5 Fenella Greenfield on learning to say 'I want it back'


Did you ever take advantage of any of the training that WiP offered?

I went on the assertiveness training course, and it was, it was extraordinary, because I had come from a background and a culture where you did as you were told and didn’t ask for pay rises obviously, or anything like that.

So I went on this assertiveness training course and I remember an exercise where – I think it was just like some ball, and you had to give it to the other person and then ask for it back.  And I kept saying, ‘Oh no, it’s fine. You can keep it.’ [laughs] And the tutor, who was this lovely woman, she kept saying ‘No, Fenella, you’ve got to demand to have it back’, and I was going ‘No, it’s fine. I don’t want it back.’ [laughs]

And, I mean, looking back on it now, it’s just so pathetic, it’s not true. I’ve never felt so, I can still to this day remember feeling so uncomfortable.  I felt so uncomfortable. And it felt so wrong.  It was really tough and I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it.

Now I have, I’ve learned how to do that over the last 40 years or how ever many it was.  I mean, I suppose I would in those days, the thought that I would have to say ‘I want it back’, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it.  I felt it was just impossible.

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