Men and Aggression: The Difference Between Aggression and Assertion

Men and Aggression: The Difference Between Aggression and Assertion

In our culture, men are often programmed to react with aggression. Let’s undo some of that programming and figure out how to navigate difficult situations with assertion, rather than aggression. The route to empowerment involves calm assertion and awareness, rather than aggression, which is often hurtful and reactive. Let’s break down the difference between aggression and assertion and take a step towards healthy modes of confrontation.


You’ve probably felt the rising tide of aggression in your body and mind. When we get angry, we often “see red” and react to the situation in primal ways. One of these ways is aggression. Aggression involves a level of anger, reactivity, and hostility. When someone is aggressive, we feel negative energy emanating off of that person. It can be easy to retreat in the face of aggression, as it can take the form of intimidation, yelling, or what we call “passive aggression” when someone asserts their will by avoiding direct confrontation. The bottom line: Aggression stems from a place of anger and force.


Assertiveness, on the other hand, comes from a place of self-awareness and confidence. While aggression is usually destructive, leaving yourself and others hurt and afraid, assertiveness can actually be positive and constructive. Assertiveness involves some level of calmness and distance from the situation. It’s difficult to be assertive when we’re feeling threatened or overly emotional. An assertion is all about staying empowered and not reacting to negativity with more negativity. It also involves taking an inventory of the room. Mature assertiveness involves being in tune with the people around you and understanding their points of view. If you want to assert your opinion in the face of conflict, first take a deep breath and decide if you’re in a centered place. Assertive behavior should make people feel safe, not threatened. 


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.

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