Passive Aggressive

Linda Soller | Aug 13, 2018

A co-worker who is usually bubbly and all smiles seems to be avoiding me. I’m not sure why. When she is unhappy she withdraws her sunny disposition. Nothing needs to be said to know she is angry. I observed her behavior just this morning then looked up “passive aggressive.” The definition fit her actions, but it also rang true to my own. I have never liked confrontation.  


In The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd ed., passive aggressionis defined as a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger. Yep, that sounds like me. I do deliberately withhold my feelings to avoid conflict, but the feelings still exist.  I do mask my anger with a few “never minds” or “whatevers”. Not my proudest moments. 


In a world where conflict seems to be the norm, it’s uncomfortable for those of us who dislike confrontation. It can be difficult to express our thoughts and feelings. But here’s the thing. When we see something which is simply wrong, unfair, neglectful, or harmful, how can we justify looking the other way just to avoid feeling uncomfortable?  


Conflict isn’t always bad. And conflict occurs all the time. I believe we can learn to thrive in a world where different is okay and conflict does not have to equal violence. It will take some effort for me to put my passive aggressive skills on the shelf, after all, I’ve spent years fine tuning them.  The rewards will be opportunities to manage confrontations, positively address conflicts, and open closed lines of communication. And if you don’t agree with me, well that is okay too! See, it can be done!


Have a great week!  :o) Linda



DROP IN ON LINE: A blog by Linda Soller.



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