Balance July 2018 - 34

A

n eye roll, a 'hands off !'
note on the milk, or the
classic, "I'm not angry,"
followed by a silence
so filled with rage, it
positively screams its message. Unlike active
aggression, passive-aggression doesn't leave
visible bruises, but it can still do serious damage.
"A person displaying passive-aggression
is often adept at getting the person on the
receiving end to doubt themselves," says Dr
Scott Wetzler, a professor in the Department of
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Einstein
College of Medicine and author of Living with
the Passive-Aggressive Man. Whether this
individual is a colleague, family member or
your partner, chances are he or she will make
you wonder whether you're the one at fault.
They do this by showing their hostility in
covert ways which make it difficult for you to
easily define and address their behaviour.
If you've been subject to passive aggressive
behaviour, you're probably all too familiar with
the feelings of powerlessness and frustration
of it all. It can happen in your family, at work,
socially or with your partner, even with a
random stranger. But if you're dealing with
passive aggression on a daily or regular basis,
it can lead to more than just frustration:
confusion, self doubt and insecurity can creep
up on you and take over. This is because unlike
other forms of aggression or hostility, passiveaggression is secretive, manipulative and often
turned against you.
If you suggest a passive-aggressive person
is angry, they may turn it back to you, asking
why you're trying to start an argument. If you
point out their silent treatment is making you
upset, they'll claim they're not doing that. "The
technique is to get you focused on your own
behaviour," says Wetzler, "and take the focus
off theirs." In this way, they are aggressively
arguing against you, but in a way that gives
them more control and reduces yours.

the only one who's not invited to a family
get-together, but you have no idea why. When
you ask, the passive-aggressor will deflect the
question, leaving you confused.
Further complicating matters is we now
communicate more than ever via the written
word. Tone and intended meaning is harder
to pin down without vocal inflexion, body
language and facial expressions to guide you,
leaving you ever more doubtful of your sanity.
And because passive-aggression can involve
such things as withdrawal of conversation
or physical affection, being cold or silent,
modern day communication makes it even
more difficult to say for certain whether a
behaviour is passive-aggressive or
simply a case of 'my phone died'.

THAT
EL
T L-TALE
TALK

34

But not a
ctually
moving fr
om
the spot

"I thought you knew."
Causing problems for someone
else via omission of
information

Look out for
these phrases
and comments
that passiveaggressive
personalities
love to throw
at us...

"I don't
want to argue."
Without eye contact
or affection

WORDS ARE LIKE WEAPONS
A feeling of lack of control in the workplace or
within a romantic relationship can be especially
damaging. "You may begin to doubt yourself
to the point of feeling you're the one with the
problem," says Wetzler. A hallmark of passiveaggressive behaviour is the cause of the anger
isn't revealed. A partner refuses to talk; an
employee consistently turns up late; you're

"Alright,
I'm comin
g!"

"
gry.

n
ot a ooking
n
"I'm while l
Said

y
awa

BA LA N CE July 2018

"Fine,
whatever."
Withdrawing from
an argument
while sulking



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance July 2018

Balance July 2018 - 1
Balance July 2018 - 2
Balance July 2018 - 3
Balance July 2018 - 4
Balance July 2018 - 5
Balance July 2018 - 6
Balance July 2018 - 7
Balance July 2018 - 8
Balance July 2018 - 9
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Balance July 2018 - 11
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Balance July 2018 - 13
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Balance July 2018 - 33
Balance July 2018 - 34
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