Articles on Anger
Anger Styles: Healthy Assertive Behavior
Assertive behavior is the use of anger to take care of yourself
interpersonally. It's the part of the anger spectrum that is used
most frequently. As a style, it is the healthiest. While there
are appropriate times to be aggressive and to be passive-aggressive,
in the normal course of social interaction, assertive behavior
will usually serve best. There are three parts to being assertive.
The first is that assertive behavior requires that you know what
you are feeling. If you are not in touch with what you feel, it
becomes very difficult to try and meet your needs. An example
of this would be that if you don't know you are hungry, you won't
seek food. While being in touch with feelings may seem simple,
and is basic, many people have been trained by their family of
origin to ignore their own emotions.
The second part of being assertive is to know that your feelings
are ok by definition. That means that you don't have to defend
what you feel, to yourself, or anyone else. You do have to accept
them. Once you accept your emotions, you can figure out what you
want to do about them.
The final piece in assertive behavior is to know that you have
a right to express you feelings. That is different than having
to express your emotions. Once you know that you have a right
to make your feelings heard, you still have to decide when and
where it takes care of you to express them. Some people aren't
likely to honor the emotions that you might share with them. These
people do not deserve to know what you are feeling, since that
is intimate emotional information. We only share these feelings
when we believe that there is a likelihood of having them accepted
and taken into account.
If you have an assertive anger style, you may be wondering when
it is appropriate to be aggressive and/or passive-aggressive.
Aggressive behavior is appropriate in competitive sporting contexts,
or when you are facing a situation where it is required to defend
yourself or one of your loved ones in the face of some physical
threat. Generally speaking, it's not appropriate to initiate threatening
someone else. Passive-aggressive behavior is appropriate in getting
rid of unwanted attention, positive or negative. Ignoring someone
who is attempting to get your attention. It is also appropriate
to use in specific ways when you are working for a problematic
boss. You may choose to not respond to a boss who's behaving inappropriately.
This way you get to avoid a confrontation that could threaten
your livelihood, while maintaining your integrity.
It's great to have an assertive anger style. Remember you have
a full spectrum of responses available to you.