The Five Styles of Avoidance of Self-Assertion
March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but YOU don't have to. Lion and lamb personalities tend to fall into five unique categories of self-assertion avoidance. None of these five styles is a particularly pleasant or effective means with which to deal with other people.
Are you a lion/lamb personality? Do you find yourself unable to assert yourself in a reasonable manner? See if you can recognize the style of avoidance that YOU may fall into as we continue our discussion below.
The specific category a lion/lamb personality falls into is largely determined by a person's overall character, the nature of their trigger situations or "hot spots," and the way in which they deal with their trigger situations. The discrete styles of avoidance are learned early in life, and are often based on either the role modeling of a parent, or the techniques used for coping with one's parents employed during childhood.
Let's examine the psychologist's explanation of each style, and then see how both the lamb and the lion express themselves in all five styles of avoidance of self-assertion. Then, let's compare the lion and lamb approaches with a reasonable, straightforward, self-assertive approach.
STYLE 1: Avoidance that appeals to superego or conscience in an attempt to evoke guilt, manipulate, bully, scare, or threaten.
STYLE 2: Narcissistic exaggeration and primitive thinking, which contain black and white statements and dramatization in order to have impact.
STYLE 3: Disavowal of assertion so as to appear "nice."
STYLE 4: Indirect and evasive style of self-assertion
STYLE 5: Denial of ownership of wish for assertion
Whichever particular style of avoidance lambs or lions may adopt, these examples clearly show that true assertiveness is much more direct, clear, honest, and effective in getting our needs met. It is neither as evasive as the lamb nor as threatening as the lion. We may have learned how to be lions or lambs through our upbringing, but once we see that it isn't working for us anymore, we have the power to change it. Let's all make this March a month of self-assertiveness! Let us be neither lions nor lambs today.
If you would like to find out more about the difference between lions and lambs, read March is Self-Assertion Month.
RECOMMENDED READING FROM THE PSYSTORE:
When I Say No I Feel Guilty
by Manuel J. Smith (Preface)
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"The best-seller that helps you say: 'I just said 'no' and I don't feel guilty!' Are you letting your kids get away with murder? Are you allowing your mother-in-law to impose her will on you? Are you embarrassed by praise or crushed by criticism? Are you having trouble coping with people? Learn the answers [here] with revolutionary new techniques for getting your own way." -- Book Description
For a selection of books on this topic, visit the Psystore.