There is a whole chapter in this book about promising to paint.
I’ve been trying to understand passive aggressive behavior and so this post is basically a review of the “literature” available on the internet. I am alarmed because I recognize myself in a lot of the descriptions. Now that I’m aware of my own passive aggressive tendencies, I notice it all the time.
For instance, I was carefully placing the coffee pot down on my wife’s gospel CD when I realized that even that simple act might be construed as passive aggressive.
I used to associate passive aggression with other people’s more overt actions, like the tenant in an apartment building I lived in who piled all her blinds in the center of the living room floor and poured maple syrup on them before moving out. That, I knew was pathological. As I now realize, so is crushing your wife’s lady supplies, hiding them, and then pretending to help her look for them.
Things that I used to think made sense, like voting Republican to punish the world, no longer do.
The key to the whole thing, I think, is having anger and not knowing how to express it. You are angry at someone and take it out covertly or indirectly. You learned to do this as a child and over time, it has become an entrenched habit.
The media is quite hard on us passive aggressive types.
Even The New York Times exposes its bias, calling us, “the multitude of hedging, foot-dragging mopes that populate everyday life.” Dang!
It uses this poor woman as its poster child for those women married to us:
“But in time, she said, it was apparent that he was also passive-aggressive. On one occasion, she said, he gave away her seat on an airplane while she was finding a storage compartment for her luggage, saying he thought she had taken another seat. On others, he would arrive home early from work and finish off meals they normally shared, without explanation.”
Some of our best tricks are exposed:
And be sure to be on guard against likely retaliation.
“If he agrees to go over to your relatives’ place for Thanksgiving, but you know he’s upset about it, make sure you have alternate transportation to get over there,” Dr. Wetzler said.
“He may take the car and not manage to get home in time to make it.”
This article is about passive aggressive men withholding sex. I don’t know if it is some sick joke or if they are from some parallel universe where this happens.
That same site says
The passive aggressive person is a master at covert abuse.
Which makes me feel like a relationship ninja.
If any of these descriptions seem to apply to you, and you are not already exploring alternative faiths as a way to covertly punish the Christians in your life, you may want to take up Buddhist meditation. Meditation will make you more mindful and give you insight into your behavior, but forget about that and meditate anyway, because sitting still and not saying anything might be your only way to not be passive aggressive.
It is possible to learn to deal with the passive aggressives in your life. As this poster from FreeRepublic.com says,
She would ask “Do you want to go to the ballet?”. If I said “No”. I would find the question was really a statement and I had rejected her. She would go off like a rocket. Instead of saying “I want to go to the ballet”, she would go all passive aggressive and make it a question that wasn’t really a question.
Later, when she asked if I wanted to go to the ballet, I finally learned to tell her that I wished she and her whole family would die.
You can get lots of great relationship advice at freerepublic.com
For example, this fun-sounding lady posts there often:
I found the best way to deal with it was to fight fire with fire.
He used to ask, “Do you feel better now?” in a patronizing fashion, which would only make me angrier.
One day, instead of yelling, I started laughing at him. He became furious. LOL, the more I laughed, the angrier he became. It was about the only time I ever saw him lose his temper.
Best thing I ever did
Be careful, though. It can be dangerous to surprise your spouse with your merry laughter as this horrible local story illustrates:
The charges stem from an incident Jan. 20 at his home in the 1000 block of Hatch Avenue in St. Paul’s North End.
Blackwell’s wife of 7-1/2 months had decided that their marriage was over. They had been talking about it for some time, she testified Thursday. But on Jan. 17, Blackwell said he wanted them to do a relationship exercise he’d found in a book.
“It was an exercise where you make sounds to express how you feel,” she said. As he told her about it, she laughed.
As you will see as you think about this, it soon dissolves into just labeling every shortcoming as “passive aggressive” until the term becomes a synonym for, “He’s an asshole”. But what kind of asshole? I think the average passive aggressive does not view himself as an asshole, but as someone defending himself.
the passive-aggressive style is simply another way of trying to maintain the integrity and strength of the fragile ego.
My advice is to first look for other factors that are undermining your ego, like did you spend ten years playing computer games, watching Futurama and reading 8,000 page epic fantasy series and now you are mad because you don’t have the status you expected?
After a while, “passive-aggressive” just starts to be a label for behavior you don’t like. But lets not fool ourselves, we witness our decision making and if we are honest with ourselves, we will laugh at our behavior.
If it has reached the point where your wife has to use her hands to hold her brains in, a book is probably not going to help you.
A good way to check yourself is to write out the logic of your actions and then imagine yourself explaining why you did what you did.
The other funny thing about passive aggression is that this disorder can make you think that other people in your life are in fact passive aggressive and because you think that way, you assume others do too. And a lot of forum posts take the form of, “Yeah, I suffered with that bitch for 15 years before I called her on her personality disorder. She pretended to not know what I was talking about, and she was all, if the color we chose for the bathroom 8 years ago was bothering you, why didn’t you say something and I was like, because we both know you chose that color to punish me.”
One thing I’ve learned from reading people’s struggles with Passive Aggressive people is that they all start out as “nice guys” and this leads me to think that nice people are just ticking time-bombs of passive aggressive lunacy.
Staring at cats. A lot of energy goes into pretending there isn’t a problem. Look at these people:
I tell him that I figured he wouldn’t go through all of the above if it wasn’t a problem. Because I called him out on his behavior, he wasn’t sure how to respond, so he stood staring at the cat for a minute.
I’ve stared at that same cat many times. When the passive aggressive stares at a cat, that is when all the trouble begins. On the other hand, reading that story makes me want to declare this “opposite day”, throw the coupons in the storm drain and buy all the wrong stuff at the grocery store. Does that make any sense? No.
Two Huge Questions Remain:
Why do so many passive aggressive people make promises relating to painting?
Is there help?
I think a lot can be approved with meditation and a good counselor, but like a lot of things, you have to be ready to admit to the problem and let down your defenses a bit, as I did. Also, you will start to see your own children copying your behavior and that is frightening. Frightening enough to change you.
Take heart from this guy who is now just admitting to it:
I have been married for 17 years and apparently slowly torturing my wife for all of them.
Finally, I’m putting this persons call out in hopes she can get what she needs:
If any of you know of an effective treatment for passive-aggressive personality disorder, I’d be very grateful to hear from you.