Assertive, Aggressive, Passive or just Anxious? Part 4

Recognising how to be more Assertive

There are some excellent self-help publications available in bookshops and online.  You
might find, though, that individual coaching or training in small groups from a training organisation (such as Can Do Courses!) would be the best way to learn and practice your assertive behaviour.  Our programme is outlined here    

There are many ways to become more assertive, here are a couple of thoughts you might want to consider trying:

1.  Don’t allow others to control you with their requests

Be ready for, and anticipate, the behaviour of others and prepare your responses.  Give yourself some thinking time.  Perhaps you should practice saying “hold on a minute – I need to consider what you have just said”.  Or you might consider saying “I’m not sure about that, it’s too important...

Assertive, Aggressive, Passive or just Anxious? Part 3

What level of assertiveness would you like?

Honesty is the basis of assertiveness.   Fear of rejection or confrontation – or low self esteem - is what stops us from being honest.

Effective leaders do not need to be aggressive, although some use this power to gain
control.  Assertive leaders gain loyalty and commitment, without needing to control others.

If you are in an environment where others are aggressive, learning how to use assertive responses will not fuel confrontation, rather they might engage dialogue and respect.  Passive responses are more likely to initiate further aggression – often known as bullying.

I really like the Video Arts clip on You Tube (truncated from a 30-minute video) which gives a couple of examples of assertive, aggressive and passive tendencies.  Watch the clip

In part 4 I'll give you some simple...

Assertive, Aggressive, Passive or just Anxious? Part 2

Sigmund Freud (a psychoanalyst born in the 19th Century) said that aggressive and passive behaviours can be viewed as defensive responses; our ‘defence mechanism’ when we feel under attack.   He said that defensive behaviour is “…behaviour to protect oneself from a perceived threat or attack.”   If we feel under attack, we attack back.  Either fight or flight.   Fight = Aggressive   Flight = Passive

11 signs of Aggressive behaviour

  • Attacking
  • Blaming
  • Refusing to listen
  • Swearing
  • Interrupting
  • Threatening
  • Scowling
  • Staring
  • Shouting
  • Crossing arms
  • Pointing

5 signs of Passive behaviour

  • Putting yourself down
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Apologise all the time
  • Letting others make your decisions for you
  • Not saying what you want

In part 3 - What level of assertiveness would you like? To control your own choices? Not to control others? To defend yourself?  Or all of the above?  



Assertive, Aggressive, Passive or just Anxious? Part 1

You know that feeling when you’ve walked away from a situation and thought “I wish I had said …..” or “I can’t believe I said…..”.  Even as adults we often find ourselves responding or commenting in a way which might seem out of character.  Sometimes we seem to float between aggressive, passive and assertive as we move into different areas of our lives.

For example, I tend to be rather passive in a restaurant.  But elsewhere I'm assertive. And occasionally I might be aggressive.  It's not ideal and I'm working on it!


We recognise aggression because the physical signs - shouting/swearing/raised voices – are frightening.  Aggression makes our pulses race whether delivering it or when on the receiving end of it.  It’s an explosively angry behaviour which can trigger from nowhere and lead to great distress.


If, on the other hand, your reactions to situations would be to become quiet and subdued...

6 signs that you’re being manipulated

Manipulative behaviour

On the website the definition of manipulative behaviour is: ‘behaviour which attempts to control or play upon others' hopes or fears to attain selfish ends while disregarding their aspirations or well being’.

Young children can learn very early how to 'get their own way' by manipulating a situation.  For example, by crying, throwing tantrums, stamping feet, yelling, sulking.   We accept this as part of understanding boundaries and learning about right and wrong.

As adults we can also be inclined towards this behaviour in (possibly) more subtle ways to get our own way without using assertiveness skills.

Here are some outward signs of manipulative behaviour:

  • Jokey put-downs
  • Making people feel guilty
  • Gossiping
  • Being two-faced
  • Moodiness
  • Being inconsistent

Recognise anyone you know?

Your assertiveness and enquiring responses will soon squash the Manipulator into more honest behaviour.  Want to to know more? Call me on 07763942771 to discuss the Assertiveness...

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