Aggressive Communication: How To Deal With Relationship Aggression

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

We've all dealt with aggressiveness in our relationships at one point or another, regardless of whether that aggression is physical. Aggressiveness is a mode of communication and behavior where one expresses their feelings, needs and rights without regard or respect for the needs, rights and feelings of others. Emotional force is often used so that the rights of others are not even allowed to surface.

Others feel victimized and relationships suffer. In that way, relationship aggression is bad for the aggressors as well as the recipients of the aggression.

The Toll of Aggressive Communication

The toll that relationship conflict takes in terms of stress can affect us in many ways. It can impact our stress levels, and it can also affect our health and happiness. (See this article on the toll of conflict to know more about the negative impact aggression can take.)

Because of the lack of real connection in their relationships, aggressive individuals tend to cause others stress and experience increased levels of stress themselves, as their relationships tend to be conflicted and their personal goals not as often achieved. In contrast, assertiveness involves expressing one's own needs and rights while respecting the needs and rights of others and maintaining the dignity of both parties. This results in healthier relationships and increased life satisfaction.

 And while communication styles aren't the only way that aggressiveness can surface in relationships, those who endeavor to change their aggressive communication patterns to assertive ones tend to be open to other improvements as well.

The Benefits of Healthy Communication

Learning about communication techniques can be helpful in a couple of ways.

Assertive communication techniques can enable us to draw healthy boundaries with others so we have a line of defense against any aggressiveness they display. These healthy communication techniques can also help us to avoid being accidentally aggressive with others, which can also help to avoid conflict. Both of these positive effects make it well worth the effort to learn about assertive communication techniques.

Your Communication Style

What do you know about your habitual communication style? Are you prone to aggressiveness, assertiveness, or passivity? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I seek out other people's opinions, or just share my own?
  • Am I upset if others don't agree with me?
  • Do I talk over people or interrupt frequently?
  • Do I check-in with people to see if they're comfortable, or do I force my own agenda?
  • Do I put people down?

See if you're guilty of any of these common conflict resolution mistakes.  You can also learn more about healthy communication techniques you can use with the many people in your life--see how many of these you already put into practice..

Getting more information on stress and resources to help you to manage it can help you to build habits that can help you to cope with stress once your stress response is triggered.  You can find more from me through  FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, and in my book, 8 Keys to Stress Management.

Harburg, E.; Kaciroti, N.; Gleiberman, L.; Schork, M. A.; Julius, M. Marital Pair Anger Coping Types May Act as an Entity to Affect Mortality: Preliminary Findings from a Prospective Study. Journal of Family Communication, January 2008.
Newsom JT, Mahan TL, Rook KS, Krause N.Stable Negative Social Exchanges and Health. Health Psychology, January 2008.
Panksepp J. Neuroscience. Feeling the pain of social loss.. Science, October 2003.

Continue Reading