You may think that being aggressive gets you what you want.
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However, it comes at a cost. Aggression undercuts trust and mutual respect. Others may come to resent you, leading them to avoid or oppose you. Now consider passive-aggressive behavior. If you communicate in a passive-aggressive manner, you may say yes when you want to say no.
You may be sarcastic or complain about others behind their backs. Rather than confront an issue directly, you may show your anger and feelings through your actions or negative attitude. You may have developed a passive-aggressive style because you're uncomfortable being direct about your needs and feelings. What are the drawbacks of a passive-aggressive communication style? Over time, passive-aggressive behavior damages relationships and undercuts mutual respect, thus making it difficult for you to get your goals and needs met.
Being assertive is usually viewed as a healthier communication style. Being assertive offers many benefits. It helps you keep people from walking all over you. It can also help you from steamrolling others. Learning to be more assertive can also help you effectively express your feelings when communicating with others about issues. People develop different styles of communication based on their life experiences.
Your style may be so ingrained that you're not even aware of what it is. People tend to stick to the same communication style over time. But if you want to change your communication style, you can learn to communicate in healthier and more effective ways. Remember, learning to be assertive takes time and practice. If you've spent years silencing yourself, becoming more assertive probably won't happen overnight. Or if anger leads you to be too aggressive, you may need to learn some anger management techniques.
If despite your best efforts you're not making progress toward becoming more assertive, consider formal assertiveness training. And if certain issues such as anger, stress, anxiety or fear are getting in your way, consider talking with a mental health provider. The payoff will be worth it. By becoming more assertive, you can begin to express your true feelings and needs more easily.
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A workbook to help the growing number of people suffering from co-occuring disorders: a substance use problem accompanied by a mental illness. This useful workbook provides basic facts about co-occurring disorders and offers ways to cope with them. Making Decisions, part of the Personal Growth segment of Living Skills, shows clients how to make wise decisions and carry through with them to maintain a healthy life.
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