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12 Ways Your Passive-Aggressiveness Is Slowly Killing Your Relationships

12 Ways Your Passive-Aggressiveness Is Slowly Killing Your Relationships

Passive-aggressiveness is a learned response to the home life dynamic experienced in youth. The adult passive-aggressive grew up in a home with too many rules to count; strict, regimented laws, no chance at personal adventures. Youth who grow up like this come to believe that speaking their truth, or simply saying ‘no’ to something they don’t want to do, is dangerous, and will jeopardize their chance to receive love and affection from their parents or caregivers. This cycle will continue into adulthood, if never addressed.

Passive-aggressiveness includes the obvious passive, withdrawn or apathetic approach to relationships. This approach will spill over into all sort of adult relationships, from friendships, intimate partners, school and on to the workplace.

Passive-aggressiveness never serves anyone well, and will only harm the passive-aggressive persons themselves, and those relationships they truly wish to cultivate.

Passive-aggressive is a personality type with an indirect expression of hostility.

    The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has classified passive-aggressiveness as many things throughout the years.

    It first appeared in 1952. Since then, it’s been called a ”personality style”, ”hidden hostility”, a ”defense mechanism”, a ”personality disorder” and ”negativistic.” Regardless of how you view it, or which title you prefer, it’s a confusing and harmful defense that leaves both sides less clear on their relationship. This cloudy communication style is detrimental to any relationship.

    Here are 12 ways our passive-aggressiveness is slowly killing our relationships.

    The passive-aggressives don’t let people know how they really feel or what they really want.

      When you hold back from speaking up or clarifying where you stand on an issue, your passive-aggressiveness is triggered because you feel scared, unsafe or concerned that doing so will mean you no longer will receive the approval of the person you want to impress or be liked by.

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      This passive-aggressive pattern is dangerous in a relationship because if the person you are in a relationship with doesn’t know what you really think or want, they are not really in a relationship with you, as you truly are. With time, this only becomes more detrimental to your relationship. You will feel resentment at living phoney and forcing yourself to walk on eggshells. They will feel they don’t really know you. And in fact, they don’t.

      These are two very big red relationship flags and some of the worst feelings one can feel in any relationship: unaddressed resentment and communicating like a stranger.

      Meditate on this thought by Daphne Rose Kingma,

      ”Make sure it’s your true self you are showing. Because it’s your true self that needs love.”

      The passive-aggressives forfeit special connections with people they like out of fear of conflict.

      Passive-aggressiveness always chooses conflict avoidance, because you have come to experience conflict or disagreement as terrifying. It doesn’t have to be. Your past may have provided limited occasions at self-expression.

      The passive-aggressive certainly wants to connect with those they admire and respect, but often feel they have no tools to do so. When a passive-aggressive begins to feel attachment or real love for one who has inspired them, it’s common practise to retreat and forfeit the connection because of the fear that something will go wrong or of that they will be perceived rejection.

      Passive-aggressive people will often break their own hearts, constantly giving up on relationships or experiences that open them up to any potential for failure, intimacy or heightened risk of rejection, even though it’s the very relationship or experience they truly want to pursue.

      The passive-aggressives give up before they try.

      For many years, I heard my parents’ opinions in my head before I made a decision. I stepped away from my own dreams, desires or other exciting prospects because I could hear their critique instead of my own. I was filled with dread and fear whenever I had to make a firm plan or answer to a pressing matter.

      Accepting advice from family is not an inherently bad thing. Of course, hearing out others counsel can be very beneficial, indeed. But when other’s opinions on what is ”right”, ”good” or ”appropriate” or what they would do in their own life consistently surpasses your own, you are not developing your own soul compass and decision-making skills.

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      You are living an inauthentic existence. You are experiencing life through others, and not even attempting things you want to do because your parents, other family members, friends or colleagues told you that you will fail.

      The passive-aggressives keep choosing the “easy” way out because they think it will avoid pain.

      If you identify yourself as a passive-aggressive or are starting to think you may be, or are experiencing passive-aggressiveness in your relationships or decision-making, you are familiar with doing things sub-par, half-hearted or out of convenience.

      The choice that you believe provides you with minimal discomfort or pain. You think it’s “easy” but it’s not. You believe that this way you won’t expose yourself too much.

      The fear always lurking around the corner for a passive-aggressive is that by succeeding or going out on a limb, will open them up to rejection, failure, ridicule or criticism. Passive-aggressiveness will always stunt your spirit.

      The passive-aggressives mistake an honest and respectful dialogue with malicious confrontation.

      Any direct dialogue, to some degree, is a terrifying prospect to a passive-aggressive person. All dialogue is confused with pain, discomfort, and other overwhelming emotions of the past.

      Confrontation, in almost any form, is a trigger for the passive-aggressive. It can make them recall their childhood or other experiences of their past, when confrontation was peppered with insults and obscenities or an unresponsive party.

      What the passive-aggressive doesn’t quite understand is that being assertive, not aggressive, can help empower a bond or relationship. If the passive-aggressive, goes out of their comfort zone, and attempts to have a honest and respectful dialogue, and is met with resistance or abusive tactics, there may be other issues at play in the relationship that are being ignored.

      It’s not uncommon for the passive-aggressive to get involved with co-dependents, narcissists, domineering and demanding or other inappropriate partners due to their passivity and low self-esteem.

      The passive-aggressives imagine the worst-case scenario even when things are positive in a relationship.

      Passive-aggressives are often seen by those that know them as complainers who never make any changes. They can be contrary, fatalistic and overall negative. According to The Angry Smile workbook,[1] a passive-aggressive individual may make comments like, ”It doesn’t pay to be good” or “Good things don’t last.”

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      Passive-aggressive people have come to believe that not only does the worst-case scenario always happen to them, but that it’s what they deserve. This is another example of the damaged self-confidence of a passive-aggressive.

      The passive-aggressives keep recycling the old ways of dealing with complicated situations.

      Because the passive-aggressive doesn’t think they have many tools to deal with the ups and downs of relationships, they rely on old patterns or what they saw parents or siblings or friends do in their relationships. If you let it, the cycle will continue on, with no end.

      Don’t recycle the same lines you used in a past relationship. Not only is it dishonest but prevents you from being present and aware to the relationship troubles you are experiencing.

      The passive-aggressives prolong an annoyance or disagreement.

      Passive-aggressive people are often waving like a flag in the wind. Back and forth, they sway from one direction to the other, intensely conflicted.

      Prolonging a decision, a change that needs to be made or a disagreement they’ve ignored, only morphs into a terrible beast to be slain later. The passive-aggressive sometimes hopes the problem will go away, without them having to maturely confront the issue at the hand.

      Your prolonging for what ails you will not benefit you. You will be faced with it again days, weeks, months, or years later.

      The passive-aggressives repress, deny and ignore their true thoughts and feelings.

      Repressing your true thoughts and feelings is dangerous. The passive-aggressive doesn’t realize the harm they are inflicting upon themselves and those around them. This is another emotionally dishonest way the passive-aggressive maintains relationships.

      The passive-aggressives burn bridges.

      Passive-aggressiveness burns bridges. They don’t build them. They fear the end result and incorrectly believe that all ends bad, anyway, so who cares?

      This is very harmful to all relationships because this only isolates the passive person. And others feel naturally less connected to them.

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      Passive-aggressives believe that appearing to be polite and cooperative on the surface is the same as building good rapport with others. All the while their true opinions are festering beneath the surface. This is not the same as a good relationship with others.

      The passive-aggressives say ”yes” to every request and then blame others for making them do things they don’t want to do.

      In the psychology guide book, The Angry Smile, the authors write that passive-aggressives will say yes to things they don’t want to do and then blame and resent the person for making them do something. This, like all the other behavioral patterns of a passive-aggressive allows problems to escalate.

      Stop agreeing to things that you don’t want to do or don’t believe in or that no longer serves you. The more yes’s you utter, the deeper you fall into your passive-aggression, and the more trapped, obligated and unhappy you become.

      The passive-aggressives are ambivalent and indecisive, following the lead of every one else but themselves.

      Passive-aggressives will often look to their supervisor, parent or spouse to tell them what to do even though they resent it. When their supervisor, parent or spouse changes their opinion, they are confused.

      Many times, the passive-aggressive doesn’t find refuge in their own heart and mind, but instead spends a great deal of energy avoiding things. Placing their direction on another person makes it hard for the passive-aggressive to find resolution.

      What the passive-aggressive hasn’t yet taken to heart is that others’ ideas may change. If you rely on others to make your decisions or tell you what to do, you will never find peace.

      To deal with passive-aggressiveness, it’s not just about talking it out.

      When it seems to be so obvious that “talking it out” is the key to dealing with passive-agressiveness, it’s not. Because it’s a lot more about how you talk, no matter if you are a passive-aggressive person, or are currently dealing with any of them.

      Practice assertive communication.

      Assertive communication means standing up for your own opinion in a calm, respectful and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passively accepting “wrong”. When you’re assertive, you listen to another person’s opinion, acknowledge their presence and validate their feelings, instead of accusing or blaming them. You’re showing your understanding and willingness to sort things out, trying to achieve a “win-win” situation.

      Recognize that the emotion of anger is not a bad thing.

      California-based therapist and emotion expert Andrea Brandt, Ph.D. says,[2]

      “Anger has many positive qualities: It tells us when something is wrong, it can help you in terms of getting you to focus, evaluate your values and goals and strengthen your relationships and connections,”

      We’re human beings, we have emotions. It’s totally okay to feel angry. Expressing emotions doesn’t make you weak, ignoring them does. When you are angry about something, express it and address it directly with the assertive communication skills.

      Reference

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      Last Updated on April 23, 2019

      13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

      13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

      Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

      Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

      My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

      To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

      You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

      Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

      “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

      “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

      “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

      “I don’t deserve happiness”

      EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

      Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

      Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

      This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

      If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

      1. Happy People Put Happiness First

      Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

      Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

      To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

      The happy person asks,

      “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

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      “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

      They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

      If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

      Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

      If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

      2. Happy People Embrace Pain

      I know what you are thinking –

      “No one is ALWAYS happy”

      or …

      “Even happy people get in bad moods”

      and …

      These statements are absolutely accurate.

      Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

      Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

      Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

      Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

      When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

      3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

      We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

      The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

      How are you currently defining yourself?

      For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

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      When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

      When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

      Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

      Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

      If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

      4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

      The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

      Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

      Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

      They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

      5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

      Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

      However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

      We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

      If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

      What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

      Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

      They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

      What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

      These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

      6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

      Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

      Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

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      Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

      A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

      A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

      7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

      Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

      Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

      We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

      In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

      8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

      What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

      What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

      Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

      When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

      9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

      Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

      It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

      Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

      Negativity is NOT normal.

      The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

      Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

      In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

      10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

      The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

      They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

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      The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

      Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

      If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

      11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

      Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

      Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

      It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

      Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

      12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

      Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

      It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

      Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

      13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

      When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

      Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

      Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

      In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

      If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

      I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

      It starts with one decision – happiness.

      The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

      Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

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