Mental Health: Passive-Aggressive Behavior and the Four Levels of Awareness
When it comes to passive-aggressive people, little attention is given to their behavior. And many who exhibit behavior are not even aware of it. According to Daniel Hall-Flavin, a psychiatrist, passive-aggressive behavior is when someone shows a pattern of exhibiting negative feelings indirectly. This sort of behavior indicates that there’s a disconnect between what the person says and what they do.
Passive-Aggression Is All around You
Society today is high strung – competitive, full of pressure, and intensely stressful. Passive-aggressive behavior is on the rise and it is disempowering for both the aggressor and the target. Perhaps you have not recognized how badly your community is poisoned with passive aggression. That could be because you don’t know much about it. When you know what to look for, it will take you by surprise to know prevalent this behavior is.
Examples of Passive Aggression
One simple example of passive aggression that you have most likely experienced in your community and maybe even in your close circle of friends is negative gossip. Other cases of passive aggression re sarcasm, sullen resentment, simmering anger, backstabbing, silent treatment, pretend ignorance, willful neglect, blaming, excuse-making, phony compliance, mixed messages, broken promises, deliberate sabotage and so much more. You have probably recognized many of these examples from the people you’ve met in real life. Think about it; how many of your friends, family, colleagues, or maybe even your spouse demonstrate this behavior? The question is, do passive-aggressive know when they exhibit passive-aggressive behavior?
The Four Levels Of Passive-Aggressive Self Awareness
In this instance, the aggressor is entirely unaware of his or her passive-aggressive behavior and is oblivious to the actions that sho this trait. An example of this kind of situation can be someone who continuously avoids unpleasant conversations and tasks. Behavior that would stem from growing up watching others deal with uncomfortable situations similarly. They are not aware of their actions and their passive-aggressive behavior. To them, their actions are what they consider ‘normal.’
This is the aggressor who is relatively aware of his or her resistance in a situation but perhaps doesn’t identify it as passive-aggression. This is the person who does what they do or says what they say without realizing that they are passive-aggressive. An example is an employee who happens to gossip about a colleague, maybe stemming from jealousy, and then brushes it off as chit-chat or ‘elevator conversation.’
An individual who is reluctantly aware of their passive-aggressive behavior is mindful of the behavior. But doesn’t want to be and wishes that his or her actions were not the way they are. In this scenario, the aggressor wants to find a better means of handling matters and would instead communicate effectively than to exhibit passive-aggressiveness. For example, a person may know that the silent treatment is hurtful to their spouse I a marriage but is unable to find a way of communicating.
Last but not least, we have the passive-aggressor who is in hostile awareness. This aggressor is aware of their passive-aggressive behavior and even understands how destructive it is, but they don’t care. Their behavior is disruptive and interferes with tasks and relationships. Still, the aggressor continues that behavior in their own will and somehow has a sense of pleasure from the control it offers them. This is a mental problem of sorts and shows a passion for underhanded power, which may make the person feel like somebody.
Passive aggression is easily identifiable. But it is difficult for people to recognize these traits in themselves and to make a change about it. If you can relate to some of these things and find that perhaps you may be passive-aggressive, do yourself and those you love a favor and get some help to sort through your behavior. Passive-aggressive tend to struggle both in professional and personal endeavors through dysfunctional communication, social or professional alienation, and even ruined credibility. Getting professional help is worth your time and money. You will be happier, and so will all those around you!
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