I don’t want to be a bitch

Extreme shyness can be interspersed with outbursts of aggression. Balance is needed and that takes learning to be assertive.
Extreme shyness can be interspersed with outbursts of aggression. Balance is needed and that takes learning to be assertive.

I am a pretty shy person and not assertive. But sometimes I get so angry I lose it and let people know how I feel. How do I change to be more assertive without being a bitch?

You are already being a bitch, some of the time any way. When you get angry and let lose, those targeted are likely to think you can be bitchy. And yet you don’t like people who act like that..

Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of a person with whom you have become angry. For convenience, let s call her Anne.

As Anne, you are going about your business when suddenly this angry individual approaches you and blasts you verbally. How do you feel? What do you think of the person who has just let loose at you. As Anne, you feel pretty upset. Not happy. You don’t like this angry person at all and you feel intimidated.

Can you see that you have got this exactly back to front? You are worried about being assertive and being seen as a bitch, when, in fact, it is the non-assertive person who turns nasty.

How does this happen?

You refuse to take full responsibility for your feelings of annoyance.

For example, Anne does something that annoys you.

Do you speak to her? No. You repress your feelings and tell yourself that what she did isn’t that important. Sometime later, Anne does something else that annoys you. Again you discount it and say nothing. Perhaps this happens a couple more times until Anne does one more thing probably truly minor this time which you cannot tolerate. The pressure-cooker explodes and you verbally attack her.

Anne has no idea what has been going on in your mind. She is totally unaware of what she has done to annoy you. You have not been courteous enough to tell her. She has no opportunity to correct her actions. Instead, out of the blue, she has you suddenly screeching at her.

Of course, you can become more appropriately assertive. But you need to understand what you are doing and then make different choices.

You are refusing to acknowledge your power. You are afraid of misusing it. You think that if you consciously and deliberately tell someone they made a mistake or upset you, that you are hurting them in some way. You are hurting them much more by not acting consciously and, instead, acting impulsively. The impulse comes from refusing to address the problem earlier. Instead of taking deliberate action to assert your needs, you are using anger to assert yourself.

This is childish.

You are pretending you are not being bitchy and you are pretending you are not asserting yourself. You are asserting yourself, but in a immature way.

Speak your truth in a calm, friendly manner. Practice doing this even to people who annoy you. It is a skill and you need to develop it. Seek help from a psychologist to learn this skill if need be. Any skill can be learned once you make up your mind to do so.

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