How to be assertive!


How to be assertive!

For as long as I can remember I have hated any kind of confrontation and I have actively avoided it!
This often leaves me in awkward, uncomfortable, inconvenient, detrimental or down right strange situations and tolerating behaviour I really shouldn't!

The most recent scenario:

It had been my daughter's birthday and a relative wanted to catch up at MacDonalds to give her a gift. We arrive, relative gives said gift which was a gift bag including some clothes and a gorgeous (and likely very expensive) rag doll. Relative says her goodbyes and my daughter and myself decided to stick around for a play in the playground. So out we went!

Knowing there was loads of kids around I made my daughter put her new doll back in the bag and I shoved the bag under the table I was sitting at (we caught the train this day other wise I'd have put it in the car).

My daughter goes off to play.

Next minute a mum and her 1 year old come into the playground, 1 year old grabs dolly out of the bag. I didn't say anything because naturally I assumed mum would say "that's not yours, give it back to the lady" but no. She instead exclaims "Oh good girl, you found a dolly".
Excuse me, found?!?!
I smile politely but on the inside I'm kinda pissed, I expect mum to pry the doll out of her kids hand at this point, pass it back, give an endearing apology and be on her way but again, no.
She then let's 1 year old drag poor dolly through the playground. I actually get up at this point ready to say "Um, my daughter just got that today. I'll have it back thanks"*yoink*.
What I got out was a feeble "could I um... Excuse me but...*incoherent mumbling about new toy, dirt etc* - awkwardly trying to faff about and get the kid to hand it over, meanwhile mum's not paying me the slightest attention but is proudly shouting for all to hear "Good girl. Such good sharing".
I guess she missed the part where asking permission first is kind of fricken important...

I'm jack of it now and call my kiddo to leave, mum finally acknowledges me and says "Oh, did you want this back then?"

Me on the outside: That'd be good, thanks *polite fake smile*
I get dolly back and she now has a nice smear of snot on her face and chip grease on her dress. Great... (don't worry, she recovered lol).

I'm actually laughing at myself as I write this because it's so fucking stupid and these ridiculous little mishaps seem to be the story of my life 😂

I guess my question is, how can I gain the confidence to assert myself before situations decend into this utter lunacy?

I'm fairly shy as it is and in case you hadn't already perceived as much, I'm a bit socially awkward at times but I'm also growing less patient as I get older and I can have a firey temper. So I worry one day I'm going to go too far in the other direction and give someone a massive serve after silently putting up with their shit for too long lol.

I'm not really looking to be told how I should've handled the above situation. In hindsight I can see the exact point it went to Hell and I know exactly what I should have said. I just seem to have trouble putting that into practice in the heat of the moment.

Please help this awkward mama (Christ, how many times did I say awkward here? Sorry 'bout that🤦‍♀️😂).

Posted in:  Life Lessons, Behaviour, Kids, FAQ

3 Replies


You are too much of an empath. You do it because you are more worried about offending them, than defending what is right . I bet you are more like that with strangers than with people you know . I used to be like this . Sometimes I still am , but not as bad anymore . You will find you aren't really offending anyone if you say what's on your mind . However, be mindful of the difference between a personal judgement and a scenario that genuinely needs addressing. Some people dont know they have overstepped boundaries unless you tell them so . Most will not be offended. It's you worrying that they will be . And for those that do get offended? Its water off a ducks back for you. Dont dwell on it . Its their problem and they will quickly get over it anyway . Takes practice but it will and does get easier . Dont second guess your right to stick up for yourself .


I hear you chick. Once upon a time I would have reacted the same way. Nowadays I’d step in immediately and get that doll back!
It takes practice - you are more worried about offending than anything else. I myself still deal with that. In said example that other mother was focussed on her child only (to the extreme). You have every right to do the same - remember that and live it.
Use visualization to practice, and practice what you would say on your friends and family. Role play. Practice talking to the tv when you see a wrong done to another. All of this works - familiarity breeds confidence.
It’s in you that’s clear. All the best to you!!!


what do you fear if you speak up? Why do you expect someone else to act right in regards to your stuff if you’re not going to act right by taking a stand? There is a way to be respectful to others and yourself at the same time but YOU and only you first must give yourself what you want others to give you too. I was once a very blunt direct person, like feared😬... worse than I am now, have been through trauma, chronic ptsd and literally had a similar experience like yours fumbling over words, shaking in boots ect when asking for something. Became completely opposite didn’t stand up for self, apologetic about everything, I’ve now come to a balanced place of picking my battles and being assertive when needed and avoiding when it’s better option. You have to confront ur inner belief system, why don’t you value yourself enough to speak up for yourself? Are you role playing a family behaviour? Are you currently low about stuff? This storing stuff away for that one moment of explosion is also not ideal. A lot of people misbehave and push that misbehaviour into others. You can choose what you tolerate, and how you deal with it. So in a super sweet voice to the mum hey can you pass me that doll please I had it put away in my bag. If she ignores you... I’m just gonna take it back myself now. Then use a sweet voice with the child, thank you baby.. goodbye dolly. Using the motherese tone works wonders because it’s non threatening and soothing. I know women who are soooo sweet like so passive aggressive you’re confused if they are being nice, sarcastic or mean. They get away with ridiculous behaviour because everyone around them thinks they are just the nicest people ever. That’s another way to approach it. Not the best or most honest way to deal with stuff but yeah women who are supposedly timid and scared, getting everything thier own way. The last suggestion I have is to dare yourself when confronted with a situation. Or use / inhale lemongrass oil it Literally affects me to have minimal filter. I love the ideas posted here by others.