How can you disengage from the destructive dynamic of unspoken anger and covert hostility? Read More
Thank you so much for this article, Ms. Whitson! Your advice couldn't come at a more appropriate time for me. Lately, I've slowly begun to notice these inconspicuous passive aggressive behaviors directed at me from various people...thank you Eric Berne! My general response is almost exactly what you suggest - I call it out with a statement such as, "Mm, I can sense your anger." And then I move on with the conversation, pretending as if nothing had happened
Usually that's followed by a lot of laughter from the passive aggressive person, genuine nervous laughter that is. Think of catching a naughty kid with their hand in a cookie jar and smeared chocolate all over their face and itty-bitty fingers. I'd been reconsidering my method, but now that you've given the green flag, well!
I must ask one question now though - what does an attraction to or of a passive aggressive person or people say about me? I.e., do you believe passive aggressives are more likely to attract passive aggressives; is there a connection? The thought alone is maddening, ugh!
Please, I look forward to your response.
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Signe Whitson is a licensed social worker and co-author of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd ed.
It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.