How To Address Passive Agression
We’ve all felt it. And therefore, we all know that being on the recieving end of passive agressive behavior is extraordinarily discomforting.
This is interesting though, because as a society, we share our detest for those who don’t directly address conflict, while simultaneously promoting the act through our increasingly roundabout way of dealing with conflict.
Fighting Back Against Passive Agression
In the first place, “passive agressive” is an oxymoron. Thus, the inevitable question is raised: “how could someone possibly be both passive and agressive at the same time?” Usually, this is a difficult question to answer. And, if we are unable can’t figure out how to, an instance of passive agression can feel impossible to address and move past.
For this reason, it will always be difficult to address those who are passive agressive.
Unfortunately, he idea of “passive agression” itself provides a sheild for its perpetraitor. Those who commit these acts know that if they are confronted, they’ll be able to hide their agression behind the “passive” action they took. In doing so, they are able to place the blame on the perception of the person recieving the aggression.
“I’m ‘sorry’ you misunderstood what I was saying.”
This is something you’ve likely heard in an attempt to address a criminal in the art of passive agression. I bet it’s been frustrating each time, too. That’s
Fortunately, there’s a key word in that sentence: misunderstanding.
We gain control over the situation when we realize that the passive agression is based in our own understanding.
When someone does something passive agressive, they want you to understand the action as being agressive. They want you to feel bad.
When fighting someone who is passive aggressive, they want you to feel like you’re the only one in the ring. They want you to feel the pain of a fight, without being able to punch back.
The best way to address passive agression is to remove the idea of agression entirely. By replacing “agression” with “connection,” you can begin to address the real issue at hand.
At the heart of the matter, a passive connection occurs because your intentions and ambitions are not aligned with the other person’s. In other words, neither of you have made a conscious decision to connect.
So how do you address passive connection?
The most dangerous thing about a passive connection is that it can be interpereted as disrespect.
As soon as you acknowledge a passive connection as disrespect, you’ve lost. In allowing yourself see another’s actions as disrespectful, regardless of if they were or not, those actions actually become disrespectful.
No one likes being disrespected.
Allowing yourself to believe that someone has disrespected you is the same as allowing that person to actually disrespect you. As soon as we make that disrespect real in our heads, our response to it becomes real as well.
When we’re disrespected, we feel less than human. When we believe that someone has treated us as being “less than human,” we’re likely to want to return the favor. This is where all revenge begins. And, it’s where it needs to start ending as well.
The desire for revenge is a natural feeling. It’s natural to want to make another person to feel the same pain as you. It’s a biological mechanism for resecuring our position in a dominance heirarchy.
The problem with allowing ourselves to respond to disrespect, is that it opens us up to more disrespect in the future. This is because a response to disrespect is an invitation for more, especially if the response gives the other person the impression that you’re weak.
Take this opportunity to connect to that person. As I mentioned before, it’s likely that you just havn’t found an alignment with that person, and you just need to spend more time finding it. Take all the time you need.
Even if an attempt to connect fails indefinitely, it is so much better than allowing yourself to lash out at disrespect. When you give in to this urge, you not only make yourself look and feel worse than before, but you’ve also make it that much harder to connect to them in the future.
It’s important that you handle instances of passive agression with an honest attempt to connect.
At the end of the day, the only person who is capable of disrespecting you, is you.