The difference between being aggressive and assertive

aggressive vs assertive

So as I mentioned in our last post,  I am going to talk about how we can express our anger in a way that makes the two people communicating feel okay??

Ok, so this is an area that CAN be a little bit tricky and where people become easily unsure or confused, and this is because what we are really talking about here is the difference between aggressive and assertive communication styles.

One of the main ways of achieving assertive communication is through learning and using a specific communication style such as “I messages” or “I statements”.

I messages have been around since the 1960s when they were introduced in Parent Effectiveness Training (PET).

This way of communicating has been found to be very useful as its very different to what is typically used which is “You statements” for example You did this and you did that or You make me feel etc… which is actually more of an aggressive way of communicating.

In fact something that is REALLY important to remember is the minute the word YOU comes out of your mouth the other person’s mind will shut down slightly if not completely to the rest of your conversation.
I messages are also a way of diffusing or heading off a potential conflict, for example stating what you feel has been found to be really hard to argue against because the talker is coming from their own experience and not blaming another person. Basically I messages work like this

• I feel…(insert feeling word)
• When…… (say what caused the feeling)
• I would like…. (say what you would like to happen instead).

6a00d8341c500653ef00e54f1894f28833-800wiIt’s not as easy as it sounds though and people frequently use this method incorrectly, such as saying I feel angry when YOU yell like that at me and I’m going to…..or YOU need to stop right now… there are so many variations.. So… there’s a couple of other guidelines to use as well …

Always remember to describe the other person’s behaviour in a non-blameful/judgmental way as well as how that behaviour has affected you as well as the feelings experienced about their behaviour.

As I said before when things are moving toward a potential conflict or someone has hurt you with what they have said when the person speaking, hears the listener say I feel and describe their actual feelings it is very hard to argue against that, it’s like an appeal for help from the listener.. And is a very powerful way of co-creating healing communication.

So give it a go remember when trying out something new always try it out with the least threatening/challenging person or situation e.g., the easiest person in your world.
This will ensure maximum success which then ensures a second attempt.
AND always remember …

Be Kind to yourself first….
Jacqui Christie


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