Suppose we have the gift of being invisible and then we can witness three different scenes: in one, a couple is arguing and she says: “You are not right in the head, you are crazy”; In the other, a father says to a son: “You never do anything right, you are useless”, and in the last the owner of a factory says to his workers: “I am not interested in what you do. Think, I know exactly what I do and what I say is done here?
Apparently, they are disconnected scenes, which could have in common the effect they arouse on emotionality. But there is something else: the common thread between the three is in an aggressive communication style, which does not seek an encounter in dialogue, but rather a disagreement from a monologue.
Communication is understood as an exchange of information that seeks contact or union between two or more beings.
The existentialist psychologist Rollo May conceived that the ultimate goal of communication was to guide us to understanding, intimacy and the appreciation of the other and he stated that correct communication is one that knows how to control emotions and express oneself assertively, that is, respecting the other as long as another, seeking not to attack him.
Now, there is a communicational style that does not seek exchange, but rather unidirectionality is the essential seasoning. You don’t expect feedback, you just don’t care about the other’s reaction.
In this case, the sender focuses exclusively on his message, trying to transmit it with the greatest force and intensity possible. The ideas, thoughts or attitudes of others are ignored.
This type of communication does not necessarily involve bad language, shouting or provocative gestures, although they tend to accompany it frequently.
The three essential ingredients of this particular type of treatment are:
1- Does not listen: There is disinterest in knowing the other’s point of view. This causes one of the participants to ?? vomit ?? their ideas and intentions with an absolute absence of attention and interest for those who are in front of them.
2- Personal Objectives: The purpose of this communication is not to reach agreements. The interest of the communicator is to send the message he wants, not to know what the other (or others) think.
3- Lack of Empathy: Since the objective is to satisfy personal needs, the emotions, feelings or thoughts of the interlocutor are not a point of interest. There is little or no capacity to put oneself in the other’s place The act, then, becomes tense and cold.
How to recognize aggressive communication? We must be attentive to the following signs:
1- General Conduct: The person tries to demonstrate superiority; adopts a belligerent stance, pretending that the interlocutor adopt an obedient and submissive role. The aggressive one seeks the submission of the other through a hard and rigid posture.
2- Attitude: It is usually violent, expressed through non-verbal elements such as challenging gaze, exaggerated gestures, upright posture, high tone of voice, “accusatory fingers”.
3- Verbal components: Excessive use of imperatives (?? you have to ??, ?? debés ??, ?? hacé ??, etc.), criticism of the other’s behavior, threats.
4- Intonation: High tone of voice, authoritative. There may be screaming.
5- Other components: Absence of smiles, defiant and fixed gaze, exaggeration of gestures.
What are the characteristics of these people?
– They take into account only your needs.
– Your goal is for the other to give up their perspectives or points of view
– They are belligerent, they do not respect the rights of others.
– They seek to subdue the other.
– Explosive and unpredictable personalities.
In the interlocutors, this communication style awakens emotions of fear and anxiety, corresponding to the reading of a situation as dangerous, or of anger and anger at a situation experienced as a denial of one’s rights. If it is prolonged over time, it can lead to a deterioration of the bonds and serious affective consequences.
How do you get out of aggressive communication?
The first point is to realize that one is taking part in an interaction in which the aggressive style of communicating is the main ingredient.
Then, let’s put it to the test by answering the following questions: How do I feel when they talk to me like this? Is it positive for me to sustain this way of communicating? Do I feel valued / respected? What stops me from reacting? What does it say about me that I can’t make myself heard?
Those who adopt the aggressive style of communicating can resort to the following steps:
– What I am going to say aims to exchange with the other or do I do it to release tension?
– Is it the best time to talk? Is my partner receptive? Am I calm?
– Meditate on the harm that yelling, humiliation, reproach, cynicism, offense generate in others
– Suggest, don’t order. Replace the ?? you have to ?? or ?? for ?? don’t you think ??? or would it be better?
– Avoid the “I told you so”, “I have to tell you things 20 times”, etc.
– Avoid labels: ?? sos un (una) ????
– Control your tone of voice and posture
– Instead of ?? dictate ??, look for reasons
– It is useful to remember at every moment that we have another person in front of us, with interests, emotions, attitudes and thoughts different from ours, but not for that reason dangerous.
Before speaking, evaluate if what you are going to say is more important than the silence that you are going to break, Buddhists invite us to reflect.
I would also add that we choose well the words and the ways in which we are going to let them come out of our mouth. Because once said they no longer belong to us. After all, contact with the other through communication is what helps us survive.
Lic. Cecilia C. Ortiz / Neuropsychologist / email@example.com