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This is one of a series
of brief articles on how to respond effectively
to annoying social behaviors. An "effective response"
occurs when you get your
well enough, and both people feel
get the most from this article,
read these first:
Overly-aggressive people are usually unaware of - or
care little about - other people's needs and
boundaries. They may or may not be egotistical, rude,
controlling, and/or manipulative. They often unconsciously maintain a one-person
and send implied
R(espect messages in social conversations. These
traits suggest they're unaware of being ruled by
you ever aggressive with certain people?
Reflect - how did the adults who raised you
react to over-aggression? Have you adopted their
way? If so, is it effective?
How can you respond effectively to an
overly-aggressive adult or child? For
perspective, let's first look at...
repressing your feelings and needs
labeling - "You're really rude, pushy, and
complaining about the person to others,
demanding - "Stop being so aggressive!"
aggressive yourself - arguing, fighting,
threatening, and/or attacking,
swearing, or threatening;
hanging up, leaving, and/or avoiding
face-to-face contact without
Responses like these lower your self respect, damage your
relationship, provoke conflict, and suggest that
your Self is disabled. There are...
This YouTube video provides perspective on how to
confront people respectfully. Doing this is
usually required in annoying social situations
and relationships. The video mentions eight
self-study lessons in this Web site - I've
reduced that to seven.:
your true Self is
you. If not, make
a high priority, or lower your expectations.
about the aggressor. If you feel 1-up
(superior), you'll broadcast that
nonverbally, which invites combat and ineffective
Be aware of the other person's
and decide if s/he is
assertive. Can you describe the
Mentally review these effective-response
they become automatic. Stay aware of your
unrequested feedback can feel disrespectful
and aggressive (!) Most people will be
curious, and say "OK." If so, you can
"(Name), who's needs
are more important to you now - yours or mine?"
This question often
startles people, and may cause them to be
more aware of your and their needs and your communication
process. The best answer is "Our needs are equally
important to me." Depending on their response, you may then
use an assertive '
"(Name), when you
focus mainly on your needs, I feel disrespected, frustrated,
I need you to
want to respect my needs and
opinions equally with yours.."
Then keep steady eye contact, be silent, and
expect defensive reactions like...
"Well why are you so oversensitive?"
"I'm not discounting you - you're
imagining it," or
sure are self-centered.!"
Then use a respectful
"So you feel I'm
too sensitive." or
"You feel you're not
Hearing checks are statements, not questions, and
agreements. If your partner nods,
grunts, or says "Yeah," then
I-message (above) with good eye contact - and expect more
Repeat this sequence until you feel heard. The more you develop and practice a response
strategy like this, the easier it will become.
Can you think of an overly-aggressive
you might use these options with? How do you think s/he
would react? How would you feel? Would your true Self stay
If there are some aggressors you're reluctant to use this
strategy with (like a volatile parent), do you know why
Usually such hesitance comes from a distrustful or scared
subself - not your true Self
If you have
psychological wounds from early-childhood
trauma, you may be over-sensitive to - and/or
imagine - aggression in some other people. You
may avoid asserting your needs and boundaries
for various reasons, and unconsciously assume a
role. Suspect this is true if you
experience many people as "aggressive,"
"manipulative," and/or "controlling," rather
than normally assertive.
For more perspective, see also the
people, and these ideas about
communicating with "problem" kids..
This is one of a series of brief articles
in online Lesson 2 suggesting effective ways to respond to common
irritating social behaviors. This article offers ways to
respond to an
adult or child. The ways
designed to preserve your integrity and
boundaries, not to change the other person's
personality. These response-options are
your true Self
awareness of what you
feel and need,
clarity on your
fluency in the
relationship skills of awareness, assertion,
and empathic listening.
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this
article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your