Passive Aggressive Communicator
by: George Tannous, PhD
Become a Certified Life Coach
Important: Before you study this lesson please watch this video, “Why?“. Example: If you or your client are in a relationship and the other person displayed an attitude of not being “Truthful”, you’ll need to master, and you’ll need to educate your client the following: “Confront and Level!”, “Assertive Communications!”, as well as “I Feel Good, PST!”.
Make sure to answer the questions at the end and follow the instructions for submission!
We all have met people who say something and then go on to do the opposite of what they said. We have met people who agree to certain terms and then go on to sabotage someone’s ideas and plans deliberately. Many people label these people as “two-faced.” But in many cases, things are a bit different.
Agreeing to something and then engaging in opposite actions is a common trait of passive-aggressive communicators. We often come across these people in our social circle, our workplace, and sometimes we observe this behavior in our friends and family. So why do people engage in such behavior? Why do they agree to things they are not clearly comfortable with? Before we answer these questions, it’s important to understand what passive-aggressive communication is.
What is passive-aggressive communication?
One day in a sales meeting, Rita proposes an idea for a new project that can really help customers achieve their goals. Everyone in the room including Emily, nods their heads in agreement, and Rita receives a lot of praise. But when the project takes off, Emily tries her best to sabotage the project. She comes up with various excuses, loses files by accident, and simply works in a manner that enables her to conveniently miss all of her deadlines.
This is one example that illustrates the behavior of a passive-aggressive communicator. Even though Emily had a choice to speak up, she chose to keep quiet and shows her opposition in a destructive manner that takes a toll on her team and her job.
A passive-aggressive communicator usually keeps things to themselves even though they may have negative feelings about the situation. Passive-aggressive communicators don’t suppress their needs like a passive communicator and don’t engage in verbal violence to impose their views on others like an aggressive communicator might. Instead, they oppose things and voice their opinions in indirect, more subtle yet destructive ways.
Even when they want to clearly say no, even when they are completely uncomfortable with the situation, they nod their heads in agreement and then they go ahead and make conscious choices of attacking others by using subtle methods. These methods include being sarcastic, coming up with multiple excuses, pointing fingers to blame others, etc.
But do these ways lead to anything constructive? Why do passive-aggressive communicators engage in such destructive behavior?
There are several reasons why people engage in a passive-aggressive mode of communication. Some passive-aggressive communicators are afraid deep down that even if they manage to voice their opinions, no one will care. Their opinions won’t be valued and will be tossed aside.
Some passive-aggressive communicators fear the resentment and disapproval of others. They fear that if they say something, people will disagree with them, which will lead to anger and conflict. Some pick up the habit of communicating passive-aggressively because that’s what they witnessed in their homes while growing up. Some simply engage in this behavior because they are unaware of other methods that can help them conduct positive communications. They are unable to voice their opinions effectively.
A passive-aggressive communicator will feel powerful at times when they deliberately undermine or manipulate someone. But this behavior often backfires. A passive-aggressive communicator doesn’t realize that his behavior will take a toll on him until it is too late.
Impact of passive-aggressive communication:
Passive-aggressive communicators try their best to oppose people and refuse to open up about how they actually feel. Hence, they engage in activities that show disagreements that fuels their resentment. As a result, passive-aggressive communicators start building walls around themselves and become bitter with time. Their inability of dealing with things constructively and positively gives rise to hostility, stress, and anger.
A passive-aggressive person starts cultivating the habit of gossiping and playing the blame game. A passive-aggressive communicator often uses sarcasm, manipulation, rumors and gossips to show disapproval. When people confront a passive-aggressive communicator, they simply deny the existence of any problem and pretends that everything is fine.
But as passive-aggressive people start making use of blame games, gossip, and criticism, they start building a reputation of being unreliable and unauthentic. If someone talks behind someone’s back, spreads rumors, and uses gossips as a weapon just to make someone feel inferior, chances are, they do the same with everyone. Hence people stop trusting passive-aggressive people and the passive-aggressive communicators end up alienating themselves.
The passive-aggressive communicator often feels frustrated with himself as he fails to express his thoughts, desires, emotions, and needs. As he fails to address situations constructively, he often feels upset and annoyed with himself as well as the people around him.
Imagine shutting yourself down repeatedly every day and then finding escape by using all sorts of destructive habits. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
If passive-aggressive communication has so many negative impacts on a person’s life, wouldn’t it be better to change this mode of communication?
Avoiding passive-aggressive communication:
A few simple steps can help you break free from the tiring cycle of passive-aggressive communication. And we won’t lie to you, it will be difficult at first, you might encounter some uncomfortable situations, but taking steps in a positive direction will be worth it.
Feel your emotions: Many spiritual gurus and motivational speakers have labeled certain emotions as “bad emotions.” These are anger, envy, fear, etc. As a result, many people keep things inside; they suppress their emotions and feelings. But are these emotions really so bad?
When you get hurt physically, pain lets you know that something is wrong with your body. Similarly, when you get hurt emotionally, these emotions tell you that something is wrong. There is nothing wrong with feeling angry or envy or fear as long as you find the right and constructive outlet. It’s OK to be angry, to feel jealous or to be afraid. Feel your emotions and find a positive outlet. Find solutions. Don’t use your emotions to hurt someone by using destructive means.
Keep an open mind: While having a conversation, keeping an open mind helps you be prepared for numerous possibilities. It helps you accept diverse opinions and helps you project your ideas more effectively.
Ask yourself questions: “What will happen if I confront someone about something I don’t feel good about?” “How bad can it get?” Answering these simple questions can provide you the courage to make positive conversations and find solutions.
Eyes on the prize: Give yourself clear goals. Remind yourself why you are trying to change your behavior and what’s in it for you. Remind yourself that you don’t want to indulge in the blame game, you don’t want to sabotage your coworker’s ideas, you don’t want to spread rumors, but you want to focus on something more productive and positive.
Say no: Next time you see your friends criticizing someone or gossiping, remember you have a choice to either stay and engage or leave. Say no to passive-aggressive behavior. The more you stay away, the more you’ll improve.
So how has quitting passive-aggressive communication changed your life? What measures did you take and what was your experience?
Please write an essay, up to two pages, about a past experience you or someone you know had during your passive-aggressive attitude. Tell us in detail, who, what, when, where, why, to whom, the place of what you did. The outcome! And tell us in detail how you could have changed that behavior from what you learned today so the outcome would have been better. Internalize this lesson. Make it become a part of you. Share your story in the Forums.
Our advice is for you to practice “Not being a passive-aggressive communicator but an assertive communicator” for at least a week. Tell others around you to point out any time in which you didn’t. Have them hold you accountable. Visit the Forum and do a “CONFESSION.”
What is a Confession? A Confession is when you’ve displayed a wrong behavior and were held accountable by one of your family members, peers, or even yourself. Visit the Forum and tell us about it. We will give you feedback! Make sure to watch the video about Confession for more details! Furthermore, become a member of the Forum and give feedback to others!
Read the article? Time to introspect!
- Have you ever been in a relationship with a passive-aggressive communicator? How was your experience? What challenges did you face?
- Do you also find yourself saying yes to things you are not comfortable with? Do you deal with the situation aggressively later? Why?
- Do you think passive aggressive communication makes situations difficult? How?
- Do you also find yourself gossiping or putting blame on other people? Why do you think you do that?
- What steps are you planning to take to ditch the habit of communicating in passive aggressive manner?
This module includes the following:
- Why Become a Life Coach
- Passive Communicator
- Passive Aggressive
- Good Listener
- Attitude Check & Confession
- Confront and Level
- I Feel Good, PST™
There is no way any relationship will survive without having the qualities mentioned above.
Make sure to read each article carefully at least three time. Print your workbook (will be available per lesson.) Answer all questions and enter them in your workbook. Once you have completed this entire journey, you will be issued a Life Coach Certificate so long as you’ve been a member of the “Forums.”
Also, follow the instruction for sharing your story in our Forums as well as participating in our “Forums,” especially our unique “Confessions Forum” so you may gain practice, knowledge, experience, and expertise!
I am thankful that you have given me this opportunity to share all of this with you. May God bless you and bring prosperity and peace into your life.
George Tannous, PhD
This is Where Confessions, Attitude Checks, Accountability, Give and Receive Feedback Comes in. Practice for Your Own Practice!
Well, you might be asking yourself “How am I going to get practice for my practice?” Great question and I thought you’ll never ask!
#1 You are part of a group with the same interests.
#2 You have a question in regards to one of your clients and we are here to help you.
#3 Others have questions and you can give feedback and help them.
#4 You need to do a confession.
#5 And much more.
You Are Never Alone! Join the Forums!
Once you have completed this entire journey, you will be issued a Life Coach Certificate. Must participate in our Forums to get certified! You’ll achieve your internship by joining and partcipating in our “Forums”.