getting angry, irritated, or loud
- “I want x” repeated as many times as needed Workable Compromise – Whenever your self-respect is not in question, offer a workable compromised to the other person. Do not compromise a matter of self-worth Self-Disclosure – Assertively disclosing information about yourself – how you think and feel. Make sure body language is congruent, eye contact.
- Can also be a neutral inquiry, just trying to understand **Fogging – Agree with the truths in non-assertive criticism. Agree with actual truths about you and your behavior and admit mistakes or errors. For arbitrary right/wrong judgments tacked on to criticism, agree with the odds or principle (there’s always a grain of truth). Don’t respond to anything implied.
- Agree with actual truth: That’s true, that’s right… I could, should x
- Agree with the odds/principal – for something that’s possible: you could be right, maybe you’re right, that’s probably true, I guess you’re right, you may be right, I understand why you think that, I see why you think that Negative Assertion – Assertively accept and own (via self-disclosure) your errors and negative points. Share true feelings we assume we should hide: dislikes, worry, ignorance, desires, and fears
- I did do x, what a very stupid/dumb/inefficient/wasteful/unproductive thing to do, I didn’t handle that well, I messed that up, I goofed, that was a dumb thing I did Negative Inquiry – prompting criticism – inquire into structure of right/wrong structure in criticism, and ask for more information wrong/bad about your behavior. The critical issue can then be out in the open to find workable compromise
- I don’t understand, what is it about x that is bad/wrong/you don’t like?
- What am I doing specifically that’s x?
- What else is wrong or what don’t you like about me doing x?