The Meaning of Passive Aggressive

 passive aggressive meaning

  After so many conversations about passive aggressive meaning we have had here, today I want to spell it in very clear terms:

When people ask: “what is the meaning of passive aggression?”  the simple and direct answer is:

“Passive aggression is a purposeful and disguised way of expressing covert feelings of resistance and anger.”

 

This behavior can be very useful when you don’t want to say “NO” to a request, don’t want to be seen as uncooperative, or be seen as selfish because wanting to do your own thing.

So, you “forget,” procrastinate, or show some   intentional inefficiency, saying that you don’t know how to do something you usually do.

We all do it, and in this case, passive aggression is a defensive tool that helps us avoid confrontations while preserving our personal space.

When it gets to be a problem, is when it is used systematically against a partner that by definition, as in marriage, has to be very near.

MAIN POINTS OF PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE MEANING IN MARRIAGE:

  1. The anger is old anger, generated in interactions with the family of origin, way back in the past.
  2. It has to keep expressing itself because it was never expressed in the true situation where it originated;
  3. It can’t be expressed as anger; it has to morph into all kinds of resistance, sabotage, and non-cooperation, because the person doesn’t want to be challenged in his/her anger;
  4. For the unsuspecting partner, this resistance to cooperative and joint projects shown by the passive aggressive spouse can be devastating, because it takes a long time to realize that the anger is old (not from the present marriage); that is automatic (not produced by her actions here and now, but prompted in a repetitive way, regardless the stimulus; that is a primordial response (not selected among other possible ones) but the only one the person has.

As a remedy, we all could be aware that unique episodes of passive aggressive behavior in a couple can be confronted directly and negotiated down.

Ask Questions like: “What is the obstacle? I hear that you will do it, but I’m not totally convinced…do you want more time to see where your resistance is coming from?
we can do this task in so many ways, but you need to be sure you want to do it. Otherwise, you have to say that you don’t want to do it.

Now, if all could remember the three big ideas:

a) The anger is against his past family, mother or caretaker;

b) Now the person he is married to,  has nothing to do with his past and hidden anger;

c) Is better to confront small episodes of passive aggression, so we don’t encourage people to do it so often….

Waiting for your comments, thanks a lot! Meanwhile, you can get some ideas from this ebook:

The Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness 

About Nora Femenia

Nora Femenia, Ph.D, is the CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions and the author of the book: "The Art of Living with a Passive Aggressive Husband," a field guide for women that have to deal with passive aggression in their partners. Nora also posts regularly on her blog Creative Conflicts. Visit her blog and join the community to discuss issues related to Conflicts, Relationships and receive also Free her book “Breaking Free From The Silent Treatment.” You are warmly welcomed here, because we care for your happiness!

  • Janet

    Thanks for the “reminders” of where this behaviour comes from…as women who have been involved with these men we need these reminders as we tend to carry the responsibility for the relationship because this “pa” behaviour is so confusing until you learn about it. The relief comes when we no longer have to “spin” it as I like to call it!

  • Nora Femenia

    Well, sometimes I do think that, due to the constant fog and confusion around, it is worth to spell it clearly. Perhaps someone will get clarified by my repetition.

  • Janet

    Thanks for all you do Nora….strangely as I wander around the house tonight I have moments where I say to myself “how can he treat his family this way”….but then I say “stop that….don’t allow yourself to spin in his mindset that will never make rationale sense”….thankfully I am able to respond to myself in this way more lately…when I find myself driving in the car having these dialogs in my head I catch myself and say “trying to determine the why of this is “futile”…stop “spinning”…it’s nearly like crawling into the mind of “sociopath” at times….don’t go there…close the door…they in fact live in a prison of their own making and will in fact never be truly happy.

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