is tricky to deal with
Dealing with P-As #2
Notice how you feel around the P-A.
Pay close attention to your instincts. You’ll definitely feel frustrated, & then angry. If you don’t know what’s happening or you’re blaming yourself you may even despair. You are actually in a situation you can’t win – nothing you say or do seems to please them or get them to hear you.
• You can feel hurt if they give you the silent treatment
• You’ll feel annoyed that they’re always complaining, but don’t do anything to improve their situation
• You’ll likely feel tired or deflated, IF you’ve been trying to make sense of their behavior, & spending a lot of energy trying to get them to co-operate.
REMEMBER: We have our own hot buttons, which P-As can take advantage of – once they get to know us. Identify them, & then notice when you get real anxious or have a strong angry reaction when one of them is bumped into.
EXP: When ignored / accused wrongly / called ‘too sensitive’ / treated as stupid / taken advantage of / not given credit…..
Moderate your response
Develop a “Teflon coating” for yourself when dealing with P-As — stay calm, keep your voice neutral, hold your emotions in check. The less reactive you are, the less fuel they have for their hidden anger tactics
• If possible, find out what the P-A’s angry about – in the present situation. Notice a problem they’re reacting to as soon as you can
• Because P-As don’t show their anger, you can talk to someone who knows them well enough to tell you the P-A’s buttons, & what subtle signs to look for
• Think seriously about what might really be driving the P-A’s behavior, which is usually a symptom of something else (or deeper) that’s upsetting them. NOTE: these is a tools for you, not in order to fix them
Stay as neutral as you can manage – even if you have to act-as-if. When you do get upset (which is likely), calm yourself down first before addressing whatever issue that’s bothering you – take a walk, crank up the music & dance, call a sponsor, read a page or two from the Al-Anon “Just for Today” Meditations…..
Then figure out exactly what you need/want from this situation, what is actually possible & what realistic outcome you can live with
It’s also good to practice ++ self-talk (until it’s automatic), such as:
• I recognize his ______ as P-A behavior – it’s a familiar pattern which I see & acknowledge
• He wants me to get angry & yell, so it’ll end up being my problem, not his
• I know what’s behind her procrastination, intentional inefficiency, ‘laziness’…
• It is her anger/ resentment that she’s not owning up to
🤔”I didn’t cause it / I can’t control it / I can’t cure it”.
• I don’t want to (& won’t) participate in this pointless P-A manipulation
• I deserve to be treated at least with respect, at best more lovingly
• I trust my gut reaction when I feel jabbed – because that’s what just happened
Learn reflective listening & express empathy toward the P-A, which can sometimes be helpful in dealing with sideways anger.
In any case, be compassionate toward yourself & the other person. While this may be difficult, expressing empathy for the P-A can help disarm them. You can reflect (mirror back) their suppressed emotions by saying things like, “It seems like you were frustrated by what happened in school / at work…. today. That makes sense & must have been hard…..”
It helps to remind yourself that someone has probably been patient, understanding & compassionate towards you at times when you were not at our best. Pay it forward.
FROM Elephant Journal: “The passive-aggressive individual is not a bad person, they are simply a person who has been deeply hurt.
And when such a person is a family member, friend, or intimate partner, the only way to stay present is with expansive love.
Pushing such a person to be honest or direct does not work because they cannot see past their own fear and hurt.
Space and time are essential for healing.
Even more so, trusting that person & seeing the best in them can alleviate the fear, & reassure them that they are trusted, held with love, & embraced with security.”
PS: In most cases it’s the P-A’s behavior / communication that’s hurtful / unhealthy (bad), not the essence of the person. This is because the ‘acting out’ comes from the person’s False Self, rather than their hidden Healthy / True Self. However – their hurtful behavior is not to be excused or overlooked.