Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Anger, Aggression, and Assertiveness

What are the differences among anger, aggression, and assertiveness?

People confuse anger with aggression. Anger is an emotion. Aggression is a behavior. Someone can feel angry without behaving aggressively. Aggressive behavior includes things like verbal threats or physical violence. Aggressive behavior tells people, "My feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are more important than yours." This often hurts relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Anger may turn into aggressive behavior unless you find healthy ways to deal with it.

Assertiveness is also a type of behavior, but assertive people work through their anger without getting aggressive. Assertive behavior says, "My feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are important. But your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are equally important."

Assertiveness doesn't mean ignoring your own rights and feelings - that's called passive behavior. Assertiveness means standing up for your rights, while respecting the rights of others.

Here's how an assertive response to anger differs from an aggressive response.

ANGER: Josie is upset that Karen borrowed her car and dented the bumper.

AGGRESSION: Josie screams at Karen.

ASSERTIVENESS: Josie tells Karen that she's upset but acknowledges the dent was an accident. The two friends work out a plan to fix Karen's car.

Anger Triggers >>