When making lots of positive changes in life, growing happier and more fulfilled, the funniest phenomenon can occur: some people will react by trying to chip away at your confidence in passive aggressive ways. I mean, it’s understandable to a degree. If you are growing and people around you are stuck or standing in their own way, they want to keep you with them. If you grow, they might lose you if they don’t want to grow, too. Sometimes people get passive aggressive when they surround themselves with others who are the same. Passive aggressive behavior is not fun to experience and certainly not a good way to live if you are interested in living a happy, healthy and creative life!
The funniest phenomenon in my own life: every time great things happen, I wind up with at least one person heavily targeting me in a passive aggressive manner. It used to make me feel stressed, small, it would rattle my confidence and would ultimately help me fall off my own happy path to be targeted in this way. Once I learned to spot the passive aggressive stuff more appropriately and stayed aware of it, the targeting (although it still crops up in my own life) has become motivating more than detrimental. After all, if my purpose is to help others to have more stable, healthy, happy lives, each passive aggressive person who comes at me is another person who reminds me how important my personal mission is to my life!
While it’s not always an easy fix to handle the problem of passive aggressive people, awareness was the first step to making it better in my own life. All the fury, confusion, stress, lack of confidence…. it all dissipated when I could understand the dynamic of how it was happening in my own life, and started taking responsibility for spotting it and dealing with it!
Here are are some of the ways I learned to identify passive aggression around me….
1. People who make you so angry with their backhanded insults even though they are taking to you with a smile on their face are a big red flag. Passive aggression is the WORST because you look like a lunatic if you try to confront someone who is “so nice.” If you feel this anger, you have been warned. Do not share a lot with this person lest you enjoy being stabbed in the back. If it’s someone close to you and this happens often, maybe a therapist can help to diffuse the anger and unravel things.
2. Being afraid certain people will no longer be in your life if you pursue your dreams shines a light on passive aggression. Many of my clients have said a version of this phrase that breaks my heart: “I want to make changes and be happier but I know that I will lose this person in my life if I do because they don’t agree with my dreams.” Lots of people hold themselves back because someone (or many people) have warned them that if they started making art or went back to school (etc, etc) that they would likely not stick around to support them because their dreams were “foolish” or “stupid” or “just dreams.” I had a boyfriend tell me we would break up if I studied subjects I was interested in. He was right. I broke up with him a week later. How could someone try to stop me from doing what I loved?!
3. People who are “just joking” when they say horrible things to you frequently, and perhaps even laugh, are often big-time passive aggressors. Of course, if you are hurt by what they say you just “can’t take a joke.” These little jokes diminish your confidence if they are hurtful.
4. People who complain about you but refuse to talk TO you. Direct people will sit you down and have a conversation. Passive aggressive people will complain about you, in my experience, without ever telling you directly what they have an issue with. Yikes, yuck, not fun.
5. People who gossip about others to everyone. You have to know that if you are being gossiped TO you will likely be gossiped ABOUT.
6. You can’t get a straight answer from someone about important issues. Some questions have no straight answer as they are truly up in the air. But, most times, “we’ll see”, “maybe” and “I don’t know” are purely infuriating 🙂 More on this type of passive aggression and wishy-washy-ness right HERE!
7. People with someone to blame for everything. In my experience, you’ll be blamed for something, too!
8. Someone who reminds you in really underhanded ways that you are not that great/successful/beautiful/ fortunate in their estimation. My favorite ones, ” You are looking really good, for your age.” … “You know, he’s a good guy to date since there aren’t many guys out there who are single”…. “Your blog is cute. Is it your hobby?”
In my own experience, whenever I can avoid passive aggressive people I do it right away. I don’t get angry any more, I feel lots of compassion for people, actually, who are that angry and unable to deal with it. But when you can’t necessarily just avoid people, let’s turn to Dr. Phil for some useful advice on handing this bad-vibe passive aggressive behavior:
Don’t feel guilty.
Remember that you’re not to blame for someone else’s passive-aggressive behavior.
Refuse to play their game.
Because a passive-aggressive personality doesn’t know how to respond appropriately to conflict, he or she will most likely deny everything. It’s important to express your concerns and anger, but stick to the facts at hand and how his or her actions make you feel.
Confront their dishonesty.
Not confronting the passive-aggressive behavior will only reinforce it. Confront the person immediately and let him or her know you are confused by the behavior. If they value the relationship, he or she has to stop the behavior.
Don’t let them get away with bad behavior.
Instead of letting the person off the hook and allowing him or her to continue the behavior, try to create an atmosphere in which he or she might feel more comfortable sharing feelings of anger, resentment, fear, etc.
Ultimately, its most awesome when you make changes for the better in your life and inspire others to do the same for themselves! And, that happens a whole lot, too!
& One of the biggest benefits of ditching passive aggression is the massive amounts of energy and abundance that are opened up!!!
The Catalyst Camp is coming for the New Year to open up your life to the new like never before! It’s 8 weeks of de-cluttering, letting things go any lightening up life in radical ways. You can sign up HERE to start the free 3-video series & revolutionize your clutter clearing.
I’m so excited to share this with you!!!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens!