Passiv-aggressives Verhalten: Eine kleine Einführung

Posted on: 22. Februar 2010

Guter Artikel aus dem „Self-Help Magazine“ zu passiv-aggressivem Verhalten, ein typisches Verhalten eines Niceguys, der es nicht wagt, zu seiner Aggression zu stehen oder sein eigenes Verhalten offen und ehrlich verteidigen kann.

Der Aritkel schildert gut, warum und zeigt Strategien, wie man sich ändert. Denn wenn wir passiv-aggressiv sind, akzeptieren wir selbst auch oft ebensolches Verhalten. Ganz so, wie wir es auch schon bei unseren Eltern akzeptieren mussten:

Do You Recognize This Passive Aggressive Behavior?
by Linda Sapadin, Ph.D.

He’s kind, caring, an all-around nice guy – most of the time. Other times, you wonder about him. Doesn’t he hear you? Doesn’t he care? Is he stubborn, stupid or passive aggressive?

Like the time you were preparing dinner and asked him if he’d buy a quart of skim milk and a package of American cheese on his way home. He said, „Sure, no problem,“ but instead brought home whole milk and Swiss cheese. You were left thinking – Hello, is anybody home? I could have sent my 10 year-old to the store with better results!

When you confront him about buying the wrong items, he becomes irritated with you. He says he forgot, doesn’t see what the big deal is and accuses you of never being satisfied with anything he does. You alternate between feeling guilty, wondering if indeed you are too finicky or demanding, and feeling frustrated that he can’t execute a simple task.

If this scenario seems familiar, it’s time to learn more about passive-aggressive personalities.

Bill appears to be a „nice“ guy, both in his personal and professional relationships. If asked to do something, he typically responds, „No problem,“ „I’ll get to it,“ or „I’ll get back to you on this.“ But his follow-through on these matters leaves much to be desired.

Hiding his defiance under a guise of compliance, he promises anything, but then does whatever he wants. Bill’s passive-aggressive pattern began in childhood. Not wanting to argue with his parents but wanting to get them off his back, he became well skilled in passive-aggressive strategies, such as:

„I’ll get to it in a minute, Ma.“ (But never gives it a second thought.)
„I did my homework, Dad.“ (In fact, he only did his math homework)
„I’m doing my homework right now.“ (Does homework for a few minutes, then returns to his video game.)
„Don’t worry. I’ll take care of that mess in the garage.“ (Never specifies when.)
„Yeah, I’ll do it.“ (He yells, as he scoots out of the house to play ball.)
„That project isn’t due till next week.“ (Putting off responsibilities till the last minute.)
„As soon as I finish these other things.“ (Always some reason as to why he can’t do it now.)

These childhood passive-aggressive behaviors have carried over to Bill’s adult life. To this day, he’s still uncomfortable with conflict and confrontation. He’s unable to negotiate a compromise or refuse a request directly. He needs to learn assertiveness skills, but doesn’t think he’s in the wrong.

Instead, his way of getting along is to agree, but then do it his way, or simply not do it at all.

But, what then is the effect of passive-aggressive behavior on the other person? In a nutshell, it drives the other person nuts!

– It’s frustrating to try to communicate with someone who doesn’t give you a straight answer.
– It’s exasperating [=leidig] to count on someone whom you can’t trust.
– It’s annoying to listen to excuses and double messages that try your patience and trigger your anger.

Relationships With Those Who Are Passive Aggressive

If you’re involved with someone who has a passive-aggressive tendencies, there will be times when you’ll lose your cool. Then, he’ll tell you to get a grip, acting as though he had no part in any of the dissension between you. Once it reaches this stage, he may become very cooperative –as you wonder, why, oh why, does it all have to be so difficult?

In your gut, you know, there has to be a better way. What can you do to change the pattern? Here are a few suggestions:

Recognize the pattern. Instead of just feeling guilty, angry or bewildered, label this disconcerting behavior as passive-aggressive.
Express your anger before you get to the rage stage. Stick to the facts. Explain how his action (or lack of action) affects you.
Call the person on his or her passive-aggressive behavior. If a promise has not been kept, confront him. If a response is evasive, ask her for clarification. If he can’t give you a straight answer, tell him how his behavioral style is affecting you.
Encourage the person with passive-aggressive tendencies to express his feelings respectfully but directly – especially negative ones. Despite any initial discomfort, you may find it refreshing to have open and honest disputes instead of working hard to decipher double messages and try to make sense of oblique communication. Be sure not to jump down his throat the minute he admits wrong-doing. A sincere „thank you, I love it when you do that“ is in order.
Nix your own guilt. Though you may be a part of the problem, one thing is certain. You’re not the sole cause of the problem; nor, can you be the sole solution.
When in doubt as to whether you should trust what you hear or listen to your gut, go with your gut. If, like Hamlet, you’re torn between two impulses, „to believe or not to believe“, give less importance to what’s being said, and more importance to what your instincts tell you are true. Actions speak louder than words.

Keep in mind that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If, despite implementing these suggestions, the passive aggressive behavior doesn’t change, it’s time to seek professional help.


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