How Can I Stand Up for Myself?
Caroline Manzo puts the real in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and her fans relate to the reality star's no-nonsense attitude, focus on family and, above all, abundant common sense. Check back at Glo every Monday as Caroline helps solve your most pressing dilemmas.
The Dilemma: I'm a 37-year-old mother of three children (aged 18, 15 and 10), I'm Italian and married. I have always been a pushover and have had enough of it! I'm so emotional and often take things the wrong way. How do I build the confidence I need to keep people from walking all over me? –Christine
Caroline's Ruling: First and foremost, you have to understand your self-worth. You need to know that you have value as an individual, as a wife and as a mother. Don't let anyone take that away from you. Manners and respect are not a luxury; they are simple courtesies that should be exercised by each and every one of us on a daily basis.
I feel like you've backed yourself into a corner and have become resigned to the fact that people always have and always will walk all over you. Guess what? They walk all over you because you let them. Stand up for yourself. You have a voice — use it! Don't yell; speak with confidence and authority. As an example, you can say something like, “I don't appreciate your tone of voice, and I will not allow you to speak to me that way.” Trust me, they're going to come back at you in a negative manner — that's only their insecurities shining through.
Remember that bullies are generally insecure people. Stand firm; walk away if you have to prove your point. After some time, things will change. It's not going to happen overnight. You need to realize that it may take longer than you would like. Each time you stand up for yourself your confidence will grow. I need to stress one thought: If you are in danger of physical violence, you need to get help. Don't try to be a hero; it's not worth it.
If you are at such an emotional level where things aren't clear to you, I suggest you try and talk to someone outside of the situation. Sometimes hearing a third party's opinion brings clarity and can be very helpful. Also, you would benefit from having a shoulder to cry on as well. Call a friend, a coworker, your priest, whoever — find that shoulder and use it.
I want you to appreciate yourself, love yourself. I feel like you've been beaten down a bit. You've raised three children; I'm sure you've accomplished many other things as well. Do me a favor: Be proud and never let anyone devalue you as a human being. Every day, look at yourself in the mirror and smile at the person you want to become. Confidence will start to shine through, trust me. I'm rooting for you, Christine!
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From marriage dilemmas to family issues, Caroline's got the answers!Photo by Michael T. Greco