Creative Aggression

I stumbled across this book ‘Creative Aggression:  The Art of Assertive Living‘ by Dr. George Bach and Dr. Herb Goldberg.  It is life changing!!  When you follow the link, click on the book cover icon to preview some pages.

The book delves into male/female interactions and how we have been forced to repress our natural aggressiveness, and thus our authentic selves.  It also examines the long range consequences of this societal norm.

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I came across the book as I was doing a bit of research about what I expressed to a friend. It was a somewhat intimate moment where I shared something about myself that is normally kept secret.  I like to wear men’s shoes, socks and often cologne.

I always told myself this desire was because I admire men so much, which I do, but it goes deeper than that. There is a desire to have the same freedom of aggression and expression as men.

After reading this book, it’s obvious that men are not as free as I thought they were. I think that may be at the crux of a lot of male/female resentment, we both assume the other has more freedom and power. This belief breeds suspicion, resentment, hostility, separation and the denial of affection.

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There are several “nice” types: mom, spouse, lover, child, boss, co-worker, etc. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning which explains the importance of examining this behavior and it’s impact:

There are common characteristics common to all of [the types]. That is, the aggression is present and powerful, but is always disguised and indirect, and therefore, does not seem to be aggression. In fact to casual observers “nice” behavior appears to be highly appropriate, virtuous, and even loving. Only through its impact on others do we see its aggressive meanings. The “nice” person is especially destructive emotionally, because his/her impact is so elusive and indirect. Being aware of [them] and understanding [them] for who [they are], is therefore particularly important in developing a knowledge of what aggression is really about.

Each type will be described in terms of the outward behavior, the personality underneath that behavior, the “reward,” or what the person gains from the behavior, and the “price,” meaning its damaging effects.

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If ever there was a reason to address this destructive phenomenon, it is this:

Some theorists point to the tendency toward rampant destructiveness against the ecology and violence among people as being at least partially the result of modern Western civilization’s tendency to snuff out and inhibit much of the healthy curiosity and exploratory tendencies and aggressiveness in childhood.

I believe that at the crux of much of the violence and pain we are experiencing in today’s society is the prevalence of ‘shame’. This shame is a result of the realization that there are entire aspects of our selves which are rejected by society or those we love. That we do not have the freedom to express our true selves and still be loved unconditionally. This inspires rage.

Often times perpetrators of violence will blame others for the crimes they commit, but sometimes they leave behind letters or make statements which clearly states no one understands them and they do not feel accepted or loved. As a result, they seek to make others feel the pain they have lived with for decades. Someone once said, “those who commit the most heinous acts are often suffering the most pain.”

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Creative Aggression:  The Art of Assertive Living  was written in the 1970’s and published by the Wellness Institute. The amount of knowledge on human nature and living that is accessible to us is astounding. We have only to reach out and grab it.

Let me know your thoughts.

With curious exploration,

Sherry

 


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