It is the principle of yielding to the incoming force in such a way as to render it harmless and at the same time to change its direction by pushing it from behind instead of resisting it from the front.
When there is a conflict between two or more people, the conditioned response is to resolve the conflict with fight or flight.
Escape reactions are passive and range from giving in to your mother’s unreasonable demands, accepting the role established by your spouse, lying and making excuses when a friend wants to borrow your car, to withdrawing completely, hiding from any contact with potential adversaries.
Reactions to an argument are aggressive and range from thinly veiled sarcasm directed at your partner, childish yelling at the handyman who is an hour late getting home, to actual physical violence.
Both responses result in unpleasant emotions of fear and anger, usually unsuccessful as an effective method of coping with problems.
Thus, from childhood, we learn to solve our problems indirectly, and often dishonestly. We suppress our true feelings at the expense of our own self-esteem and often our physical well-being.
Assertiveness is usually mistaken for aggression, but understand that being assertive means standing up for your basic human rights. Aggression is a violent violation of another’s rights and there is no justification for such behavior.
An important part of assertiveness is showing consideration for the feelings and rights of others, without allowing your kindness or empathy to be used as an opening for manipulation.