This post is the third of a three-part series about Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, adapted from Marsha M. Linehan’s book, Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder (1993, The Guilford Press, New York, NY).
In this three part series, we have looked at DEARMAN skills, the DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness acronym for Objectives Effectiveness, or getting one’s objectives, goals or needs met. Then last month we discussed GIVE, the DBT acronym for getting and keeping relationships. This month, we will take a closer look at FAST, the DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness acronym for Self-Respect Effectiveness, or keeping respect for yourself. Maintaining self-respect while maneuvering interpersonal interactions can present a challenge to all of us at times, but for OPI Living and OPI Intensive participants who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), balancing the task of keeping relationships with keeping respect for one’s self can be particularly difficult. Here are some pointers for using these skills effectively.
When interacting with others, to be effective, we want to keep the relationship in mind and do what we can to take care of it so it will continue and flourish, but never at the cost of our own values, self-respect, or needs. In any interpersonal situation, be mindful of these things to be sure that you not only feel good about your relationships at the end of a social interaction, but also continue to build mastery in interpersonal effectiveness and feel good about yourself.
F – (be) Fair
|Be fair, not just to the other person, but also be fair to YOURSELF!|
A – (no) Apologies
|No unjustified apologies. Do not be overly apologetic, apologize for making a request, for breathing, taking up space, being alive. Don’t apologize for having your own opinion or for disagreeing with others.|
S – Stick to values
|Don’t compromise or abandon your OWN VALUES to try to please others or conform.|
T – (be) Truthful
|Truthful Don’t lie, exaggerate, or stretch the truth. Don’t make excuses. Don’t act HELPLESS or take advantage of others when you are capable of helping yourself!|
Building and maintaining self-respect while balancing relationships can be challenging. However, if you empower yourself by building mastery in DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness FAST skills, you can approach the most difficult conversations with more confidence and feel good afterward about your relationship AND YOURSELF.
DBT Bonus Tips for Success in 2014
- Try using a piece of jewelry as a mindfulness tool. It does not have to be anything special or expensive; it can be costume jewelry or even something braided from thread or yarn. Whether it’s a ring, bracelet, or necklace, you need to assign it specifically as your “mindfulness” token. When you look at it or touch it throughout the day, it will serve as a reminder to be more mindful.
- Ask your therapist or a trusted friend to hold you accountable to work on building healthy assertiveness, or join an assertiveness training group. Keep a journal and track attempts to be more assertive, and discuss the results with your therapist or ask a friend for feedback. Be sure to note any feelings in the moment, especially if you backed down and did not assert yourself.
- Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable for over-apologizing, or keep a log of apologies to discuss with your therapist, and ask for feedback. Make sure to note the situation, whether an apology was justified, and how you felt after the interaction.