The confidence we have interacting with others is initially determined by our upbringing and the level of self-worth we have developed.
As an adult, it is healthy to be treated as an equal by others and to treat them the same. In other words, we want to be treated with respect. Sometimes someone is continually telling us what to do or trying to take care of us. This can make us feel childlike and lack control. It can be supportive, but we do not want to be stuck feeling like the “Child” in a relationship. Sometimes we feel someone is treating us like a “Child”. This can result in feeling patronised, controlled or bullied.
We can also become the “Parent” in a relationship by dominating decision making. This can help us lead projects or take care of someone. However, we do not want to feel that we are constantly responsible for other adults. Also, those who continually want us to take charge or care for them may be manipulating the situation to get what they want. In other words, they make us the “Parent”. It can be difficult to step back and ask another adult to take ownership of their responsibilities.
When interacting with other adults there are two aspects to consider; the first is that our personality determines our initial responses. We may feel anxious, annoyed, dismissive etc. The second is the other person’s behaviour. This is determined by their personality. It is healthier to concentrate on our own feelings and behaviour. This can be difficult. A colleague may be constantly asking for support or compelling us to take control like a demanding “Child”. A partner may constantly make us feel like a “Child” when discussing important issues.
Regardless of the other person’s behaviour and the way we feel inside, try to consciously stay in the “Adult” role. Stay calm and objective. This will help keep the balance of power equal. Initially, we may find the other person’s behaviour becoming even more desperate because their approach is no longer working. By keeping in the “Adult” role, we develop confidence within ourselves.
For more information on these ideas, you can search online for a type of therapy called Transactional Analysis.
Many therapists will offer compelling reasons to invest in their type of therapy. Choose the therapy and therapist you feel speaks to you.