Sometimes our communication and conflict management patterns can be out of whack.
This can be for a variety of reasons based on our background and learned behavior. Those patterns can change with some insights, skills and relationship help.
You have to want it to change.
It is always about a choice, isn’t it?
So, if this post helps you see your own passive-aggressive behaviors, you will understand why others find it difficult to be around you, trust you, and respect you as you would like to be trusted and respected.
You confuse them. People move away from folks who purposefully confuse them — if they are smart. It can be such a drain.
Or if it answers your questions or rings a bell in some of your relationship conflicts with the other people in your life who have these traits this will help you realize you are not really crazy–and it is not you!
Just becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that our behavior patterns change overnight. The minute we become believers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are born anew. We get brand new hearts, alive unto God. And we are saved by His grace, not by our own goodness, but by His.
But our souls, (mind, will, and emotions) have to be renewed on a daily basis by a continued pursued relationship with Jesus. His spirit helps us to change and it is never ending growth. We have to learn how to recognize old coping skills from the past and allow the Lord to show us how to move past them and find our security, comfort, and value from Him alone.
So, I am offering you a list of what you can look for in a passive aggressive person, or to even recognize some of the traits in yourself. If so, I hope you find it home-hitting and immediately revealing and you start the journey to correct it.
If these traits describe you as you usually are, I invite you to sit up and take notice. You likely do not even realize you are doing these things. Once you read them and ponder your own behavior, you may finally understand why you are having difficulties having the relationships you most want, at home and at work or in the church.
More good news, the more willing to work on yourself you are, the greater your chances of having the life with others that you crave. When you realize how you are pushing them away by your crazy-making behaviors, you can change things within yourself. When you are trustworthy within yourself, you will be perceived as trustworthy by others.
Although men and women express their passive-aggressive behaviors somewhat differently, generally, you are behaving in passive-aggressive ways if you are regularly:
1. Unwilling to speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone.
How this shows up in communication is being “assertively unassertive”. You say “Yes” (assertive) when you really mean “No way” (unassertive). Then, you let your behavior say “No way” for you. People become confused and mistrusting of you.
2. Appearing sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath and your actions are just off enough to the point that those close to you sense it. It makes those around you annoyed and confused.
People who do not get along with others are interested only in themselves; they will disagree with what everyone else knows is right. A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Proverbs 18:1&2 NLT
3. You fear direct communication because you fear rejection. You then often push away the people you care about because you don’t want to seem in need of support.
All the while, you are afraid of being alone and so you want to control those
around you so they won’t leave you. Very confusing!
4. Complaining that others treat you unfairly frequently. Rather than taking responsibility for stepping up and speaking your truth, you set yourself up as the (innocent) victim. You say others are hard on you, unfair, unreasonable and excessively demanding.
5. Procrastinating frequently, especially on things you do for others. One way of controlling others is to make them wait. Ouch!! I know that speaks to so many of us. You have lots of excuses why you haven’t been able to get things done. You even blame others for why that is so. It’s amazingly unreasonable, but you do it even though it destroys relationship, damages careers, loses friendships and jobs.
And, you tell others how justified you are in being angry because, once again, others treated you unfairly.
6. Unwilling to give a straight answer. Another way of controlling others is to send mixed messages, ones that leave the other person completely unclear about your thoughts, plans or intentions.
Then, you make them feel wrong when you tell them that what they took from your communication was not what you meant. Silly them!
7. The silent treatment. Passive aggressive behavior is recognizable by the disconnect between what is being said and what is being done. Nothing highlights this more than the famous silent treatment. Silence generally signifies agreement but not in this case. When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you realize that the other person is far from agreeable. They have a big problem with you and just to allow themselves the victory, they have no intention of telling you what that is.
There are two other common versions of the silent treatment. One is to answer the question ‘What’s wrong?’ with ‘nothing’, when there certainly is something wrong. The other is to answer any question with just one word. This is intended to signal that there is a problem, without you having to say it.
Both expressions say “You poor confused person. You’re not worth talking to.” But the real reason for their behavior is that they have not, cannot, or will not take responsibility for their own behavior.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 ESV
8. Frequently feeling inadequate but covering it up with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity.
Whether you set yourself up to be a self-sabotaging failure — “Why do you have such unrealistic expectations of me?” or a tyrant or goddess incapable of anything less than perfection, “To whom do you think you are speaking?” You are shaking in your boots from fear of competition and being found out as less than perfect.
9. Often late and/or forgetful. One way of driving people away is to be thoughtless, inconsiderate and infuriating.
And, then, to put the cherry on top, you suggest that it’s unrealistic to expect you to arrive on time, or, in your words, “think of everything”. Being chronically late is disrespectful of others. Supposedly forgetting to do what you have agreed to do is simply demonstrating your lack of trustworthiness. Who wants to be around that for long?
When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them. Proverbs 16:7
10. Making up stories, excuses and lies. You are the master of avoidance of the straight answer. You’ll go to great lengths to tell a story, withhold information, or even withhold love and affirmation in your primary relationships. It seems that if you let folks think you like them too much, that would be giving them power. You’d rather be in control by creating a story that seems plausible, gets them off your back, and makes reality look better from your viewpoint.
11. Constantly protecting yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, dependent or simply human.
12. Complaints of injustice and lack of appreciation
13. Dragging your feet to frustrate others. Again, a control move somewhat like procrastinating, but the difference is you begin and appear as though you are doing what you said you would do. But, you always have an excuse why you cannot continue or complete the task. You won’t even say when it will be — or even might be — done. Do you know anyone like this?
Everything is viewed as an attack on you. When something doesn’t go your way, it is seen as unfair or an injustice. It’s all about how the world impacts you.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1-20 ESV
14. Disguising criticism with compliments
At first, passive aggressive people may seem pleasant and warm. They often appear to be complimentary. It is only after they have left that you realize that the compliment was actually disguising a cheap jibe.
15. Always getting in the last punch.
Passive aggressive people love to throw the last punch. So much so, that even when an argument has been reconciled, they slip one last insulting remark into the conversation. This remark is often more subtle than the ones which went before but it is still an insulting remark which allows them to feel victorious.
We belong to God. It is time for us to step into maturity and begin to face truth about the strong holds in our lives that hold us back from producing His fruit in us.
The answer always lies in Jesus. Our renewed minds will flow out from Him if we are willing to admit the truth of our actions to ourselves and then to Him. It is not in our own power but in His. In our weaknesses He is made strong, but we have to be willing to get out of denial and face our truth. He will help us with the rest!
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7