Do you know anyone who is submissive? Are you?

Submissive Behaviour Patterns:  

Submissive body language is very distinctive, and in an habitually submissive person can usually be identified by posture and head position.  If we look at submissive animal behaviour it’s easy to see where these physical patterns come from.  An animal bows to the superiority of another by exposing itself as weak.  The most visible sign of this is often an exposed belly, the most vulnerable part of the body.  Lowered eyes and avoidance of eye contact is another clear sign, as is a general slinking, tail between-the legs gait.  The submissive human is also bowing to the ‘superiority’ of another, and exhibits similar visible signs. There is an avoidance of eye contact, and a hunched posture, probably in an effort to be lower than the other as a parallel to the animal lying on the ground, belly up.  It is interesting to watch this behaviour in others or ourselves in this context and to realise where and when we engage in it. We may act this way in response to a specific person, such as a parent figure or a boss, while at other times we walk tall, and respond in more assertive ways.

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Sometimes the messages of our inadequacies are so pervasive that we become habitually submissive.  We adopt a hunched posture, and find eye contact difficult. We feel uncomfortable in the presence of others, and fidget and shuffle and mumble.  But even in this ‘lowered’ state, we have needs – in fact our needs are probably more extensive and greater than the needs of others.  So, with the pragmatism and resilience characteristic of the human spirit, we may learn to adapt our submissive behaviour to get others to fulfil our needs.  In time this pattern becomes comfortable and normal for us, and we manage to get by.  We enjoy the fact that we never have to take responsibility for anything, because after all, we are inherently weak.  This weakness compels others to ‘help’ and ‘protect’ us, and takes away the need to be anything but ‘weak’.


Manipulation by guilt is one of the tools often employed by habitually submissive people, and this immediately brings to mind the elderly relative, confined to bed with some infirmity, real or imagined, who has hoards of people jumping to their every whimper.  Taken to this extreme, it is unlikely that this represents truly submissive behaviour.  It is more likely that the originally submissive person has discovered the tools for aggressive domination, and is applying them with relish.


Attractive though this model may be to those needing to exert power and control over others, there is a significant down side.  The submissive person is totally dependent on others for the fulfilment of their needs.  This means that their needs will frequently be subservient to the needs of the ‘other’.  This can result in a ‘martyr’ complex, with consequent rejection and resentment by the original carer.  Someone is usually habitually subservient because of a basic sense of unworthiness, and negative responses from others such as resentment or rejection will only make matters worse.  It can get so bad that the individual looses all sense of self, and may even loose total contact with what they need to ensure their physical survival.

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”. Download chapter 1 free now!

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How do YOU get your own way? – Look at need-fulfilment strategies

How do YOU get your own way? – Look at need-fulfilment strategies

We learn behaviour strategies at a very early age.  We soon discover that if we act in a particular way we get what we want, and if we act in another way, we don’t.  This depends on the significant adults in our lives when we are young.  The reaction of these people tends to be quite consistent towards us, even if this means that they are consistently inconsistent.  This sets up a pattern of response in us, which remains fixed unless we experience overwhelming responses that make us change, or we become aware of our patterns. 


Although there is literally an infinite number of ways in which we act to fulfil our needs, we can distil these down to three broad categories, namely submissive behaviour, aggressive behaviour and assertive behaviour.  It is important to remember that these exist along a continuum, and that we sometimes use different types of response with different people or situations. Although our behaviour may lean more or less strongly towards one of these broad categories, we will present examples of only the ‘typical’ or ‘average’ response.  Again, most of these behaviours are simply behaviours that we have ‘learned’ at one stage or other of our lives, and by becoming aware of them we gain the power to change them.

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”. Download chapter 1 free now!

There are helpful free downloads at:

Are YOUR needs important?

Our needs are important

It is clear from what was said a few bulletins ago that if we place little value on ourselves as human beings, we will also place little value on our needs.  We will tend always to place the needs and wants of others before our own.  As we have already seen, many of our patterns of behaviour originate in childhood, in response to the impact we observe ourselves as having on our environment.  If as children, our needs were always ignored, the result will be that we do not value ourselves in general terms, but more specifically, that we do not value our needs.  Then, when we experience a need, and someone else comes along with a conflicting need, we will almost invariably step down, because after all, their need is more important.



It is very easy to justify this behaviour in our society as unselfish, or as virtuous ‘selflessness’, which is not quite the same as being able to compromise. Very few are able, or wish to live in such isolation that none of their needs will conflict with the needs of others.  On the contrary, the fulfilment of many of our needs requires the presence of other human beings.

This makes the need fulfilment a tricky social issue.  By applying certain ground rules it is possible to overcome all obstacles. The first thing to consider is the distinction between needs and wants.  The closer we come to establishing our real needs, the less energy we waste on chasing phantoms, and the more we can focus on positive strategies. Secondly, if we recognise that our needs are as important as the needs of others, and that the converse is true as well – in other words that the needs of everyone are 100% important, we can create a climate of mutual respect and foster a sense of co-operation.  Whether our pattern of behaviour places the needs of others above our own, or whether we ram-rail our needs through in an attitude of survival of the fittest, we devalue ourselves and others and our pattern pushes being in a state of Peace of Mind further and further away.

In fact, if we were to apply the ‘Why push Game’ to either of these behaviours we will come up with interesting points about the way we relate to the world, and about what our true needs are.

There are many things that will help you in Sue’s book “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”. Download chapter 1 free now! There are helpful free downloads at: See also