As we learned in Part I, a few style combinations with Assertiveness, Self-Consciousness, and Emotional Energy come out as aggressive and forceful. In fact, a High Assertiveness score on its own is enough to come across overly strong and angry to some, depending on their Needs.
Of course, more important than our Natural Styles, is how we respond under stress, as our Stress Behaviors is what often causes the most damage relationally. This is when outright anger and major blow-ups can occur. You might not be someone who blows a fuse often or rarely at all, but it is still good and understand those responses and keep in mind, we are not our real selves when we are operating out of Stress.
Here are two of the most dangerous Stress combinations within these three components:
- High Assertiveness/High Self-Consciousness/High Emotional Energy: People often times assume the High Self-Consciousness Stress causes individuals to shy away from conflict. While this can be true, more often, they become defensive and frustrated. That means, this combination compounds anger on top of anger. Individuals with this combination show more emotion in stress out of their High Emotional Energy, become overly confrontational out of their High Assertiveness and then of course, become defensive and frustrated out of the High Self-Consciousness. So, the anger shows up more, the frustration emerges more, and the argument won’t stop until they shut everyone else down.
- High Assertiveness/Low Self–Consciousness/High Emotional Energy: While similar to the combination above, instead of getting more and more defensive during arguments (which often comes across as making excuses and blaming others), individuals with this combination get more and more harsh, not blaming others, but instead, making hurtful comments to damage the other individual and shut them down.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to Assertiveness: The most common reversal we see is a low Assertiveness Need and High Stress. This means that people who might have one of the Stress patterns above will often calm down when the other person initiates a gentle tone instead of focusing on the argument. While that can be tough in such situations, “it takes two to tango” as they say.
Since we are talking about outward frustration, it is very important to first look at someone’s Assertiveness Style and Stress. This Style and Stress in and of itself is where external frustration and possible blow-ups are often seen. However, the Self-Consciousness and Emotional Energy Stress will play a huge role in exactly how that presents itself.
If you happen to have a low Assertiveness Stress with either a low Self-Consciousness or low Emotional Energy Stress, managing outward frustration or blow-ups may not be as relevant to you. But again, there is strength and weakness on both sides. In some situations, it is better for it to be a blow-up with an apology later than for nothing to be said at all.