Passive aggressives and their anger - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Passive aggressives and their anger

passive aggressive people don't know how to handle their anger. Many of them hold it in, and then do this subtle passive punishing thing to their spouses. And they can never directly admit that they're angry or upset with you so then really never gets addressed and dealt with properly. My question is... Do you think these passive aggressive people even recognize that they are angry? I would love to hear from people who were diagnosed with passive aggressive personality or anyone who has dealt with them. I just don't understand their thinking. I'm angry so I'm going to subtly make them pay? How does this make anything better? Do they think this makes things better! I just don't understand at all.

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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 06:04 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

Having been married to a passive aggressive individual I can say from experience they are not aware they're doing it and they don't realize they're angry nor do they realize how much damage they're doing by being impossible to communicate with. Nothing gets fixed, the problems just get buried until they're so out of control it's beyond repair.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 06:34 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

I was married to one for many years and I do not think they know what to do with the angry feelings. They don't deal with anger at all and so it comes out in other ways. I have only come to recognize this since we have been going through a divorce that he was like this as a boy; grew up like this and his mother is the exact same way. I feel if counseling had worked for us, that he would have learned how to deal with his feelings more effectively and not stuff most of them down. I truly think anger is a very scary emotion for them. So rather than deal directly with the person they are having the feelings toward, they will just make them pay in other little snarky ways and/or comments.
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 08:02 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

I asked my therapist this very same question. And her answer was no. Passive aggressive people will do everything they can to keep from feeling or showing emotion. It is brutal for the spouses. Because as you and others said, nothing gets resolved. My STBXH has no empathy and I feel mimics emotion. It isn't real. Because if they can't feel their anger, they can't feel love either. I point blank asked my STBXH why was he passive aggressive? I have said many times I had rather be told no or the truth. His response, "I don't know. I only do it to you". Nice huh? That is just how he operates and how he is probably operating now. He doesn't think there is anything wrong with him and it is always someone else's fault. I know why he is like he is, and I grieve for that terribly abused little boy. But, it was his choice to become the cold, selfish, hateful man that he is now. Unless they become self-aware, you are in for a world of hurt. I am sorry but you are going to have to accept who he is since you are choosing to stay. You're not ready yet but there will come a point when you draw the line and actually mean it. Then he will most likely leave you because you no longer give him his passive aggressive payoff.

ETA: I no longer search for answers why he did what he did. I am now looking for answers on why I did what I did and allowed it.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 12:10 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

We do know we are angry. But that nasty combination of the want to avoid a confrontation, combined with the want to please people, causes us to bury saying something about it.

So it festers.

"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 12:54 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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Originally Posted by Altair View Post
Having been married to a passive aggressive individual I can say from experience they are not aware they're doing it and they don't realize they're angry nor do they realize how much damage they're doing by being impossible to communicate with. Nothing gets fixed, the problems just get buried until they're so out of control it's beyond repair.
I don't believe that all PA people are angry. I think that they just enjoy the drama that they create.

MyexH had lots of friends and was doing very well professionally. Loved his mother.

So why does he regularly need to "forget"; "not hear" and "not see." and just simply "not understand."

Same with my mother, she does very well socially. I am sure most people would not believethat she has a mean be in her body.

Go head and feel sorry for a PA if you want. But stop looking for some reason to let them off the hook.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 07:05 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

Do the same to them. Then, after a long while, point it out to them. They'll get the message.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 07:40 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

I cannot answer for any other passive aggressive than myself.

However, I think I am angry, or rather, in the early stages, sometimes annoyed, surprised, frustrated by someone else's statements, questions, comments or requests (demands ?).

Rather than calling them on it, in the interest of being polite, or thinking 'that is not really how it was meant', or as a matter of social ranking, or not wanting to create conflict, we say 'sure.. ok'... and then... the festering begin until over time, it turns to anger, the annoyance turns to sabotage, the sabotage turns to conflict, and, to avoid it, we go back to the same self-defeating behavior.

I recognized that in myself some years ago, and having recognized such, (tried to) change my behavior. It has proven to be a challenge for me; at ever step, I am mindful of telling myself ' Say what you mean'. Not always with the best of outcomes though. It has for me been a part of a 180: it is a project under construction.

You have to be pretty socially inept to not see that being a PA pisses people off, and that we are angry. Thing is that aggressive people enjoy the anger, PA's fears it.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 10:01 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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I cannot answer for any other passive aggressive than myself.

However, I think I am angry, or rather, in the early stages, sometimes annoyed, surprised, frustrated by someone else's statements, questions, comments or requests (demands ?).

Rather than calling them on it, in the interest of being polite, or thinking 'that is not really how it was meant', or as a matter of social ranking, or not wanting to create conflict, we say 'sure.. ok'... and then... the festering begin until over time, it turns to anger, the annoyance turns to sabotage, the sabotage turns to conflict, and, to avoid it, we go back to the same self-defeating behavior.

I recognized that in myself some years ago, and having recognized such, (tried to) change my behavior. It has proven to be a challenge for me; at ever step, I am mindful of telling myself ' Say what you mean'. Not always with the best of outcomes though. It has for me been a part of a 180: it is a project under construction.

You have to be pretty socially inept to not see that being a PA pisses people off, and that we are angry. Thing is that aggressive people enjoy the anger, PA's fears it.
QFT.

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"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 02:06 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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You have to be pretty socially inept to not see that being a PA pisses people off, and that we are angry. Thing is that aggressive people enjoy the anger, PA's fears it.
I don't agree with that. I can see the wry smile or smirk on the face as PA turns the knife and spews the usual excuse ie.

1. I didn't know
2. I didn't remember
3. just because I accept his or her phone calls and then pass along messages from them to you (as they asked or hoped that I would do) does not mean that I am encouraging them
4. and so on.......

If people really fear anger, they would choose to be people pleasers. there were times when my husband would claim ignorance to something only for me to turn up with information that would prove the contrary. then he had to dance around and find a new excuse for his negligence.

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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 07:15 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

Nexttime Around....

As I mentioned, I can only address my own PA tendencies and how I reacted.

That being said, I can see how the quote you referenced make it appear as if I made a blanket statement.

For me, I do not think that I found any pleasure in being called out, or being on the receiving end of someone else's reaction to my PA. I feared it and cowed to it.... again, conflict avoidance is a hallmark of my own PA.

I am working on it. It is difficult.

examples:

1. Work: Colleague calls and says: I have booked you for an on site job in Chicago Wed and thursday next week. I saw that those two days where open on your schedule.

In the old days: I see that he is correct. I say... errr... well, ok... I will try my best to be there. and then, I fail, or show up late.

Nowadays; Yeah.... I am open, but, Monday and Tuesday I am booked for a job in New York and another first thing in Boston on Friday, and heading back to FL. Why did you not friggin look at the week in full before you made a commitment. It is friggin there. You need to find someone else...

2. Wife: Calls and says: Stop by a market and get (a particular brand of something, and a particular brand of something else)...

In the old days: I say... errrr... ok... will do what I can... (fully knowing I cannot get them)... gets home with something else..... admonishment and critisism ensue. I get defensive and sulk.

Nowadays: I say: it is 8 in the evening. Those kinds of things can only be found in market ABC and they are closed already or too far away for my comfort. I can get you substitute X or Z....... if you don't want those substitutes... I cannot help you.

admonishments and criticisms ensue... but, I don't sulk: I rather say: to bad. Get them yourself....


There is still anger in me for getting those kinds of requests and demands, but, I try to deal with it right away, and stand my ground.

That being said, it is not always that I am really concious about it, and I sometimes revert to PA behavior.

Now, the drawback is that I am getting divorced. But, I still have a job... you win some, you loose some.

I never felt any satisfaction in letting people down though.... I feared it.

I have a boss (well, we are partners, but I have a smaller share of the co); very aggressive go-getter... he thrives on conflict, and tells people to **** off on a regular basis.... but, 2 hours later, he will call them all smiles, he gets angry,,, then it is in the past, and he moves on. That is what I aim for.

working on this
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 04:44 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

I think PAs recognize their negative feelings, but don't want to label them as "anger" because being angry isn't viewed as being nice, good, friendly, etc.

I would say to my STBXH, "why does that make you angry?" And he would respond with, "I'm not angry, I'm just [fill in the blank.] Usually he was frustrated or didn't understand why someone else did something. But he rarely owned up to his anger. And he definitely would be defensive and sulk/pout, but didn't really process anything that I could see. If you just let some time pass and then react the same way the next time something happens you don't care for, you haven't learned anything.
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 10:37 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

Hmmmmm...... I recognized it in myself with my ex. I didn't recognize it as anger, more like frustration. He wouldn't communicate with me, and when he did....he'd tell me what I think, no matter how much I protested or tried to say MY thoughts.

I ended up being passive-aggressive, yes....getting my secret, petty digs in when he was such a d*ck. H e refused to discuss family/kid issues, schedules (not his problem), etc.... Oh ya? Well, I think we will all eat Daddy's favorite ice cream since he won't come home and eat with his family. Oh, you are going out on the boat with your friends all weekend and ignoring your family again? Oops, all your clean laundry somehow got mixed up with your dirty laundry.

In retrospect, oh my gosh it was so petty. (It was a long 23 years, there was a LOT of hurt and frustration on my part.) But it worked.... made me feel better to see him all frustrated and foolish. The satisfaction was real. I couldn't hurt him with my words (Ha! He wouldn't hear them), I couldn't figure out how to leave, I was trying hard to stay....the petty crap was all I had. Kind of a defense due to frustration, but seems more like pay-back. I was certainly aware of it tho. It was mostly in the last 5 years, when I was 40ish, grown, thinking for myself more, seeing things more clearly, wondering about the future....

Whew.... I'm so glad that is over.
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 05:23 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

If you feel someone is being passive aggressive with you, it may be because they do not feel safe being direct. What you can do is make it safe for them.

You don't have to agree with what they say, btw. You can listen and try to understand where they are coming from without getting defensive or reactive.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 08:45 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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If you feel someone is being passive aggressive with you, it may be because they do not feel safe being direct. What you can do is make it safe for them.

You don't have to agree with what they say, btw. You can listen and try to understand where they are coming from without getting defensive or reactive.
At university, I shared a suite with 2 other women. It was the 80s, so well before the digital age or any time that having a cellphone could fit a stundet budget.

I put an anwering machine on the phone as they were called at the time. The other 2 women were able to access their messages. One was very good about writing down my and the other womans' messages. And I did the same whenever I accessed the answering machine.

What I noticed and what other people who were trying to reach me noticed was that the answering machine was never reset.

It became clear that it was down to one person. I aksed nicely if she could reset the machine once she checked the messages. She said would, she didn't.

Finally accepting that my gentle reminders were getting what I wanted, I asked her is there was something more that I needed to do.

She said "whatever you want, I'm willing to do whatever you want."

So I explained to her that I want the answering machine reset to receive messages since all three of us depend on people who contacting us ...like for study groups.

So I still found the answering machine UN reset after she took messages off. I would ask her what is preventing her from doing it..... trying to have an open honest discussion with her.

Her response was whatever you want that's what I'll do.

Which never happened.

@jld, please tell what I was doing wrong in that scenario.
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