We dream about the perfect relationship where we love deeply, relate easily and have smooth conversations on a daily basis. As we evolve it is true our relationships become easier, though they are never perfect.
Those closest to us have a knack for touching our most tender wounds in the most unexpected ways. We wouldn’t be triggered by a phrase, comment or look if we didn’t have a button somewhere in the deep recesses of our mind and body.
Relationships can challenge our deepest fears. If we have had trauma in our childhood, we may find conflict scares the crap out of us. It might feel to you that your world is imploding.
In fact, we may attempt to run away from any sort of conflict. We tend to avoid talking about how we feel, stuffing our emotions and reactivity until we finally explode. People who have a fear of conflict tend to remain silent about what they are upset about. Silence about your feelings leads to passive aggressive behavior.
When You Are Afraid Of Conflict
- You may do everything in your power to avoid conflict.
- You may suppress your feelings and emotions around your date or partner.
- You may avoid being honest about how you feel.
- Suppressing emotions and feelings can cause you to be passive aggressive. You may start conflict and then point fingers. Passive aggressive people don’t like being wrong. They may have started the conflict, but attempt to duck and run afterward.
- When you continue to simmer indefinitely on a slow boil, you lose your perspective and ability to see reason.
- Anger builds over time to the point that you don’t remember what you are angry about.
My daughter, Ariel has become an expert at recognizing passive aggressive behavior in culinary school. She tells it like it is, while others in the kitchen avoid the truth. Ariel is blunt and unconcerned about what others think about what she is saying.
Those who avoid being honest (inauthentic) about what is going on tend to be passive aggressive. Passive aggressive behavior will cripple a relationship. Passive aggressive people will allow things to bubble, like being on a slow boil without letting others know what they are feeling. They hang onto past situations usually have chronic bitch face. What is buried underneath is making them angry, even though it is unconscious. Then, out of the blue, they explode. Teenagers tend to be passive aggressive because they feel they are not heard.
Two passive people can get along for a while. When one person decides they don’t want to be passive anymore, the balance is gone. Passive aggression is a subversive way to express yourself. It isn’t blunt or honest as it uses a back door method to manipulate another to do what you want. It isn’t healthy.
Passive Aggressive People Feel They Don’t Have A Voice
Passive Aggressive Statements
“Don’t you want to go take out the garbage?” “The garbage is still sitting there.” “I noticed the garbage is still there.”
We may leave relationships when our issues begin to surface,
rather than dealing with them so they can heal.
We may communicate with ease for months and then WHAMO! Out of the blue, a stray comment insights a deep emotional response from out of nowhere! But was it?
My Personal Experience With Conflict
Both my parents were passive aggressive. My father’s anger was always on a slow boil, as was my mother’s. Landmines were exploding all over our home constantly. We all felt as if we were walking on egg shells.
- Breathe. Breathing will give you an opportunity to tap inside to feel what is coming up for you.
- Rather than lash out, ask for a few moments to process what you are feeling. You could say, “I am feeling some deep emotions coming up from what I thought you meant, and I need a moment please.”
- Give yourself some space. Go for a walk. Go into another room. Take the time you need to feel fully the emotions that are coming up, without blaming the other.
- Ask yourself questions: What is this really about? Where have I had this feeling before? Was it from something my parents did or said to me? Does my emotional response have anything to do with what was said, or done, or is this just revealing something to me that is unhealed within me?
- Allow yourself some time to calm down. When we respond during an emotionally charged situation without getting grounded, we say and do things we regret. Wait until you are feeling unemotional to respond to the situation.
- Fight Fair. Use words that do not inflame the situation further. Avoid the use of blaming words like; “You did this to me!” or “You hurt me. ” Instead, use words that refer to what you are feeling. “When I heard you say _______ I felt hurt.”
- Be honest and authentic, rather than passive aggressive.
- Be compassionate and understanding of the other person.