Some of the common symptoms of low assertiveness
Have you been feeling?
Have you had thoughts like?
- ‘No one likes me’
- ‘I’m no good’
- ‘I mustn’t disappoint people’
- ‘I must help others at all times’
- ‘I can’t say no’
- ‘Others will judge me’
- ‘Others will think I am useless’
- ‘Why did I say that?’
- ‘Why didn’t I do that?’
Have you noticed?
- you are spending more time alone
- you have stopped doing the things you enjoy
- you never express your own opinions and feelings
- you struggle to say ‘no’ to people
- you struggle to say what you want or need
- you find it difficult to give and receive compliments
- you find it hard to complain to others
Possible causes of low assertiveness
- stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused
- negative thinking – sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation, this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook, you may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you
- anger – If you struggle to express your feelings particularly anger you may find yourself low in assertiveness as a result of not expressing your anger or frustration in a safe and responsible way
- anxious personality type – you may have certain thinking styles which are part of your personality that can lead to you feeling anxious and nervous about yourself
- learnt behaviour – you may have learnt to have low assertiveness skills. Your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this
- low self-esteem/confidence – If you have a negative or poor opinion of yourself you may feel more anxious and vulnerable and struggle to assert yourself
How common is low assertiveness?
There is little research on how common low assertiveness is in the UK. People can live daily life with low assertiveness and have minimal difficulties; low assertiveness is more noticeable when someone is also struggling from a common mental health difficulty like depression or anxiety.