Dr. Gore Atlanta Psychotherapist, Marriage Counseling and Family Therapy
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Passive Assertive Aggressive Behavior

No matter what problems bring people into therapy, I am amazed at the number of people who have difficulties with assertiveness. Here is a hand out that my clients have found helpful. (*From an anonymous handout, with additional information from Dr. Gore)

NOTE: This page does NOT discuss passive-aggressive behavior. For a discussion of this issue, please click here.

WHAT IS PASSIVE BEHAVIOR?
It allows others to choose for you.
It denies you feelings.
It rarely gets you what you want.
It shows that you think little of yourself.
It diminishes your self-respect.
It helps others to walk all over you.
It may or may not be based on self-awareness.
It requires self-discipline.
It often leads to an emotional explosion.
It alternates between powerlessness and outbursts of anger.
It leads to isolation, you tend to run away from people, places and things.
It creates a mentality of "victimhood" which then fuels more passive behavior, which leads to more feelings of "victimhood," which continues in a painful,debilitating cycle. You CAN stop this cycle.

WHAT IS ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOR?
It is active behavior.
It is behavior that allows you to choose for yourself.
It expresses how you feel.
It has a good chance of achieving your goal.
It increases your self-respect.
It improves your relationships with others.
It is based on a great deal of self-awareness.
It requires self-discipline.
It leads to conflict resolution.
It helps set and maintain better boundaries between you and others.
It leads to personal power.

> Assertive behaviors are difficult to achieve, but striving for assertiveness is worth any amount of effort.

WHAT IS AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR?
It is active behavior.
It chooses for others as well as for you.
It expresses how you feel.
It shows that you think the world revolves around you.
It achieves your goal with no regard for the rights of others.
It breaks down your relationships with others.
It is based on limited self-awareness.
It leads to power that is frequently rebelled against.

> Aggressive people have difficulty in seeing why they are often lonely and how they push people away.

> Assertiveness can be situational -- you may assert yourself with some people and in some places, and not in others.

> If you are passive in some situations, you can tend to become aggressive in others.

> If you are passive, you can build up anger and resentment and "explode" into aggressive behavior-bypassing assertive behavior
   altogether.

* Assertive people are good time managers.
* Assertive people can ask for what they want.
* Assertive people can say "YES." Assertive people can say "NO" (NO is a complete sentence)
* Assertive people can accept a compliment. Assertive people can accept criticisms.
* Assertiveness can be learned

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