Aggressive or Assertive…Which One Are You?0 Comments

By SassyChic
Posted on 28 May 2011 at 5:25pm


There are certain stereotypical adjectives used to describe black women, ‘bossy’, ‘angry’, ‘pushy’, ‘arrogant’, ….’aggressive’. Ever been called any of these labels and thought ‘no I’m not, I’m just assertive”. While it might be the case that somebody has accused you time and time again of being one of the above, it has nothing to do with the colour of your skin. If you’re  aggressive, well then your aggressive. Call it what it is.   It’s about your ability to recognize how and why you are using a forceful nature to put your point across.

Let’s not get it twisted, aggression and assertiveness are two different things entirely. Assertiveness isn’t just about sticking up for yourself, it’s more than that. It’s about remaining calm and being clear about what you need without loosing it and looking deranged or out of control.

Author and health expert Nolan explains that ‘fear and aggression are two of the basic emotions that we experience. It’s easy to give into out basic emotions and either become submissive (fearful) or aggressive when we feel stressed. Assertiveness is about being willing to negotiate, and trying to solve problems rather than giving in to emotional impulses. During an argument an aggressive person might insist that he or she is right and other people are wrong. He or she will want to win while others lose. You may be shouting the loudest but if it get’s to that point, is anyone really listening ?

It’s not attractive, necessary or pleasant to be around. If you have an aggressive nature and you’re lucky enough to have people around you that will tell you when you’re ‘acting’ up, the chances are, you will strongly disagree with them and continue down a slippery slope of loosing friends and ostracizing yourself because you don’t know any other way of being.

You know that stereotypical scenario where a woman is having a huge bust up with her man accept he sits there calmly waiting for the storm to end while you turn into Medusa  with fire breathing through your nose…then you feel bad after because he doesn’t rise to your aggressive  temperament.

Aggressive behaviour looks like this…

  • Anger & always wanting/needing to win
  • Only understanding your own needs
  • A mental attitude that you are more important than the other person
  • Not listening to others and making demands
  • Having a lack of respect for others
  • shouting and talking loudly
  • Threatening body language including fixed eye contact, tense muscles, waving or folding arms etc.

Assertive behaviour looks like this…

  • Confidence and negotiation
  • understanding and acceptance of your own and other people’s needs
  • Listening carefully
  • Respecting yourself and the other person
  • Speaking clearly but calmly
  • Relaxed and non-confrontational body language

If you are honest enough and insightful enough to recognise aggressive behaviour in yourself then see the shocked and confused look on people’s faces who know you. They won’t have a chance to say a word when you choose the assertive route!

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