Changing the Non-aggressive Behavior


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I worked on a group assignment where we had to consider society without families by focusing on how people’s basic needs would be addressed in such a society. After brainstorming and drafting a number of ideas and points to write on our assignment, we came to the part of writing the actual assignment. We argued a bit about who should write it and quickly realized we were not heading anywhere. Based on past experience, I did not want us get penalized for a late submission. One of the group members suggested that I prepare a final copy for submission and I halfheartedly accepted, because I did not want to let the group down. I was already working on three individual assignments and was running out of time. When I complained to my brother, he asked why I accepted to work on the assignment in the first place. I accepted because I wanted to finish this group assignment on time and to be done with this assignment once for all I violated my right to refuse or say no to requests by accepting to work on the assignment, knowing very well I was working on other assignments with strict deadlines. I felt that my refusal could mount to letting down the group.

Second, my right to have my needs as important as the needs of others had been violated. Like any other group member, I had personal needs and commitment to meet. By accepting the responsibility, I also violated the right to tell my needs to other members. I failed to experience my needs and feelings and allowed others to choose for me. Because of my non-assertiveness, I allowed others to have their way. I had prior individual commitments to fulfill that had strict deadlines. Working all night caused me mental fatigue. By taking away my free time to sleep, it can bring harm to my own health and increases stress. I thought it was easy to avoid arguing and confrontation to save time than to argue but find a solution that works for all of us (irrational). Despite feeling overwhelmed with personal commitments, I did not object. But at the end of the day I feel disappointed and angry for not standing up for myself. Instead of complaining to the group members, I complained to my brother (irrational). The most successfully outcome would have been saying no and expressing my needs. I would have expressed my needs to others as to why I cannot take on the group problems. Standing up for my rights without violating others’ rights is acceptable. By allowing other to choose for me, it left me helpless and hurtful.

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After all, this had been a group work and as such, we would have worked as a group from the start to the end. If I had been assertive, my rights would not have been violated. I would have just said no to the request and stated my feelings and thoughts. I have a right to say no and saying no does not imply that I reject the group, but the request itself. The assertive techniques that could have replaced my nonassertive behavior includes learning to say no, self-disclosure and workable comprise. When saying no, it is appropriate to express a decision as brief as possible. Avoid giving a long gap of silence as this allows an aggressive person to decide for me. I would have assertively expressed my feelings without looking to justify myself. In addition to that, I would have provided the group with a workable compromise or alternative like extending the group time to get the work done.

While assertiveness is one of the healthiest ways to promote good relationship with other people, assertive behaviors may not work in intercultural situations. A friend invited me over to his home for dinner. Everything was going well until one family made some untrue remarks about a particularly minority group and everyone laughed. As I started to defend the behavior of that particular ethnic minority, another member angrily said I do not know what I am talking about. I decided to keep quiet about the subject and laughed with the rest.

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