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Chapter 7: Ask Directly For What You Want or Need From Others

Workbook Chapter Seven

Ask Directly For What You Want or Need From Others


Self-Assessment Tools:


Self-Quiz: The Drama Triangle

Barry K. Weinhold, Ph.D.


Directions: Please indicate how much these beliefs are true of how you think about yourself and others. Place a number in the blank in front of each item that indicates how much this is true for you. 


Key: 1 = Hardly Ever; 2 = Sometimes; 3 = Frequently; and 4 = Almost Always. 


__1. It is my fault when someone gets angry with me. 

__2. Other people’s feelings/needs are more important than mine. 

__3. People will think I am too aggressive if I express my feelings/needs directly. 

__4. I worry about how others may respond when I state my feelings or needs. 

__5. I have to walk on eggs so I don’t do something that causes people to get angry with me or abandon me. 

__6. I have to give up my needs in my relationships so people will want to be with me. 

__7. I must be perfect so that others will love me and not abandon me. 

__8. I need to rely on others to make important decisions. 

__9. I must to hold back when reacting to what others say and do, rather than saying what I believe. 

__10. How I feel about myself depends on other people’s opinions of me. 

__11. It’s dangerous for me to ask directly for what I want or need from others. 

__12. I avoid assuming a position of responsibility. 

__13. When faced with a problem, I can only think of two conflicting solutions to the problem. 

__14. I need to make sure I meet other people’s needs so they will like me and want to be with me. 

__ 15. It’s best to seek out relationships where I can meet the needs of others and make them happy. 

__16. If I have to ask for what I want or need from loved-ones, it means they do not love me enough to know what I need. 

__17. I have a difficult time knowing what I want or need. 

__18. I can’t let others get too close to me or I my life will be consumed by their needs. 

__19. I have difficulty in knowing how I really feel. 

__20. I exaggerate my accomplishments when I meet someone new, so they will like me. 

__21. If people knew who I really am, they would not want to be with me. 

__22. I’m afraid people will find out that I’m not who they think I am. 

__23. I can’t ask other people for help, even when I need it because they will think I am too needy. 

__24. I feel controlled by what others expect of me. 

__25. I feel it is really important for me to have the “right answers” or others will think I am stupid. 

__26. I can’t admit to a mistake because I am afraid people might reject me if I did. 

__27. I reject offers of help from others, even when I need them. 

__28. I compare myself to others, because I feel either one-up or one- down in relationship to them. 

__29. I feel hurt when others don’t recognize my accomplishments. 

__30. I don’t deserve to be loved by others. 


___ Total Score 


Interpretation of Scores: 


30-50 = Few beliefs that contribute to the Drama Triangle in your life. 

51-80 = Some beliefs that contribute to the Drama Triangle in your life. 

81 + = Many beliefs that contribute to the Drama Triangle in your life. 


The 20 Characteristics of Authentic Parents 

Barry K. Weinhold, PhD


Not doing the things listed, can leave your child with “narcissistic wounds” that can have long-term effects on their life.  Actually, the most important thing parents can do is to model what an authentic person looks like. At this age social modelling is the most important way your children will learn to become more authentic. Here is a list of what parents need to do to be authentic in their relationship with their children.


  1. Show up and tell your truth. Walk your talk and be “radically present” in everything you do in your life. Speak your truth and allow yourself to be vulnerable and transparent. Keep no hidden agendas. The only thing you really owe your children is your truth. They will feel your truth even if you don’t speak it. So why not speak it.

  2. Make your children your top priority in everything you say or do. Do not let anything interfere with this commitment. 

  3. Listen to your children with an open heart. Listen to them with an open heart and be present to receive them and whatever they are telling you. This also helps you listen to yourself and become more self-reflective.  

  4. Love yourself and your children fearlessly and unconditionally. Love yourself and others, especially your children, unconditionally. Conquer your fears with love. Love is the best weapon to conquer your fears. Most parents are conditional in expressing their love of their children. That actually is not love; it is manipulation and control. 

  5. Learn to stay centered in a conflict with your child. Stay centered in everything you do. Recognize when your children pull you off-center, recognize you are off center and learn to quickly return to center. Do not engage with your children until you have re-centered yourself.

  6. Cooperate with your children to get all their wants and needs met. Negotiate with others to get your wants and needs met in a cooperative, partnership way without interfering with the needs of others. Refuse to feel “victimized” by your children. This will provide a powerful model for your children to follow.

  7. Connect the dots. Identify what happened to you as a child that still impacts your current life. You can do personal archeology to learn all you can about your childhood and how it has shaped your adult relationships and your life. Learn the lessons from what is being repeated. You will be a better parent for it. 

  8. Live a self-directed life. Take charge of your life without guilt and shame. Master being independent, while still sustaining intimacy with friends and loved ones. This is a model to pass on to your children.

  9. Know how to regulate your emotions. Learn how to calm yourself and quickly “regain your composure” when something your child says or does that upsets you. 

  10. Know where you end and others begin. Establish and maintain a clear sense of your boundaries in your close relationships, particularly with your children. 

  11. Engage in radical self-care. Take good care of your own physical, mental, emotional, energy and spiritual “selves.” You make it your number one priority. You do not let anything get in the way of this. Again, this is an important model to pass on to your children.

  12. Keep all your agreements with your children. Keeping your agreements needs to be a high priority. When you need to change an agreement, you contact the person(s) with whom you made an agreement and renegotiate it in a way that is acceptable to both of you. Talk to you children directly and explain why you had to change an agreement you had with them and listen to their feelings. 

  13.  Resolve your conflicts directly with your children. Resolve your conflicts of wants or needs in a cooperative way. Don’t triangulate with others. 

  14. Be patient with yourself and your children. Maintain good feelings about yourself and others even when either you or someone else “screws up.” Avoid harsh judgments and shaming yourself or others.  Human beings are allowed at least 20% mistakes. Learn to accept your mistakes. Learn to be self-corrective. 

  15. Take responsibility for everything you say or do. Own what is yours and give back to others what is not yours. Forgive (give back) to others anything they gave you or you took on from them that no longer serves you. Realize that it wasn’t yours in the first place. 

  16. Feel and express your emotions. Share your deepest feelings with others, in appropriate ways. Be authentic with your feelings when relating with your children.

  17. Commit to taking back your projections. When you learn the signs indicating that you are projecting something about yourself onto your children, reclaim it (take back or “re-own”) your shadow parts that you have been hiding by projecting them on your children or others. Taking back also includes apologizing and asking for forgiveness.

  18.  Give your children twice as many “yeses” as “nos.” Children before they reach the tender age of two hear the word no over 200,000 times. This means they need 400,00 “yeses.” At any age, make sure you give them twice as many positive as negative comments. 

  19.  Respond to their excitement and joy with empathy. When they bring something to excitedly show you, do not say something like, “Thanks for sharing that with me” or even worse, “Can’t you see I am busy, so don’t bother me.” The authentic response should be, “I see how excited you are with what you just discovered, it must feel great to be able to do that.

  20. Plan family activities and rituals that involve the whole family. Family vacations are great for this. For starters, eating meals together are recommended. Also, regular family meetings give family members an opportunity to air concerns and wishes.


Time-In Techniques That Work

Barry K. Weinhold, PhD


No Time-Limit Time-In Ages 2-4 


Works best for:

Children who demonstrate some degree of self-discipline and emotional self-regulation. This teaches children self-control rather than needing adults to serve as “policemen.”


Adapted from: Charlotte Petersen, child psychologist in Eugene, Oregon


How to do it:


1. Create a place where children can sit in a neutral

environment that is either on or by you. There should

be no toys or other things to play with.

2. When a child behaves in an unacceptable way

(throwing toys around in anger), clearly state what you

want him to do. (“I want you to pick up all these toys

now.”) and give one warning: (“If you choose not to pick

them up, it will tell me that you need to sit by me in the

time-in seat.”

3. Once the child is seated in the time-in seat, say “You

need to sit here by me until you are quiet and ready to...”

4. Surround the child with “quiet energy” and attune

with their energy.

5. Allow the child to know when they are ready to get

up. Observe their behavior after this to make sure that

they are re-regulated. If not, kindly repeat this process

until they are ready.

Dos and Do Nots:


1. With this form of time-in, never say to the child,

“Okay, you can get up now.”

2. Allow the child a period of time to sit quietly.

3. If the child leaves the seat, simply ask “Are you quiet

and ready to...?”

4. If the child says “no,” then say, “Oops. You aren’t allowed

to get up until you are quiet and ready to...You

can get up whenever you are ready to.”


Creative Play Cooling Off Time-in 3-6-year olds. 


Works best for: For children and adult caregivers who need time to cool

off following rowdy, disruptive behavior.


Adapted from: Evonne Weinhaus, family counselor in St. Louis and

mother of three.

How to do it:

1. When a child misbehaves, say, “I can see that you are

out of control. Please come and sit by me so that I can

help you can get quiet.”

2. Let her decide how long she needs to become quiet or

How to do it: (cont.)

3. If the adult is the one who is out of control, say “I am

getting out of control and I need a time-in. I am going

to sit quietly with myself until I can get quiet. I don’t

want to say something that I don’t mean and hurt someone.

I will talk to you again after I get myself quiet.” This

kind of modeling is perhaps the most important tool for

teaching emotional self-regulation.

Dos and Do Nots:

1. When the time-in is over, avoid a big dramatic

scene involving joyful embraces and hugs. This can be

perceived as a “payoff,” or reward for misbehaving and

getting attention.

2. This normalizes the process of emotional self-regulation.

the process of emotional self-regulation.


Case Example: 

Jacob is 32 years old and the son of a Rabbi. Currently, he is a religious teacher, but has not wanted to become a Rabbi like his Dad. When we first started meeting, Jacob shared much about his childhood as if it happened to someone else. He also tried to normalize it for me. I know from experience that when someone does this, they likely had a very chaotic childhood. I gave Jacob a number of my self-assessment tools to fill out and return. When I got back what he had filled out, I realized that he had a very neglectful childhood. As we went over these self-tools and looked at the meaning they held, Jacob began to be more honest with me about what happened to him as a child.


As a child, he does not remember ever being picked up or being held by his mother. He was never hugged or told that he was loved. Both his parents were very active in servicing the needs of the members of their parish and frequently they would bring home homeless people and people who were drunks and addicts. When this happened, all the kids had to give up their beds and sleep on the floor out in the hallway. Both parents were away from the family for long hours every day and the kids had to just take care of each other.


As he revealed the impact of chaotic childhood, I began to see all the things he had to work around. In one session, he revealed that he cannot stand to be touched by others, except his wife. His feels extreme pain in his body if someone touches him.  Asked him if he wanted to change that. He said he did, because he can’t even shake hands with anyone. 


So here is what I suggested, I told him to see if his wife would hold him on her lap like someone would hold a baby and he was the stay in contact with her body as long as he could. I expected his first attempt my only last for a minute or two. 


The next session, I asked him how his experiment with touch had gone. He shared the following account: “I felt a bit weird at first, then as I relaxed more, I could hear her heart beating. That seemed to calm me down even more. I actually stayed in her lap until I started to fall asleep. It was wonderful.  This kind of experience can go along ay to healing the traumas Jacob experienced as a child. Another thing that Jacob told me helped him a lot was to get names for thing he experienced, but didn’t know what they were. He benefitted a lot from the expression, “When you can name, it you can tame it.”

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