I don’t know that it’s “catching” in the clinical sense, but it is definitely catching in the “self defense” or “get even” sense. Between my BF and my mother, (we’re the caregivers) I have developed a little passive aggressiveness myself. I’ve been with the BF nine yrs. and had my mother for eight. You start to learn what works and what doesn’t, if you decide to stick it out. (I must say that if I was younger, I probably wouldn’t).
There are many theories on how to handle passive-aggressives, and at one point or another, I’ve probably tried them all. I have learned getting angry usually has more of an effect on me than on them, so I try not to do that very often. If I get totally upset with the BF, he reacts perfectly. He looks so rejected, hangs his head, says “What an idiot I am” two or three times, and then I’m the one who feels bad. It’s the perfect manipulation!
Another theory is to call them out on their behavior. I have gotten pretty good at that one, but alas, it doesn’t work all of the time. I’ve done that quite often and the reaction I have come to expect is “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was doing that.” Does the behavior change? Usually not.
An example is anytime my kids come in our room either to talk to me, get the telephone, or use the computer. The reaction is always one of complete annoyance. The children are not hurting anything. Usually not interrupting anything. Does the BF actually say anything? Of course not. Remember, one of the causes of this personality disorder is not being allowed to express themselves as children. When they grow up, I don’t think they really know how.
For fun, and hopefully to end this because the kids have gotten where they don’t want to talk to him if they can help it, let alone ask him for anything, I asked him “What about them asking for the phone (example) got you so upset?”
Reaction: “What? What are you talking about?”
I’ve had to do this one a few times, but it’s finally making a difference. Now if my daughter is at the computer or in the room talking to me when he comes in, he hesitates at the door for a second, (not too long because he doesn’t want me to address him), and then completes whatever it was he came in for. The kids have said he’s gotten nicer. I think it’s a combination of them getting older and him hiding his feelings better.
I never claimed to have the cure, just a way to make it easier to live with.
Filed under: causes, coping, hidden feelings, mental health, passive aggressive behavior, personality disorders, Uncategorized | Tagged: causes of personality disorders, coping, dealing with passive aggressive, hidden feelings, mental health |