Sometimes I think it's a sin, when I feel like I'm winnin' and I'm losin' again.

  • Do you focus only on getting your needs met, even at the expense of others' ?
  • Do you consider your own opinion to be fact, and others' opinions to be irrelevant?
  • Do you make decisions for other people, whether they want you to or not?
  • Do you often use confrontation to get what you want?
  • Do you tend to lose your temper?
  • Do you shout or use bully techniques to get your way?
  • Do you talk faster and louder than others to make your point heard?
  • Do you call other people names and use obscenities when angry?
  • Do you invade others' comfort zones with your body language.
  • Do you refuse to take "no"  for an answer?
  • Do you continue to argue long after someone has had enough?
  • Do you prefer to use coercion rather than persuasion?
  • Do you openly criticize or find fault with others' ideas, options, or behaviors?
  • Do you find fault in others and excuse your own feelings and behaviors?

Those are AGGRESSIVE behaviors. The thing is, aggressive behavior often produces good results -- in the short run. While a passive person might suffer immediately from his/her own behavior (the pain of denying their own feelings, the lack of having their needs met), an aggressive person might experience satisfaction as their immediate needs are met, they feel acknowledged, and they have accomplished a victory over another. It is not always apparent to an aggressive person that they are harming their relationship with others, and that relationship satisfaction is important.

A common pattern in unhappy marriages is that as a result of conflict in the early stages of the relationship, one partner chooses to start "losing" for the sake of "keeping the peace." The other partner, thereby, was rewarded for his/her aggressive behavior. His/her needs were met, the level of conflict was reduced, he/she thought it was settled and saw no need to examine or change his/her aggressive tactics. It is not until much later (sometimes many years later), when the passive partner can no longer abide the role of being the lone self-sacrificer, does the aggressive partner come to learn that his/her "winning" at the expense of his/her partner was so damaging to the relationship.

Those of us that are old enough to remember it, would recognize Gordon Lightfoot's song, SUNDOWN. It has a catchy tune and was very popular, back in the day. A line in the song is "Sometimes I think it's a sin when I feel like I'm winnin' when I'm losin' again." It is often the experience of an aggressive person that they are winning, but really they are losing in the long run, and they cannot understand why. That their winning ways are causing them to lose, just seems wrong -- it seems like a sin.