The Difference between Assertiveness and Aggressiveness in Women

A few days ago I went to Assertive Communication training. I thought this was one of the mandatory trainings that my job requires us to take on a yearly basis. It turned out that it was elective, but sure glad I attended it. I will do somewhat of a synopsis of it……

I learned that not being assertive can lead to depression, resentment, frustration, temper/violence, anxiety, relationship problems, physical complaints and last but not least parenting problems. Let me take a little time to explain each one and how not being assertive could lead to one or all of them.

Depression When anger turned inward, a sense of being helpless, hopeless, and a sense of losing control over your life.

Resentment This is another emotion that can emerge if you let others get away with taking advantage of your kindness, generosity and manipulating you to do what you really did not want to do in the first place. Let others know how you feel and avoid having to feel resentful later on.

Frustration – I feel that more often than not, we feel this emotion when we think that others do not understand our feelings or where we stand with certain things in our lives. Let others know your feelings so it will not build up and cause a problem.

Temper/Violence Not having control of your temper can lead to violence. Recent events really played this out. Individuals who are depress, resentful, and frustrated could lead to violence. The Virginia Tech Massacre is a great example of this.

Anxiety A lot of us can relate to this, we get anxious about certain things and try to avoid them. Let’s take for example a work related trip to Kelso, I found out that we are all going in one car and I am not driving or someone I trust and found myself being anxious. I know that nothing is probably going to happen, but still I feel a little anxious just the same. This probably stems from a car accident many years ago, I have since gotten over it but every now and then when I feel that I have no control over a situation, I get a tat uneasy.

Relationship If you are one of those non-assertive individual, you might find yourself in a relationship that is in trouble. If you are not able to tell someone you love that certain things bother you, might lead to all of the above mentioned Let’s take for example; your partner likes to leave the toothpaste cap off and the toilet seat up and this bother the heck out of you, it might lead to frustration, resentment, and may very well cause violence. I personally do not let little things bother me, if the toothpaste cap is off, I just cap it and move on. The toilet seat could bother me at times, but do not make it a big deal. I truly believe that if you do not put too much emphasis on little things that you will be less resentful, less frustrated and a lot happier individual. If you know of someone that does things just because it irritate the heck out of you, they are passive-aggressive individuals and if you live or work with one you might find yourself resentful, frustrated and may very well cause you to be depress.

Parenting This one definitely did not come with a manual. Children will test their parent’s limit, or play one parent against another. I truly believe that if you do not set boundaries for your children early on, they very well might walk all over you. Set boundaries and stick to them, be assertive and firm. Non Assertive parents may lead to children that do not respect them.

If you are one of those individuals that just let people walk over them, you might find yourself having physical complaints like headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure and so on and so on..

Be assertive, but in a respectful way.

Many thanks to our Director of Human Relations for facilitating and the University of Iowa for providing the material.