June 21, 2012 at 9:58 am #30930
Is it too soon to call your friends on being passive aggressive? Whenever I’m confronted with someone acting like that I just say “what are you really trying to say? The whole passive aggressive thing is confusing/annoying – we are friends – say what you want I promise to still like you.” Say it with a smile and it frees everyone to be genuine. The joke with my friends is that I don’t abide passive aggression – it just makes me want to be actively aggressive – and no one wants that. Of course I have the reputation of not suffering fools. It isn’t a bad reputation to have actually. And truly I’m pretty shy – I just on principal don’t allow nonsense. The other way to convey your displeasure is a look. How are you at looking incredulous? Some raised eyebrows and an “okaaaay” and change of topic can go a long way. Yes it is dismissive – but must you address every slight? For your boyfriend – can’t you say – “hey honey I get you love video games but I love you so have fun for an hour and then after that we are going to have super fun couples time.” Then have super fun couples time.June 21, 2012 at 10:32 am #30933
When someone’s getting obviously passive aggressive with what they say to me, sometimes I’ll say to them “okay, you’re saying x. I am going to trust that you’re being honest with me, this is what you actually mean, and that you truly feel x, and am going to go from there using that information. If you’re not actually feeling x, then let me know right now so we can go forward correctly so I don’t upset you.” It’s such a clinical response, but I’ve noticed that if I call people out on their being passive aggressive, it jolts them into realizing that they’re doing it. Sometimes they don’t even realize what they’re doing. But the thing is, you can’t use the words “passive aggressive” or else people get realllly salty and defensive.June 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm #31032
It’s always hard to change a pattern of behavior, but the fact that you recognize your instinct to hold things in and want to change is a great start. One method I use to try to make sure I’m expressing myself is, basically, to frame things in terms of what I am thinking or feeling. For example, if my boyfriend is late in meeting me, instead of saying something like “Wow, you’re late again and that’s really rude,” I try to say “When you are late, it hurts my feelings because it makes me feel like our plans aren’t important to you” or something like that.
Or, in the situation with the video games, instead of just finding something else for you to do while he does that, suggest an alternative for the two of you to do together and say something about how you’d rather do something together than just do separate things in the same place. If you frame it in terms of what you feel or what you want to do, it may be easier because you won’t feel like you’re directly attacking what other people are doing or saying.June 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm #31039
Thanks to everyone for your ideas and encouragement. I think I have this misguided idea in my head that I need to be more ANGRY and that idea makes me uncomfortable. I think an important first step for me will be expressing negative emotions, and framing them in a way that I’m not pushing myself to be more angry than I am, or making it into such a catastrophe that it seems insurmountable. I have to just learn how to say, that bothers me, it makes me feel X, and then let the other person respond. Ultimately, if someone can’t handle your negative emotions or isn’t the right person for you, friend or otherwise, then maybe it’s ok that your honesty turned them away. It’s too exhausting to pretend to not feel what you feel just to keep people around. And I think that’s where it comes sometimes for me- I want people to like me, and in the process, I become so fluid that I don’t challenge them enough and people don’t like that.
*sigh* Life is tough.
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