• Joseph Machney

Passive Aggressive Behavior

How people relate to each other is a complicated matter and often is a playing out of conditions and patterns that were learnt as survival strategies when one was a child. The world is fast-paced and is continuing to move at an even quicker pace. It is the so-called information age and with the internet, everything is available for all to see, well most everything. Yet in this day and age, studies have shown that people have never felt so alone.

Feeling alone can be expressed in many emotional ways. This often causes conflicts within relationships. When one has not had many experiences within a relationship where one is asked to grow and become more than who they are, often the relationship becomes complacent and stagnant. It can be easy to stay in these and not rock the boat, but there are no lessons learnt, except that you had lived your life afraid to grow and will have to try this all over again in the next life. This, in my opinion, is a universal law, not a judgement.

People who are not taught how to handle emotions, will usually lash out or get angry as their way of becoming confrontational or dealing with confrontation. This is immature and ineffective. Passive aggressive is a subtle way of hurting the person, lying to them and other strategies so that your truth is truly not spoken, only partly. There is a narcissistic element to it but that is where self-awareness can steer the ship in another direction, the one to self-freedom and self-reliance.

Having the self-awareness and humility to want to grow past the stage of passive aggressive behavior is the first step. From this place, one can remove him or herself from the mental defensiveness or need to be right and see that what they are trying to prove is not worth the effort. Speaking the truth about the emotional impact that the confrontation is having or the events that led to the passive aggressive act is freedom.

In my experience, aggression, passive aggressive and speaking your truth are a scale of emotional self-reliance that when understood and practiced, can be liberating for you and your partner who only wishes to see who is behind those eyes that they are looking into.

One path is the cut and dry truth, one is hurtful and the third is deceitful and in truth hurts both you and the other person. Depending on your emotional sensitivities, it takes effort to formulate the passive aggressive strategies. They are manipulative, covert and malicious. Anger hurts, but it is one stab of the knife, whereas passive aggressive is cloaked and hidden, inflicting multiple wounds.

By taking a step back and looking at the motives behind your actions, it is possible to see that these acts can be a vehicle to move into healthy confrontations where views are expressed openly in the spirit of wanting to speak your truth and be heard. The dialogue of honesty that ensues can open doors of self-understanding and awareness as well as offers the receiver the chance to explore their own self and perhaps grow as well, should they chose to.

Speaking your truth should never be judged, especially by yourself. Sharing your feelings with people you care about, even the uncomfortable ones, reveals who you are. It’s hard to see what the shadows really are until the light of truth shines upon them. In most cases, they are not as dark as they appeared to be. Let your own light shine upon the parts of yourself that you are afraid to let out. You have a voice, let it speak. Trust yourself and people will trust you as well.


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