Ep 74: You might be passive aggressive…

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How do you know you might have some passive aggressive behaviors? The same way you know you might be a redneck. You make a list!

Here’s a fun and informational take on the Jeff Foxworthy classic, “You might be a redneck…”

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 74: You might be passive aggressive

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

You’ve no doubt heard the comedy bit from comedian Jeff Foxworthy called, “You might be a redneck,” where he lists all of the behaviors that might tell you you’re a redneck.

I’m no comedian but I have a little list I like to call, “You might be passive aggressive…”

What does it mean to be passive aggressive?

Passive aggressive is when you communicate your anger or displeasure about something, but you do it indirectly.

Instead of approaching someone in a straightforward way with the intent of resolving a conflict, you let your behaviors do all the talking.

This leaves the other party trying to guess how you might feel based on what they’re seeing from you.

We tend to associate passive aggressiveness with people we don’t like or people that are difficult to get along with.

And it’s true, for some people passive aggressiveness is a way of life.

But lots of people demonstrate passive aggressive behavior. And it’s not because they’re bad people.

It’s mostly because they like to avoid the conflict that arises from a direct and honest conversation.

Many times, a passive aggressive person simply lacks the assertiveness skills to ask directly and politely for what they want.

Instead, they prefer to just show you and hope you get their meaning.

It’s like the world’s worst game of charades , where the actions don’t make any sense and people’s feelings get hurt.

Actually, that sounds like most games of charades I’ve ever played.

You can see how much this might go off the rails pretty quickly.

Being passive aggressive is not an efficient or ideal way to communicate.

But it goes on in homes, schools and workplaces every day.

So here we go, without the witty southern Jeff Foxworthy accent, I present to you my version of “You might be passive aggressive…”

  1. If you’ve ever slammed kitchen cabinet doors while unloading the dishwasher you asked your son to unload this morning, you might be passive aggressive.
  2. If you consistently show up late for work and justify it because nobody really understands how hard you work anyway, you might be passive aggressive.
  3. If you talk about your coworker’s shortcomings behind their back, you might be passive aggressive. Also you might be a gossip, just sayin’. Watch out for this one.
  4. If you avoid eye contact and give your spouse the silent treatment after they went on an unplanned night out with their friends, you might be passive aggressive.
  5. If you’ve ever used the words “fine, whatever” in a discussion about something you’re having trouble getting, you might be passive aggressive.
  6. If you’ve ever used sarcasm as a response to someone and your neck got hot and red, you might be passive aggressive.
  7. If you’ve ever ignored a text or email so that the other person will know just how mad you are, you might be passive aggressive.
  8. If you’ve ever said yes to something you really didn’t want to do, then silently blamed the other person for making you feel awkward about saying no, you might be passive aggressive.
  9. If you’ve ever put on your very best smile and nodded in agreement like a Derek Jeter bobblehead even though you really, really disagree with something, you may be passive aggressive.
  10. If your response to someone who has just told you no is to make them feel guilty by recounting for them all the times you’ve helped them, you might be passive aggressive.
  11. If you’ve ever disallowed someone to use their blinker and move in front of you in busy traffic because earlier they pulled out in front of you unexpectedly, you may be passive aggressive.
  12. If you’ve ever been asked to do something at work you didn’t want to do and you didn’t give it your best effort because it’s not really in your job description anyway, you may be passive aggressive.

These are just a few examples.

But in each one of them, simply communicating from your own feelings and experiences would at least get a better ball rolling.

Granted, this kind of conversation can be uncomfortable because the other person will have something to say.

There absolutely will be conflict.

But learning to identify your own emotions and express them in a way that honors both people goes a long way to resolve the conflict.

You miss all that when you play this passive aggressive game of charades.

And in the end, resolving conflict brings you closer together because now you’ve been through something together that required each of you to grow.

What does this have to do with your stress, especially your stress at work?

Well, how unhappy are you when you don’t feel like you’re getting as much out of your work experience as you would like to?

How do you feel when you see others realizing their potential and somehow figuring out how to keep the pieces together?

Are they any better than you?

I would propose that they are not.

Not getting what you want, and not being able to ask for what you want is a sure fire roadmap to stress and anxiety.

And believe me when I tell you this is a skill that you can learn. It will change how you engage with the world and keep you from feeling helpless and left out.

You’re expending a lot of energy in every day. Let’s make sure that you’re using all the tools available to you to get what you need to feel engaged, focused and purposeful.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

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