Are you Submissive, Assertive or Aggressive?

How do you handle conflict? Do you go along to avoid it? Do you have trouble expressing your thoughts? Or, do you have no problem at all? Generally, there are 3 different styles of interacting when conflict arises: 1.) submissive, 2.) assertive, and 3.) aggressive.  

Submissive personalities are characterized by a lack of self-assertion. They habitually avoid conflict and are too readily to ally or submit to those seen as more capable. 

Assertive personalities have no problem articulating their needs. They have a high respect for self and for other’s rights and needs and will actively fend for it. It is tempered and respectful fighting with legitimate purpose. 

Aggressive personalities, on the other hand, is self serving with no regard for other’s feelings or rights. There is no limits or boundaries that is comes out as disrespectful. At times, it is violent. 

Often, our maladaptive manner of dealing with conflict is influenced by family dynamics. For instance, if we have parents who handle conflict by being aggressive, we may see this as what people do when disagreements arise. Or if we are often being intimidated by an aggressive person growing up, we may sometimes learn that being submissive is the better way to go.  As a therapist, it is important for me to pinpoint why a person chose their manner of dealing with conflict. If a person is aware how they came about the behavior, then maybe they can make conscious choices to act differently.