Just like emotional unavailability and narcissism, once you understand what passive aggressive behavior means, how to spot it, how to identify it within yourself and how to go on a permanent passive aggressive diet, it’s a total game changer. Your life gets easier, you put an end to the bs, an end to the pain and everything just starts to make so.much.SENSE.
Does any of this sound familiar?…
Are you friends with or do you work with someone who’s totally accommodating and kind, making you feel like you’re “in” one minute and then the next minute, withdrawals and turns icy while making you feel bad for doing some unknown thing that must have made them recoil?
Do you know anyone that has to continually take your loyalty temperature all in the name of “I’m looking for something serious?” It’s like they put you through a series of never ending “tests” to see what they can get away with, all while appearing to give a f*ck and passively disintegrating your boundaries & self esteem?
Do you have any family members that say they’re fine with something, but then make you feel guilty for doing the very thing that they were supposedly totally fine with?
Do you know anyone that consistently gives you back-handed compliments?
Ever had a friend that out of the blue ignores you until you ask them if you did something wrong?
Do you feel like you’re dating a score keeper? Everything is counted. Tit for tat.
Have you ever tried to express yourself to someone and they answer with a “are you kidding me?” “you’re crazy to think that!” “wtf is wrong with you?” or they accuse you of insecurity that they have passively contributed to over time?
Do you know anyone that has to announce that they’re doing a good deed for you (whether it be on social media or in person), with the sole intention of making you feel incapable, less than and inferior?
Do you know anyone that TALKS like they are deeply invested and care, but behaves like they’re too distracted to ACT according to their words?
Are you dating someone that says all the right things but consistently stalls, postpones their promises and shuts down the conversation whenever it becomes too emotional? Do they make you feel like you’re being too needy (even though you’re asking for basics like honesty and respect)?
Have you ever been that person? I can definitely answer “yes” to everything. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re most likely dealing with a passive aggressive person or you’re exhibiting signs of passive aggressive behavior yourself.
So what really is passive aggressive behavior?
Are YOU passive aggressive? Is HE?
And if so, how do you deal with the black belt of all mind f*ckeries so you can stop obsessing and start living?
Looking back at my own passive aggression and the passive aggressive friends, family members and boyfriends I’ve been involved with, I believe that passive aggressive behavior can be defined as unresolved and deep seeded anger that has been repressed. And like anything in life that imposes a repression on us (whether it be religious, societal, cultural, parental, scholastic, etc.), as humans, we will inevitably act out in some way, shape or form.
That indirect expression of anger, snake-in-the-grass-wolf-in-sheep’s-clohing-hurtful-guilt-trip-avoidance, is how I define passive aggressive behavior.
It’s not having the balls to be directly as*holic; it’s having the sometimes conscious sometimes subconscious agenda to perpetuate one’s selfish as*holery by means of future faking, empty promises, avoidance and crazy-making contradictions.
Passive aggressive behavior is ineffective, confusing and a waste of time to ever try to decipher. People that are passive aggressive always verbally comply but behaviorally, they delay, put off, and eventually flat out deny what they verbally contended all along.
These are the people who voice their “intentions” of doing something, but never really had any intention to begin with. At one time or another, they were controlled by the passive aggression of someone else. They’ve since vowed to never be the victim again, so they continue to seek out familiar dynamics in their current relationships where they can perpetrate, thus affirming their control.
Passive aggressive behavior and being able to take responsibility for your actions cannot coexist.
Wikipedia describes passive aggressive behavior as: the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, stubbornness, sullen behavior, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.
The NYU Medical Center defines a passive aggressive individual as: someone who “may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists.” A passive-aggressive relationship can occur in romantic partnership, family, social circles, or at the workplace.
Are YOU passive aggressive? Is HE?
If you can identify with any of the above, you most likely have passive aggressive tendencies or are dating someone who is passive aggressive.
WHY do we do this to ourselves?
I got involved with passive aggressive guys and friends because their behavior mirrored that of my own due to the examples that I had (& didn’t have), as a kid. My childhood involved a lot of passive aggressive behavior between both of my parents and I think a lot of that stuck with me.
As I got older, I gravitated toward friendships and romantic relationships that involved passive aggression because I was attracted to people that accommodated my fears, my low self esteem, my abandonment issues and the negative beliefs that I had about my looks, myself, love and relationships.
I had become so used to not getting what I claimed to want (respect, honesty, value, etc.), that I would subconsciously go for and overvalue lovers and friends that would APPEAR to be Happily-Ever-After-BFF material, but that would ultimately fail to appreciate me and undervalue my efforts due to their lack of character. This turned my people pleasing amplifier up to MAX and I would then internalize, try harder to be chosen and continue to operate from a place of fear as opposed to love. I was passive aggressive because I had unresolved grief and anger due to childhood repression and always feeling such a lack of control.
For a long time, I felt like a victim to passive aggressive people but in actuality, I knew deep down that they were incapable of giving me what I claimed to want. I CHOSE to oversee the red and pink flags.
I wanted them to see in me what I couldn’t see in myself; I wanted them to give me what I was unable to give myself (happiness, love and security).
And as long as they were ultimately incapable but provided passionate obstacles that lead to the humiliating discovery of that incapability, I had yet another affirmation that I wasn’t good enough after “trying” my best.
Even when guys would tell me that they were no good or that they couldn’t give me what I wanted, I’d hear something completely different (and then tie my worth to “winning” and being “good enough” for them to want to change).
I would tell guys that I was cool with not having a label to our relationsh*t or that I understood that the relationsh*t could never escalate and I’d act like cool girl all while pushing my secret agenda of getting him to leave “her,” change, reform into a monogamous prince, etc. I would then getting MAD at him and feel betrayed when my efforts weren’t “enough” for him to do what he said in the beginnng he couldn’t do.
If that’s not passive aggressive, I don’t know what is. I couldn’t take anyone’s word at face value; I had to turn everything into my secret project and busy myself up because I didn’t have an emotional life of my own.
Why did I continue to attract and be attracted to passive aggressive relationsh*ts & friendsh*ts?
Because I avoided responsibility for my feelings and because I was too scared to believe that I could be responsible for my own happiness, luck and security.
Because of this toxic belief, I put my “completeness,” my identity and my happiness in the hands of others.
This is why I always felt like I had to lie to be accepted; this is why there was always some girl that I always had to try and emulate and why when the passive aggressive people exited my life, I was disproportionately depressed and felt like I had no reason to carry on. I had no identity.
How to deal with and put an end to passive aggressive behavior:
- Get a hold of and CLAIM the one thing that a passive aggressive person will never be able to attain: character. What is character? It’s matching your words with your actions seamlessly and without concerted effort or intention. After making the decision to match your words with your actions, if you do it consistently, it will become effortless. And once you have character, not only will you fail to be attracted to those void of it, but you’ll stop making their LACK character about you not being enough. It never was and never will be about you.
- Minimize your pain by deciding to stop making assumptions and ask for clarification. If the other person can’t give it to you, se la vie.
- Realize that you don’t have to go along with it. Put the people pleaser pipe down and understand that you can’t contend to dislike passive aggressive behavior, but then also enable it by agreeing to everything and making excuses for people’s bullsh*t avoidance. You NEED to let people own their own behavior. If you’re having trouble doing that, it’s most likely because you can’t own your own. Why? deep down, on some level you know that you’re engaging in self betrayal.
- Learn to instill some boundaries and make the commitment to adhere to them. Just like you should know if you’re breaks work in your car, you should know you limits as far as hitting the break on passive aggressive behavior. And remember – your limits are tied to your moral code and are NOT specific to individual people and situations. Just like you can’t be a selective millionaire, you can’t have selective limits. If you don’t know your limits, they will continue to be negotiated down and made a mockery of.
- Be real with yourself and own it. If you can see that you’re being passive aggressive, own it and don’t make excuses for it. The second you get out of your own delusional fog, the less personal you’ll take the passive aggression of others.
- “RELAX. Nothing is under control.” The need and desire for control is the driving force of relationship and emotional insanity. Don’t let yourself get to the end of your life before you realize that you never had control over any of it to begin with. The only thing you have control over is YOU.
I’ve been traveling for work + a few days of fun/relaxation and writing for almost 2 weeks now. I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it has been to be able to meet some of you. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your love and support of me, PMS and each other. I took a few days off to start writing my book and would never have done so without the encouragement from you all – my tribe.
Love you guys!
– xx N