Four Ways of Understanding Passive Aggressive Behaviors, while Keeping your Sanity!
How can you pursue this relationship without being hurt? There are a lot of hidden assumptions, suppositions and emotions underneath every response.
Here is a short list of indicators to help you be aware of what is going on:
1.- The Hidden Anger aspect:
People displaying passive aggressive behavior carry a lot of repressed anger from their childhood, now projected on the people around them. It appears as sarcastic comments, derisive opinions and blaming other people for their own shortcomings.
Please, look at any annoying behavior, even when framed as normal response, as "a behavior done with direct impact on me".
Recognize your emotions: is it anger? or sadness? or disappointment?
and remain calm and poised. Control your own breathing. Don't
let him get the best of you. PA people begin to win when the shouting
starts and you become defensive and angry at their inconsiderate
Refusing to talk clearly with you plays a part in passive aggression, so you need to expect some degree of silence covering up his real intentions behind the sneaky comments expressed in a casual way, or his procrastinating behavior.
How can you manage this behavior? It appears as manipulation, describing things differently according to the recipient, backstabbing and in general not owning the problematic behavior. PA persons feel that they are the victims, and that their behavior is rational because it is done in self-defense. Confronting this behavior in a firm but caring way, with some proof (perhaps keeping a journal of what was promised or said to you) is necessary.
3.- The Failure of Appreciation aspect
You need to be sure of your own accomplishments, and be proud of them, before they are diminished by the “misery framing.” Find a way of reminding yourself of how good you are, before it’s too late and you begin to accept the misery framing.
Always remember not to let this person steal your joy and make you believe you are not a good person, only because he feels miserable. Stay focused on the things that matter to you the most, and give up the pretense of being able to solve his problems.
4.- The Fear of Life aspect,
You need to deal with this aspect by generating your own circle of friends or relatives, who will confirm what you believe is true. Be persistent in taking care of what you value, so you can receive confirmation from your own trusted sources of appreciation.
THERE IS A BASIC RULE:
Don’t expect or want anything important, fundamental, or vital from Passive Aggressive people, at least at the beginning. As much detached you can be from the final outcome of any shared project, the more protected you are from manipulations that would disappoint you.
Now, this looks like a lot of work, right? Indeed, it is. But remember, you want to keep your head clear and your self-esteem intact, at the same time entering into one of the most difficult relationships in life: having an intimate relationship with a Passive Agressive person. Perhaps getting in touch with other people dealing with this challenge could help a lot.
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