Positive and Negative cycles in Relationships: Self-confidence focuses on how good a person feels about himself/herself

Based on the research, we have discovered there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance. In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases. In the negative cycle, when one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

This series of posts discusses assertiveness and self-confidence, and avoidance and perceived partner dominance and aids in the understanding of each partner and how each partner’s characteristics are related to the underlying couple dynamics. These four interrelated areas together provide a comprehensive picture of each partner.

Self-confidence: Self-confidence focuses on how good a person feels about himself/herself and his/her ability to control things in their life. Self-confidence was developed by combining aspects of “Self Esteem” and “Mastery”. Self-esteem is defined as how positive people feel about themselves. Mastery is the belief people have about how much control they have over what happens in their life.

When two people have higher levels of self-confidence, the couple has a higher probability of having a successful relationship. It is, therefore one of the goals of marriage and relationship education programs - to increase self-confidence. This can be achieved by helping both people become more aware individually and assertive with each other.

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education aims to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners and aims to assist in the understanding of each partner and how each partner’s characteristics are related to the underlying couple dynamics. As each partner improves their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence will increase. This is the positive cycle of more assertiveness increasing self confidence. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle in couples.

The four Relationship Dynamic scales are very relevant to other categories within PREPARE/ENRICH. Individuals, for example, who are more assertive tend to like the personality of their partner (Partner Styles and Habits), feel good about their communication (Communication) and report satisfaction in their abilities to resolve conflict (Conflict Resolution). Conversely, those who are high on avoidance tend to dislike the personality of their partner, dislike their communication, and report dissatisfaction in their abilities to resolve conflict.

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

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