How anxiety and poor assertion are connected

When people come to the Smart Therapy Centre for anxiety, I notice that they often find it hard to be assertive in other areas of their lives. For a long time, I wondered why this was the case, but in many ways lacking assertion and being anxious are highly related.

Lack of assertion is connected to believing that you are powerless to influence outcomes in others without resorting to the strategies of either aggression (getting impatient, brittle, unfriendly or angry) or compliance (ducking under the radar, being indirect, dishonest, sulky or stubborn), when faced with conflict.

Similarly, anxiety is connected to believing that you are powerless to influence your own internal mental state and that your anxiety simply takes you over as though you are a victim. The common theme here is powerlessness to influence outcomes.

In many ways this is not that surprising because anxious and unassertive people often come from difficult backgrounds, where they encountered threats as children which made them feel powerless.

In both recovery from anxiety and in becoming assertive, it is crucial to learn that we always have the power to influence both ourselves and others so long as we behave with the necessary discipline to stop paying attention to anxious mentations when faced with anxiety and behave with friendliness and openness when faced with conflict.