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Growing out of passive aggression

When I started learning about passive aggression, one of the things that stood out for me was that wherever I looked, all the ‘experts’ were telling me that passive aggression cannot be cured, and that all they can do is hope to control it.

I’m not so sure that’s true.

What are some of the common traits of passive aggressives?  Procrastination, inefficiency, avoidance, blaming others….

It’s very easy for a passive aggressive to continue the trend and find reasons why they can’t be ‘cured’.  They may even use the diagnosis itself of being passive aggressive to justify why they can’t change who they are.

I think that’s a copout, however.  Over the past two years, since I became aware of my own passive aggression, I’ve taken active steps to try and deal with it.  I’ve looked at the traits of passive aggression, recognised where I’m doing them, and consciously tried to do exactly the opposite.  Feedback I’ve received has confirmed I’m making good progress.

I think ‘cures’ for passive aggression can simply be the result of making a decision.

What helped me was the realisation that my passive aggression was only hurting ME, and preventing ME from realising my true potential or finding my true happiness.  I realised that it’s not up to someone else to help me cure it, or to understand and accept me for who I am.

It was up to me to refuse to accept my own intolerable behaviour.  I was responsible for what I was doing, no one else.  Sure, I could blame my parents all I wanted… But they’re not in control of my life any more.  I am.  It was up to me to take control and stop blaming others for my own behaviour.

Instead of being defensive, I’ve tried to listen to what people are saying.  Instead of believing they have it wrong, I’ve tried to accept that they might just have it right.

The people around us are reflecting back to us the things we need to know.  If we’re being intolerable due to behavioural issues like passive aggression, then those around us will do the same thing back to us that we’re doing to them.  They won’t realise this, but they’re only reacting to what we’re provoking.

If we truly care about those we love, we will listen to them.  We will stop engaging in behaviour that is sabotaging our relationships and our careers.  We will look to forgive those we are angry with.

By forgiving someone who’s hurt us, we are also forgiving ourselves for being affected by them.

We will also be honest with our feelings, and our wants and needs.  Instead of just agreeing with others in order to avoid conflict, we’ll do only what we want to do.  We’ll look at how we feel about something, and take action to change things if we can, or move on from the things we can’t.

I left my fiance a few months ago.  We’d been together for just over 3 years.  She helped me grow, and she helped me understand a whole lot more about who I am.  I love her dearly, and always will.  But she has her own issues which were having a significant effect on me.  So, for the first time in my life, I separated from someone not through fear or anger, but because I realised that we just weren’t any good together.  Instead of continuing to grow together, we had grown apart.

I’m still extremely sad by how it’s all turned out, but instead of being with her and being resentful, angry, passive aggressive, etc, I decided to take control of my own life.

So I made the decision to change things, and we discussed our options, and we came to a mutual decision that separation was the best thing we could do.  We weren’t fulfilling each other, and the entire three years had been a constant struggle.  Her and I make better friends than partners, and we’re still sharing a house and still very much in love with each other (not intimately any more).  We just know that we aren’t suitable for each other as life partners.

I know that if I was continuing to be passive aggressive, I would have stayed in this relationship – as I have done with most other relationships – until she got sick and tired of my bullsh*t and left me.  Passive aggressives don’t like to take charge, because then they become responsible for their actions, and they can’t blame anyone else but themselves…. That’s a no-no.  They need to blame others.

So I took responsibility for my own happiness, and my own life.  Sometimes when you love someone you still need to leave them because it’s the right thing to do for yourself, and for your own happiness and growth.

Deciding if that’s what you need to do, or if you’re lashing out with passive aggression can be very challenging.

Basically, us passive aggressives have to stop accepting our own excuses and make some serious changes to get ourselves out of the stupid rut we’re in.  Take charge of our lives and actually do something proactive.  We are responsible for everything we do and feel, and even the reactions people have to our behaviour.  BE responsible, and make some changes.

It’s nice to feel like I’m succeeding.

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