Aggressive Anger VS Passive Anger VS Assertive Anger

I would so love to go along this wonderful day without any disturbances, or lashing out at an unsuspecting mere mortal. But, God, oh God this world is filled with stupid people! – Oh,  hey Mary, how are you this fine evening? Are you ready to pay me back the money you owe me – or are you still buying things instead of clearing your debts?” – Passive Anger

“Oh Mary for the sake of everything good in this world, will you pay me back my money? No, don’t tell me you don’t have it. You bought that Prada bag last week.” – Aggressive Anger

Hey, Mary, how are you? Yeah, can you pay me back the money you owe me? I really need it back. Yes, I know it must be tough on you – but yeah.” – Assertive Anger

Anger is an oft-felt emotion, every human feels it at one point in life or another (sometimes more than they should) but not many people are able to define it. The indescribable rage or resentment towards a person or group of people.

Anger is a two-way street – back to basic physics, every action has a certain and specific reaction.

Like every emotion of the human mind, anger is complicated. There is not one certain enumerated reaction like that in physics which could be calculated by the predetermined formula.

Aggressive Anger: “Go Away!” You scream at the unsuspectinganger 1 or perhaps, the suspecting individual who had irked you.

You didn’t give much thought to the consequences of your words. You felt annoyed and the next moment you let the person who had annoyed you know how exactly you felt.

Of course, there are many consequences of that one scream or irritated remark.

aggressive anger

Aggressive anger may lead to physical, psychological and emotional damage to the person. The body language is key in aggressive anger – your actions, from clenching fists, glaring, pointing fingers and crossed arms.

The outcome of such anger is that you get what you want at other’s expense. In this way, you spoil your relationship for a real time. Here, you believe that you need to put others down to raise yourself.

Passive Anger:

anger 2

“Hey, I am sorry I accidentally ripped the pages of your favourite book,” Said the culprit.

“Well, it is perfectly okay,” Sarcasm dripped in your tone.

What you actually meant was, “I am obviously made of money and was definitely not cherishing the first edition I waited three months to arrive in the mail!”

This type of anger is not expressed right away, but you hold back the anger – delay the response. This leads to holding grudges because the feelings of anger remain unresolved. Thus, the delayed response is much more volatile than it would have been in the case of instantaneous aggressive anger.

In extreme cases, you might throw things, destroy property and also cause harm to yourself, when away from others. When you are angry, you feel helpless, manipulated or ignored. But, later when the other person gets to know he or she might feel guilty or superior or maybe even frustrated at you.


The outcome is that, even if you get angry, you do not achieve what you want to achieve. Rather, people get what they want at your expense; because you believe that you should not make others feel bad or not even displease them, except yourself. 

The body language is nervous and apologetic, biting lips, avoiding eye contact, hiding facial expression by covering face with your hand, etc.

Assertive Anger: Anger is inevitable. Assertive anger is a logical approach to the emotion.

anger 3

This type of anger also prevents the physical damage associated with anger. It is a non-threatening manner of expressing anger, as the other person, in this case, is not harmed. Here, your goal is to create win-win situations; here you are confident, goal oriented and self-valuing when letting your rage out. The other person, in turn, respects and trusts you for your approach. They feel good about your confrontation.

assertive anger

Your goal of creating a win-win situation is achieved. Here, you negotiate politely to ensure that you get what you are deserving of. Here you do not let the things slip out of your hands and make sure that your self-esteem and self-respect is not harmed.

Here, your body language is relaxed and comfortable, you maintain a direct eye contact, your gestures are illustrative, your voice is also in a very normal tone and while interacting you maintain spatial boundaries.  

 The type of anger you are getting differs from one situation to another, and it is also affected by the person who offends you. You might feel a different type of anger if it is because of a close one and you might consider a different type of anger if it is because of your boss or a colleague.  Further, your intensity of anger also differs with the difference of conditions.

It is always necessary to be tactful in all you approach. Your anger always finds its outlet. So make sure that when you feel angry, you keep you calm and choose to talk it out in a way that benefits you in all spheres.

Image Sources: [1][2][3], [4][5], [6]

About Ritu Mehta

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