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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:36 PM

Why is Passive Aggressive a bad thing?

Last edited Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:14 AM - Edit history (1)

I mean, we live in a world where people think they're justified to shoot first and ask questions later. Or that, if you can get enough people to agree to a bad or illegal idea, it makes it okay.

So, in that kind of atmosphere, what is wrong with being passive-aggressive?

48 replies, 3602 views

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Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why is Passive Aggressive a bad thing? (Original post)
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 OP
Chan790 Dec 2012 #1
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #2
Chan790 Dec 2012 #5
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #6
siligut Dec 2012 #29
MrScorpio Dec 2012 #3
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #4
MrScorpio Dec 2012 #7
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #8
Chan790 Dec 2012 #9
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #10
Flaxbee Dec 2012 #11
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #12
In_The_Wind Dec 2012 #13
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #14
HappyMe Dec 2012 #15
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #16
HappyMe Dec 2012 #18
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #20
MrScorpio Dec 2012 #24
Kali Dec 2012 #26
libodem Dec 2012 #38
libodem Dec 2012 #47
In_The_Wind Dec 2012 #17
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #19
seabeyond Dec 2012 #21
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #22
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #23
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #25
elleng Dec 2012 #27
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #28
TM99 Dec 2012 #30
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #31
TM99 Dec 2012 #40
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #42
TM99 Dec 2012 #44
libodem Dec 2012 #46
eugene jones Dec 2012 #32
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #33
eugene jones Dec 2012 #34
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #35
Taverner Dec 2012 #37
Taverner Dec 2012 #36
treestar Dec 2012 #39
Tom Ripley Dec 2012 #41
retread Dec 2012 #43
datasuspect Dec 2012 #45
libodem Dec 2012 #48

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:42 PM

1. It solves nothing?

I deal with passive-aggressive people. (edit: frequently) Maybe it's just me but I find in it motivation to do whatever pisses them off even more.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:56 PM

2. Erm...sounds like bullying.

Maybe, a little?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:28 PM

5. So is passive-aggressiveness.

I've always been astounded by the fact that some of the worst bullies are the ones that want to pretend that they're not bullies but victims or innocent parties.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:30 PM

6. But, what if they are victims or innocent parties?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:58 AM

29. They have learned a maladaptive method of coping

Most probably from their family of origin. They will be a stronger, more likable and trustworthy person if they can recognize their error and learn to be direct and assertive in a positive manner.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:02 PM

3. Because it's dishonest and manipulative

I respect outright aggression much more than passive-aggression because that is at least an honest response.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:07 PM

4. What if the passive-aggressive behavior is a response to a situation that autocratically is

abusive. In other words, it's a lose-lose situation if you go head to head.

Doesn't the IChing teach you to pick your moment?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:32 PM

7. I'm not talking to you anymore. nt

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:33 PM

8. It's working! You win! You win!

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:39 PM

9. The Art of War teaches to attack an opponent's weakness through asymmetrical combat.

Also that people often attack from where they're weakest.

Sometimes going head-to-head is simply a rout. Yes, choose your moment...but also choose your focus of attack.

(It probably comes as no surprise...but when I play video games or role-play, I tend to play the rogue relying on subterfuge and high-damage opening attacks, trade off is low defense and inability to withstand sustained combat.)

Sometimes situations are abusive...but I find those are rarely the fights I'm in. I tend to be in the battles of will. I'm kind of willful.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:54 PM

10. I'm the opposite.

I would build me a big ole turtle shell and man it with a t.v., remote and refrigerator. Then I would just wait till you tire yourself out.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:38 AM

11. Um, you have no idea, do you?

If you haven't experienced it up-close and personal, you really have no idea how frustrating it can be.

My father - a psychiatrist, by the way - was completely passive aggressive, and it destroyed our family.

Really. You can't equate those who are trigger happy with those who express anger. Anger is a pretty normal emotion, and should be dealt with without violence. Anger and violence are not the same thing. Passive aggression is destructive because there is no way to deal with the issues, since you often times have no goddamn clue what's wrong.

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:29 AM

12. Your father would be in the position of power, so I could absolutely understand

the damaging effects on a wife and kids.

I was referring to a societal problem, where the powers that be know what they have done to the individual who chooses to then respond in a passive-aggressive manner, because, what really other option does the individual have when all the agencies of assistance are closed off to them?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:50 AM

13. It spirals out of control.

The person who is unable to face their problems honestly becomes increasingly agitated. They act out. Passive aggressive behavior solves nothing causing larger problems.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:57 AM

14. The key is to determine what makes them passive aggressive.

What was the tipping factor? And are the people around them genuinely going to help once they know what that is?

This should apply to both individual and societal problems.

I find it odd that people aren't using the term emotional withdrawal, because it sure does sound like that's what it is.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:15 AM

15. Check out Meta.

It's the passive/aggressive capitol of the world.

To me, there is no excuse for this kind of manipulative behavior.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:18 AM

16. Now I'm confused.

I thought passive-aggressive was akin to being standoffish. There is all kinds of proactive behavior going on in Meta. Nothing passive about it.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:25 AM

18. Here you go --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive%E2%80%93aggressive_behavior


Last time I peeked, there is very little positive, proactive behavior going on in Meta.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:32 AM

20. Tres Wonderful.

Here it is:

"In conflict theory passive resistance is a rational response to demands that may simply be disagreed with."

Passive aggressive is not the same as passive resistance. I was confusing the two. My IChing is feng shuied.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #20)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:15 AM

24. Passive resistance is cool

It's a key component in non-violent resistance and quite necessary.

Passive aggression is simply a way to rain on everyone's parade for selfish reasons.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #24)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:32 AM

26. ...

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #24)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:53 PM

38. No resistance

Short book.

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Response to libodem (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:21 PM

47. I couldn't think last night

24 hour stomach bug. I was thinking of Lazy Man's guide to Enlightenment.
It is maybe a hundred pages.

Og Mandino is the author. I recommend it highly.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:22 AM

17. It isn't really emotional withdrawal.

The passive aggressive is fighting for some degree of control. Obviously they cannot control what is truly troubling them. They deliberately do things that are aggressive. If they are allowed to get away with their behavior they feel successful. If confronted they still get attention. It's a win-win for the suffering passive aggressive person.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:27 AM

19. Well put. That puts the whole passive-aggressive thing in perspective.

In that light, it might be a term that is being misused because I see it used quite a bit. I don't see exercising principles of IChing as passive-aggressive. Or maybe it is, and not all passive-aggressive is negative?

On Edit: I understand the source of the confusion: There is a difference between passive-aggressive and passive resistance.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:46 AM

21. it is cowardly, dishonest and purposely has no intent to resolve. nt

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:08 AM

22. It's deemed cowardly, sneaky, etc because folks using it are hard to identify

So most of us are trained by authority figures to never use it. It makes it harder for TPTB to crush their opposition and they don't want it taught.

I say MOST, because it is my experience that it's a rather common mode of obstructionism by the non-powerful.

With apologies to all those well indoctrinated to deem it cowardly, sneaky, etc, as I came of age I learned this was a significant operational tactic of the power-challenged in the place of my upper midwest origin.




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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:13 AM

23. I wonder if you're making the same mistake I did.

passive aggressive vs. passive resistance?

The wiki link upthread did a great job of explaining the differences.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #23)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:20 AM

25. I checked out that link, no I don't think I confused it.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:42 AM

27. Good question. Overtly aggressive can be harmfull in many ways.

Add passive, and for some it's 'manipulative,' I guess, which can be really obnoxious. But depends on circumstances whether or not its a 'bad' thing.

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Response to elleng (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:52 AM

28. I have to see more examples of passive aggressive behavior before I'm

completely convinced that it's always a bad thing. I think your assessment, "depends on circumstances" is where I'm sitting right now. But, I can see why people would think it's always bad when that seems to be implied in the definition. If people are re-directing their anger to something other than what created the problem, and feel they are in control by disturbing other people's lives, then I can see how that is always bad as well as self-defeating. I just can't see how it's considered passive when they vocalize that anger.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:06 PM

30. It all comes down to anger

I have been working with a model of emotional energy recently inspired by my studies of Dobransky that I have found to be quite accurate and useful in my personal and clinical experience. It is rather simple too, which I like. I think it definitely addresses why passive aggressiveness is a bad thing.

There is positive emotion, which is pleasure (eustress) and ultimately self-esteem (the sense of well-being and confidence), and there is negative emotion, which is pain and ultimately distress. There are two varieties of distress in our environment, and they are loss and hurt. The more loss, the more anxiety. The more hurt, the more anger. As this discussion is about anger, I will only go on with the discussion of it from here.

Anger in and of itself is not bad. It is just a signal to tell me that there is hurt. The first thing I do when I find myself getting angry is to ask myself how am I hurting and why. Then I must recognize that there are two forms of hurting. One is the hurt that comes from without. It can be as small as a slight verbal insult or misunderstood communication attempt or as big as a physical attack. When it gets into me, then that hurt builds up and there is the anger signal.

The second hurt is the one from within. This triggers anger when I am not getting a need met. Unlike hurt from without, I am fully responsible for getting my own needs met and dealing with the hurt from within. I am not responsible for other's hurt toward me, however, I am responsible for how much I will tolerate and what my boundaries are around a particular individual. In a deep and intimate relationship, it may be very different than in a casual or work relationship. It will also depend upon what type of hurt I am experiencing.

So there is the hurt and up comes the anger. I have seen three ways then that this anger is expressed and dealt with. There is depression. There is aggression. There is assertiveness. Depression and aggression are always negative and useless. Assertiveness is always positive and useful. Since no one is yet perfect and this can take years to master, it is important for me to recognize that there can seem to be a fine line between aggression and assertiveness. It is easy to see when the line has been crossed if someone throws a punch for example. It is not as easy to see when words are used as even when I am being appropriately assertive, it may still cause hurt in another person. I can only take so much responsibility for that. In a friendship, the use of boundaries is really the best tool to ensure that positive assertiveness does not easily lead to negative aggression.

So to go further a bit with the above three. When I find myself depressed, I know that I am angry and therefore hurt. I also know that I have abdicated all responsibility for self-fulling my needs and have turned my anger inwards. I then ask myself what need is not being met, and then I make a concerted effort to then make the necessary changes to get that need met.

That first step is the conscious decision then to turn the anger around and express it outwardly. Here is where it can get tricky, and it takes much practice. I can express my anger assertively and it is constructive and positive. If I blow my top, I have expressed my anger aggressively, and it is destructive. If I yelled profanities or called someone names, I have crossed that line. Equally, if I use passive aggressiveness, I am being equally destructive. Telling all my friends about how someone hurt me instead of telling the person who actually hurt me, is neither useful nor constructive. It will not resolve my hurt or quell my anger. It is just as damaging as overt aggressiveness as it is still rage. It may appear more subtle but it is manipulative and just as inappropriate.

So what is assertiveness then? It is the ability to go out and get my needs met. I do this with the awareness that I want to minimize hurt to others. So when I am being assertive, I am patient and disciplined. If necessary, I will slow down so that my higher brain functions can over-ride the chemical storm in the more autonomic portions of my brain using such tools as breathing or silently counting three before responding in a verbal exchange.

So passive aggressiveness is just another form of rage or inappropriate anger in my professional opinion.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:17 PM

31. This I found interesting:

"When I find myself depressed, I know that I am angry and therefore hurt. I also know that I have abdicated all responsibility for self-fulling my needs and have turned my anger inwards. I then ask myself what need is not being met, and then I make a concerted effort to then make the necessary changes to get that need met.

"That first step is the conscious decision then to turn the anger around and express it outwardly. Here is where it can get tricky, and it takes much practice. I can express my anger assertively and it is constructive and positive."

I think where therapist may be helpless to assist their patients, is when that patient has a cause to be depressed or angry that cannot be resolved with a conversation with the person causing the problem.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:37 AM

40. There should be more to good therapy than just 'talking'

I think where therapist may be helpless to assist their patients, is when that patient has a cause to be depressed or angry that cannot be resolved with a conversation with the person causing the problem.


I won't side-track this topic too much but just offer you a somewhat simple reply to your thoughts here.

I am a supervisor and trainer of therapists as well. A well-trained and good therapist recognizes that solutions are present for all types of problems and situations.

Yes, there are countless times where hurt and anger can not be resolved with a conversation with the person causing the problem. In work situations or ones with less intimacy, there are always third-party ways to achieve communication and resolution if both parties are willing to do so.

In more intimate relationship, the self responsibility component comes in to play by the therapist assisting and educating their clients in how to work on better boundaries. Sometimes the best boundary is the recognition that I now must leave this relationship.

The hurt though still needs to be dealt with. I often see passive aggressive behaviors as an aborted attempt to communicate and resolve that hurt. My approach to therapy involves much more than just talking and certainly much more than drugs. I am an expressive therapist. I will work with multiple channels of expressive communication from body awareness exercises to movement work to the use of art & music to psycho-drama and empty chair work. When we limit communication to just the verbal realm, then yes, we limit both as therapists and as clients our ability to fully express ourselves and to resolve our issues.

Personally, I have a variety of tools and methods that I have found that work for me over the years to assist in expressing that hurt when I can not do so in communication with a person. Perhaps that person and I are now separated like after the dissolution of a marriage. Perhaps that person is dead. Perhaps that person is too dangerous to be around and has no desire to resolve any issues between us.

I journal. I compose music. I write letters that I mostly never send. I talk aloud to the person in an empty chair across from me. I do katas. Others can do anything from dance to creating art. And I don't mean drawing like Picasso.

At least half of our communication is non-verbal so why limit expressions of emotions from anger to hurt to sadness or fear to just words?

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Response to TM99 (Reply #40)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 07:59 AM

42. Keep all of that in mind, because some day soon I will be asking for support

to express my unresolved issues.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 09:02 AM

44. Will do. nt

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Response to TM99 (Reply #30)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:17 PM

46. Such a good

Synopsis. I have tried to say something similar but was never as eloquent. We have to take responsibility for causing that inner pain. Blaming others is not the way to heal our wounds.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)


Response to eugene jones (Reply #32)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:18 PM

33. Truly would be a different world if we ALL operated under these rules.

At least we would know what we are dealing with.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #33)


Response to eugene jones (Reply #34)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 04:32 PM

35. I had those issues.

I would nervous laugh at morbid statements.

My father: Your uncle died.

Me: ha-ha-ha-ha!

My laugh muscles would be so strong, going in the wrong direction that there was nothing I could do to stop it.

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Response to eugene jones (Reply #32)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 04:43 PM

37. If I did that, I'd get the shit beat out of me

 

Every woman I met would kick me for asking to sleep with them, right there, right then

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 04:42 PM

36. Because marriage therapists gotta work too...

 

J/K

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:25 PM

39. True. One should have the right to withdraw from something rather than fight

if that's preferable.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 02:05 AM

41. Why would you ask that?



I've always considered it to be courtesy combined with the non-committal.
I hope no one has a problem with that.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:09 AM

43. Effective label to stick on opponent, since counter responses have been refined

to troll label.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 09:16 AM

45. it helps we grownups

 

determine who the children in adult bodies are?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:45 PM

48. I'm not half as eightened as I think I am

And I fall into being cynical and sarcastic. When I don't express myself directly, it leaks out in smart ass remarks and bitchiness.
I can be aggressive by doing nothing. If a person just stops carrying their part of the load, the burden falls back on others, and they are supposed to mind read or guess what the real problem might be, because they are working harder holding everything together, without my help.

It is a chore to learn how to be assertive and honest about how you really feel.

I do much better if I read my One day at a Time, Alanon book every day for guidance. It encourages me to work on myself and not fault find or blame others for my emotional states.

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