Passive Aggressive Behavior
Claiming our Feelings
by Madisyn Taylor
The way to end passive aggressive behavior on your part or others’ is with complete honesty and truth in any situation.
If you’ve ever found yourself repressing your anger and behaving in other ways to get your point across, you may be someone who is adept at engaging in passive-aggressive behavior. Although passive-aggressive behavior is recognized as a psychological disorder, it also describes the behavior that many people use to cope with confrontational situations. Such behavior has the outward appearance of being peaceful, yet it is really an attempt to express oneself in seemingly passive ways—usually without accepting responsibility for doing so. For example, someone who doesn’t want to attend an event with a partner might engage in behavior that causes them to be late or miss the event without ever admitting to their partner that they never wanted to go to the function at all. Procrastination, inefficiency, stubbornness, and sullenness are some of the many ways that anger can be expressed indirectly.
It is important not to judge ourselves when we engage in passive-aggressive behavior. You may want to consider that you are not owning your feelings or your expression by indirectly expressing yourself. Perhaps you are judging your feelings and needs as wrong—which is why you are expressing yourself indirectly. You also may be worried that others will judge you for feeling the way that you do. Remember that anger and every other emotion are never good or bad. They can, however, become toxic of you don’t express them in healthy and proactive ways. When we express ourselves directly, we are more likely to be heard by the other person. It also becomes easier for us to ask for and get what we want.
Once we learn to be honest with ourselves about our feelings, we can begin to directly express ourselves to others. By learning to express ourselves directly, we prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment from cropping up in our relationships. We also learn to communicate with others in healthy and productive ways. It is never too late to start working on ourselves and our behaviors, just take it one day at a time.
The Daily OM
Layers of Feeling
Coping with Passive Aggression
Passive aggression is most often wielded by those who feel powerless and want to avoid their own true feelings.
Many people are taught from a young age to suppress feelings commonly regarded as negative, such as anger, resentment, fear, and sorrow. Those who cannot or will not express these emotions tend to engage in passive-aggressive behaviors that provide them with a means of redirecting their feelings. Passive aggression can take many forms: People who feel guilty saying “no” may continually break their promises because they couldn’t say no when they meant it. Others will substitute snide praise for a slur to distance themselves from the intense emotions they feel. More often than not, such behavior is a cry for help uttered by those in need of compassion and gentle guidance.
When we recognize passive-aggressive patterns in the behavior of others, we should never allow ourselves to be drawn into a struggle for power. Passive aggression is most often wielded by those who feel powerless in the face of what they perceive as negative emotions because they hope to avoid confronting their true feelings. They feel they are in control because they do not display overt emotion and often cannot understand how they have alienated their peers. If someone close to us shows signs of frustration or annoyance but claims nothing is amiss, we can point out that their tone of voice or gestures are communicating a different message and invite them to confide in us. When we feel slighted by a backhanded compliment, it is important that we calmly explain how the jibe made us feel and why. And when an individual continually breaks their promises, we can help them understand that they are free to say no if they are unwilling to be of service.
As you learn to detect passive aggression, you may be surprised to see a hint of it in yourself. Coping with the natural human tendency to veil intense emotions can be as simple as reminding yourself that expressing your true feelings is healthy. The emotions typically regarded as negative will frequently be those that inspire you to change yourself and your life for the better, whereas passive-aggressive behavior is a means of avoiding change. When you deal constructively with your feelings, you can put them behind you and move forward unencumbered by unexplored emotion.
Mars in Cancer
Wednesday, August 3, 2:23 am PDT, 5:23 am EDT
The warrior planet is not designed for fighting in sensitive Cancer. This sign is made for nurturing and caring, not war and conflict. This transit does encourage tender ways of addressing differences and more cautious approaches to initiating activities. However, it’s also associated with passive-aggressive behavior that masks real feelings of vulnerability. Whining around the edges of issues instead of addressing them directly can be disempowering and disingenuous.
Mars in Taurus
Wednesday, May 11, 12:04 am PDT, 3:04 am EDT
Energetic Mars slows down in this fixed sign where it is more inclined to stay in place than to forge ahead. Asserting ourselves may be more difficult with the warrior planet in placid Taurus as overt expressions of anger tend to be repressed. Passive-aggressive behavior often occurs when we’re unable to be straightforward about our feelings. The positive side of this transit is consistency of effort that may not be exciting or creative, but provides a calming sense of continuity in times of radical change.