Is very easy to discover the inherent pain that a relationship based on passive aggression brings. It is important that you identify exactly the behaviors that trigger your confusion, isolation or anger, and ascribe them to his peculiar way of doing life in general. You are not responsible for his attitude, learned in his childhood.
A passive aggressive intimate connection is a sad paradox. It is as if, in the middle of our constant search for love, companionship and support, we humans encountered a huge blockage that says: “I will pervert and block all your steps towards reaching love, in such a way that it will be impossible to discover who did it and how it was done…all the way I’m professing my love and devotion for you.”
This is the challenge presented by the passive aggressive person’s constant sabotage, which has the objective of deliver a permanent resistance to any deep intimacy, trust and union. You would say, “This is contradicting any search for love…! How can it be that in the middle of this warm relationship building we encounter such a strong resistance that the same love gets destroyed?”
It’s difficult to accept, but some people are so scared of being deeply loved, that they will unconsciously frustrate all steps towards intimacy with passive aggressive behaviors. So, you are warned. And probably you know already the multiple ways in which this passive aggression will rear its ugly face. Perhaps if we review some of them, we can begin to offer an strategy to understand how it happens and so reduce the damage. Let me count the ways…
1.- Behavior always focused on negative aspects of life: The basic attitude here is that life is a miserable experience and there is no joy to be expected, so we are victims of a cruel destiny. In this view, others including you are responsible for the circumstances he is in, and little can be done to change. In order to continue piling up misery and rejection, positive aspects are thoroughly ignored or rejected.
TACTIC NUMBER 1: To counteract the effects of PA behaviors you need to be sure of your own accomplishments, and be proud of them. To keep the mindset of victim hood, your partner will diminish or ignore them, Remind yourself constantly about your good qualities, before it’s too late and you begin to accept your partner’s misery framing as the mirror with which you perceive yourself. Catch yourself diminishing your merits and tell yourself to Stop! Do some breathing exercises and tell yourself how good you are at what you do.
Keep your good friends around, so they can also remind you of your good qualities.
2) Behavior that induces a constant confusion in your brain The main problem with passive aggressive behavior is how to identify the unhealthy interaction. This is difficult because your mind needs to observe and evaluate the situation while it is simultaneously being confused by a barrage of contradictory messages. He’ll say his actions stem from good intentions and the want to provide support, while at the same time he abandons any commitment at the least opportunity. Moreover, he is always going to rationalize his hurtful behavior, producing more confusion in your brain.
TACTIC NUMBER 2: Accept confusion and emotional pain as indicators of being in a relationship with a passive aggressive (PA) person. Another kind of person would make you feel totally different; the truth now is that another person is confusing and manipulating you! DO take your confusion seriously: go for a walk; do something alone; write in your diary; learn breathing exercises to calm your brain and heart; watch a positive romantic movie in TV; anything that fills you with mind clarity and peace is welcome!
3) Sabotaging your best projects: If you show enthusiasm and excitement for some personal project, it is sure that you will receive negative opinion, criticism and put down comments. Because your partner will perceive your projects as threatening the amount of attention now allocated to him, she/he will sabotage them.
TACTIC NUMBER 3: Don’t expect or want anything important, fundamental, or vital from a PA partner, at least at the beginning. The more detached you can be from the final outcome of any shared intimacy, the more protected you become from manipulations that will eventually disappoint you. So, you need to present your heart’s desires in a way that is detached from the emotions they produce in you. If you show enthusiasm and high expectations, any project will be nipped in the bud. If you can present the most fabulous ideas with a blank face, then you’ll likely to get what you want. Learn to control any visible emotional connection or desire, while you move ahead with your projects simultaneously.
4) Giving you the “Silent Treatment” Maintenance of aloof silence toward another as an expression of one’s anger or disapproval: a deliberate discourteous act. Are you getting the cold shoulder, but you don’t know why? Is someone who’s normally eager to speak to you now keeping your conversations to the bare minimum? This can be hurtful, frustrating, and confusing.
TACTIC NUMBER 4: Asserting Yourself in light of the silent treatment. If you remember that he uses this way of controlling you, without a clear reason that would justify his detachment, then you can be safer. Think again that this reaction is his choice, that he could behave in a different way, and that this behavior is not revealing or confirming anything about your value as a person. You are not responsible for his behavior, he is deciding to be cold and distant and controlling. Again, detaching yourself, having your own projects and friends, can help you protect your core from the isolation forced unjustly on you. When you feel stronger, perhaps you would try to confront him explaining the impact that this behavior has on you, and on the future of the relationship.
5) Always “not being completely there” In a time of need, the PA person will always be, as the saying goes: “an hour late, a dollar short, or a block away.” He backs off at the right moment, doing nothing when something is expected from him. He hides behind a curtain of good intentions…”I tried to, but…” He “was meaning to go with you to the doctors…but something else came up.” He can give you a dozen reasons why he could not do what he promised. The first excuse is that he forgot about the deal. This leaves you confused between believing him, and listening to your hurt feelings.
TACTIC NUMBER 5: Every time you receive this excuse; each time he says that he “forgot”, substitute the words: “didn’t want to” instead of “forgot.” You then can properly realize what is going on, and can move on with your decisions. You put an end to the confusion and paralysis provoked by his mix of good intentions and omissions.
Living with a person who relates in this way can induce pain, confusion and loneliness. Regardless of that, you might be very well looking at his good aspects and trying to make a good effort to develop a stable and long term relationship.