Assertiveness Communication Style: The Most Satisfying, Effective Style You May Not Be Using
Assertiveness: The Most Satisfying, Effective Style of Communication You May Not Be Using
Nina Pernecke, LCSW Psychotherapist
August 14, 2016
Please note, if you are in an abusive partnership, assertive communication can escalate your risk. It is advised that you not use assertive communication while in such a relationship. You may call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for assistance. (Assertiveness Communication).
Assertiveness is the most satisfying, effective and mutually respectful style of communication. When people do not use the assertiveness style when called for, communication can result in feelings of dissatisfaction and anxiety. The other three types of communication are passive, passive- aggressive, and aggressive and each of these styles is used for different reasons. Assertiveness Communication.(Assertiveness Communication).
The Passive Style:
- Refraining from doing anything that might attract disapproval.
- Joining with others even though you may want to do something else.
- Agreeing to meet the unreasonable demands of others.
Some underlying beliefs and feelings that cause this style tend to be:
- Others are more effective and more important than you.
- You are not entitled to have control over your life, though others are.
- Feeling of helplessness, powerlessness, and resentment about demands upon you.
Being passive can have its uses, but it leads to a feeling of having no power or control, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Assertiveness Communication.
The Aggressive Style
People who use this style typically tend not to be aware that the aggressive style is the cause of the problem, instead of the environment. It is born of fear of not having control, but it causes control to be lost.
The aggressive style has its advantages, but they are cheap and effective only in the short game. The feeling of satisfaction fades quickly.
It can be used to:
- Intimidate people into doing what you want them to do, but the backside is, in the future there will be few inspired voluntary contributions coming from the people at whom you aggress.
- Cause fear in people such that they will make few demands upon you.
- Make a person feel powerful, though it is usually followed by feeling less so.
The costs of using this style are love, intimacy, and community.
Passive Aggressive Style
This style typically comprises the fear of the passive style and the anger of the aggressive style. The anger makes you want to go after a person, while the fear makes you want to do it indirectly, so as to “stay safe”. Some examples of passive aggressive style are:
- Not finding an opportunity to do something that you promised to do for someone.
- Talking about people behind their back.
- Avoiding doing something you don’t want to do so that someone else has to do it.
In these cases, you have an explanation so that they can avoid being confronted by those who are affected by their behavior. The consequences are that people begin to see the person as unreliable and inconsiderate. Anxiety then builds, self-esteem can suffer, depression can set in, and it can constantly feel like you are disappointing people.
It should be noted, these styles develop because there is a valid reason for them and one should have respect for herself or himself for developing them. They worked until they did not work anymore. Assertiveness Communication. Assertiveness Communication.
Assertive Style Assertiveness Communication
Assertive style is mutually respectful, satisfying, and it allows you to experience your personal power. There is a lot of freedom in the use of this style because it acknowledges that each person is responsible for their own behavior. This is not a case of being inconsiderate. With the clarity of assertiveness, we recognize our thoughts and feelings honestly, without expecting that the other person will readily acquiesce to our wishes. We are able to express respect for others’ opinions while remaining authentic to what is true for ourselves. It is your right to be the absolute authority, the judge of your own behaviors (Smith, 1975). (Assertiveness Communication).
Some benefits of assertive style are: (Assertiveness Communication).
- We are able to have more control over our own situations, reducing helplessness, anxiety and frustration.
- We can be in community and in relationship with less conflict, tension, anxiety and resentment.
- We can relate in the present moment, from our own authenticity (Paterson, 2000).
The breakthrough available when using assertive style is the freedom to be your authentic, powerful self. It may be helpful to consult a counselor if being assertive presents difficulty for you. Hypnoanalysis is very effective in unveiling any barriers in your way and in shifting them away. There are many practitioners across the country. Understanding why assertiveness might be difficult for a person, the underlying beliefs that may be “running” a person, can open up even more opportunities for healing, growth and power. (Assertiveness Communication).
Paterson, R. (2000). The assertiveness workbook. United States: New Harbinger Publications.
Smith, M. (1975). When I say no, I feel guilty. United States: Bantam Books.
About Nina Pernecke, LCSW, Psychotherapist:
Clinical hypnotist and hypnoanalyst, communication and personal power educator.
Nina is passionate about helping people find their solutions through hypnosis, communication and stepping into their personal power. You can find her at Madison Counseling Solutions in Madison, Wisconsin, near the UW-Madison campus on Hill Street, at the Quarry Arts Building.
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Anxiety, Psychology, Insomnia, Assertiveness, Communication, Counselor, Counseling, Madison Counseling Solutions. Nina Pernecke, LCSW, Psychotherapist, Hypnosis.
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