Assertiveness Versus Aggression

Being assertive in any relationship requires courage. Many people don’t know what true assertiveness looks like, and instead resort to aggression to make their point known. Being assertive may feel uncomfortable or awkward when you aren’t used to it, however, if practiced properly it can positively impact your relationships.

Being Assertive

Being assertive does not look like acting aggressively or behaving rudely. Rather, you should observe your feelings and then point them out. Communicating assertively simply means you are being direct. You make statements that start with I. If you happen to be in a relationship with someone who struggles with time management you can voice feelings such as “I want to leave now” and “I really don’t want to arrive late”. You are expressing your needs and it’s up to your partner to respond appropriately.

Assertive behavior means you can say no and it means you feel comfortable asking questions when you are unsure of what is happening. The assertive people among us know when to ask for help and are not afraid to do so. They are also able to appropriately express their emotions, including anger.

While aggressive behavior is disrespectful and violating, assertiveness is respectful and isn’t an attempt to inflict harm on the other person.

What Aggressive Communication Looks Like

This style of communications sees individuals expressing opinions and feelings in a way that is rooted solely in their needs over the needs of other. People who communicate aggressively tend to be verbally abusive, and in some cases, can be physically abusive. This style of communication tends to stem from low self-esteem, whether it has been a history of abuse or feeling powerless in other situations.

The aggressive communication will often attempt to dominate other people, and will attempt to use humiliation as a way to control others. Their defense is to attack, criticize, and blame. They tend to be impulsive, are easily frustrated, are loud and demanding, act rudely and threateningly, interrupt often and fail to listen to the needs and concerns of their partners.

This often results in the person becoming alienated from others and generating fear and hatred from others. They are quick to blame everyone else, rather than dealing with their own issues.

What Assertive Communication Looks Like

People who are assertive value themselves, as well as their time and needs. They are advocates for themselves without infringing on the rights of others.

They state their feelings, wants, and needs respectfully, but clearly. They can communicate respectfully, listen without interrupting, and have good self-control. They speak calmly, maintain a relaxed posture, don’t allow others to manipulate or abuse them, and aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves.

This results in being able to hold deep connections with others, being able to feel control over their own lives and render them capable of handling change and issues that arise.

Making A Change

Sometimes behaving assertively can feel confrontational, especially when you have grown up in a home where effective communication was not taught or conveyed. Unfortunately, many people go into relationships without having witnessed a good example of people openly discussing their needs and feelings. People who worry about what other people think about them tend to behave passive-aggressively, or outright aggressively.

Assertiveness requires courage and effective communication, and is an effective way to build trust in your relationship thus paving the way for deeper intimacy and true happiness.