Verbal aggression

Aggression comes in many different forms; one of the more obvious types of aggression is verbal aggression. Verbal aggression can have many different types, reasons and effects.


Verbal Abuse
Physical Appearance Mockery
Self-concept mockery
Competence Attack
Character Attack


The reasons for verbal aggression are categorized by four main causes:

Argumentative Skill Deficiency: An individual is unable to defend their argument or position therefore resorting to personal attacks. It is similar to Character Assassination, although character assassination can be used deliberately in an argument.

Frustration: Dealing with a person that blocks your goals or simply someone who causes frustration of any sort

Social Learning: Verbal aggression may also be caused by watching others. Simply a form of ‘monkey see, monkey do’.

Psychopathology: The verbal aggression may arise from issues stemming from a person’s past; perhaps a parent that was verbally abusive, a bully and so on. Bullying among adolescents is commonly classified under ‘relational aggression’.

Verbal aggression

Verbal aggression can have very dangerous and strong long-term effects.


Verbal aggression can have very dangerous and strong long-term effects. Self-concept mockery can be the most harmful type of verbal aggression. It can create a complex that may last a lifetime. Effects include rage, exasperation, dissuasion, shame, hopelessness and depression.

Constructive Verbal Aggression

Constructive traits usually entail satisfaction and increase relationship satisfaction, which helps to understand the difference between assertiveness and argumentativeness. Assertive individuals should not be confused with aggressive individuals. Assertive people are usually dominant, independent and have a competitive nature. Individuals who are argumentative take aim at the topic rather than the individual. Positive outcomes of communication can be produced through argumentativeness, by defending an individuals point with warrant justification. This gives individuals a chance for reasoning among one another to resolve issues and remove disagreement.

Destructive Verbal Aggression

Destructive verbal aggression would be the opposite, as it is hostile, aggressive and leads to dissatisfaction between the two parties in communication, therefore leading to the failure of the relationship. This type of verbal aggressiveness is used for revenge, teasing and the manipulation of others. This is a hostile trait, which focuses on the protection of the aggressor’s identity while prodding others. The aggressor’s main focus is to attack rather then to resolve, as the individual is unable argue with any sort of rationality, therefore relying on what they know as a defense.

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