#26: Coping with COVID-19 [Part 3] Being Skillful in Relationships During Quarantine

#26: Coping with COVID-19 [Part 3] Being Skillful in Relationships During Quarantine

Today, Marielle and Ed discuss skills to help you communicate with other people during a global pandemic where we are all facing new interpersonal challenges.

We are connecting – or not connecting – with each other in very different ways now, which can strain relationships.

People living alone may feel isolated.

People living with others may long for time alone. The demands of partners, children, and/or other family members may feel like too much. 

Additionally, continual low-grade fear and uncertainty make it hard to be in Wise Mind and to know what you want and need.

The DBT skills of DEAR MAN and GIVE can help. These skills provide structure for asking for what you need, saying no, or having your opinion taken seriously. Marielle and Ed revisit these skills and talk about relationships as a whole during this pandemic.

Show Highlights

  • Think about what your objective is ahead of time when communicating with others. Steer clear of impulsively lashing out or shutting down.
  • Many of us are teetering away from Wise Mind and toward Emotion Mind a lot of the time these days
  • Getting factual can balance out strong emotions
  • Doing the most skillful DEAR MAN doesn’t mean you will get what you want, but you will hold onto your self-respect and not damage your relationship
  • Some people are needing more alone time while others are really needing more contact
  • GIVE is the way you do DEAR MAN when the relationship is your top priority.
  • Rigidity comes up when we feel out of control and scared
  • If you approach others with rigidity, they may become defensive
  • Your loved ones need gentleness, and so do you
  • Being open to the other person’s point of view and perspective
  • Validating the other person 
  • Radical Acceptance – don’t forget it! This might include radically accepting the limitations of others
  • Using DEAR MAN can help you with voicing your needs
  • DEAR MAN stands for:
    • D: Describe
    • E: Express
    • A: Assert
    • R: Reinforce
    • M: Stay Mindful
    • A: Appear Confident
    • N: Negotiate 
  • GIVE stands for:
    • G: (be) Gentle
    • I: (appear or be) interested
    • V: Validate
    • E: Easy Manner

Links & Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

The Skillful Podcast Episode #5: Using the DEARMAN Framework to Say No

The Skillful Podcast Episode #6: Get What You Want by Using the GIVE and FAST Skills of DBT

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here. 

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.