Characteristics of aggressive communication

Aggressive communication deteriorates the quality of our social ties. Therefore, it is important to know its characteristics, the impact it causes and how to learn to avoid it. Keep reading!

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A fundamental process in the life of every human being is communication. Through it, we can express ourselves and establish links with others. However, these manifestations are not always the most appropriate. An example of this is aggressive communication, which is detrimental to the establishment and maintenance of social relationships.

Communicating is not only emitting words, but it encompasses the tone of voice, the gestures made by the person, the body language, the look, the posture, among other elements that, in a way, also emit a message to the viewer. The aggressive style involves specific patterns in each of these aspects, which will be presented below.

What is aggressive communication?

Aggressive communication is a way of expressing thoughts, feelings or opinions, but abruptly and without taking into account the rights of the other. It involves disrespecting the self-esteem , dignity, and sensitivity of other people in order to defend one’s own needs.

This way of communicating is also intended to demonstrate dominance over the other. To be more exact, “victory” is achieved through the humiliation of the recipient, to the point of limiting his ability to express and defend his point of view.

According to Vega et al. (2002), the basic message to be transmitted is the following:

“This is what I think – you are stupid for thinking differently”; “This is what I want – what you want is not important.” Or “This is what I feel, your feelings don’t count.”

In aggressive communication, one of the parties pretends to have dominance over the other.

How does aggressive communication manifest?

In general, aggressive communication manifests itself in the constant need to put one’s own ideals and desires above those of others. Those who are used to this use aggressive verbal and non-verbal language to exert control over the recipient of their message. Let’s see in detail its main manifestations.

Verbal component

  • High tone of voice.
  • Issuing offensive, disrespectful and humiliating comments.
  • Articulation of threats, suchas: “If you don’t do what I ask, you will pay the consequences.”
  • Indirectly assaulting with sarcastic comments, loaded with resentment or uttering malicious backbiting.
  • According to Alba de la Torre, the comments that are often heard are the following: ” do”, ” if you don’t …”, ” you don’t know”, “you should.” 

Non-verbal component

  • Seek to maintain eye contact at all times. Her gaze is usually challenging or with an expression of dominance.
  • He does not listen to his interlocutors.
  • The face shows a tight, frowning expression.
  • Makes threatening gestures with your hands, such as clenching your fist or pointing your finger in an accusatory way.
  • Tense body posture.

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Characteristics of the aggressive person

In general, this communication style is common in people who have some personality traits. Below we detail the most relevant ones.

  • They are individuals who consider themselves superior or more capable than others. Therefore, they tend to look down on the other.
  • In very few cases do they care about the feelings of the people around them.
  • They tend to take advantage of other individuals.
  • It is common for them to get involved in conflicts or fights.

People who communicate aggressively tend to believe they are superior to others. They rarely worry about what the other is feeling.

Effects of aggressive communication

At the individual level, this type of communication usually causes a reduction of internal tension through emotional manifestation. It also produces satisfaction from feelings of power and greatness, and the achievement of goals without direct objection from others.

However, this leads to the reinforcement of aggressive behavior in the future. In turn, over time it produces negative effects, such as the following:

  • Interpersonal conflicts.
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Loss of opportunities.

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What to do to avoid aggressive demonstrations?

Apparently, this type of communication is not the best way to relate , as it tends to cause harm to others. Likewise, the actor of these behaviors is negatively affected. Therefore, the most appropriate thing would be to change this style of interaction .

First, the person has to be aware that he is acting aggressive, and accept that it is not the best way to express himself. It is common to feel guilt; For this reason, at this time it is recommended to reflect on the reason for this action and how to improve it.

Also, it is important to identify what kinds of thoughts and emotions invade in these situations, and try to change them . For example, thinking that others are worth less encourages the justification of abuse. In these cases, it is best to seek professional help to discover tools that can change prejudices.

It is also useful to repent and apologize to the other in order to stop the progressive deterioration of interpersonal relationships. There must be a complete change in attitude here, otherwise no effect will be achieved.


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