First let’s define passive aggression. It is a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials. In short, when we don’t directly let someone know how we feel and instead indirectly show our upset.
This can be very toxic behavior in relationships because it doesn’t allow for communication or understanding, instead it only upsets both parties.
Now that we know what it is, let’s get into what can cause someone to act passive aggressive. Of course it could be the way they were raised. If we were never shown how to express how we feel, it can be hard to even acknowledge that we have feelings or that we could be upset.
Another reason someone could act passive aggressive would be because they aren’t confident enough to be honest. Sharing how we feel and what’s upsetting is hard and at times uncomfortable. If we don’t feel sure enough in ourselves or our experience it can make speaking up about it that much more difficult. And last, we could act passive aggressive if the situation doesn’t support true and clear communication.
How to overcome it!
1. Learn to identify our feelings. You know those pesky things that we feel throughout each day and probably ignore and move on… yeah those! Get to know them, understand them, and recognize how quickly they can change.
2. Acceptance. This one is probably the hardest, but we have to accept how we feel and own it. Sure we can figure out a few of the feelings we had during the day, but do we believe they are valid? Do we think we have a right to feel them? Do we try to talk ourselves out of the feelings we have?
3. Practice practice practice your communication with those you are in relationships with. It will be hard and uncomfortable to start expressing how we feel at first, but keep at it.
4. Be patient. It will take time to get used to expressing ourselves clearly and being open to someone else’s take on a situation. But keep at it!
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