Thursday, May 1, 2008

Aggression, Assertion and Assholiness

It's been fairly quiet today in the aftermath of Tuesday's tempest and Wednesday's warpath (see photo right). Little has been resolved, actually nothing has been resolved-but I'm okay. I need this time to come down a notch, medicate and transcend from aggression to assertion. Luckily I'm also fora grounded so I will not be overwhelmed by stupidity during my transcendence. I wish I'd known someone was going to scold me, I would've at least made it worth while. Note to those who are easily offended; "Don't start none, won't be none". I wasn't going to tell this rudimentary tale, but as it turns out it is a suitable segue for the next topic in my communication series.

First, let me quickly refer back to, "Don't start none, won't be none". I find this is where most folks go wrong. "Don't bark with the big dogs and piss like a puppy". I'm all about the nice nice, and I love good conversation, but you can't open up a can of kick ass, "pat it , roll it and mark it with B" once it's open it's on! There is a difference between aggressive approach and assertive approach which is what many don't seem to get. Let's go into some examples, okay?

Say you're having a discussion and you want it to end because the other person is getting on your last damn nerve, they are interrupting, raising their voice-overall just not presenting an effective argument. What do you do: a) Say shut-up b) Please shut the fuck up c) If you continue to yell and interrupt me I am not going to have this discussion with you. Of course the initial gut response is "A" (as much as "A" and "B"actually tend to work better) the correct answer is "C". The reason is the other options are an attempt at controlling someone else's actions which is not your job. Asserting yourself is just that, putting yourself in a position of assertion; a firm stance.

The other two choices are acts of verbal aggression. Depending on who you are having this heated discussion with any act of aggression will only result in further aggression ("Did you hear that Dubya"?)

Assertive lies somewhere between Aggressive and Passive, I think it differs in each individual. I'll use myself as an example. When I am faced with an act of assholiness, my initial reaction is to be passive. Really, I know it is hard to believe because I am very temperamental, but before I give the business, there is a very brief period where I consider and sometimes utter a passive word. "OK." "You're right". "I'm wrong". "It's done." "Let's just forget about it". "But no! (says like Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden) "You gotta be a blabber mouth!" Aggression, here I come, and now all of the eloquence has left the building with Elvis and it's time to ride the USS Fuck You with me as your Cap'n. Seriously, that is who I really am. Then in sweeps a moment of reflection and feeling like I just got caught with a head scarf on, knot in the front and, a cigarette dangling from dry lips, in a mu-mu with tube socks and sandals-I run for cover, fix up and return with my cape on as Assertive-woman (with the occasional hint of condescension, but I'm working on it) and resume all faculties and head back to the land of reason and eloquence.You're in really good shape if you can get there without all of the intermittent shenanigans!
I've a childhood friend who is about to marry soon, and we often discuss the human condition and how it relates to the woman and man conditions respectively. Now as Black and Hispanic women we have a penchant for histrionics, so I want to play this scenario especially for my committee member as I see it all goin' down.
The Dinner Dance
Female: What do you want to eat?
Male: I don't know, whatever.
Female: What do you mean whatever, tell me something.
Male: With raised voice-"Whatever! Whatever! Why you gotta make such a big deal just make something! Damn..."
Female: Rubs hands together like an evil fly and makes the one meal you know damn well he doesn't like.
Male: Ah c'mon you made ________!(Insert quick easy not too dandy tasting meal here) Stomps around house in disgust.
Female: You know what pendejo/asshole, I fuckin' asked you what you wanted and you said whatever so that's what you get and if you don't like it comer mierda/eat an ass.
Male: What's your problem?
Female: Nothing.

The steps to the dance are: neutral, passive, aggressive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, aggressive/perpetual victim, aggressive/guilt-ridden, passive, passive, jazz hands, repeat.

The Dinner Date

Female: What do you want to eat?
Male: I don't know, whatever.
Female: Why whatever? I need an idea so I can get it started/ordered.
Male: With raised voice-"Whatever! Whatever! Why you gotta make such a big deal just make something! Damn..."
Female: (Calm but firm) I cannot continue this discussion unless you lower your voice.
Male: Still ranting.
Female: This discussion is over until you are able to speak to me respectfully. Hang up/Walk out.

Give it a few, he'll likely call with a man reason, what women tend to refer to as an excuse. Now you're probably too pissed to eat anyway, but he can't come back and flip it nor did you give up any dignity in the process. You stood your ground without raising the roof.

Male: I'm sorry honey/mami, I'm just really tired. I'll pick up something on the way home.
Female: I understand. I'll see you soon.

Screaming Wench Disclaimer: The first time you address your partner like this he is going to check his beer for anti-freeze or sleep with one eye open and one shoe on. It's okay, they will eventually come to respect you for it and even learn something...hopefully. Rolls eyes.

Hellraiser Disclaimer: When he comes in for the love of Bob, please do not ask, "And what did you have your ass on your shoulders about? I was just asking you what you wanted to eat. Shit, that's what I get for being nice, I'll never ask you shit again. and I don't want that shit you picked up nobody told you to get that. Slams door.

Laughs, that's all for tonight. If you haven't taken the poll yet, please do. Thanks and be nice.
Note: Blogger is taking me within reach of a complete pscychotic break with the paragraph spacing issues...seriously.

1 comment:

woolies said...

yeah..what is with the paragraph spacing issues?
and the REAL answer to age old question of what is for dinner is to NOT ask. Wait for him to ask.

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