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Growing out of passive aggression

One of the most popular posts of my old blog is about how I was trying to grow out of passive aggression, and surprisingly succeeding! It’s still getting people comment on it today.

The post was written only two years after I discovered I had Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder (PAPD). That was five years ago, or seven years since I found out I have PAPD. I’ve come a long way since then.

The description for it today (on Wikipedia) is:

A pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

  • passively resists fulfilling routine social and occupational tasks
  • complains of being misunderstood and unappreciated by others
  • is sullen and argumentative
  • unreasonably criticizes and scorns authority
  • expresses envy and resentment toward those apparently more fortunate
  • voices exaggerated and persistent complaints of personal misfortune
  • alternates between hostile defiance and contrition

One of the things I wrote back then, which is still true today, is this:

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.

It was all about accepting responsibility for the things that were happening in my life. Not trying to find someone else to blame, but making sure I did whatever needed to be done to fix whatever issue I was involved in. Even if I thought I wasn’t responsible, I acted as if I was.

I finished my post back then with the following:

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.

Now, five years later, I feel like I HAVE succeeded. My career has moved ahead leaps and bounds, and I’m with a woman who I love very much and who loves me for who I am, warts and all. Being loved and accepted by someone for who I am has been greatly rewarding, not only for the healing it’s helped me with, but also for being with someone who really completes me. I can’t imagine being without her in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a struggle to continue avoiding the ‘personality disorder’ part of my old behaviour. I still experience episodes of passive aggression, but they’re nowhere near as bad as they used to be.

It’s easy these days for me to accept responsibility for any passive aggressive things I say or do – or don’t say or do – and work on fixing them as soon as I can. It’s easy for me to take ownership of things that aren’t my responsibility at work, and make them my responsibility.

Everything’s just so much easier these days.

But it’s not that life is easier. That’s still highly challenging at times, as it is for all of us. But I’m no longer afraid to take responsibility, and accept the consequences for it.

It’s a great feeling.

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