Assertiveness Skills for Setting Boundaries

Assertiveness is an important skill for setting and maintaining boundaries in relationships, both personal and professional. Trauma survivors may struggle with setting boundaries due to feelings of guilt, shame, or fear of rejection or retaliation. However, learning assertiveness skills can help build confidence and improve relationships.

What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express one’s needs, feelings, and opinions in a clear and respectful way, while also respecting the needs, feelings, and opinions of others. It involves setting clear boundaries and sticking to them, even when faced with pressure or manipulation.

Why is Assertiveness Important for Trauma Survivors?

Trauma survivors may struggle with assertiveness due to a variety of reasons, including a history of abuse, low self-esteem, and a lack of experience or skill in setting boundaries. This can lead to being taken advantage of or feeling overwhelmed by the demands and expectations of others.

Tips for Building Assertiveness Skills

Building assertiveness skills takes time and practice, but can greatly improve self-esteem, confidence, and relationships. Some tips for building assertiveness skills include:

  • Practice saying “no” in a calm and respectful way
  • Use “I” statements to express your feelings and needs
  • Set clear boundaries and stick to them
  • Practice active listening to show respect for others’ feelings and opinions
  • Seek support and feedback from a therapist or trusted friend


Developing assertiveness skills is an important part of healing from trauma and building healthy relationships. By learning to express one’s needs and set clear boundaries, trauma survivors can improve their self-esteem, confidence, and overall well-being.