I do well with joking, having fun + light heartedness. I don’t mind some teasing + jabs. But I can’t stand passive aggressiveness. What’s the difference? The intention. The motive. Folks use PA to try to make a point. To change something. To communicate but in a cowardly, indirect, insensitive way. It’s like inviting them to dinner + they come in surprisingly through the side door. You’re shocked, not ready, a bit startled. THATs what it feels like.
I do believe this pattern is a habit. My mother was pretty well versed in “joking” about things I did that bothered her. It’s very hard to feel supported, encouraged + empowered with this “side door” approach. I’ve since learned that kind, direct + clear communication takes practice. It takes pushing through the discomfort + fear and sitting down with someone to really share what is bothering you. It isn’t easy. But it is so respected + needed when we love someone.
Do you use PA and pawn it off as a joke to avoid hard conversations? How do you feel when someone else is PA with you?
If you’re on the receiving end of passive aggressive comments, it can feel cornering + confusing. Often we don’t get why someone says what they do, or where it is even coming from? Even worse, we don’t know how to respond #boundaries. I know I feel bits of anger + sadness rise up. I also feel like throwing in the towel + running away for good. However I have some scripts I use now to keep my armor down, not attack the other person, and really do what I think we both want, which is to better communicate and hence, improve our relationship. Or at least give it a chance to improve. The key is kindness, consistency and assertiveness.
Swipe through for some of these scripts.