Relationships that are passive aggressive are difficult to manoeuvre. Here are 7 important things to know and by the way the PA is probably having just as bad a time as you are.
1 Understand why its happening
People that are passive aggressive find it incredibly hard to talk about their emotions. Rather than owning up to their feelings they behave in such a way that it is hard to confront them about what is really going on.
2 What the silent treatment is saying
When the PA feels emotionally vulnerable they shut down, hide and withdraw. The shutters go down and the locks are engaged. This is a defence mechanism* to a situation that is very hard to handle. The problem with shutting down is the negative impact this has on others. They are cutting off a potential source of help, love and acceptance. This flight response leaves the other person feeling responsible for solving the problem.
3 Check your reactions
Its important to understand your thoughts and feelings. What are the most common emotions you feel? Do you feel responsible for fixing things? Do you blame yourself for creating this problem. The difficulty of being in a relationship with a PA is the constant thought that things can change if the boat is rocked. It’s normally you that is steering the boat. What happens to your needs, your opinions and your voice? What is going on inside you?
4 How you collude with it
This might be hard to accept but each and every time you hold back on communication because of fear of outcome you are colluding. When you don’t challenge you are enabling the behaviour to continue. If you are constantly propping up your PA partner, making excuses for them and not establishing rules, you are a BIG part of the problem.
5 Personal boundaries
Personal boundaries can either be explicit in terms of what is and is NOT acceptable behaviour. Alternatively on an energetic level if can be the protected space around yourself which does not allow emotional abuse or manipulation to take hold of you, seep into your soul and drain your energy. Do you have boundaries? What are they? How do you cope energetically when you are in the worst throes of PA abuse.
A codependent response would be to control the PA by trying to heal the divide, even when that means taking the blame and apologising when they have NOT caused the problem. This anxious type of holding on means the PA gets off “scott-free” without facing up to the issues and the CD can breathe a sigh of relief. The rational side of the CD will know this is wrong but the emotional side will tell them its ok, it doesn’t matter. The CD is diminishing their own sense of value by giving in until the next time.
7 Taking personal care
When the PA turns the tables on you, blames you, attacks you, ignores you and manipulates you how do you hold on to your sense of reality? When you try to tell them how you feel you might as well talk to a wall, only a wall does not fight back. Try asking them to repeat what they are saying and then check back with them. Did you mean X or Y. Tell them you want to understand them so they need to be more precise. Let them know you have heard what they have said but you do not agree. Then leave the room. Do not try to persuade them otherwise. Their twisted sense of reality in this moment will not allow them to be wrong. Empathy is in short supply.
Go take a bubble bath, walk in the forest, meditate, visit a friend, watch a movie or whatever helps you to feel calm, relaxed and happy. Please share other suggestions for self-care in the comments box below.
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