Aggressive Communication. Is it on the rise?

angry woman and man

“Anyone can become angry — that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way…. that’s NOT EASY.” Aristotle

I was working with a client recently who was struggling with being assertive in her communication at work. With the stresses of this crazy modern world, coupled with the COVID pandemic and topped with devastating fires that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in our area, she was under so much stress that she exploded at a customer in a very public manner. The pot boiled over! Sound familiar?

I would love to say that this is a rare example of needing assertive communication skills, however over the past 4 – 5 months I’ve been getting more and more calls. People are calling to request Assertive Communication training and coaching more and more. The wheels are coming off for quite a few people and they are trying to understand why.

Excessive self-expectations as well as societal expectations are pushing many women, and men to the edge to aggressive communication and behaviors. or even passive aggressive behavior.

There are many reasons why aggressive behaviors are rising. I’m not able to cover them all, but I think we can all agree that unrealistic expectations in a world that feels like it’s on the edge of collapse can push even the most stable of us over the edge at times.

There are many differences in the way men and women express their anger. Want to find out more? Join us THIS Wednesday at noon for a Free Lunch & Learn on Zoom noon to 1 pm Pacific Time – just sign up here for your link to the conversation.

The question is what can we do when we see ourselves heading down the path of aggressive thoughts and behaviors? How can we stabilize ourselves?

Before we talk about what to do, I think we need to have some clarity about aggression. Gwen-Randall Young, the famous award-winning psychologist, says, “Aggression is different than anger. Anger is an emotion; aggression is a behavior. There are better ways to deal with anger than behaving aggressively. Aggressive talk, gestures, or behaviors belong to the old way of being. Once we tune in to a higher level of consciousness, aggression is unnecessary as is the hand-held plow in modern day agriculture”.

Let me be clear, I’m not talking about stuffing down our anger. I believe this is one of the problems we are facing today. We know aggression is not socially acceptable, so we stuff down our anger. When you suppress your emotions, they will ooze out somewhere, somehow. Expressing our emotions maturely and productively is the best form of releasing emotional energy.

Becoming an Assertive Communicator has been my journey for the past 20 years. I have a ton of tool to share if you want to talk more – reach out to me personally.

So, what is happening NOW? We have been in isolation for almost a year now, and our normal social circles have crumbled beneath our feet. Many people in our area are experiencing homelessness, have lost jobs, not to mention loved ones. We have been asked to learn new skills, to home school our children, to stay home and isolate. Add in a dose of good old fashion worry; about health, a roof over your head, food on the table, your child being able to graduate on time and TADA! Houston, we have a problem and it’s a big one.

Our normal coping skills: working out, getting together with friends and venting, going to church to pray, dancing, movies, even meeting for drinks after work is all GONE! Our new normal is to look put together for our ZOOM meetings and fall apart later.

We need some new skills NOW.

In our program Managing Stress and Mastering Change recorded 5 years ago we talk about American psychologist Abraham Maslow and his Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that he created in 1943. The pyramid of needs if you will.

Listen to Rob’s explanation here

The levels in order of importance:

  1. Physiological needs. These include things such as breathing, food, water, and sleep.
  2. Safety. This includes things such as feeling physically safe in your environment. It includes feeling healthy. It includes feeling that you have enough money and supplies to keep you alive and well.
  3. Love and belonging. People need to feel love, and they need to feel that they belong in society.
  4. Esteem. To have esteem, you need to be confident in yourself. Also, you feel like others think that you are important.
  5. Self-actualization. This complicated idea is expressed as “What a man can be, he must be”. This is really what our Personal Transformation program aims at, helping you dig into what you are all about and helping you build a path to give it to your fellow man in love, empathy and service.

Does this shed some light on what is happening? One tool that you can use right now is Breath. No, I’m not saying you need to do yoga, although that can help. I am suggesting that right now, in this moment; stop reading and take a breath. While you are taking that breath, ask yourself, “How bad is it really?”. Now, exhale while asking yourself, “What do I want to do about it?”. Feel the power? You are in control of your response to whatever the world threw at you! This sounds SO simple, but it takes practice. I recommend doing this at least twice a day until it becomes a natural response to a stressful situation.

Just this one little thing can make all the difference in the world in how you handle things. We have a ton more trick to share. You can even download the Managing Stress and Mastering Change program here use the code: SOUL and save $30 off.

One more tip. As you experience stressful interactions with others; can you find a space to take a breath and try and put yourself in their shoes? Maybe that rude person is under more stress that you know. Stay curious and show some empathy.

In case you are new to our newsletter and haven’t worked with us or it’s been awhile. We are Soul Canyon Training & Development. A Southern Oregon based training company that helps people build the skills they need to succeed. From Microsoft skills, communication, and leadership to deep interpersonal work. And we want to talk with YOU!

Rob & I have had a journey for sure. Since we meet in 2002, we’ve been growing and improving on our already extensive experience. We’ve learned so much that we want to share. A training history of 150+ corporate training gigs a year for over 10 years, with audiences as large as 250. We’ve worked with people in all kinds of organizations. Let us share our knowledge with you.

With 20 years of experience, we can help you get to where you want to go! First call is always FREE. Let’s Explore what you need to reach your highest potential.

To see our entire 2021 Half day training programs offered on Zoom here.


Your team at Soul Canyon Training & Development.

Training that really works at work – Live or on Zoom!