Passive Aggressive Part 2

Wow, I posted about this lovely and fun subject in January of 2011. I thought it'd be nice to offer up a refresher and see what new information is out there now...

If you want to read my original post, please check it out here

I realize most of us, especially in relationships, will show passive aggressive traits at some point. When we get so angry and don't want to really hurt the other person, we might instead do it in a not so obvious way. Personally, when I have done this I was overt about it. And I know that with me personally, I tend to do this when I am still processing something in my head and know I'm upset but unable to comunicate that. It can be amazing that a simple little sentence or two, like "You really pissed me off by saying xyz..." can be so hard to verbalize.

No one is perfect, we're all working on things, but communication is key.

Below are some things I found on the net (not my written words) so please see the resources for where I gathered this info.

Signs/Examples of Passive Aggressive behavior:

Non-Communication when there is clearly something problematic to discuss

Avoiding/Ignoring when you are so angry that you feel you cannot speak calmly

Evading problems and issues, burying an angry head in the sand

Procrastinating intentionally putting off important tasks for less important ones

Obstructing deliberately stalling or preventing an event or process of change

Fear of Competition Avoiding situations where one party will be seen as better at something

Ambiguity Being cryptic, unclear, not fully engaging in conversations

Sulking Being silent, morose, sullen and resentful in order to get attention or sympathy.

Chronic Lateness A way to put you in control over others and their expectations

Chronic Forgetting Shows a blatant disrespect and disregard for others to punish in some way

Fear of Intimacy Often there can be trust issues with passive aggressive people and guarding against becoming too intimately involved or attached will be a way for them to feel in control of the relationship

Making Excuses Always coming up with reasons for not doing things

Victimisation Unable to look at their own part in a situation will turn the tables to become the victim and will behave like one

Self-Pity the poor me scenario

Blaming others for situations rather than being able to take responsibility for your own actions or being able to take an objective view of the situation as a whole.

Withholding usual behaviours or roles for example sex, cooking and cleaning or making cups of tea, running a bath etc. all to reinforce an already unclear message to the other party

Learned Helplessness where a person continually acts like they can’t help themselves – deliberately doing a poor job of something for which they are often explicitly responsible

 Consequences of Passive Aggressive Behaviour

In being passive aggressive you are not giving yourself or others an opportunity to listen to what you think or feel

When on the receiving end of passive aggression, you can feel confused, upset, offended, guilty and frustrated. You may think you’ve done something wrong, but have no clear idea what it was

It avoids communication in a very negative way

It creates insecurity in all parties

It creates a bad atmosphere between people

It is a form of conflict where either both or one party cannot engage sensibly in the issues

It avoids the real issues

It creates negative feelings and resentments in an unassertive way

 In marriages, husbands and wives often use passive aggressive behavior as the path of least resistance. In other words, a person wants to say "no" to a request, but realizes that doing so will likely result in an immediate disagreement or confrontation. To avoid the temporary unpleasantness, a partner verbally agrees to a request but behaviorally delays its completion or-more crafty yet-carries out the task according to unacceptable standards in hopes of not being asked to carry out the request in the future. Fortunately, situation-specific passive aggressive behavior in a marriage, though infuriating in the moment, is usually quite manageable when confronted directly and consistently.

Passive Aggressive Behavior Is a Habit

For some, passive aggressive behavior is not just a situational choice, but rather a deeply ingrained personality type. When a child is raised in an environment in which the expression of angry feelings is not tolerated, he learns to use indirect, passive aggressive means to express himself. In marriage, this adult child overgeneralizes and responds to his spouse as if she were the parent who stifled his emotional expression. Genuinely-loved partners become undeserving targets of ingrained passive aggressive habits and are especially hurt, confused, and frustrated to receive it. The relationship is often brought to the boiling point.

Another aspect that makes passive aggression particularly toxic in a marriage is how it is modeled to the next generation. Children of passive aggressive parents learn the indirect expression of anger as a way of life. They grow up with the belief that "anger = bad" and that hiding anger is the right, healthy, proper thing to do. Chronic passive aggression can be just as damaging to a marriage and family as outward aggression and requires focused efforts at long-term behavioral change.

Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man **This could also apply to women**

NOTE: This is the "condensed" version. For the expanded version please see Dr. Wetzler's book, pages 35-37......

FEAR OF DEPENDENCY - Unsure of his autonomy & afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs - usually by trying to control you.

FEAR OF INTIMACY - Guarded & often mistrusful, he is reluctant to show his emotional fragility. He's often out of touch with his feelings, reflexively denying feelings he thinks will "trap" or reveal him, like love. He picks fights to create distance.

FEAR OF COMPETITION - Feeling inadequate, he is unable to compete with other men in work and love. He may operate either as a self-sabotaging wimp with a pattern of failure, or he'll be the tyrant, setting himself up as unassailable and perfect, needing to eliminate any threat to his power.

OBSTRUCTIONISM - Just tell a p/a man what you want, no matter how small, and he may promise to get it for you. But he won't say when, and he"ll do it deliberately slowly just to frustrate you. Maybe he won't comply at all. He blocks any real progress he sees to your getting your way.

FOSTERING CHAOS - The p/a man prefers to leave the puzzle incomplete, the job undone.

FEELING VICTIMIZED - The p/a man protests that others unfairly accuse him rather than owning up to his own misdeeds. To remain above reporach, he sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of your excessive demands and tirades.

MAKING EXCUSES & LYING - The p/a man reaches as far as he can to fabricate excuses for not fulfilling promises. As a way of withholding information, affirmation or love - to have power over you - the p/a man may choose to make up a story rather than give you a straight answer.

PROCRASTINATION - The p/a man has an odd sense of time - he believes that deadlines don't exist for him.

CHRONIC LATENESS & FORGETFULNESS - One of the most infuriating & inconsiderate of all p/a traits is his inability to arrive on time. By keeping you waiting, he sets the ground rules of the relationship. And his selective forgetting - used only when he wants to avoid an obligation.

AMBIGUITY - He is master of mixed messages and sitting on fences. When he tells you something, you may still walk away wondering if he actually said yes or no.

SULKING - Feeling put upon when he is unable to live up to his promises or obligations, the p/a man retreats from pressures around him and sulks, pouts and withdraws.

A passive-aggressive man won't have every single one of these traits, but he'll have many of them. He may have other traits as well, which are not passive-aggressive.

And if I could, I would re-post the entire blog about:

Afraid to Rage: The Origins of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Read it, it's worth it.
I think that if you realize that you have Passive Aggressive as a personality trait, counseling would be the first place to start.

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