Do you have a passive aggressive streak? I know it’s difficult to admit it out loud, but I want to help you see it in a different light. I want to help you understand your behavior for the coping skill that it is.
When someone is passive aggressive, here’s what’s happening- you’re expressing your negative emotions indirectly rather than directly. Instead of having open, honest discussions about how you’ve been wronged, or what’s hurting you, you may instead hint, become silent, deny, and use other subtle methods to send the message that something is bothering you.
You may not even realize that you’re being passive aggressive at times. Resentment combined with a fear of conflict are the perfect ingredients for a passive aggressive recipe that sneakily starts to take over the way you’re being, what you’re saying, and how you’re acting.
Signs of passive aggression in relationships
Here are the signs that you be passive aggressive.
- You take jabs or make sarcastic comments.
- You think “They should know why I’m mad. They know what they did.”
- You become defensive but it sounds like a long, drawn-out story about why it wasn’t your fault.
- You say “I’m fine”, when it’s clear that you’re not.
- You make hints at being upset or wronged.
- You withdraw you energy as a way to communicate that you’re upset.
- You struggle to tell your partner what you want them to do.
- You say “sorry”, but secretly believe that you’re not at fault.
- You feel justified in your behaviors based on how you wronged.
The hidden truth behind passive aggression
As you’ve probably guessed, passive aggressive behavior is an attempt to avoid conflict. Conflict is uncomfortable, especially in a romantic relationship. Because passive aggressiveness masks your truth, may not even be aware of how much they are actually resenting their partner. This is why many relationships are brought to a standstill. The resentment has become so overwhelming that it has caused an emotional block.
Instead of bringing the issue up and dealing with it, you become withdrawn and you shut down communication unbeknownst to you. This can be incredibly frustrating for your partner who has done nothing wrong but is left in the dark about what’s going on inside your head.
So why is it so hard to be honest? Well, there are a few reasons.
- You may have been raised in a home where you were never allowed to be angry. You were never taught how to communicate your feelings. When you tried as a child, it didn’t go well. As a result, you haven’t learned to express your emotions and the resentment that builds up inside of you has nowhere to go.
- Second, you may be afraid of losing your relationship if your partner becomes upset. You don’t want to rock the boat and so you bottle up your feelings.
- You be still be stuck in your wound and dedicated to proving yourself write. You’re unable to back down and step out of your child part because “that’s not fair.”
3 Reasons why you be passive aggressive in relationships
There are many reasons why you might be bringing these behaviors into your relationship. Three of the most common reasons for this type of behavior.
- You are not being heard or acknowledged. If your partner doesn’t listen to you or acknowledge your needs and desires, you might start to feel powerless. This feeling of powerlessness can lead you to behave passive aggressively to get your needs met without your partner even realizing it.
- You’re feeling inadequate. There is nothing more painful than feeling like you aren’t good enough, especially in a relationship. If you feel like your partner is more successful, smarter, or more attractive than you, you might start to act out passive aggressively. Again, your partner may not even realize what is happening as they don’t understand that this is your way of coping with your insecurities.
- You feel overly responsible for your partner’s happiness. This is a very common reason for passive aggression. If you are always focused on making sure your partner is happy, you may not realize that you are neglecting your own needs. Once this happens, you may do or say things that you don’t even realize are harmful to your partner.
How can you become more upfront in your relationships?
If you suspect that you may be engaging in passive aggressive behavior, the first step toward becoming more upfront is to recognize the signs in your own behavior. Next, you must let go of the shame and guilt that you may be feeling. Once you own your behavior, you can start taking steps to change it.
The first thing you can do is to learn how to identify when you are being passive aggressive. Once you know you’re doing it, you can stop. Next, learn how to communicate your needs directly and assert yourself. This can be incredibly challenging, especially if you’ve been engaging in passive aggressive behavior for a long time.
CAVEAT ALERT! If you suspect that you’re being passive aggressive in your relationship because you’re truly not safe to express yourself, you’re stuck in a dysfunctional cycle that makes it impossible to be healthy. Seek couples counseling so that you and your partner can start to resolve this pattern.
Passive aggressive behavior can be detrimental to your relationships. It can lead to resentment, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. You can overcome passive aggressive behavior by recognizing the signs in your own behavior and then taking the steps to change it. Once you’ve done this, you can start to have more open, honest relationships with the people in your life.