What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness is defined as the ability that allows people to express in an appropriate manner, without hostility or aggressiveness, their emotions towards another person. People who possess this quality express their opinions and feelings, both positive and negative, in a direct and appropriate manner.

What are the symptoms of a lack of assertiveness?

A person with a lack of assertiveness is characterized by several factors in their way of thinking and speaking:

  • Subdued voice volume
  • Poor fluency of speech
  • Stuttering
  • Insecurity
  • Feeling that he/she is not understood or laughed at
  • More concern for others than for self
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration

As a consequence, this set of symptoms leads to loss of self-esteem and loss of respect for others.

What are the causes of lack of assertiveness?

The main causes are the way of learning and education regarding assertiveness:

  • Punishment or lack of reinforcement of assertive behaviors.
  • Not valuing social reinforcement
  • Obtaining more reinforcement thanks to aggressive or submissive behaviors.
  • Not knowing how to adequately distinguish situations in which a specific response must be given
  • Knowing the appropriate behavior, but feeling so much anxiety that it is only partially conveyed
  • Not knowing or rejecting one’s rights
  • Irrational thought patterns

Can lack of assertiveness be prevented?

To avoid falling into lack of assertiveness, it is important to carry out learning that does not have the characteristics explained above, i.e., valuing assertive behaviors, avoiding aggressive or submissive behaviors, knowing one’s own rights, etc.

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What does the treatment of lack of assertiveness consist of?

There are techniques to improve the problem that do not aim to change the personality, but to change aspects that make the patient feel better. The therapy is based on a series of cognitive restructuring techniques, taking into account factors such as expressing feelings, giving importance to beliefs, analyzing irrational ideas and trying to correct them, etc.