A LESSON IN DBT: DEAR MAN


So, at my last DBT therapy I learned DEAR MAN. Basically, it is a technique used to ask for what you need or to learn to say NO to others. I was in a beauty salon today, a woman walked in after me.  The hairdresser clearly told me it was my turn.  So, I went over to the chair to get my hair washed.  It was a beautiful day, sunny, warm, I thought nothing could agitate me. WRONG.  The woman came over and told me it was her turn.  Not just told me, but in a very condescending, who do you think you are kind of way.  I wanted to say OK fine go ahead, or get the hell out of here but instead I used DEAR MAN in this very simple situation to practice. This woman, whose eyes could’ve burned a hole through me, clearly  had never heard of this skill.  Which got me to thinking, why do I have to adjust my reactions and the rest of the drones in society don’t. As my therapist would say, you cannot control other people, you can only control your reactions.  So anyway, I Described the situation.  I said to her, “I know you think it is your turn.”  Well, the battle began or so she thought.  “I don’t think its my turn, I know it’s my turn, I was here first.”  So now, second step.  Remain confident and calm Fia… Express my feeling and opinion about it.  “Well, I know you think it’s your turn but I believe it’s mine, since the hairdresser said it was and I was here about a minute before you.”  She continued.  Ranting and raving.  “It is my turn.”  By this time she was beet red and I thought was going to punch me over who was going to get their hair washed first.  Usually, I would’ve said OK, screw you, go ahead.  But no.  I Asserted myself.  “I’m sorry you’re so upset but it is my turn, (gave her a litte validation, thought she could use it, she seemed ready to cry or tear my hair out, this way I wouldn’t need to wash it 🙂 )  But, it didn’t end there, and I know you’re thinkng all this over who is going to wash their hair first, but believe me, this was only a practice for me, for her it seemd like life or death.  She, told me to go ______ myself and that she was getting her hair done first.  By this time I was determiend to get my self respect.  I Reinforced, “Look, by this time I could have had my hair washed and you would’ve been done too, we’re just standing here arguing and wasting time.  I’ll go, it will be two minutes, and we can get this over with.” She tried to distract me with emotions by calling me names, but I remained set on my objectives and Mindful.  I Appeared confident by continuing to be a broken record and saying, no, I’m going.  Really, by that time I just wanted to cry.  So, it was time to Negotiate.  Everyone in the salon by now had been staring at us, only I’m not the one who looked “out of control.” This could’ve been solved a long time before had I negotiated in the beginning, but like I said I had to practice my skills 🙂  “How about you go to the other hairdresser and I’ll take Joe.”  “Fine,” she yelled. Finally, I thought I actually said NO without feeling guilty or looking “unstable.”  I wanted to hand her my manual as we sat there next to each other getting our hair done so she could be more Effective next time.  But for now, we’ll keep it between US…. 🙂

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7 Responses

  1. Oh boy. Good job. I think I would have punched her.

  2. Wow, that was a fantastic story Fia! That was a great first practice. I liked how you remained calm and collective while explaining things to her logically and simply. You are on your way to achieving great things by learning and using techniques like this and some others you will eventually learn to deal with some intense situations. Great Work!!! 🙂

  3. Thanks Rich and Edde means alot…

  4. Wow, that woman was a jerk! I’m happy that you stood up for yourself. Your comment
    “Which got me to thinking, why do I have to adjust my reactions and the rest of the drones in society don’t.” hit home for me because I feel like I’ve always been the ‘nice girl’ even though I’m the one with BPD. That’s why I get so upset when people generalize people with BPD.

    • I agree, I think everyone in society needs to learn communication skills. You sound like a very nice girl, and I understand getting upset at people for generalizing. Can you blame them with movies like “Fatal Attraction?” All you can do is be who you are and show them the reality. XOXOX

  5. Good for you! That kind of stuff affects me for hours if not days sometimes afterwards.
    Way to stay the course. I’m sure I would have been yelling. I understand about feeling frustrated when we’re asked to change everything we do, yet others get to just be assholes. sometimes, it seems futile, being so sensitive and having to do things that are scary and new.

    I’m so impressed! I love hearing these stories. I can relate. and it gives me inspiration to continue to grow and keep experimenting.

    • Glad it gave you inspiration, it is difficult especially in more intense situations, i find myself thinking of how I should’ve handled it afterwards, however one day it will sink in, I hope….

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