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Passive–aggressive behavior

It’s Their Drama, Not Yours

I learned a valuable lesson today:  “It’s Their Drama, Not Yours!  I’m a fixer-upper by nature and it doesn’t hurt that I am in a helping profession.  “Did I hurt your feelings”  Whose feelings are they?  “You should have known in the first place that I didn’t want to do it!”  “So why didn’t you let me off the hook?”  Am I a bad guy because I should have known that even though they said,”Yes,”  They really didn’t want to do it.and they felt it was an imposition.

Now whatever you do, they get mad because you couldn’t read minds.  They take that load off their shoulders and put it on yours.  Now you end up feeling bad instead of them.  It is like a sudden rainstorm landed right above your head and you get soaked.  They wind up feeling better and you have accepted a part in their drama that you really didn’t want and really didn’t earn.

What if you had a really good time and thought they had too.  Whose fault is it?  It’s not yours and why didn’t they “fess up earlier that they didn’t want to be there.  Imagine you cooked a really good meal from a recipe you found and wanted to try and felt you had successfully mastered a good meal.  Then someone tells you that there was something in the meal that caused an untoward reaction in them and you should have known it would, but they didn’t remind you and ate it anyway.

Another person who ate the meal smiled and said that they liked it but really they didn’t like casseroles as they were a meat and potatoes type of person.  What happened is that you fixed a nice meal for a couple of ingrates.  What a waste of time! and now you get mad when you didn’t feel bad before.  Is it catching?  Drama attracts drama.  Sometimes no one is happy unless no one else is happy.

Is drama a disease?  Sometimes it is not so bad when the contagion involves happiness and success.  How about learning that someone is going to have a baby.  Whoops there was one person in the crowd who is childless and unable to get pregnant or better yet did successfully have a baby by in vitro fertilization and then lost it to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  This can be a wet blanket and the person with the news now feels bad that they even mentioned it in front of that person.

Some people even stage a situation so they can create drama.  This woman had a display of fragile glass perfume bottles on a coffee table and almost the first thing that she did was to call the toddlers present attention to it and if they would not have touched the perfume bottles in the first scenario; but they will now.  Possibly it will result in a broken bottle or two, maybe the most expensive ones.  The payoff in drama is superlative and the instigator is super comfortable in her innosence, but the others don’t know how she did it or even that she set it up.

See the previous post, “Leave the Drama to the Lama”.  Feelings can be catching; but often not in a good way.  Have you ever left a group when an argument became heated.  Some of these situations can leave you shell-shocked with PTSD  (post-traumatic stress syndrome).  This is what makes soap operas so exciting.  What will they stir up next?  Calm down.  Go listen to some soothing music, take walk in the park.  Make a quick exit back to where you are feeling good again.  If someone had a bad cold would you stand close to them, kiss them or maybe even drink out of their glass.  You wouldn’t expose yourself to that so don’t expose yourself to somebody’s drama.

Sometimes drama is fun like in movies or books; but you know it is not really happening in front of you.  You might get scared, laugh hysterically, or even shed a few tears but you know down deep that it isn’t real.  If you tend to take some things seriously, then you might avoid certain types of stories.  Me, I don’t like horror shows.  There are enough really scary things happening in real life.  Has anyone followed the news lately?

 

I Am Free Of Judging Myself By Others

rp_374315433_150_150.jpgI just discovered in my old age (where I have found that insights blossom) I am no longer bound by what others think.  I don’t have to judge myself by people who are successful in my field or in any other field.  I am free to be me finally.  Instead of withering on the vine, I am growing again in new and different directions.  I grant that I have had difficulty with the judgments  of me made by others.  I may not be the world’s expert on a subject, but more than likely they aren’t either.

Be on your guard as you may be greeted by the anger of others if you do assert yourself.  Attacking what is the most defended by others may reach the highest rewards.  Who am I?  Am I what I want to be and can be if I only let go of others’ past influences?  Make way for ME!  I am discovering things that were lost or discarded as not achievable.  Now can I trust my own judgment?

rp_362536218_150_150.jpgWould you, if you were a man, wear a suit that was tailored to fit some other man.  I had a husband who was very particular about collar sizes and sleeve lengths in his shirts.  I have discovered I only like music that is sung a certain way and any other versions almost offend me.  Am I right or wrong?  Or have I discovered music for myself?

Failures do not always define you.  Whose judgment are you relying on?  Come home to the person you should know ( yourself) and glorify that.  This is not permission to clobber other people so you can have your own way, but you might make some people unhappy because they can no longer control you.  We all do not have the same tastes!

rp_363561405_150_150.jpgYou probably can no longer be the peacemaker just giving in because someone with a louder voice is used to making a group’s decisions.  For example, such a person then picks the restaurant for a group to eat at which then decides what you can have to eat.  Avoiding conflict does keep the level of the drama down but at what price to you?

I am becoming well-defined as I age and have lumps and bumps that may not please others or that may interfere with what they (not I) want.  Who am I actually?  Do I have undiscovered talents and interests that I can use to shape “my world”?

When Being Nice Is Not Being Nice At All

Facial Expressions?Recently I saw a neighbor lady that I had not seen in a long time.  We did not click this time either; but I didn’t think about it.  I had tried to make conversation but it didn’t work out.

I didn’t think about it until some of my family was talking about her and something she said to a person at the occasion where I saw her who was recovering from a recent total rejection by someone he or she had been in a relationship with for a long time.

It was very hurtful to hear about because it was obvious that this person had come to the party to at least distract his or herself from thinking about their recent loss.  The lady’s tone of voice was very sweet and it was obvious that she probably would say, if asked, that she was just expressing her concern.

Again I didn’t think about it; but the family members talking about the interaction felt that what the lady did was inappropriate and reminded the person she was talking to of his or her painful experience and the fact that he or she might be not be over it.

It wasn’t til later today thinking over what was said that I remembered that I never felt comfortable around that person because I often felt that she was insincere, possibily even phony, when she was trying to be nice.

The way the person said what she said and the circumstances under which she said it made it difficult for the person receiving her inquiry to tell her to leave him or her alone as he or she did not feel like talking about it; but the damage had already been done.

What do you think?  You know what I think.  Perhaps this is judgmental of me but perhaps this is a reminder to trust your gut feelings.  If something feels wrong even if it sounds okay, it still might be wrong.  Could she have been faking it?  Could she have been passive-aggressive and by shoving the knife in a little farther reminding him or her of their sorrow?

 

Conversation Stopper: People Are Rude Because Other People Are Too Polite To Call Them On It

Arp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifre some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite?  Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves?  Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it.  They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.

What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it.  It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t.  Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGeverybody looked to see who was coming in.  The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?”  It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked.  It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group.  This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply.  I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.

rp_7510823738_6616ac3a63_m.jpgSometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return.  Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience.  People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.

Take A Trip This Christmas And Leave Your Worries Behind

Take a trip this Christmas.  It doesn’t matter where you go  if you know you won’t have to do anything but enjoy the ride.  That is what I am going to do when I take a Christmas shopping trip tomorrow.  Somebody else is driving and I don’t have to worry about getting in and out of the vehicle and finding a parking space.  We are going out to dinner and seeing Christmas lights.  The most it will cost me is a small fee for the ride and whatever I decide to pay for my food at dinner.  I have nothing in particular to get and I will be happy to get out and about no matter what stores we go to.  It is out of my hands and I like it that way.  There will be no drama as far as I am concerned as I don’t expect more than what I have described on this trip.

rp_300px-Face-smile.svg_.pngI leaving my worries and bills at home.  My motto at home is ” what house gets kept I keep”;  and I am sure the household chores that don’t get done before I go will be there waiting there for me when I get home.    I will empty my mind and leave room to experience the gift of the present.  I will not be concerned with whether or not I will make friends. . I just want to get along with the other passengers.   I won’t be rude or crude.  I don’t care which seat I get in the bus.  I won’t fight over a window seat .  I won’t try to take control of the group riding the bus and demand that they sing Christmas carols, the ones that I want to sing

I am going to let go and no matter what happens (even if it doesn’t make me deliriously  happy) I am going to accept it and realize that the privilege of getting to go on the trip is enough  and so is having a chance to to leave all my cares behind.  Now your “trip” might not be my “trip”; but do it anyway.  Just let go and do something with few expectations about what will happen.  Give yourself a break.  If  possible, leave all or as many of your responsibilities behind as you can.  You can always take them back up again when your “trip” ends.

When Will You Come Out Of The Closet And Help Yourself Or Others??

rp_300px-Baby.jpgThe value of human life is invaluable but many people want us to hide our light under a bushel basket so that they can let theirs shine.  When are you going to come out of the closet and stop others from making us do this.  Just as it is life changing for a homosexual to come out of the closet so is it life changing for any individual to come out of the closet and expose who he or she really is.

Forcing a belief system on another through coercion is not the way to spread love and knowledge.  We all have something to contribute and to have another’s belief system forced upon us out of the fear that our expressing our beliefs system which is different will restrict theirs.

I believe we all have something to contribute if we believe in our selves from the most developmentally disabled individual to the most brilliant and verbal individual.  When we assemble in a group, why do we almost automatically begin to judge ourselves against each other.  Leaving some people out and promoting other people to positions of leadership over the rest of us.  How often does someone sit quietly in a classroom because they feel that they have little to contribute.  So often people criticize others and complain about others so strongly that they cause others to shut up and make no contributions for fear of being criticized.

rp_3476636111_c551295ca4_m.jpgGreat people like Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross have recognized the contributions of “little” people that most people don’t notice or ignore.  How about the cleaning lady who when she goes into hospital rooms her mere presence quiets and comforts dying patients?  Consider the behavior of the “Father” also known as Pope Francis who has not taken on the pompt and circumstance of being the Pope and thus has discouraged those in the Vatican and Cardinals and other clergy in positions of authority from elevating themselves above other religious or common folk.

How uncertain are we about expressing ourselves when we see what other people can do to us when we express ourselves.  In psychology, this is called relational aggression versus direct aggression which involves actually hurting someone physically.  Rejecting someone and encouraging others to reject them too can be deadly (sometimes resulting in self-murder or suicide or mass murders of innocent people) .  Have you ever feel that your own opinion was as good or better as someone else’s or that your instinct to do something in a given situation would have resulted in a better outcome than someone else got? but we stay quiet.  How much does that actually help the world  if all the good people  keep their mouths shut.

All of us are diamonds in the rough.  It just takes cutting and polishing to bring out our brilliance.   Some of us are fearful of going through this process.  Some of us do not have enough self-confidence.  What if people like Ghandi kept their mouth shut.  What if mother Teresa had been content to just be an ordinary nun?  Would she have been more comfortable?  When Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross came out against quarantining and rejecting children who had aids (through no fault of their own), she was virtually kicked out of the community that wouldn’t let her take them in.

embarassingquestionsHow often have you been in a group where you kept your mouth shut even though you might have said what many others were also thinking?  This can be true about supporting homosexuals right to lead normal lives without rejection and persecution.  Have you ever kept your mouth shut in a group where someone was trying to do this? or something similar?  I am not wanting to take away anyone’s right to disapprove of homosexuality while taking the right to app0rove of it or at least not to reject it.  On the one hand, everyone  has rights and we have to be careful not to take away someone’s rights while asserting the right to have our own.  On the other hand, have you ever supported someone else’s rights while keeping quiet about your right to your own beliefs?

Should You Celebrate Yourself Before You Celebrate Others?

PsychosisVonnegutCoverIs this an either or question?  Think of Life as a balance scale with yourself on one side and others on the other side.  Too much on one side or the other and the scale won’t balance.  It also can make you grouchy and resentful and possibly greedy.  How about the person for whom nothing is ever right and who is difficult to please.  Too much candy and then none of it tastes good.  You work hard so you can enjoy life and then you never have any time to do what you enjoy.  Rush through things and then you don’t have time to enjoy them.  Best get-a ways I ever had were when we forgot about time and enjoyed the setting, the company, the conversation, and sharing the experience.

Savoring is enjoying what you do have.  Whether it is clean sheets, fresh corn on the cob, a clean car, or unexpected, but welcome, company.   Savoring involves being able to accept a change of pace when one offers it self.  Remember when you were in schoo9l and had a snow day?  It represented a free day to go out and play in the snow.  Did you ever really miss having school on a snow day?  Have you ever read a book while caught in a traffic jam after an accident on the interstate?  I did and it was one I had already read so I reread it.  Did I waste my time grouching and complaining about the jam or the fact that the only book I had I had already read.  Time went faster as I lost myself in the story I had read before.

“Enjoy yourself.  It is later than you think,” was a title of a song.  Did the writer know what he or she was writing about?  On the other hand are you too busy enjoying yourself that you have no time left for anybody else?  Grandma or grandpa are you too busy to babysit your grandchildren because you always have a golf tournament, a card game, or a committee meeting.  You may even rationalize this away by telling yourself that the grand children will be more fun and less work when they get older and then you never find the time then either.

me,me,mejpgAre you there for every meeting your social or church group has and have held every office over the years and some for several years in a row.  Do people say that they don’t know what they would do without you?  Are you tied up babysitting for family and the family always knows who they can get at the last minute.  You!  You tell friends that you would like to do something with them and then are unable to follow through with your plans with them because of family obligations.  You have planned a trip somewhere on a special day and have made all the reservations and paid fees that are not refundable but don’t go because you have to do something for someone else and that is more important than what you wanted to do.

Is “wallflower” your middle name?  Do you let everybody else take all the credit, get all the prizes, and celebrate all the milestones?  Would you be surprised if nobody showed up for your own funeral and/or that your relatives didn’t even have a memorial service for you.  In fact, while you are alive you even encourage them to do this when you die.

There needs to be a nice balance here.  You are just as important as others are and others are just as important as you are.  Giving and receiving are both part of the equation.  Knowing what might really please you now may be the inspiration for something you can do for somebody else later.  Parents of young children often know this as do members of families with a chronically ill loved one or a recent unexpected death in the family.

kindness,acts ofGiving is important.  Gratitude is important.  Giving as a form of gratitude is one of the most sincere forms of thanks.  You give me some of what you have and I give somebody else some of what I have.  It is the daisy chain of gratitude.  I may not be able to pay you for the tank of gas I needed to get to the doctor, but may be I can mow the neighbor’s yard.  Remember the old story about someone who gets out on the wrong side of bed and kicks the cat who scratches the dog who bites the mailman, etc.  Start your day off right and who knows who the favor might effect?

Ever skip a meal to get something done (maybe even for someone else) and then wind up so hungry you bite someone’s head off?  Was that a really good idea to begin with?  Being self-sacrificing can lead to “gunny sacking”  in which you expect the recipients to pay you back without you asking them to do it or to stop asking you to do things for them or to say, “No,” once in awhile when you offer to do something.

 

Do You Think About What You Do

Defence mechanisms

Defence mechanisms (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

Or do you just do it?  Is your intuition leading you in the right direction?  Or are you often finding that your intentions are misunderstood?  You don’t always create the right impression.  You can’t make the other person react the way you want them to react and/or make them react the way other people have reacted in the past for you.

You need to be alert and sensitive as to how the other person you are dealing with is accepting your contribution.  The sooner that you pick up on the fact that this particular action of yours is not going over well or being taken in the way that it has been taken by others in the past the sooner you can set things right.

Often people blame the other person for not taking it well and don’t consider their own contribution to the problem.  This leads to the use of various defense mechanisms by the person who does not recognize that acknowledging the other person’s reaction is better than denying it, rationalizing it away, or forcing the other person to accept their interpretation of it.

This often happens in abusive situations where the aim of the person is to control the other person’s behavior.  Passive aggression and mental abuse often accompany this type of behavior.  This person, rather than admitting that he or she did something wrong as far as the other person was concerned, continues to reinforce the idea that they were just teasing, were misunderstood, or didn’t mean what he or she said.

 

 

 

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After the Party’s Over, Part One

Get Over You

Get Over You (Photo credit: Rovxz)

People often go through more than one relationship with a significant other in their life time.  Here are a couple of tips about traps people often fall into after a break up of a relationship.

You may fall for exactly the same kind of person you broke up with.  For example, you may have heard of people who consistently get involved with alcoholics.  One factor that is part of this is that having a new relationship to escape into is one reason why people break up when they do.  Actually you seriously need to take a break between relationships to get your head together before starting another one.  A year after I got divorced, I met a guy that I really fell for almost instantaneously.  It wasn’t until two months later when we broke up that I realized he was passive aggressive exactly like my ex-husband.  I had just escaped making the same mistake again.

Actually we are talking about making two separate mistakes here.  One is that the person has found their next relationship before they get out of the one that they are in and are likely not only to connect up with someone just like the one they are leaving because they have had no time in between relationships to figure out what went wrong with the first one and get into another relationship, any relationship, so they do not have to be alone and have to meet all their needs themselves.

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Active, Passive

Passive Me, Aggressive You

Passive Me, Aggressive You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which would you rather be active or passive?  Passive lets other people determine things for them.  Active initiates projects.  Often in marriages, one person is active and the other person is passive.  This can work successfully for a time.  Then the active partner gets tired of making all the decisions and taking all the responsibility and the passive partner begins to resent being left out of decisions that affect him or her and having no say in his or her life.  What is very scarey is that when this situation gets out of hand it can lead to murder.  Now who do you think is the murderer and who do you think is the victim when this happens?   You did not guess wrong if you selected the active or passive partner for either role!

When things become one-sided, anger builds up and the passive partner decides to take action or the active partner decides that they are tried of taking care of their partner all the time.  The active partner feels that he or she has been doing all the work.  The passive partner feels that he or she never gets to do what he or she wants to do.  The active partner gets tired of providing for the passive partner and the passive partner feels that have to take what they get from the active partner and have no choice in the matter. Who’s in control? The active person or the passive person. Neither one. One has someone dependent on him or her which to some extent controls their life and one lets someone control their life. Also partners in different relationships can take different roles: passive in one and active in another.

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