Self-Esteem - Assertive Communication
How did your parents and grandparents communicate? Did they believe that they had a right to a voice, and did they use that voice powerfully? Was this encouraged in you? Which is your dominant style of communicating?
Aggressive: I assume total power at the expense of others and am harmful, critical and judgemental. I prove I am more powerful than others. I express feelings and wants as though any other view is stupid or unreasonable, dismissing, ignoring or insulting them. I make myself large and threatening. My eye contact is fixed and penetrating and my voice is loud and often shouting. I am angry and victorious when I win, but afterwards I have guilt and remorse - even self-hatred - for hurting others.
Passive: I abdicate power and open myself up to abuse. I keep quiet and don't say what I think, feel and need. I put myself down frequently. I apologise when I want to express myself. I seldom disagree with others. I make myself small. I hunch my shoulders, look down and speak softly. I believe that others' needs are more important than my own and that their contributions are valuable while mine are worthless. I experience frustration and resentment and have reduced self-respect.
Passive-aggressive: I do not deal with issues directly. I often deny personal responsibility for my actions. I believe I am entitled to have my own way, even after committing to others. I fear that I will be rejected if I am more assertive. I usually mimic a more passive style of communication. I resent the demands of others and fear being confronted. I deflect issues and often resort to sarcasm.
Assertive: I express my needs, wants and feelings directly and honestly. I don't assume I am correct or that everyone will feel the same way. I allow others to hold differing views without dismissing or insulting them. I believe that everybody's needs are equally important. My body is relaxed and my movements are casual. I make frequent eye contact. I believe I have an equal right to express myself and that we all have something valuable to contribute. I take responsibility for my behaviour. I feel positive about myself and the way in which I treat others.