We have been talking about the difficult skills of “detaching” from the emotional impact caused by the passive aggression.
Detaching is observing the behavior of passive aggressiveness without showing a lot of emotion. If you do not react strongly, you do not give the passive aggressive person the emotional control, nor do you give them the opportunity to turn the tides and focus on your anger rather than on what the passive aggressive person has or has not done himself.
This personality type relies on his partner’s sense of self-doubt so that he can force the conversation into dealing with her suppossed problems instead of reaching a decision about improving his behavior.
Also, learning about this behavior provides the basic self confidence you need to confront the behavior… it helps with the detaching when you know what can happen next, not to mention your self esteem.
You can use the detaching also to re-direct the focus on yourself. Once you know what you are dealing with, and become more confident in your own capacity, they are less able to instill the doubt and make you the “bad person” and themselves the “injured” party…
Detaching is also ignoring as many of the games as you possibly can. You are going to be served with a variety of responses….it’s best to look at them as if you were at a theatre, and imagine that you are going to be surprised again and again….Remind yourself: “What next will he do?”
Whatever the reasons the passive aggressive person has to do his passive aggressiveness, like: searching for attention, deploying a sense of victimhood, following the inner need to exact revenge ( from a real or imagined slight from you). or just to show you that they do not have to do what you want them to do… and so be in the superior imaginary position, they want you to be aggravated by their resistance. If you show that it does not matter in such an important way, you are detaching.
If you do not react emotionally, then they do not get the reward they were seeking and this emptiness should eventually discourage their behavior.
Detaching means a consistent lack of emotional impact, regardless what they do. Is like you are blunting their ability to hurt you. This has to give you enough emotional freedom as to negotiate what you need from him from a more secure and powerful footing.
Finally: When you DO have to confront them, do it in a very calm manner. If you stay in control, they cannot only “hear” you better they realize that you are serious.
Also, make sure that you can and will follow through with whatever you say you will do…. They will call your bluff. Let them know that it isn’t personal… That it isn’t a “payback” but that you cannot tolerate the offending behavior and state the consequences if they do not stop doing exactly this kind of behavior.