A practical way in which we can begin to understand how we can improve our interactions with others is to first see how we typically prefer to interact with others. As we discussed before, the aggressive style is used as a manipulation technique in order to dominate the other person so that they submit to the will of the aggressor. Conversely, and more relevant to those who are high in trait agreeableness, is the passive communication style. In other words, if we have problems being able to communicate assertively, most likely our preferred communication style will be that of a passive voice. This is the inverse of the aggressive style as the passive voice uses feigned kindness, harmlessness, and timidity in order to achieve its goals. The problem with this approach is that it is not only disingenuous, but it is extremely ineffective and can have the opposite effect of what was intended by actually painting us as weak and unassuming. Instead of attempting to dominate the other individual, we might try and act submissive in order to place the other person in a position of dominance. This tactic aims to manipulate the other individual by falsely bolstering their self-esteem in order to obtain the desired goal.
These two forms of manipulative communication are not only harmful because of their long-term ineffectiveness, but also because they require us in sobriety to re-engage into old and maladaptive patterns of behavior. The old saying goes, “nothing changes if nothing changes” and although it is rather simplistic, it rings all too true in the context of addiction recovery. We need to be able to adopt assertive communication because it will aid us getting what we need in relationships, will help us gain respect in the workplace, and will ultimately work to bolster our self-esteem. Assertive communication requires the adoption of honesty, willingness, and courage which are three traits that will be invaluable to those of us who are actively recovering from drugs and alcohol. Lastly, we ought to be aware of the way in which resentments can fuel the fire of relapse and addiction. The good news is that assertive communication helps us manage our resentments because instead of shoving them down, we can communicate openly about what is bothering or concerning us.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.