When being direct cuts the ish down in size
Stan, after cooling off on his business trip, took time to assess what was going on. Something was upsetting his lady. Something was not working for her. Probably some degree of resentment was brewing. But how to get his wife to speak about these issues?
After making a list of all the times he felt something passively aggressive had been done, Stan decided to be direct in his search for answers.
Ignoring the fact that his return was received with a cold shoulder, Stan settled himself in as he would normally do. Given that it was her day to control the television, Stan called it an early night. The conversation would need him to be fully rested.
The next evening, instead of controlling the television, as it was his night, Stan invited his lady to chat. At first, she was very reluctant, but agreed to it, then slipped away and got on the phone with her girlfriend.
Understanding that this was another passive aggressive avoidance move, Stan pulled out his phone and called his lady. When she ignored the call, he sent a text to remind her that they had an appointment that evening to chat.
Expecting his lady to rush to bed after chatting on the phone, Stan positioned himself very comfortably on her side of the bed and waited.
Not surprising, she was not amused and wanted to argue about Stan’s unusual behavior. Biting his lip, he listened and asked a few clarifying questions to make sure he understood all of her points. Eventually, her steam ran out, because he was not responding in a fired up fashion.
Once Stan saw the fight was out of her, he quietly pointed out how hurt he was that the woman he trusted to have his back had attempted to sabotage his career by sending his clothes to the dry cleaners the night before his business trip. Stan pointed out how upsetting it was that his lady didn’t trust him to handler her feelings well… leaving her to resort to throwing him under the bus socially with insults that made him look bad.
Stan wrapped up his expression of pain with how he felt foolish trying to talk to his wife and getting the silent treatment…signaling that he was not even worth her time and attention.
As expected, his lady countered, protested, refuted, explained, and dismissed his feelings. Stan was not deterred. He patiently waited for her to finish before resuming his conclusion. There were limits to be placed.
“If you have something that is bothering you, do please state it in a manner that you’re sure I understand. I can’t read your mind” Stan started to say as his lady tried to correct him. This time, he quietly raised his hand in a sign asking for silence.
“Any issue that bothers you that you’re not voicing to me will be treated as if they don’t exist” Stan said with a much more stern voice. “I can’t atone for errors I don’t know I’ve made. You have to speak and tell me or else I can’t help you”
The impatience in his lady’s face would have normally moved him to apologize for what he had said, but Stan had had enough. This required firmness in a loving way. If his wife didn’t get the message, their relationship would not survive the degradation passive aggressiveness was dealing them.
“If you can’t voice your feelings, we can go to a therapist. If you still can’t voice your feelings, we will eventually have to consider parting ways… as I refuse to walk on eggshells the rest of my life wondering what is causing you to be passively aggressive towards me” Stan concluded.
Instantly, his lady ran her tears routine and blamed him of being insensitive and hurtful for no reason. Stan didn’t budge or apologize. He waited quietly. Once the tears ended, his lady looked up puzzled as to why her tears had not worked. Stan was different. There was bite behind his bark. His eyes were resolute. His face showed traces of compassion but his brows appeared ready to back up his words.
“Whenever you’re ready to tell me what’s bothering you in our relationship, I’m ready to listen” Stan said. The tone in his voice was all business but not without traces of deep caring.
With some trepidation, his lady started to open up about her concerns, worry, frustrations, and suppressed anger. They spoke deep into the night. This was the turning point in their relationship they needed. The path was not easy. The journey was not straightforward. There were times when both wondered if their marriage would survive.
The truth did break to the surface. Lots of changes had to be done by both parties. It took a lot of time. A lot of work. But in time, they made the progress they needed to make. The passive aggression became a thing of the past. Their communication style improved. Life became much better.
(not all relationships will turn around… no matter the amount of work put in. This blog holds the optimist view that more relationships can be fixed than are being fixed… so it models the idea that one can fix problems with the right amount of effort, support, help, and conversations)
If you’re a passive aggressive person… understand that in a way, you’re the actual victim. You’re not being true to yourself. You’re not owning your stake in the concern you have. Handing over the responsibility to someone else to fix the issue is a sure fire way to be disappointed.
While in the short term, you might feel great that the other is the ‘victim’ of your passive aggressive ways, most people will eventually stop bothering with you. No one likes being the recipient of passive aggression. It’s annoying. It’s counter productive. It’s grimy. It’s not cool. When everyone leaves you… who will you have in your corner?
Passive aggression shows up not just in romance but everywhere. Sometimes you can get away from it. Other times you have to suck it up. Example: you can drop an annoying friendship but it’s hard to drop your boss in a rough economy.
Boundaries have to be set with diplomacy yet without weakness. They have to be set respectfully and maintained. However, boundaries alone won’t work. A dialogue to address the issue has to happen. Sometimes with the help of an intermediary. (thinking along the lines of a trained professional)
Once a direct approach is tried, one has to hope that change happens and things get fixed. If not, it may just be time to move away from that degree of toxicity. Passive aggression is toxic. It ruins relationships of all kinds.
While it’s easy to write a sweet happy ending, let’s be real… this passive aggressive ish works because those who do it can get away with it. It will ruin connections. It will end in tears. However, not always. Thankfully.
If you’re the one being passive aggressive and you’re told about yourself… cut it out! Figure out what you need to do… and stop that madness!!!
If you’re the getting the passive aggressive ish done to you… set your limits. Hold them. If they’re not respected, drop them like yesterday’s news. If you hold on to them, you’re now allowing them to remain poisonous in your life… and also affect the lives of others. Don’t be complicit to this ish.
editorial note… this passage was purely for entertainment purposes. This is not advice, nor should be taken as advice. Should you find yourself dealing with passive aggression, understand that there are many ways to address this… many of which are professional in nature. Furthermore, this is a purely fictional work of art and is not representative of any personal experiences of the author or anyone the author knows or anyone the author may have witnessed. do feel free to use this as a conversational starter piece if you’re so inclined