Passive aggression is often unconscious reaction to the superiority of a person which we are dependent on, existentially, emotionally or in other way. What exactly leads people to behave this way, how to recognize it and how to deal wit it?My friend was reconstructing her flat few months ago. The reconstruction was approved and the work was done mainly during the day when most of the people were at work and also during the weekends so it would be done faster. One day she came to check up on her flat and find her door glued. How clever! The neighbors were annoyed by to noise and instead of dealing with her they decided to use this form of passive aggression. But very often we come across passive aggression with much closer people. Imagine two partners, man and woman. The woman decides everything, because the man is not competent in her eyes. Man, even he used all his known forms of communication becomes more and more frustrated and feels underestimated. After all he should be responsible for the family. So he tries to gain some control and resistance with not doing what his wife asks him.Stagnation in child resistance against authorityPassive aggression is often unconscious reaction to the superiority of a person which we are dependent on, existentially, emotionally or in other way. It originates in our childhood. What exactly leads us into this behavior? A word passive itself indicates effort to avoid problems, conflicts or not dealing with difficult situations. If we grew up in a family which could not fulfill our needs and demands our tendency of expressing them was suppressed. The same will happen if someone close to us will show us that we are redundant, we cause problems or we don’t deserve what we want. After that we learn not to ask anything or suppress our requests which led to refusal, criticism or assault. This behavior can change if we manage to escape influence of our parents or other close ones and start to realize that we are responsible for ourselves and we have the power to change it. If the situation repeats later in life we tend to regress into our unconscious automated behavior patterns. To avoid this we have to learn to deal with our anger and frustration in adequate way. Passive aggressive or an introvert? The difference between passive aggression and introversion is essential. Passive aggression is a malfunction but introversion is normal way of perceiving of a person. Introverts are people who are more exhausted from social life, instead of energize it withdraws them. They have they inner life so rich that they don’t need to be around others all the time. Introverts differ from passive aggressors in many ways:
- They do not ignore anyone on purpose,
- they do not have problems with communication if necessary,
- they know how to express they needs,
- they are often valuable colleagues at work,
- they maintain strong social relationships,
- they can carry long conversations, even speak publicly,
- they work as well as extroverts,
- very often they are very popular.
How to recognize passive aggression?Bad communication Passive aggressive person is often frustrated and cannot express their needs towards the others. They often feel that others do not communicate with them enough so they try to avoid communication at all. Their behavior leads to their isolation. These people don’t know how to start contact again because they feel hurt and blame others.Victim rolePassive aggressive person often provokes others to direct or verbal aggression so they can feel as victims. If they cannot get what they want (in reality or in they perception) they are satisfied with upsetting others. They are content if others feel bad too. Even they are over sensitive to things other people tell them they are usually first to point out their flaws. Effort to be independent versus dependency This person often tries to be independent and cannot tolerate if others try to control him. Straight commands collide almost every time. Passive aggressive people also fear closeness to someone because they could become vulnerable or dependent. Even so they tend to start relationships which later fail. They effort to be independent often shows in superficial things rather than becoming really independent. Refuse to play the game If you recognized this behavior in someone close to you you probably wonder how to stop it, or at least how to keep distance and avoid conflicts. Contact with passive aggressive person is often very frustrating and emotionally withdrawing. Here are few tips how to survive.
- Do not embark on power plays. You’ll only find yourself exhausted and passive aggressive person will feel victorious even you don’t resolve anything.
- If someone tries this behavior on you try to explain to them how you feel about it. They probably deny doing anything like that. But if they have to defend themselves it’ll probably discourage them of doing it again.
- Try to look at things from their point of view. If you show that you are interested in them and try to understand they will be more open to discussion.
- Try to accept them as adults and competent people. Appreciation will open a door to mutual cooperation. Ask how they would resolve the situation. If you will decide for them, they will have someone to blame for their own pitfalls.