PREVIOUS: P-A ACoAs #3
SITE: Dealing w/ P-A STUDENTS (for parents & teachers)
BOOK: The Angry Smile
REMINDER: “Passive-aggressives are not less angry, just less direct.”
A good portion of passive-aggressives (P-As) were raised by mothers who were neglectful, non-nurturing, overly controlling, not allowing for any self-expression…..
So you didn’t cause it. If you’re in a relationship with a passive aggressive person, stay focused on yourself, & what you want to accomplish. We are only responsible for our T.E.A.s.
Our responses will be safest & least drama-producing for ourselves & others when they come from the Parent ego state, as part of our True Self – rather than re-acting from the False Self / WIC. This includes making sure our own anger is healthy – because P-As do sorely try our patience!
REVIEW of some P-A tactics – THEY:
⚡️ Avoid work and social obligations, often making excuses
⚡️ Critical, Blame others for personal failures
⚡️ Complain of being unappreciated or misunderstood
⚡️ Exaggerate misfortunes, often run late
⚡️ Don’t do something that’s asked of them, reluctant or fail to keep promises
⚡️ Are persistently pessimistic, even when things are going well
⚡️ Sabotage, are sarcastic, give the silent treatment, withholding intimacy
At Work – a P-A ‘team’ member may:
• Use fake manners to cover a lack of genuine respect / manners
• Interrupt – with a quick “sorry” – without real acknowledgment of the other person’s presence, conversation or activity
• Smile, & then do whatever they want by saying to the other person, “You don’t mind, do you?”
• Take credit for what another team member said – by restating it as if it’s her own idea
• Use subtle sarcasm against a team member and call it humor “Just kidding”!
• Intellectualize instead of apologize –
“I wonder why I did that?” instead of, “I’m so sorry.”
• Use neutral statements instead of true empathy. “Yes, it is difficult, isn’t it?” instead of, “How can I help? Let’s look at it and find a solution”
• Hold others to a very high standard of behavior & call them on imperfections / mistakes / oversights… in front of others (shaming)
• Use apparently logical reasons to undermine others’ success – and then say “You understand, don’t you? / You don’t mind, right?”…… (Lydia Dishman)
ISSUES for us to OVERCOME
🌀 No boundaries.
P-As have a nose for People-pleasers (P-Ps), Scapegoats & Victims – anyone with a big red button on their forehead that says “You can mess with me because I can’t stand up for myself”.
• False-nice people (the Passives) have weak boundaries, low self-esteem & are afraid of conflict – making them perfect targets for the P-A’s hostility.
• P-As (who have walls around them) create drama & confusion that reinforces the Passive’s feeling of universal unsafely, & which directly impacts her/his ability to accomplish tasks, whether in business or at home.
‼️ P-As know when & how much they can get away with! so it’s up to us to work on developing / strengthening our Boundaries.
🌀 Confusing Communication
P-As will say one thing (like “Sure, sounds great!”) but mean the exact opposite, which is disorienting & disconcerting. Even if we (the Receiver) don’t fit into the Passive category we can still get lost in the morass of the P-A’s manipulation if we don’t understand the game they’re playing. Pay attention!
• And if we tend to be straightforward, we assume others are too, so we’re likely to take the P-A’s apparent agreement for a commitment: They said they’d call the IRS / pick up the laundry / look for a job / do their homework / get that project done by Fri…. didn’t they?
But for ACoAs, especially if we grew up with P-As, when we now have to deal with another P-A for any length of time (which we may have inadvertently picked as boss, spouse, friend…..), some part of us can have a ‘sneaking suspicion’ they’re going to flake on us or drag out the promised action endlessly – but we still hope that this time…..
Sadly, depending on someone who is determined to constantly stone-wall leaves us endlessly disappointed, & having to do everything ourselves anyway. Sometimes it’s not even worth asking .
🌀 Fighting fire with fire?
It’s inevitable that we’ll be frustrated & angry around P-As. But approaching them with sarcasm or our own passive-aggressiveness will only strengthen their resolve to be defiant. Besides, they’re much better at it – having had a lot more practice. 🙂
<—– If we meet their anger with ours, the interaction will escalate, or they’ll just withdraw even more. Remember that you’re always dealing with their hidden angry Inner Child!
We’re not likely to ever get the co-operation we want or need, so trying to ‘shake it out of them’ never works.
NEXT: Dealing with P-As (#2)