In my online DBT class, we have moved on to “Advanced Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills”. This is intimidating because it involves skills that actually require you talking to others (it’s not just identify anymore). One area I know I will struggle with is modulating my intensity. Since I’m a very emotional person I tend to see everything I feel as urgent. I need to deal with it right now, the world needs to stop while I do this and we need to solve the problem within the next 5 minutes or I will fail at life. I also tend to not care how others are feeling in these moments because I’m too caught up in how I am feeling. I also struggle with seeing that thinking of others is a good thing and doesn’t mean that I forget how I feel and what I need.
My workbook has a handy little scale to help determine urgency and vulnerability for each issue I may come up against. This helps me know the intensity I should approach it with.
The higher the number the more appropriate it is to be forceful (not aggressive but assertive) when addressing something and the lower the number the more gentle you should be.
I would like help from my partner to keep our room tidy while I am at work during the week (hypothetical, he does an alright job at this and I’m a huge slacker).
In the grand scheme of things, keeping our room clean isn’t very high on the list of things I need from him in our relationship right now. It’s important to have a tidy room but the need, given the current state of our room, is not high so I circled 1 (low urgency). When I decide to share this will my partner I know that our relationship and he are stable enough to have this need addressed with little problem so I circled 10 (not vulnerable).
Having a 1 in urgency and a 10 in vulnerability means that I should gentle in addressing my need (because it is not pressing) but I can be forceful, that it is something that needs to be addressed because I know the relationship can withstand it.
So, I may say to my partner something along the lines of, “I need your help keeping our room clean while I am out at work during the week and you are at home. It would be great if you could sweep the floors and wipe the surfaces down.”
I will need to practice this because I find I usually have something nice planned in my head and then I say it so poorly! The visual is helpful. I hope some of you find this helpful as well!