Posted by: jude49 | September 25, 2014

Anxious? Finding It Hard to Make a Decision? Here’s how…

Hello Readers,

Anxious women often find it difficult to make decisions. Why? Here are some clues…

  • Anxious women are often placators/pleasers…and they seek to make others happy, often at great personal expense
  • Anxious women often feel it their responsibility to make others happy
  • Anxious women often make decisions from a place of fear, guilt, frustration, anger…
  • Anxious women fear the consequences of making decisions (“My kid is going to hate me if I do this”…”My friend will desert me”..”.Some of my family members are going to criticize me”)
  • Anxious women often make decisions when they are feeling “big” emotions (e.g. feeling overwhelmed, angry, frightened)
  • Anxious women feel that their decisions won’t be respected by others, and they will be met with disrespectful behaviors (“You don’t love me”…”If you were a good mom, you wouldn’t make this choice”…”You’re selfish”) that will result in them backing down
  • Anxious women often wait for the “right” moment (timing is important, but sometimes there isn’t any right moment…Putting off making the decision often results in more anxiety.)
  • Anxious women are worried that they may not word their decision in the right way…
  • Anxious women avoid conflict at all costs. They keep their feelings inside and can find it a struggle to manage their emotions
  • Anxious women often put their “happy” face on in public while their insides are churning with discomforting emotions
  • Anxious women keep reviewing the situation over and over in their minds and seldom feel peace

How do you, as a woman experiencing anxiety, make good reasoned decisions?

Here are some pointers:

  • Make sure you are calm and coming from a positive place of strength and calm when you make the decision. (A couple of ways of calming yourself are following your breath in and out, visualizing a calm place in nature…) If the discussion becomes too heated, take a break. Nothing is resolved in anger
  • Use empathy…put yourself in the other’s shoes
  • State your request clearly, directly and calmly
  • Keep your focus on the issue at hand. When the decision is one that is  probably difficult for the other to hear, there is often an attempt to distract (e.g. “You don’t love me.” …”Aunt Jane told me you’ve never been good at making decisions”) Refrain from engaging and re-focus on the issue at hand.
  • Make sure your decision results in positive change/growth for all concerned
  • Sometimes decisions that were made previously need adjusting…sticking to a decision that is no longer serves a positive purpose keeps everyone stuck and results in negative energy

Description of DESO Script

(Based on DESO script developed by Dr. Randy Paterson in “The Assertiveness Workbook”)

D means describing the situation

–define situation concisely

–focus on behavior, not personality (“You’re lazy”) or intentions (“You’re doing this to make me mad”)

E means expressing/stating (not acting them out) your emotions clearly

–emphasize the positive, the strengths

–use “I” statements (“I feel angry when I see you roll your eyes” rather than “You make me angry when you roll your eyes”)

S means specifying what you want to happen

–decide what you what ahead of time…practice what you want to say and how you want to say it

–be clear and brief (one or two sentences)

–frame the request positively (“I need you to check with me before you take the car” rather than “It’s inconsiderate of you to take the car before checking with me”)

–focus on behavior (“I need you to listen to me without interrupting, rolling your eyes or making faces” rather than “Don’t be so disrespectful”)

–specify what you want (“I want you to water the garden within the next 30 minutes”…”I expect you to come up with 2 meal plans for next week and not use more than X amount of money” “When you are feeling angry, I need you to write down what you want from me rather than shouting at me”

O means outcome…consequences, positive and/or negative

—feelings…”If you would tell me what you are feeling and what I can do to help, I’ll feel less overwhelmed”

…positive concrete results (usually phrased as when/then)…When you have finished doing your chores, then you can go swimming with your friends”

—negative concrete results…”It’s unfortunate that you chose to take the car out without asking me. You don’t have car privileges this week-end”



An adult sibling writes an e-mail criticizing one of her siblings about her failure as a parent. This criticism has been on-going from other siblings as well over a long period of time. Even though the sibling who is being criticized has had challenges with her children, all of them are doing reasonably well and moving towards positive change.


The sibling who is being criticized feels overwhelmed, angry and discouraged.

What is Wanted:

The sibling being criticized wants her siblings to stop criticizing her and treat her respectfully (e.g. refrain from judgment, listen to her perspective, respect her decision even if they disagree, stop bringing up past mistakes).


Hi Julie, I rec’d your e-mail this morning. I was glad to see your name come up on my computer screen. And then I read your e-mail, again criticizing my parenting skills from when my children were younger.


I feel sad and discouraged when I read your comments about how I parented my children years ago when they were little. I did the best I could with what I knew at that time.


Julie, you’re my sister, and I want to have a loving and supportive relationship with you. I’d like you to stop talking about the mistakes I made in the past and focus on the good relationship I have with my children now.


Julie, I can’t change the past. I can only make changes in the present and continue to do my best in the future. If you choose to focus on the mistakes I made twenty years ago, I will need to distance myself from you. Hopefully, you will choose to see me for who I am now and focus on “growing” our relationship forward.

Is this DESO script helpful?







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