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One of my least favorite relationship challenges is passive aggressive behavior. I dislike it so much because I became a master of it and I know all too well how much pain I caused myself engaging in it.
What is it and how to recognize it:
- when you say nice things and use nice words, but you’re actually wishing to irritate, frustrate, confuse or invalidate
- when you’re avoiding being direct and saying things are “fine” when they’re not, and then taking your upset out out on others
- saying it doesn’t matter to you, when it really does and then holding it against them
- Not being clear, and thinking that it’s the other person’s job to be a detective and figure out what you’re really thinking and feeling
- anytime you’re trying to manipulate someone
- pretending to be really helpful when you’re actually not helpful at all
- pretending to care when you don’t
- withholding approval, love and affection
Here are some things that can be passive-aggressive – depending upon the underlying reason for the behavior:
- deliberate repeated failure to do what’s agreed to or what one’s been asked to do
What many people don’t wish to look at and be aware of is that all passive-aggressive behavior is a sign of anger.
It’s a sign of great frustration and feeling powerless.
Underneath the anger is usually fear, and the fear is often related to having been hurt in the past and feeling afraid that the past is repeating. The anger is the symptom of the old, unhealed wound. The anger is actually a protective device.
When the anger is expressed as passive-aggressive it’s a sure sign the person feels disempowered and feels unable/unwilling to be direct.
This can be intensely frustrating to others because there’s no hope of resolution. Passive-aggressive behavior that is allowed to continue becomes like an infestation of termites that spreads and spreads until it ruins the relationship and makes uninhabitable.
Most people engage in some forms of passive-egressive behavior.
And so it’s a great act of service to be compassionate, loving, and direct. It takes tremendous willingness to turn the relationship over to Spirit and to stand in each moment and look for the loving choices.
This is what we’re called to do now. We’re all being strongly called to get our relationships, our houses and our lives in order. Top to bottom.
In case you haven’t noticed, the call for us to stand in complete Love is going to keep getting stronger.
There’s less and less room for hiding, avoiding and delaying. Our time is now. We were born for this!
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