Are You A Big P.A.I.N. ?
Passive Agressive Incongruent Negatron?
I would venture to say, comfortably, that all of us have experienced a person who suffers from P.A.I.N. and have used this behavior to be a P.A.I.N., as well. Being passive agressive is not a mental illness, in itself, but is often a factor that goes, hand in hand, with other illnesses. It presents a larger problem when it is extreme.
The passive aggressive person hurts himself and others by being unable to truly communicate what they are feeling. This person may be angry and instead of voicing their real problem, they will hide behind insults slung like arrows then try to remove them with a chuckle. It's the person who snubs you and then hides behind the shadow of a joke. It's that incongruent co-worker who smiles and tells you they are happy to help you with your work load - but never does because secretly they are hostile.
Passive aggressive people tend to be very negative. They may try to avoid confrontation by pretending they are not angry even though everyone including themselves knows that they clearly are. This person will try to get under your skin. They may like creating drama to avoid work tasks. This person is the one that is always right. 'Their Way' is the only correct way to do things.
All of us resort to some of these traits from time to time and that is completely normal. One of the problems with this communication problem is that you can not resolve your problems if you will not admit there is one and discuss it. Therefore, feelings of anger and hostility may reflect negatively and keep that person from growing in and outside of their own head.
If no problem exists - a resolution is not possible.
Here is an example that I encountered in the workplace:
(The setting is a laboratory and the boss walks in with 6 technologists writing reports at a table)
Big P.A.I.N. : Lucy and Kelly, I want you to take the research polygraph machine apart and clean it.
Me: What did I do? Fine....I will do it in the back room and listen to music while I fight the beast.
Lucy: (giggles and smiles) Ok! Sure! That won't be a problem!
The big pain left the lab and little pain told me with open hostility that she wasn't going to do it and I could do it myself the second the boss let the door close behind her. The only problem is that little pain didn't realize big pain quietly came back and heard every word she said. Little pain ended up "resigning" shortly after as big pain now kept a close eye on her.
I am the agressive person - I always have the issue of saying what is on my mind and I don't candy coat things. It gets me into trouble but I like to cut to the chase. The drama that comes with the word games and mysterious innuendos make me tired. I don't want to have to think so hard about what someone really "means". It can be exhausting and way too high maintenance.
No, no...nothing's wrong!
"Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict - alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternative to violence." ~Dorothy Thompson
What to do?
If you recognize this trait in yourself or others, first of all, put it into perspective. It is a common behavior that everyone who is human experiences but if it destroys your relationships and stunts communication with the people you love, you may need to re-assess your feelings.
A passive aggressor is usually very good at arguing and blaming other's for their unhappiness. This person is also probably a very good fighter and has been doing this most of their lives so put the boxing gloves down. Pushing you to the point of frustration is what this person thrives on - don't let them feed off of your emotions. Try using rationality and open discussion. It may be difficult but approach this person with gentle questions or allow them to feel as if they have control and ask for their opinion if a problem rises. Ask that person if they can offer a good resolution to a complaint.
If you see this behavior is destroying your relationships you may want to seek therapy. Anger is a natural human emotion and normal people do not stop caring about others for expressing their anger and frustration. If there are two or more people in one room - there will be conflict. It is natural and unavoidable but how you deal with conflict will determine a big part of your happiness. Unresolved issues are just bad seeds waiting to sprout. As soon as the conditions are right - add water and they will grow.
To continue to smother feelings will not extinguish the fire. It will just serve as kindling for a long smoldering, future fire. Not only will you feel the heat but everyone around you might as well.
Don't be a big P.A.I.N.! If you are angry about something the issue will not resolve itself. Passive aggressive behavior can and will destroy relationships. Put yourself and those around you at ease - just tell us how you feel!
And a few gems from Drbj!
- Assertive Training Course
Assertive Behavior - Part One Are you a passive person because you find it difficult to say No? Or an aggressive person because your credo is “my way or the highway”? Or an assertive person...
- Simple Symbol Personality Test
Now that you have examined your personality by taking (a) the Pig Personality Test, (b) the Celebrity Personality Test, and (c) the One-Question Personality Test, it’s time to take a look at the Simple Symbol Personality Test.
- Dealing with Difficult People by drbj
Why are difficult people difficult in the first place? Almost any competent psychologist can tell you the answer. Because they get a payoff when they are being difficult. How should you react to them?