7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People
The most difficult social conflict usually involves passive-aggressive (PA) behavior. The reason it is more distressing than even aggressive behavior is because it causes the recipient to be doubtful of him or her self. When someone is aggressive towards you, their intention is clear and it is easier to make a decision such as “I need to steer clear of this person” or “I need to report this behavior.” However, the purpose of passive-aggressive behavior is for the aggressor to avoid responsibility for their actions. PA behavior can easily be denied or blame shifted: “I didn't mean it the way you took it” or “You're being too sensitive” or “You're just trying to get me in trouble.”
As a result, PA behavior cannot be addressed in the same way you might handle aggressive behavior. When managing PA people you need to be aware of the underlying purpose of the behavior so that you can respond in a way that prevents them from succeeding at their agenda. The less likely they are to achieve their goal, the more likely you will see a reduction in their behavior.
Rules When Dealing With Passive-aggressive People
The following rules provide some guidelines to managing PA people. As you read these rules it may seem impossible to develop an appropriate response on the spur of the moment when confronted with PA behavior because there are so many things to consider. However, much of the time certain people in your life probably engage in repeated PA behavior which gives you the opportunity to prepare in advance. Once you have practiced the skills in predictable situations, you will be better able to manage the less predictable ones. Read more...
I'm sure you've dealt with individuals who have caused
you to be so frustrated that afterwards you scratch your
head asking "Am I crazy?" Most likely you just had an
encounter with a passive-aggressive person. Such
encounters may include sarcasm, shifting blame, saying
one thing while meaning another to name a few. For
instance, I used to know a co-worker who was very
skilled at giving back-handed compliments such as "You
look great! You must be doing something different" as
well as sarcasm disguised as a compliment "Oh, I hear
you've managed to pull off another miracle." The problem
with these kinds of comments is that if you try to
confront them about the insult, you will be accused of
not understanding, "I didn't mean it that way" or of
misinterpreting, "You must have a problem to think that.
I was just trying to compliment you. Sorry I didn't word
it right to suit you." As a result, you end up looking
like the bad guy, feeling frustrated, and asking
yourself, "Am I crazy?" And the other person walks away
blameless. Read more...
What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love
Cindy knew that she should back off and not say anything. But she was angry about her husband's criticism. He was always telling her what to do and she was tired of him disrespecting her. She was quite capable of solving problems herself but he was so controlling. She believed that he didn't care if he hurt her but only that she did what he wanted. As a result, she wanted to lash back at him and hurt him. Another part of her, however, knew that she was over-reacting and that he was just trying to help. Yet, her anger won out and she started yelling at him about trying to control her! This escalated into an argument and avoidance of one another the rest of the day.
Bruce had a stressful day at work. He was concerned about a project he was handling and that he needed to complete it in a timely manner because his promotion might depend on it. Yet, no matter what he did, everything seemed to go wrong. When he came home from work, his daughter and son were excited to see him and started clamoring for his attention. He tried to look at their drawings and answer their questions but they just wanted more and more from him. Finally, in frustration, he yelled at them to “shut up!” The children started crying and his wife became angry with him.
As these examples show, anger often hurts the ones we love. Neither Cindy nor Bruce wanted to lash out at their loved ones but they couldn't control their reaction. Many people who have problems with anger regret their actions but they continue to hurt those they love. They often make promise after broken promise to themselves to stop the angry outbursts. Yet, again and again, they vent anger against the ones they love.
Why Is Anger Difficult to Control?
The process of releasing frustration through yelling at someone, throwing or hitting something, and other physical methods is a powerful reinforcer. When you engage in these behaviors you release pent-up energy which is the adrenaline that has built up in your system due to stress. This process may involve the depletion of the glycogen (glucose) stores in your system and the release of endorphins in your brain.
What does this mean? And what does it have to do with reinforcing yelling and other non-productive releases of anger?Read more...
is probably the most devastating loss a person can
experience. To be betrayed, the person must first
experiencetrust in the betrayer. It is fairly
impossible for you to be betrayed if you did not trust
the individual in the first place. Therefore, the
definition of betrayal involves the act of someone
violating your trust in them. The betrayal I am
discussing in this article refers to a variety of forms
of betrayal. For instance, a child is betrayed
when he or she is abused by the parents who are supposed
to love, support, and protect the child. A spouse
is betrayed when their partner has an affair.
Betrayal is when someone you trust lies to you, cheats
on you, abuses you, or hurts you by putting their own
self-interest first. Read more...
One rarely sees David and Susan more than a few feet
from each other at work. The thought of Susan increases
David’s heart rate, while Susan’s thoughts do likewise
every time David is near. The way they look into one
another’s eyes tells their co-workers, “You don’t really
belong here.” Even their boss feels a bit awkward when
the heat between them borders on the inappropriate.
A passionate relationship beginning to bloom? No. David
and Susan are two co-workers locked in what seems to be
an incurable conflict at work. Their situation
illustrates how conflict can affect us at our job.
Conflict may not only take a toll on our physical body
(as it did on David’s racing heart), but it often
occupies our thoughts and causes us a great deal of
emotional distress. As we saw in the situation with
David and Susan, conflictual behavior impacts not only
those involved in the conflict, but also those who have
no part in it. As most of us spend approximately
one-third of our adult lives in the workplace, conflict
in this setting can’t be easily dismissed as
unimportant. In fact, failing to address such conflict
may have implications for our “non-working” lives. As a
result, it becomes important for each of us to
understand how conflict arises in the workplace, and
what steps we can take to deal with such conflict. Read more...
If women could just change one thing, they would find that they could have almost everything they
want in a relationship. Of course, I'm talking about women who are married to the average decent
non-abusive man. I don't know how often I've heard a woman say, "But I shouldn't have to ask."
Frequently, they have all sorts of expectations of their partner and become resentful and angry
when he doesn't fulfill those expectations. However, when I ask what he said when they asked for
what they wanted, they either respond with "I shouldn't have to ask" or with "I told him once.
I shouldn't have to keep telling him."
These attitudes are self-defeating and often destructive to a relationship. If women could
learn to ask for what they want and ask often, many women could have the relationship of their
dreams. When I tell women this, then they typically respond, "But he'll think I'm nagging him."
The problem with this thinking is that women don't understand how men communicate. Read more...
Holidays are often a joyous reunion for many families--a time of happy memories, a time of sharing,
a time of renewing ties. Many people look forward to the holiday season with excited anticipation.
However, many people look forward to the holiday season with trepidation. Often, holidays are
stressful times because problems within families that can be ignored from a distance become readily
apparent with the close contact of family gatherings. What is supposed to be a pleasant time becomes
a nightmare. Read more...