Level 4

Passive and Aggressive Assertiveness

Passive communicators
Passive communicators tend not to be assertive. They could be described as easy-going where they follow along with the group, suppress their opinions as not to make waves and allow others to dominate and determine what they do.

People who lack assertiveness:
– Find it hard to say “No” to unfair requests.
– Have difficulty defending personal boundaries.
– Allow others to override their views.
– Avoid making complaints or challenging others.
– Are usually compliant with authority.
– Doesn’t like being criticised or being unpopular.
– Tends to adopt a defence mode (make excuses and apologise) as a natural response.

Passive People
In general, people who do not assert themselves, fail to get what they want and often feel annoyed with themselves when later they replay a situation in their mind time and wishing they could have said or done something different. There are also many times when people choose not to assert themselves as there is no rule saying you have too, and in some situations, people may prefer to err on the side of caution and say nothing.

Aggressive communicators
Being assertive is sometimes confused with being aggressive where people confront others, cause arguments, shout, becoming angry and lose their temper. Whereas assertiveness is being forthright without becoming aggressive.

Most people will have experienced aggressive communicators at some point in their lives where they have encountered people who have used sarcasm, belittling comments, given orders, intimidated, bullied and have used violence in order to get their own way. It’s not unusual for people to find these behaviours quite unnerving, upsetting, distressing, even frightening.

Aggressive Communicators tend:
– Not to respect personal boundaries.
– To make unreasonable or unacceptable demands.
– To be determined to push their views forward.
– To direct their aggression towards the subject or the person.
– To adopt an attack mode as a natural response.
– To dominate passive communicators.

Aggressive communicators can be difficult to deal with as they can escalate their behaviour when they encounter resistance. However, being aggressive does not necessarily mean the person automatically gets their own way but they have learnt that it works enough times which reinforces that style of behaviour and because of this, it can be a difficult behaviour to unlearn.