The Four Basic Styles Of Communication

Topics: Self-esteem, Assertiveness, Nonverbal communication Pages: 6 (1650 words) Published: December 4, 2014
The Four Basic Styles of Communication
  Passive      Aggressive     Passive-Aggressive     Assertive  1. PASSIVE COMMUNICATION is a style in which individuals have developed a pattern of avoiding expressing their opinions or feelings, protecting their rights, and identifying and meeting their needs. Passive communication is usually born of low self-esteem. These individuals believe: “I’m not worth taking care of.” As a result, passive individuals do not respond overtly to hurtful or anger-inducing situations. Instead, they allow grievances and annoyances to mount, usually unaware of the build up. But once they have reached their high tolerance threshold for unacceptable behavior, they are prone to explosive outbursts, which are usually out of proportion to the triggering incident. After the outburst, however, they feel shame, guilt, and confusion, so they return to being passive. Passive communicators will often:

- fail to assert for themselves
- allow others to deliberately or inadvertently infringe on their rights - fail to express their feelings, needs, or opinions
- tend to speak softly or apologetically
- exhibit poor eye contact and slumped body posture
The impact of a pattern of passive communication is that these individuals: - often feel anxious because life seems out of their control - often feel depressed because they feel stuck and hopeless - often feel resentful (but are unaware of it) because their needs are not being met - often feel confused because they ignore their own feelings - are unable to mature because real issues are never addressed A passive communicator will say, believe, or behave like:

- “I’m unable to stand up for my rights.”
- “I don’t know what my rights are.”
- “I get stepped on by everyone."
- “I’m weak and unable to take care of myself.”
- “People never consider my feelings.”
2.   AGGRESSIVE COMMUNICATION is a style in which individuals express their feelings and opinions and advocate for their needs in a way that violates the rights of others. Thus, aggressive communicators are verbally and/or physically abusive. Aggressive communication is born of low self-esteem (often caused by past physical and/or emotional abuse), unhealed emotional wounds, and feelings of powerlessness. Aggressive communicators will often:

- try to dominate others
- use humiliation to control others
- criticize, blame, or attack others
- be very impulsive
- have low frustration tolerance
- speak in a loud, demanding, and overbearing voice
- act threateningly and rudely
- not listen well
- interrupt frequently
- use “you” statements
- have piercing eye contact and an overbearing posture
The impact of a pattern of aggressive communication is that these individuals: - become alienated from others
- alienate others
- generate fear and hatred in others
- always blame others instead of owning their issues, and thus are unable to mature The aggressive communicator will say, believe, or behave like: - “I’m superior and right and you’re inferior and wrong.” - “I’m loud, bossy and pushy.”

- “I can dominate and intimidate you.”
- “I can violate your rights.”
- “I’ll get my way no matter what.”
- “You’re not worth anything.” 
- “It’s all your fault.”
- “I react instantly.”
- “I’m entitled.”
- “You owe me.”
- “I own you.”
3.   PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE COMMUNICATION is a style in which individuals appear passive on the surface but are really acting out anger in a subtle, indirect, or behind-the-scenes way. Prisoners of War (POWs) often act in passive-aggressive ways to deal with an overwhelming lack of power. POWs may try to secretly sabotage the prison, make fun of the enemy, or quietly disrupt the system while smiling and appearing cooperative. People who develop a pattern of passive-aggressive communication usually feel powerless, stuck, and resentful – in other words, they feel incapable of dealing directly with the object of their resentments. ...
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