With decent concepts.
We are still on the hardest unit in DBT - Interpersonal skills or how to successfully work with and socialize with the humans. It is the hardest unit because it requires all the other skills to work. If you don’t have distress tolerance you will cave to the demands of the humans. Interpersonal skills is partially about asking for what you want and need from the humans.
This skill, is called a DEAR MAN. Immediately the group leaders knew I’d struggle with the title, and told me it use to be called YES MASTER. I groaned and asked which insensitive white person wrote that?
DEAR MAN stands for
Describe - Basically describe what it is the situation
Express - your feelings and opinions but still the the fact
Mindfully and (act as a broken record if you aren’t being heard)
My analogy machine hasn’t churned one out for this unit.
This is something you can do to yourself or use on others. The leaders pointed out that this doesn’t work on everyone, but it should in theory work in your healthy relationships. If you can’t get a person to listen to you or give you what you need (if it’s a reasonable thing) and chances are it isn’t a healthy relationship.
D - I need to go to the doctor, can you take me?
E- I’m really scared of doctors and I feel that your presence would make it tolerable.
A- I would like it if you came with me.
R - I don’t think I can go by myself, and I really need to go to the doctor.
M - (Don’t give up, just keep repeating the previous sentiments and focus on getting what you want)
A - (Don’t look away or and keep a consistent tone of voice)
N - If you come with me we can go to lunch afterward.
Basically, stay on point, listen and don’t start yelling “YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING!” Be clear and direct.
I actually got really angry with this skill. I’m not fond of the express part, and I don’t like asking for help. I spent time discussing those issues with my private therapist. Part of my trouble with express your feeling is that:
A) we don’t do that in my family unless it’s an emergency. So “this hurt my feelings” often gets translated to “I AM DEVASTATED!!” So for them I’ll have to stick to facts.
B) My ex was a master of the DEAR MAN. He would use his feelings to get what ever he wanted.
Yes, he was emotionally abusive. In the beginning, he’d say normal things like “I’m sad” and eventually over the years it turned in crying, open sobbing, anger, rage, expressing how my actions hurt his feelings and thus made me a terrible person, threatening to kill himself, threatening to ruin my reputation, saying you don’t love me if you don’t do X.
She then asked me if I had any healthy relationships (the romantic kind) which I said no.
“Not even in High school?”
“No I didn’t date until grad school, and when I was in High school I was constantly bullied for appearing to be a lesbian and trans man, so no one wanted me. A friend did ask me out in High school, but I refused because I wasn’t attracted to him and thought I wasn’t great to be around given that I was sad most of the time in private. So, when X came around I was grateful and he was cute. It wasn’t bad all the time. And with X I understood he was like this because of abuse and honestly didn’t know how to be anything else. X2 wasn’t all terrible either, but I still don’t want to date again.”
She speculated that X had Complex PTSD and then described his behaviours a little too accurately consider I never speak of him and I also don’t want too. It’s weird, I get why he was the way he was, and part of me wants me to be okay with what happened. But at the same time another part of me is so angry that I just can’t write it off that his CPTSD did this to me. Sometimes I just want him to be terrible and that’s it, so I don’t have to understand or be empathetic.
So DEARMAN is a bit of a difficult place. I have trouble with it, because I consider expressing your feelings to be a type of manipulation and right now I am very guarded against the emotions of others.
I did make a point to say to people this week
“When you said X, it hurt my feelings.” Not sure how I feel about it.
I see that it would work in normal situations, but it really didn’t sit well with me because I don’t want to hear your feelings to get what you want. I’ll get better at it, now that I know that I don’t have to bend to the will of another, but for awhile I’m gonna overreact and perceive it as a form of control.