My Husband Is Passive Aggressive Towards Me – “Cash, check or debit?” I asked after wrapping the items the woman wanted to buy. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a TV remote in her bag. “So, do you always carry a remote with you for your TV? ” I asked. “No,” she replied, “but my husband refused to go shopping with me and I thought it was the worst thing I could legally do to him. “
In a relationship, passive aggressive behavior is often used to avoid direct conflict in a short-term conflict, but in the long run this dynamic can be even more damaging than direct aggression. To ensure that confident communication continues in your relationship, here are four strategies to effectively combat passive aggressive behavior:
My Husband Is Passive Aggressive Towards Me
Passive aggression is a deliberate covert way of expressing hidden feelings of anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009). This “candied hostility” includes a variety of behaviors. a backsliding behavior to get back at another person without the other person recognizing the underlying anger. When a person can quickly recognize passive aggressive behaviors for what they are – hidden expressions of anger – they take the first critical step in breaking free from destructive dynamics. Some of the more common passive aggressive behaviors to be aware of include:
How To Best Solve Conflict: Confrontation As Opposed To Passive Aggression
Passive-aggressive adults are experts at getting others to express their hidden anger. The ability to recognize passive aggressive behavior at face value allows you to be alert and make the choice not to engage in an unwinnable power struggle. When you feel this destructive impulse creeping in, take control of your own emotions with self-talk phrases like:
Passive-aggressive people spend their lives avoiding direct emotional expression and being wary of openly admitting their anger. So one of the most effective ways to deal with passive aggressive dynamics and change behavior in the long term is to be willing to express anger directly when it is present in the situation. Anger should be affirmed in a factual, non-judgmental way, such as: “It seems to me that you are angry with me for making this request.” The impact of this seemingly simple demonstration can be profound.
Your goal is to open up the anger that has been hidden, stuffed inside and kept secret for so long. Expect that once this is done, the passive-aggressive person will likely deny that anger exists.
When he does, for now you should accept the defenses verbally and respond with something like, “Okay! It was just a thought I wanted to share with you.” Do not argue or correct the person’s refusal at this time, but withdraw quietly from the conversation and let your spouse think that you know that there are feelings of anger behind their behavior.
Pdf) Development And Psychometric Properties Of The Test Of Passive Aggression
The advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to justify or defend your confession of anger. Just by sharing your knowledge of his secret anger, you have sent a bold and powerful message that passive aggressive behavior cannot continue and that the relationship must change.
Signe Whitson, LSW, is Chief Operating Officer of the LSCI Institute and co-author of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools and Workplaces, 2nd edition. For more information on understanding and changing passive aggressive behavior, visit www.signewhitson.com
Signe Whitson, LSW, is a licensed social worker and author of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools and Workplaces. Every Saturday night, Bill and Sarah leave their son with the baby and go out. for dinner. Sarah hopes that by dressing her up for date night, he will keep the spark in their marriage. One night, Sarah put on a new little red dress. She’s more daring than what she usually wears, so she’s anxious to show him.
When he sees that in her, he smiles and shakes his head in a bit of surprise. “You look… different,” he says. Sarah is devastated, but says nothing. Instead, he is self-conscious all night, promising himself not to wear it again.
How Passive Aggression Hurts Kids
That night, when they are in bed together and Bill jumps in to kiss her, she quickly kisses him on the cheek, turns over, and pretends to she is asleep. For the rest of the week, Sarah thinks about the red dress and Bill’s idea. She pretends her stomach hurts when Bill wants to make love.
On Saturday, Sarah is mad but keeps her feelings to herself so she doesn’t have to ask, “What did you mean ‘You look different’?” and say, “That hurt my feelings.” Little does she know that if she did, it would make her feel better. Bill would tell him the truth: he had never seen her in anything like that before, so he caught her. But I liked the way she looked there.
Sarah’s behavior toward Bill is a classic example of passive-aggressive behavior. Passive aggression is indirect aggression by someone who is uncomfortable or unable to express their anger or hurt feelings honestly and openly.
When both members of an angry couple have a healthy relationship, they can feel it, say they’re upset, talk about their triggers, and find resolution and closure. Passive aggression is a sign of fear of conflict. Although someone’s aggressive behavior may make you feel like they are in the middle of an argument, they are trying to avoid it. Unfortunately, that makes it much more difficult to achieve resolution and closure because the anger is always simmering, never rising to the surface to be confronted.
Tips To Crush Passive Aggressive Behavior
Passive aggression often stems from childhood anger. If you witnessed a tantrum as a child, where a caregiver yelled or showed physical aggression, you probably became frightened by the emotion – not just the to see someone getting angry, but to feel the anger. Passive aggression can also arise from caregivers who treat anger as if it is always on the emotional “no” list.
When we grow up believing that anger is always scary or never allowed, we don’t learn to feel it and express it in a way that is healthy and even beneficial for a relationship.
During the 35 years I worked in Santa Monica as a marriage and family therapist and as a teacher of anger management classes, I developed specific recommendations for dealing with passive aggression. Passive aggression is a learned behavior that can be left unlearned. To help your partner face and deal with their passive aggression, you need to make it clear that what worries you is not who your partner is, but how they behave himself for a while. When you are a passive-aggressive person, you need to take the same steps and remind yourself that it is a behavior that you have the power to change.
1. Take a break. Starting a conversation when one or both of you is in a very negative state will cause the passive-aggressive person to shut down or escalate the situation. Rest for a moment before approaching each other and the matter.
How To Deal With A Passive Aggressive Relationship: 12 Steps
2. Talk about it. Don’t try to guess or assume you know what your partner is feeling or thinking. Instead, ask your partner how they feel.
3. Thinking. A successful relationship requires two people to work. Come together with solutions to your problems as often as possible. Make your list of options as long and wide as possible.
4. List the pros and cons. After brainstorming a list of possible solutions, discuss the pros and cons of each idea on the list.
5. Win-win. The best solution is the one where you both win the most and lose the least.
Passive Aggression: Causes, Signs, Tips To Respond, Getting Support
6. Implement the plan. Take your win-win solution and implement it. It may take some time to see if it works. Plan ahead when you return for an assessment.
7. Evaluate. Does your solution work? If not, try another solution on your list for another trial period.
Of course, dealing with passive aggression in the heat of the moment is a fine line at best. For many couples, passive aggression is a long-term pattern – and the best way to change that pattern is to work on it together over time.
Eliminating passive aggression requires blurring the lines of division between you and your partner—and respecting each other’s emotional and physical space. Flexibility is also required. Ideally, you and your partner will find a place where you feel safe enough in your relationship to change your boundaries without fear of losing yourself or the relationship. You feel flexible about your boundaries because it’s your choice, not because your partner is pressuring you.
What Is Worse: A Passive Aggressive Silence Or An Outright Shout?
If your partner is the passive aggressive one, you need to make sure they know what they are doing or saying that irritates you and makes you angry, but they also need to hear
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