Assertive Vs. Aggressive Communication For Men

men and communication

In recovery, you’re learning to communicate better and have healthier relationships. Men sometimes have a problem learning new communicating skills. After all, the media portrays male protagonists (the good guys) as sarcastic, brash, and even violent. While this behavior may seem “normal”, in real life, it causes more problems than it could ever solve. Aggressive communication shuts other people down, and can even make them frightened of dealing with you in the future. Assertive communication, however, is healthy communication. So what is the difference between the two? How can you communicate healthily?

Aggressive Behavior and Communication

Aggressive behavior isn’t healthy and can sometimes even be a prelude to violence. It’s a “skill” that you no longer need in recovery. In recovery, you will learn to listen to others without judging. You also will learn to accept responsibility for your own actions. Here are some examples of aggressive behavior:

  • Shouting, yelling, or throwing things.
  • Blaming others for your actions.
  • Ignoring what the other person is trying to say.
  • Talking over the other person.
  • Bringing up old resentments into arguments.
  • Making threats.
  • Insulting or verbally attacking the other person.
  • Blocking a door so that a person can’t safely exit an argument.
  • Any verbal or physical abuse, or purposefully making the other person afraid.

Aggressive behavior is often a defense mechanism that is meant to shut the other person down. You may use this behavior when you’re afraid of being hurt or feeling ashamed.

Either way, aggressive behaviors hurt and scares other people, and in recovery, it’s a skill you need to un-learn. If you don’t know how to respond to a conversation that you’re having or an argument, walk away. Walking away and returning to the conversation when you’re calm and collected can make a huge difference.

Assertive Conversations and Behavior

Assertive people state their opinions and are also respectful to others. Rather than shout, they ask questions. They state their views and don’t talk over people or interrupt their reactions. Here are a few examples of assertive behavior:

  • Making eye contact during the conversation or “leaning in” if you’re at a desk or table.
  • Asking follow-up questions when the other party has finished speaking.
  • Mirroring what the other person says by restating what you have heard. “It sounds like I really hurt your feelings” is a good example.
  • Smiling when it’s appropriate or nodding your head as you listen.
  • Taking accountability for your mistakes and owning them.

You can learn to become more assertive by paying attention to others who have been sober longer. Your sponsor can probably help you. Therapy is also a good way to practice your body language and learn more about active listening.

Communication is a skill that humans work on throughout their lives. It’s okay to make mistakes – like everyone, you’re a work in progress. Just continue working on your flaws and don’t feel weird about asking for help.

Consider Sober Living

In a sober living home, you’ll learn to juggle your responsibilities, and your recovery. You’ll also learn how to nurture your relationships and have fun as a newly sober person. We want to help you grow into the person you’re meant to be! Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

Many people in recovery make a lot of changes in what seems a short time. Sometimes, you may feel more emotional or stressed. This can affect the people around you who love you. As time goes on, you learn new coping skills. While this all happens, your family and other loved ones may

Helping people who love you adapt to your recovery isn’t a requirement, but they do need their own recovery plan as you begin to grow and change. Your family may walk on eggshells around you because they’re not sure what to expect. Or they may make assumptions about your behavior because they’re not used to trusting you. After a while, this can cause conflict or create anger or resentment.

Family Therapy

One of the first ways to help loved ones learn more about addiction and recovery is by having them participate in your therapy. Most treatment centers offer family therapy. Sometimes it’s more helpful for certain family members, such as your parents, to seek therapy for themselves. Addiction takes whole families prisoners.

If you have kids, therapy one-on-one can help them work through difficult emotions. Ask your own recovery teams for referrals if there are children involved.

You’ve been through a lot, but your family has too. If you’re not sure of a good place to go for therapy, ask your treatment center or call your local mental health department.

Groups for Family Members

Al-Anon and other 12-step centered groups can help families cope with the effects of your addiction. For many family members, there are a lot of wounds from your drug and alcohol use. You can’t fix them, but you can help them find a group.

If family members are hesitant to go in-person to a group, there are many addiction-related message boards online that they can check out, too.

Books and Self-Care

Many loved ones feel stressed as they watch your recovery from a safe distance. They may be worried about getting their hopes up. Or they simply may worry about you.

It’s hard for family members to let go. But many of them may feel empowered by books on addiction and recovery.

Self-care is also something that can help family members learn to let of stress and take care of themselves. Go with them for a long walk or a lazy day at the beach. Suggest ways to have fun together.

Sober Living Homes Can Help You Transition

You may want to take it slow when you’re exiting treatment. After all, your focus on recovery is paramount. Learning to work your recovery program is important. Sober living is a good option for people who need to have a transition period before returning home to their family situation or their own living quarters. You’ll have a safe, comfortable space that you share with people who also are focused on recovery.

Learn more about your sober living options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Many people in recovery learn new skills as they spend more time sober. Learning about your feelings, triggers, and other issues are essential. New coping tools can help you learn to manage your emotions in recovery, as well. Active listening is a communication tool that can help you grow emotionally. It can help you connect with others and learn to identify with them, rather than comparing yourself “out.” After all, we are all human, and we all have things to learn from each other.

What is Active Listening?

Active listening is a method of diaglosue where you take an active approach to listening and interpreting a conversation. Active listening isn’t just listening, but participating. It is a great skill to learn, in general, so that you can learn more and understand where the other person is coming from.

How to Listen Actively

  1. Approach your conversations intending to take something away with you. Use a conversation as a way to learn from the other speakers. Let the other person speak first, and don’t interrupt.
  2. Think about what the other person is saying. Repeat information you hear back to the other person to make sure you understand what they’re talking about.
  3. Ask questions. If you’re having a discussion with somebody and they are upset, make sure you acknowledge they’re feeling that way. “Did that upset you?” is a good step toward understanding. Remember, don’t interrupt.
  4. Summarize what you think you’ve heard and offer feedback – don’t argue. Saying something as simple as, “Oh, I didn’t realize you felt like that. I’ll try to be more patient next time” can help offer empathy and show the other person you actually care about what’s being said.

Learning to listen actively will help you understand the way other people feel. You’ll also learn more about your family, friends, and co-workers by practicing active listening. Listening and reacting with empathy will help you have deeper relationships. It will also help you understand yourself and the world around you as you continue your journey in recovery.

Learn About Sober Housing

Are you looking for sober living in the San Diego, California area? Our programs are a great launchpad for people new to recovery who need time to transition to daily life. Learn more about the options and how we can help you by calling 760-216-2077.

Mending relationships with your father or mother is a struggle for many people in recovery. You may have caused your parents a lot of pain when you were using drugs and alcohol. Or, you may have had a difficult childhood and now struggle to have an adult relationship with your family. Whatever the case may be, it’s up to you to begin working on your relationship in recovery.

Recovering Your Relationships

No one has a perfect relationship with their family. It’s important to aim for progress, not perfection. You are powerless over other people’s actions. Beginning to heal these relationships is an essential step in life.  But you must be willing to be open to disagreements now and then. Take your relationships a day at a time.

Tips for Better Relationships With Family

There are many things you can do to help improve your relationship with your family. When you get to the 4th, 5th, and 6th steps, you’ll fo some hard work looking at your deeds and flaws. Until then, small things make a big difference.

  • Practice forgiving yourself. Holding on to guilt and shame gets you nowhere. Start by practicing self-care when you are feeling down. Read a good book, go on a walk, or take a long hot bath.
  • Stop comparing other peoples’ lives to your own, especially other family members. No one has walked in your shoes. You may be struggling right now, but you are exactly where you are supposed to be in life. Your parents are also probably struggling to understand your point of view, too
  • Enjoy time with family. Being with them is something that they will likely appreciate. Try to stay out of deep thought and instead try to enjoy being present.
  • Accept that no one, either them or you, is perfect. Sometimes you may harbor resentments against family members, or they may get on your nerves. It’s okay to have these feelings, but if your relationship is turning toxic, it’s time to focus on yourself. Don’t let anyone abuse you or manipulate you.
  • Take relationships a day at a time. Trust is something that people usually earn. You may have hurt a loved one's feelings in the past. These are things you *can* make up for eventually. Offer more time to your parents. Help them with things around the house or invite them out for a movie. Bring them groceries. Call to check up on them.
  • Talk, but focus on listening. Ask questions, and don't interrupt. Try not to argue every time you disagree with somebody. Instead, choose your battles wisely, and remember you’re powerless over their actions and reactions. You can only select your own.

These are just a few ways that you can start rebuilding family relationships in recovery. Just remember that your life is your own. Time sometimes also becomes a significant part of the healing process. As you stay sober, you’ll make new and better memories that will help fade the hurt of some of the older memories.

Aftercare and Sober Living

By the Sea Recovery is a sober living home in San Diego. Our level of treatment services is top-notch and evidence-based. We offer a safe and therapeutic environment to help our clients take the next step in their recovery and learn to live in a safe, supportive, drug-free environment. Learn more about our programs by calling us at 760-216-2077.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2015/02/14/fifty-shades-of-grey-box-office/23405561/

And all the talk this month has been about Fifty Shades. That it's abusive. That it reflects poorly on relationships. The thing is, its selling. Profoundly. And its getting everyone talking (Got me). I had to see it personally and not criticize it without seeing it (typical, we all have strong opinions about what we don't know). Actually, I laughed like few times I have done so at the movies. Johnson's performance is spectacular. The new male actor wasn't as captivating, but the plot was. It gets to the role we rarely talk about in relationships: negotiating. What better place for negotiation than the business place. It has been polished. It has been refined. Relationships? Not so much. We can argue all day long but the art of relationships lies in negotiation. And do we? Not like business. Many times its the equivalent of being bothered of clauses Most begin in expectations that have never been mutually agreed on, only to become resentful at the mesmerized outcome. Have we advanced in our 'science of relationships'? I believe little. There is much more research on trauma or family dysfunction than there is about quality of relationships or basic contentment, less alone longevity (and if there is, there is not as much focus on it as there is on the famous 'less than half make it'). We can code social media platforms that increase our connection with the world, we can make billion dollar businesses with venture capital...but where are we in the science of relationships? (please, for those with strong moral or religious opinions, be the change and save yourself the pedestal, we are all here for the growing experience and if what you had was so wonderful you'd have as much talk going as a hundredth of this movie).
Synthesis: go see it. Think about it. Begin the conversation. Whatever gets us talking must be hitting an Achilles tendon.

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