24 February 2012

Passive Aggressive Behavior...

In my January newsletter I made mention of the fact that after doing an inventory that I still have some glaring character defects. The main one is being passive aggressive. I honestly never noticed it. One simple event turned into a very uncomfortable situation for me and a good friend. It was at this time that it was pointed out to me that I was being very passive aggressive.

I didn't argue the fact. When things are pointed out to me like that, I realize that it is given with love. Yes... love. If people didn't point these things out to me then their friendship doesn't mean much and it is more a friendship of convenience then one of deep understanding.

That is one thing I am grateful for with my sobriety. I don't get defensive when things are pointed out to me. I don't need to attack or get the last word in. The truth is when someone points something out to me, I have the ability to look at it honestly and start the process of moving forward.

Anyway after this was pointed out, I realized how much I do use this “weapon” and how easy it is to use. It is a defect that does take a lot of energy not to use. The obvious abuses of being passive aggressive are easy to see and while not easy to stop or change, at least it is recognizable.

Yet, the recognizable is not really where the problem grows. It starts with things that don't seem to aggressive, yet they do expect results and when the results don't happen... then the behavior starts to spin out of control.

A simple example is doing a favor for someone. Let's say I watch someone's child for a couple of hours. I don't expect any payment for it because this is what friends do... right? So the parent comes and picks up their child and leaves.

While, I didn't expect any payment... I did expect at least to be offered some money. At the very least I should have gotten a “Thank You.” I got nothing!!!

If I honestly didn't expect any money why did I get upset when no money was offered? If we are friends isn't “thank you” said without words... while it would have been nice to hear... why did I expect it?

As soon as I expect something as simple as a thank you then I am setting myself up for passive aggressive behavior. I will become a martyr and tell others the work I did and how I didn't expect money yet I wasn't even offered any. And for sure, I will mention that I didn't even receive a thank you.

It is these simple things that I need to change first because if I can change my behaviors when I don't receive a thank you, the rest will fall into place easily.

It kind of gives new meaning to the saying, “Accept everything and expect nothing.”


Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I love the old saying, "Good manners don't cost anything."

A simple thank you is, simply, good manners.


Dave Harm said...

I agree M, it is good manners to say thank you...

What I am saying though it is wrong of me to expect a thank you if a supposedly did something just to do it