Controlled by Passive Aggressiveness

I came to a realization that I have been letting others’ passive aggressiveness control me again and I am disappointed in myself for falling for it again. Is this or could this be happening to YOU too without realizing it? Some people with good intentions are controlled by their own passive aggressive behaviors that they have created, whether they realize it or not. Others might use it to control others, fully aware of what they are capable of and the possibilities of what they can get out of it.

“Passive Aggressive” may be a vague and confusing term for some people. So what is passive aggressiveness? Basically it is when an individual indirectly blame or verbally “attack” others or oneself in order to imply something further, usually putting a guilt trip on others. So instead of being up front or directly confrontational about something, one may say something to indirectly state it. For example, when someone simply turns down an invitation, the inviter might say “Well at least I got other friends who actually want to go.. unlike SOME people.” or “I thought you liked hanging out with me. I thought you liked me.” In a self deprecating case, an individual might say “Oh I’m such a loser, that even you don”t want to hang out with me.” Or in extreme cases of abuse, the abuser might say to their victim, “This wouldn’t have happened if people listened to me.” All those cases, others may tend to feel guilty for their own actions even though they shouldn’t be.

Reasons why people take the passive aggressive approach, are because of various reasons. One reason is that it is easier to be passive than to be up front. It can also be a cultural thing when children are raised to not be confrontational as it “causes problems.” People may feel it’s a more aggressive approach to confront and being passive is less likely to turn into an awkward fight match. When the other person is feeling guilty, they are more sympathetic than defensive and may take the blame instead thus ending an argument. But unfortunately, being passive aggressive is a weapon of choice by those who DO intentionally use it to control their victim. So another reason may be to get the other person to feel bad so that they can get what they want.

In my case, I have experienced both in my life where some did not mean to hurt me, but some others did us passive aggression to control me so they can get what they want whether they realize it or not. Sometimes it is hard to tell which one it is, especially when it is someone you are close with or care about, because you put so much trust in them and you don’t want to believe that they are trying to hurt you. Obviously, the guy, (who I may have mentioned in another entry), who made up lies about his sibling beating him up and him having no friends, was to manipulate me into hanging out with him whenever he asked; I thought I should befriend him but I also felt bad if I didn’t invite him places and he made sure of that.

But the one case that hit me recently that I realized, was probably not intentional. It was more along the lines of passive aggression that made me feel guilty because somehow in his head he actually believed these things. It was a long line of misinterpretation to the max that would result in indirectly blaming and accusing me of things completely untrue, including his own actions. In his eyes, they were true to him, but in my eyes I knew myself and knew it wasn’t true, yet I still blamed myself. My words were twisted into a whole different meaning, and words were put in my mouth that I never said, just to prove a cases that doesn’t need to be proven, and conversations were misinterpreted as argumentative, when I never was arguing or debating in the first place. For example, I would say one thing that had nothing to do with if I care or didn’t care about a certain matter, but he’d say “You said you didn’t care” making me believe that I didn’t do enough to show that I cared. It’s like if I tell you can choose which sandwich or flavor ice cream you’d like and then it gets placed on me that I don’t care if he starves or not because I didn’t choose for him. The rational isn’t there, yet I’d be the guilty one and end up feeling guilty.

When I was a kid and teen, I had a really hard time confronting people, and had passive aggressive behaviors as well, so I can somewhat understand what is going on through the minds of the passive aggressive. So you’d think that it would be easy to recognize it and not fall victim of it. But unfortunately, even though I do recognize it sometimes, my weakness is feeling guilty and easily believing others when I am blamed or used as a scapegoat, even when it is obviously not my fault. I end up believing that somehow I failed to that person.

That is exactly what has been happening to me, even when words spoken to me was over a year ago, and I let many things said to me, control me. I lost confidence in myself and started questioning everything. It was probably not his intention and he probably never realized his behavior. But I ended up believing the things said, including how “wrong” my views were in everything in life. This whole time I was so focused on what was “wrong” with me and what I “did” to cause a friend to feel this way or misinterpret. I didn’t know how to prevent a negative conversation with him or repair a fading friendship, when the truth is, he needs to resolve how he interpreted things, accept responsibility for his own actions, and end the passive aggressiveness in making me feel bad blaming me. I felt horribly guilty a lot of the times, I thought maybe I was a horrible person.. or at least in his eyes, I was constantly trying to clarify things I said, but the more I spoke, the deeper the hole was dug for me. I almost let people push me in or jumped in myself; I was close to falling in and risk never be able to come back out.

I know I’m not perfect and for the situations I have gone through, I have made mistakes along the way. I’m just glad I learned from each of these experiences and even more glad that I realize any “destructive” behaviors. My advice for others is if they find themselves feeling guilty or doing things for others because they feel bad, then there is probably something wrong. Stop, assess and also if it’s that bad to the point that a friendship/relationship is toxic, keep distant because it can do a lot of damage. Pay attention to those who may be twisting your words and making you feel guilty. For the argumentative passive aggressive people, I find it easier to keep response to a minimal, a lot of “uh huh” or not saying anything at all, because you can’t “win” or reason with them until they find their way. There will always be a “reason” that they are “right” and you are “wrong.”

For those who are taking the passive aggressive route or have a hard time confronting others, consider being considerate of others’ feelings, and avoid blaming others or making them feel guilty because it will only drive people away. Recognize your own mistakes and admit to it or at least to yourself. Recognize it’s ok to be imperfect. Also being aware things will not always work in your favor, so learn to accept “No”. Try to work out communication so it is “assertive” instead of “passive aggressive.” Being assertive means addressing a situation in a positive mature manner. For example, “I would love to hang out with you more.” Instead of putting on the blame and guilt factor into them hanging out with you more.

Conversations are hard, especially when one is on defense or offense. Speaking to someone as an equal is respecting them and caring about them instead of constantly thinking just about yourself and how you feel. Not to offend anyone, I’m just giving tough love advice. When you make this change, you will find that instead of others being afraid (e.g. afraid to upset you), they will be more likely to want to be around you, talk to you, or be open with you.

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