Causes for a lack of Assertiveness

Causes for lack of both assertiveness and self-confidence

Firstly we need to understand the 3 behavioural patterns

  1. Passive / Submissive
  2. Aggressive
  3. Assertive

Passive Behaviour Symptoms

  • Reluctant to express own opinions, and feelings
  • Often feels used by others
  • Refrains from complaining
  • Finds it difficult to refuse the requests of others
  • Acquiesces in the views and desires of the majority
  • Is submissive in the presence of aggressive behavior
  • Frequently makes compromises for harmony

The Reasons

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of upsetting others
  • Fear of conflict
  • Feeling responsible
  • Inappropriate inner voices

Aggressive Behaviour Symptoms

  • Frequently argues with others
  • Frequently gets angry
  • Easily and frequently finds fault with others
  • No difficulty in complaining when receiving poor quality
  • Expects others to accommodate own schedules
  • Continually works to personal agendas at others expense
  • Rarely feels aware of the needs or feelings of others


  • Satisfying their own needs
  • Disregard the needs of others
  • Think as superior beings
  • Childhood emotional trauma 
  • Over-correction of being too passive
  • Inappropriate dealing with anger

Assertive Behaviour Symptoms.

  • Able to express desires and feelings
  • Able to converse and work well with people
  • Able to disagree with others respectfully
  • Aware of the needs and desires of others
  • Able to make concessions to others
  • Able to express a concern or a need
  • Able to refuse a request without feeling guilty

Assertiveness is a right and a privilege, however it comes with responsibilities.

Privilege: Set and hold values and priorities

Responsibility: To do this as long as it does neither me nor you any harm

Privilege: To be treated with respect

Responsibility: To treat others with respect

Privilege: To be listened to and taken seriously

Responsibility: To talk in a clear way and listen to                                                                         

Privilege: To express your own feelings and beliefs

Responsibility: To be responsible for the consequences                                                                         

Privilege: To ask for what you want   

Responsibility: To allow others to do the same

Privilege: To say NO without paying for it with guilt 

Responsibility: To say ‘YES’ when you mean yes and  ‘NO’ when you mean no                                                

Privilege: To get information that pertains to you

Responsibility: To ask for that information from superiors or professionals                                                       

Privilege: To make mistakes which are part of the learning process

Responsibility: To learn from my mistakes                                                  

Privilege: To be the judge of your own worth, time or expertise 

Responsibility: To use information you have received from people you value                                                      

Privilege: Choose to act passively, assertively or aggressively as the situation requires

Responsibility: To be accountable for the consequences                                                                                                          

You may notice that for most of these it is simply a matter of “you reap what you sow”

Being assertive is saying “yes” when you want to, and “no” when you mean “no” – rather than just agreeing to do something to please others.

A message for the “S” behavioral style – but every one else should understand this

The want of the S style is relationship, and their fear is instability So it makes sense that an S will avoid conflict at all costs. When I say costs, it includes their own welfare and what is best for them. An S is more concerned with looking after everyone else and making sure the team is happy. So for the S‘s reading, it is really important you learn have to say no – and i’ll teach you that in a moment. You can not say yes just to please others. This includes doing their work or tasks for them because they’re too lazy to do it themselves. In the workplace, if you allow someone to take advantage of your good nature once, you have set a precedence for it to happen all the time. You must not allow this. It will cause you so much stress and pressure as your own work will not get done. You will loose job satisfaction and it can seriously affect your mental health.

For every one else reading: We have a responsibility to look after our S‘s. They look after us for most things, so let’s look after them by not taking advantage of their good nature. If you do it deliberately and knowingly (because now you do know), then shame on you, and it will certainly come back to you in spades.