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Low assertiveness

Common symptoms of low assertiveness

If you've started to notice some of the symptoms we've listed below, we may be able to help.


  • "No one likes me"
  • "I’m no good"
  • "I mustn’t disappoint people"
  • "I must help others at all times"
  • "I can’t say no"
  • "Others will judge me"
  • "Others will think I am useless"
  • "Why did I say that?"
  • "Why didn’t I do that?"
  • You're spending more time alone
  • You've stopped doing the things you enjoy
  • You never express your own opinions and feelings
  • You struggle to say ‘no’ to people
  • You struggle to say what you want or need
  • You find it difficult to give and receive compliments
  • You find it hard to complain to others
  • Low
  • Upset
  • Sad
  • Flat
  • Irritable
  • Guilty
  • Vulnerable
  • Nervous
  • Anxious
  • Tense

Possible causes of low assertiveness

  • Learnt behaviour – you can learn unhelpful ways to deal with situations that can result in you feeling angry. If you struggle to express your feelings, particularly anger, you may find yourself low in mood as a result of not expressing yourself in a safe and responsible way. Your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this
  • Stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced or being attacked/abused
  • Pressure – you may be under pressure at home or work, feel trapped or unable to problem solve certain issues
  • Negative thinking – sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation, this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook. You may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you
  • Anxious personality type – you may have certain thinking styles which are part of your personality that can lead to you feeling anxious

Call our Mental Health Helpline

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This service, along with a range of other support, is available for just £10.25 a month.

Support for our members

If you're a member of Benenden Health, we offer support for mental health from day one.

Further help and advice

We have a wide range of articles on health that could help you increase your wellbeing.

Body Lifestyle Mind Nutrition

We worked with our partner Insight Healthcare to create this short guide. Always speak to your GP if you feel like you could be suffering from a serious mental health condition.