When aggressive people harm relationships

The best way to know if someone has an aggressive personality is to carefully watch the reactions from others. If people look uncomfortable, uneasy or want to end the communication quickly, there's your answer

By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

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Published: Tue 18 Apr 2023, 10:34 PM

Some days I feel tired for no specific reason. I thought about it and found the answer: I was spending time with aggressive people which was draining me.

Being outspoken, opinionated, and honest aren't bad qualities, but sometimes honesty, or too much of it, can rub people the wrong way. Even if the intention is not to be rude or hurtful, some people just have very direct and honest ways of communicating with others.

Aggressive people are often the ones with a commanding and domineering presence. They appear skilled in taking charge and show little patience with fellow humans. They don't want to appear vulnerable to others, so they overcompensate by saying things in a confident way.

Unfortunately, that aura of confidence can hurt people. Being too honest shows the person has less tact and won't stop even if it means being rude or even disrespectful. The best way to know if someone has an aggressive personality is to carefully watch the reactions of others. If people look uncomfortable, uneasy or want to end the communication quickly, there's your answer. Conversations with such personalities can be very one-sided.

That's because they have a ton of opinions and have no problem letting everyone know what they think. Such behaviour may stem from low self-esteem. Sometimes, when people feel insecure, they'll try and project it to appear confident and more self-assured. An abrasive person will sometimes talk over people or make a joke about others.

No one can fix an abrasive personality but the individual themselves. Some people are pushy because they probably learned and cultivated it from childhood. When people feel threatened, or as if their best interests are in jeopardy, they may adopt an aggressive communication style. Aggressive communication can have a negative impact on relationships. It can lead to low self-esteem and less social interaction. A person with this communication style lacks empathy.

Aggressive communication does not stop with words; it can also be non-verbal such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Here are examples: speaking in a commanding and obnoxious tone of voice; criticising others; humiliating and controlling others; attempting to dominate relationships; frequent interruptions during conversations and getting angry over minor issues.

Such conversations can wreak havoc on relationships, at school, family, and work. Aggressive people need help and can learn by becoming better listeners and trying to see things from the perspectives of others.

Adam Grant gives us a useful tip when he says, “We can’t control what people say, but we do have a say in how we react. Refusing to give others power over our feelings is a mark of emotional intelligence.” This may be a mindful reminder for us all, “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

- Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai.


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