Have you been nailing down the shelf yourself again, not waiting for your boyfriend to finally find the time to do it? He keeps promising something, but he puts it off for so long that it’s easier to do it yourself! And you can’t argue: you didn’t wait for help yourself, right? Congratulations, you are the victim of passive aggression.
What is Passive Aggression
Aggression has been necessary to mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, in order to survive in a dangerous world, where the self-proclaimed Crown of Creation was attacked by any living being who had something to attack. Now we do not need to vomit out our place in the sun, and we have learned to solve conflicts with words. We know how to control anger and channel its energy. But there is still a widespread myth that the only civilized behavior is to avoid conflict by any means possible.
It is better to agree to terms that you do not like, than to express your discontent and clarify relations. No conflict, no problem. But unspoken anger never goes away. This instinct is older than our history, and it doesn’t go away so easily. Repressed aggression builds up inside, waiting for its moment of stardom. When it becomes too much, it begins to leak out unnoticed. The consequences of passive aggression can be more destructive than an ordinary quarrel because, unlike a direct conflict, both sides suffer here: both the victim and the aggressor.
How to know if you are dealing with a passive aggressor
Passive aggressors never openly refuse a request. They agree to all requests, even if they decide in the same second that they would never do it. They almost never do anything on time, putting things off until it is too late or they are done for him. The passive aggressor does not keep his promises, “forgets” about the agreements, and if he “remembers”, he twists things to make you think that it should be so, and you are just picking on him. If a passive aggressor is entrusted with a task that he does not think he can cope with, he will not admit it straightforwardly, but will wait until the last moment, procrastinate and wait that everything will somehow resolve itself.
Passive aggressors never say exactly what they want and do not want to do. Such a person is vague and evasive. In response to your questions about their feelings, they guffaw and say that everything is fine. They expect you to guess what they do not like, and sincerely do not understand why you do not do it.
When they get angry, they don’t explode and get into an argument, but they shut down and refuse to engage in dialogue. They feel the need for conflict, but they are afraid to start it by themselves, so they will do everything to provoke you into an argument.
Such people are withdrawn to themselves and their own experiences, so they may neglect news from the lives of their loved ones. You will tell him about the promotion that you have been waiting for several years, but he will treat it coldly and offer to talk about what happened on the show he watched today.
The passive aggressor is unapologetic. He’s always right, he’s always had it worse than you, because you just suffered the consequences of his actions while he himself suffered the entire allotted time. They use silence as punishment. It’s a way for them to make you think hard about your behavior.
What to do if you encounter a passive aggressor
Passive aggression is not a targeted attack on you. The person may not suspect that he or she is doing something wrong. A passive-aggressive person does not recognize their problem and is sure that everything is fine.
As you have noticed, passive-aggression is very infantile and immature behavior. Such a person doesn’t feel he or she can control his or her life and blames the world around him or her for everything. Inside the passive aggressor sits a frightened little child who is afraid of emotional intimacy and does not know how to trust his emotions to those around him. This is not an attack, but a defensive reaction. In the world of the passive aggressor, all dissent, discontent, and conflict are forbidden.
He believes he has no right to show discontent and suppresses his anger in every way possible. It seems to him that if he succumbs to negative experiences, all the anger and hatred he has been accumulating for years will come out. It seems to this person that as soon as he starts to show his true feelings, he will stop being loved and abandoned. He would rather agree with everything you say than come into conflict, because he does not want to hurt himself and you. And procrastinate doing it, he will be sincerely worried and suffering for it.
It is important to recognize passive aggression in time and act first. You need to be sure that you are ready to act accurately and consistently over time. It is up to you to teach him to show emotion and not to feel bad about something he does not like.
Don’t give in to provocation. The passive aggressor is waiting for you to lose your temper, but he does it unconsciously. Your anger will play into his hands and only confirm his position of the sufferer.
Control yourself. If you feel passive aggression, try to look at the situation through the eyes of the aggressor. Perhaps by feeling the loneliness and resentment that overwhelm him, it will be easier for you to sympathize with him and not take his actions personally.
Show the man by your own example that it is necessary to express your grievances. Tell him how to do it. Encourage him or her to express discontent, do not shut yourself off. Because of your actions, he will understand that expressing emotions here and now, will solve the problem more quickly and not as painfully as it could have been if you kept silent and waited until the last moment. Have patience – and the result will surprise you. Over time, the man begins to trust you, will understand that you respect his emotions, and dare to express their own feelings.
What to do if you recognize your own actions here
Awareness is the first step to solving the problem. No one is immune to passive aggression. Observe yourself, your reactions and actions. If you want to respond sharply, stop and imagine how your behavior will look from the other party. Will he be able to correctly understand your message? Does he have enough information to draw the right conclusion and do something to change the situation?
Be honest with yourself first and foremost. Believe: you have the right to express their emotions, even negative. It is better to discuss the problem when it has arisen, than to wait until it has drawn all the juices out of you and your loved ones.
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