Reduce distress in relationships by communicating with confidence
“I know for a FACT that you are wrong”
At the core of the aggressive communication style is the desire to get what you want at any cost. This could mean the cost of others, and the cost of our personal relationships.
Communicating aggressively is not only yelling at someone one, it can be accomplished through body language such as taking up physical space, throwing or hitting objects or intimidating facial expressions.
When we feel insecure, it can perpetuate feelings of fear and abandonment. Rather than feel these vulnerable emotions, the aggressive communicator will furiously try to protect themselves by aligning with anger.
Utilizing anger helps us to ensure that we get our needs met, that we are heard by others and that others are taking us seriously. This is the mirage of the aggressive communication style, it has us tricked into thinking that we are super confident, while really we are reacting solely from a place of fear.
One of the tell tale signs of the aggressive communication style is that you believe your opinion to be fact, and do not hesitate to use this language with others. Again, opposed to feeling insecure, or questioning our established belief system, we take it upon ourselves to mold the opinions of others around us to fit with ours.
What this actually accomplishes is taking the space out your relationships for anyone else to exist but yourself.
For an authentic relationship to exist between two people, there needs to be space for the other person. For this person to say what they think, feel and express their opinion, even if it disagrees with the facts that you have evidenced.
You may find yourself saying, well, facts ARE FACTS. While this may be true in regards to empirical evidence, it is NOT true if you desire to feel an authentic connection. Other people may actually be scared of you, or may just agree with you to avoid getting you worked up. This is one of the cornerstones of resentment for personal relationships.
Truth time: With a true sense of confidence, we make space for others.
True confidence is not attached to an outcome. When we are coming from an assertive perceptive, we know what we know, and can be comforted by knowing our thoughts and beliefs are aligned with our own behaviours. When we let go of outcomes in our personal relationships, we are allowing space for an authentic connection to be built. Both parties feel supported and heard and are different and unique to the individual.
Some quick tips for aiming towards assertiveness:
- Anger check in. Raise your self-awareness, ask yourself: Why am I angry in this situation? Was there an emotion that came before anger that I am protecting myself from? Am I using power and control in destructive ways when I could simply ask for what I need?
- Pump the breaks. To often with the aggressive communication style, we are ready to defend and protect ourselves and our point of view at the drop of a dime. Take a moment before you react or respond. Slow down. Let the other person talk first and give yourself some time to cool down and gain perspective.
It is important to remember that there is no magic switchover into assertiveness. It takes time, work and effort that needs to be complemented with self-compassion, or else we will revert back to our old comfortable patterns.
Keep a look out for the rest of our communication styles blog posts and if you or your relationship needs support, don’t hesitate to reach out!