This week’s Interpersonal Effectiveness homework in my DBT class included a section on identifying your interpersonal values. Knowing your interpersonal values guides you in how to respect yourself and others.
First, I was asked to list any of my interpersonal behaviours that diminish self-respect (of you or another person).
My interpersonal behaviour diminishes the self-respect of myself and another when someone does something I don’t like and I get angry and tell them it’s stupid.
The question then asked that I write down “sins of omission”- things I should have done but didn’t.
I should explain to the person why I disagree/don’t like what they are doing or accept that they do things differently from me and that is ok.
It was in writing the next part that I began to laugh at myself a little bit. The following questions asks that I list my values about how people should be treated. These values serve as basic rules about what I and others are entitled to in a relationship (ie: partner, friendship, co-worker etc.).
- Be treated with empathy
- Know that I am someone they can come to for support and I to them
- They know they can make mistakes and I know I can make mistakes
- That they can have fun with me and I can have fun with them
Can you see why I began laughing? The contradiction between what I do and my values is pretty obvious. In my one example, I violate ALL of my interpersonal values. I am not treating someone with empathy when I am getting angry with then and saying what they are doing is stupid. I am not letting them know they can come to me for support when I am being very unsupportive. I am not letting them know they can make mistakes if I am getting angry at what they are doing. I am not letting them know that they can have fun with me if I am being so rude.
The main core values that I disregard a lot are number 1 and 3. Because I get angry so frequently and so intensely it can become impossible to be empathetic towards other people and sometimes I am angry because they have made a mistake which doesn’t communicate to them that it’s ok to make a mistake. What’s also interesting about the number 3 value is that in my previous relationship mistakes I made were deeply criticized and I was constantly battling with that partner about seeing mistakes as natural, human and opportunities for learning. I believe I am acting out what I experienced for years. It’s not an excuse, but a reasoning for why that behaviour and thought process has come about.
I always knew that how I behaved and what I believe in didn’t match but writing it all down, in combination with what I have learned so far about Interpersonal Effectiveness has helped me see the vastness of the disconnect and not only how it hurts others but it also hurt me as I am not being true to my own values.