Aggressiveness often has deep roots. It usually deals with fears, insecurities, and expectations about another's behavior. Those who react aggressively are afraid that people will walk over them and do everything they can to prevent this.

An aggressive no often sounds a bit disdainful and sometimes attacks the questioner: "you are certainly not good us? Do I have to do that for you, because you are so busy?" Those who expect that the other will not take their interests into account can feel certain about this and therefore defend their own interests too much. The interest of the other is thereby lost sight of.

However, aggressive behavior often turns fear into reality. Next time people don't take into account the person who reacts aggressively. They will think of their own interest because the one who reacted aggressively does too.

With aggressive behavior we also go beyond the boundaries of others:

-When we feel too responsible for many things (for which someone else is in principle responsible)

-When we are overprotective (and in fact want to take over some of the other person's responsibilities)

-When we're meddlesome

-When we're meddlesome

-When we prescribe another how to live and act

-When we fill in the life of another (as we think we should)

Situations that require assertiveness

-Situation: If we are bothered by the behavior of others, we want to say something about it. 

How: dealing with the I form. Describe someone's specific behavior. Tell me what you want too.


Someone interrupts you every time you tell a story. You say, "I hate that you won't let me finish. Then I'll lose the point in my story. In the future, can you just let me finish my story before you come up with your opinion?"

-Situation: you have a different opinion

Sometimes it can be quite difficult to change your mind, especially when you feel like you are the only one. Nevertheless, you will have to put your opinion on the table.

How: calmly state your point of view and motivate. Also, ask questions about someone else's point of view.

Example: During a meeting at work, your boss announces that he no longer wants to invest in working with another department and everyone agrees. You say, "I understand the irritation, but I still disagree. In the end, we do not get much better. How do you see this problem solved in the long term? We will need the information from that department next quarter.

Situation: You want to refuse a request

You are called upon which you do not want to comply.

How: Say no! You do not always have to give a reason for this. Keep it general and don't allow others to discuss your reasons. Don't fall into the trap of the defense and calmly declare your refusal. It is your right to say no every now and then.

Why are people aggressive?

To deal with aggression


What is Aggression?

Why aggressive?

Recognize aggression

What can you do?

Emotional blackmail

Frustration aggression

Targeted aggression

Physical aggression




Self aggressive

Read further

An aggressive person will not readily agree, but someone who is aggressive often benefits from becoming angry and aggressive on a regular basis. That sounds strange, but a person may have noticed in the course of their life that they can achieve something with their aggressive behavior. Someone who regularly behaves aggressively can, for example, radiate power, or hide the fact that he does not dare or cannot do certain things. So sometimes that is a pattern in someone's life.

There are roughly four types of aggression:

1. Emotional blackmail

People who blackmail emotionally try to gain power with helplessness. This often succeeds because they manage to hit someone else's weak spot. For example, someone says to a counselor, "If you don't help me, I'll end it." The counselor is called to account for his feeling that he should help the other person because that person is pathetic. "Threatening to leave and a divorce is a common form of emotional blackmail." If you don't even want to do this for me, then go I left you. "

2. Frustration aggression

Some people become aggressive when they are denied something they feel entitled to. Or if (in their eyes) the other is not reasonable. These people have certain expectations and are overcome by a sense of powerlessness if these expectations are not met.

For example, people who come to a first-aid post are under the impression that they have an urgent problem and therefore feel that they need immediate help. However, the medical staff assess the problem and may decide to let other people go ahead who are worse off. This often leads to aggressive reactions in the waiting room. After all, the expectation of the patient is that he will be helped quickly (preferably first).

3. Purposeful or instrumental aggression

Some people use aggression on purpose. They are very calculating because they know that a great deal can be achieved by instilling fear. These are the people who come to a counter with a stick, knife, or another weapon in their pocket. Or immediately wave their fists when they get an answer they don't like.

An example: people who work behind a counter often have to deal with targeted or instrumental aggression; employees of benefits agencies, parking management, but even employees of a municipality or doctor's assistants must regularly arm themselves against this type of aggressive behavior. Clients say that they sometimes come to renovate your office or your cupboard. It can be threatening if you cannot de-escalate these types of situations adequately.

4. Robbery, assault, and rape

Robberies, assaults, and rapes are also a form of aggression. The difference with the previous forms of aggression is that robbers, rapists, etc. behave criminally. They use violence to get things done.

Robberies are almost by definition life-threatening and often unexpected. It is very difficult to arm yourself against it, although there are several things you can do to reduce the chance of being mugged or raped.

Senseless violence

The term senseless violence is used for incidents in which someone is seriously attacked apparently without cause. The term "senseless violence" suggests that violence can happen to anyone at any time. That idea is terrifying and may not be entirely true.

As we have seen, people who behave aggressively often want to make something clear or achieve something. Aggression can be recognized and can often be de-escalated if the response is adequate. That this does not always work is frustrating and unjust. But the idea that collectively we are increasingly victims of senseless violence makes people anxious and may not contribute to a constructive and effective way of responding to aggression. Read more about what you can do in aggressive situations.

Emotional blackmail

Someone who is emotionally blackmailing plays on someone's weaknesses or feelings of guilt. He will try to make you responsible for his actions while gaining confirmation for the feeling "I am someone". It is important to set boundaries and leave the responsibility with the person calling on you. This works best if you give that person both appreciation and space. You give appreciation by remaining friendly and being tactful and recognizing the other person as a person. For example, say, "It's good to see you." You give space to the claiming person by offering him a number of options.

Telling the person not to take the action they are threatening to do (for example, end it) will often backfire. The person will then just persist in the idea. Instead, say, "I wonder if you are doing right and if there are no other roads ..."

Emotional blackmail is often a pattern between two people. If you feel blackmailed, it is important that you check to see if you are keeping an eye on and guarding your own boundaries well enough. It is wise to point out to the other that he/she is manipulating and to make it clear that you do not allow yourself to be manipulated.

Be the first to read what's new!

What is an aggressive personality? Depending on their overall personality type and the degree to which they have the aggressive personality trait, they may come across as confident, demanding, passionate, outspoken, or commandeering.