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  • Áine Murray

The disguise of passive aggression!

Passive aggression often gets a bad rep, after all it can be a contributor to the breakdown of personal relationships, family relationships and relationships in the workplace. It is often associated with aggression, anger and ignorance. Because of this we are very rarely able to see our own passive aggressive tendencies, and believe me, we all have them!

Pointing out other peoples passive aggressive tendencies relieves us of having to take responsibility for our own part in a breakdown of communication, (it takes two to communicate) and further again it distracts us from being emotionally open to what we are feeling.

Here are a few examples of passive aggressive behavior's that we all can relate to:

* When a heated conversation gets to hot to handle, do you find your self shutting down any further communication and refusing to discuss the issue?

* Have you ever found yourself using your phone whilst in conversation with someone?

* Have you ever found yourself ignoring someones calls, messages or texts because you're annoyed with them, instead of clearly and honestly communicating with them why you are upset?

* Sarcasm, rolling eyes, 'I'm fine' when clearly not?

The problem with being passive aggressive is that our feelings are withheld and expressed indirectly, often at the expense of ourselves but also at the expense of the person it's directed toward. Not being able to express our feelings, for numerous reasons, is very often why we default into passive agressive positions in the first place. Not necessarily because we are aggressive, in fact passive aggression is often used when we fear conflict.

We need to speak how we feel in order to communicate effectively, away from the disuse of passive aggression!

Easier said than done right? It can be easier to talk about it than to recognise it, it can be much easier to use passive aggression than to admit that we might feel hurt or ashamed or vulnerable. But it will never help you feel supported or happy and it most certainly will not help you maintain your relationships.

How to change passive aggressive tendencies?

Firstly by recognising the behaviour.

• Identifying your triggers (additional work may be needed here if they are a result of trauma)'

• Be Assertive not Aggressive! ( Assertive training is key to all effective communication, comment below if you'd like a blog post on assertiveness)

• Be true to your feelings and trust them.

• Time...Rome wasn't built in a day! We all fall back to defaults until new habits are created.

• Make peace with anger (it's a very important emotion).

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