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Passive aggression and relationships

Passive aggression. Oh my, what a destructive attitude that is. It consists of a deep-seated attitude, almost a need, to erode the foundations of love and support. Thanks to Deidre’s patience, stubborness, and her own background of emotional issues, she’s still hanging in there with me, providing me with the support I need but don’t always see, and showing me how my attitudes are affecting our relationship.

It’s a struggle, a daily struggle, to remind myself to be a good person, to be understanding, supportive, and loving; to remember that I’m not here to fight her, I’m here to love her. I don’t often succeed, and along the way I trigger reactions in her which, ultimately, tell me she’s not going to put up with my crap. I love her strength – just not when I’m enveloped in the emotions of my passive aggression.

Being the ‘victim’, and having been that way for around 30 years, I’m often struggling with the concept that what’s happening is a result of my own actions. A lifetime of blaming others has left me with an attitude that denies responsibility. I hate it when I recognise it, but it often escapes my awareness when it makes an appearance. It’s an instinctive attitude, a response that has been learned and practiced over the years, and which I find very difficult to prevent. How do you prevent an instinctive reaction that has taken a lifetime to perfect? It’s not easy, let me tell you.

Deidre’s own instinctive reactions to my provocative comments, resulting from the passive aggression in me, often ends up with us arguing. Her, from the point of view that I’m being childish, ignorant, arrogant, irresponsible, and disrespectful. Me, from the point of view that she’s just not listening to me and that her own issues colour her perspective to one that doesn’t allow for an understanding of my deeper issues. The result is that I end up feeling unheard, and she ends up feeling abandoned.

I’m still amazed at her persistence, and her love for me. It seems that the times when I’m not being passive aggressive make it all worthwhile for her. I’m really happy about that… I’m just not so happy that I make it so hard for her.

With all the changes that I’ve been going through this past few months (eg. career uncertainty that led to redundancy, moving countries and all the financial and lifestyle upheaval that went with it, and the search for a job the past couple of months), I’ve had no real motivation to continue exploring passive aggression in my life. Sure, I deal with it daily, but I haven’t been writing about it, which is how I explore it internally. I haven’t been active on the passive aggression mailing list I created last year, which I realised today (and made amends there as well).

So, after another argument with Deidre today, I decided that I need to focus on my growth through this passive aggression. I also think that succeeding in getting a job today helped with that, restoring a sense of stability to my life in some way, and encouraging me to take the time to move forward again.

Life with passive aggression isn’t easy. Neither is it much fun. Life being the partner of a passive aggressive person certainly isn’t much fun either. Deidre’s love for me only encourages me to work harder at it, to make it worthwhile for her – and for me.

I’ve read a lot about this subject over the past few months, and I’ve learnt that people who suffer from passive aggression apparently never get over it. Their entire life is screwed up because of how they were raised, the experiences they grew up with, and what they learned from it. Many of them never even become aware that they’re the ones with the problem, and end up taking the denial of self responsibility to their grave. I can’t imagine dying with having had a lifelong belief that everyone else is to blame for the things that have gone wrong in my life. How can you grow if you can’t accept those things about yourself which are preventing your growth?

The only way to grow, as far as I can work out, is to look at all those things in your life which are holding you back, and decide to change them from barriers that prevent you from growing into incentives that help you grow. You do it because you’re tired of the hurt you’re causing yourself and those you love. You do it because if you don’t, you’ll die a lonely, bitter person. You do it because once you’re aware of it, you have to. This is your life, and these people are the ones you love and who love you. They believe in you, and you owe it to them to be the best that you can be.

We choose to react to situations in particular ways because it’s how we’ve always reacted, or it’s how we think we’re expected to react, or it’s how we think we should react… It doesn’t actually matter how we react, as every reaction is a choice we make, and we have the power to make different choices. We don’t need to follow the same patterns, but we still do… We don’t need to react the same ways, but we still do… It’s time we made different choices, and created relationships that were more loving and supportive than destructive.

I’m doing that. It’s hard, and it’s slow, but I’m doing it. I refuse to accept that passive aggression is something that I’ll ‘suffer’ from for my entire life. I refuse to accept that my choices are outside of my control.

A lot of people suffer from passive aggression, and a lot of people are finding my previous blog posts on that subject through searches for ‘passive aggression’ or ‘living with passive aggressives’, etc. As a result of all this, I added subsciption options to the mailing list in all my posts about passive aggression – just like what you see at the end of this post.

So if you feel you have passive aggression and it’s causing you some grief in your life, or you feel that you live with someone who’s passive aggressive, and you’d like to talk about what you’re going through, get support, or even provide others with support, please feel free to subscribe to the mailing list and be an active member. We can deal with this problem together.

Oh, and procrastination is a great part of passive aggression. Avoid procrastination and change your life today. Do something positive to move yourself forward. Join the list and improve your relationships! I’ll see you there.

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