Assertiveness and Communication – being Aggressive, Passive and Manipulative

Every situation starts with a trigger what brings up our reaction. In the following two examples I will demonstrate a general process of an Assertive and a Passive/Aggressive reaction.


How does assertiveness help communication

The little stick boy is doing his tasks. But suddenly somebody comes and starts a discussion with him. When for example this partner is now acting with him not really nicely, he will process and evaluate the situation in his head. When he decides to act assertively, he stays focused and aware. Now he has anyway good feelings. This means he can adjust his Behavior, Reaction accordingly. It may help also to his partner to act nicer because he can see the positive willingness to cooperate.

We could call this as a “secured” situation. Why? Because we feel good and not threatened by the partner. We think positively about the situation, the outcome and we believe in ourselves. In this case we “expect” a positive outcome so we feel relaxed, we are open minded and we react freely and openly.

In this example the little stick boy is doing his tasks as well. His boss comes and starts a not nice discussion with him. In this case he will also evaluate the process but in this case he can not manage not being affected. He can not stay assertive. He loses the control over his emotions.

This means he can be here:

  • sad, feeling sorry, bad, …
  • or become aggressive where he takes over the same volume as the partner

Especially the second reaction would lead to a huge argument where the participants are trying to win the “war” with higher and higher tones.


In this situation the little stick boy feels threatened, dangerous and the chance of failure. These emotions indicate stress, frustration inside and the reaction will be aligned based on these feelings. In this state though, nobody can react clearly, just defensive or aggressive. But at the end we can not empower our will effortlessly.

How does assertiveness affect communication – scheme of the human behavior


Assertive,Passive,Agressive, Manipulative Comparison in communication - Forms of Human Behaviour

What does this picture shows to us?

[mks_toggle title=”Aggressive” state=”close “]

Somebody with an aggressive attitude doesn’t care about others. They have, lets say a kind of “God attitude” where they hide behind a picture of being strong, big, self-confident. In the reality though, they are compensating because of small self-confidence. In one hand they underestimate others, on the other hand they want to seem perfect and they can handle everything alone.

They think:

  • their needs are more important than others’
  • they have rights, but others doesn’t
  • and they the only ones who can solve problems

They want to win over the other person with every tool they have on hands. They stand up for their rights, but they leave out of consideration others’ needs, wishes, feelings and opinions.[/mks_toggle]

[mks_toggle title=”Assertive” state=”close “]

An assertive person is somebody who:

    • accept others and own self
    • has right self-image
    • respect others and own self

These specifics require taking responsibility for ourselves – expressing our own opinion, thoughts, feelings and being concerned about others’ interest.[/mks_toggle]

[mks_toggle title=”Passive” state=”close “]

You can recognize yourself as a Passive Person if you:

    • feel less than others – low self-esteem and poor self-image
    • have inner negative conversation – “I am not enough good. I will fail.”…
    • think others have always right
    • give up before even trying
    • avoid every kind of conflict

You created this attitude because you think others have more rights than you have and those need to be fulfilled first. You are always the last in the row. In your mind, you can just contribute in problem-solving in a way that doesn’t matters. Your main goal is to be „Liked by others” or lets say, please others and avoid conflict.

When you reach the point to share your needs, opinion, will you start apologizing for them.

Remember: „I have the right to express my opinion, will, needs, feelings clearly and directly!”[/mks_toggle]

[mks_toggle title=”Manipulative” state=”close “]

A manipulative person will try to go around you and the problem acting sneaky in order to reach the desired outcome. They don’t trust neither themselves nor others. Standing up for their rights is not an option because they think nobody would accept them. Usually they have low-self esteem and they don’t value others. Mostly they are really suspicious of others, that they do the same with them – they are afraid of being manipulated.[/mks_toggle]


Let me know – Which one comes up more often in your life?


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How does assertiveness help communication