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  1. #1
    half-nut member briochick's Avatar
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    Default passive aggressive

    Ok, I've heard this word thrown around a lot both in rl and here and yet I rarely hear people define it. I think that they assume that the term itself must be the definition. I suppose these same people might also think that butterflies are floating sticks of margarine.

    passive-aggressive as defined by the American Heritage dictionary: Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder characterized by habitual passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, and inefficiency.

    And, according to that fount of (mis)information, wikipedia: Passive-aggressive behavior is passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.

    As far as I can understand the general public has, in fact, limited the definition of passive aggressive to this: A tendency to avoid conflict or unpleasant confrontation. As far as I can tell those who also use the term often have elevated it to the status of a four-letter insult.

    My question then holds: what about avoiding conflict or unpleasant confrontation is so offensive? And what is the opposite of that, and why is it better and less damaging? Or, wait, does damage even come into the equation?

    So, as an MBTI type that's been accused of being passive aggressive I'd like to discuss this. Let's discuss passive aggression? What is it really? Who has a right to claim others have it? Who should accept that they do consistently exhibit unhealthy aggressive behavior, similar but opposed to those who exhibit bullying or rage (for the record we're counting losing your temper often and purposefully intimidating, openly manipulating, and insulting other people as also being unhealthy aggressive behavior), do about it?
    -Brio

    "I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well."
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  2. #2
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    It's not avoiding conflict. It's more doing things in an attempt to convey anger, without openly confronting someone...silent treatment might be an example, though that seems fairly openly aggressive to me. i agree the term is overused though.

    People can often seem passiveaggressive without necessarily attempting to be.

    I don't think passive aggression is any better or worse than normal aggression, but it can be a lot more frustrating to deal with for me. I hate guessing games.
    -end of thread-

  3. #3
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    I agree with Brio, people have picked up the term "passive agressive" to mean "I don't think you deal with your anger like you should."

    That being said, I've had a weird anger issue with an INFP where they felt they needed to try to get physically pushy with me (not fight) to try to dominate a social situation and deal with some pent up frustration they had which was brought on by themselves.

    I can understand people wanting a label other than the "crazy" label I use to describe that driving need to do something bizarre because of internal turmoil.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by briochick View Post

    My question then holds: what about avoiding conflict or unpleasant confrontation is so offensive? And what is the opposite of that, and why is it better and less damaging? Or, wait, does damage even come into the equation?
    How is it not bad? How else do you expect to resolve situations if you don't make your feelings known?

    Personally, I see anger and conflict as something requiring resolution in order for everyone to remain healthy, and that can't be done if both parties aren't willing to communicate.

    It's unhealthy for people to keep it bottled up inside, and it's unhealthy for it to be released in the form of passive aggressive, or aggressive behavior.

  5. #5
    Member janey_girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenity View Post
    Essentially, you're mad at someone, and you do things attempting to make them see your anger, but you don't communicate it verbally.
    This is the way it is for me.... Expressing my anger is very difficult for me, having the awareness of this sometimes helps. I've had an issue with my land lady recently where she has increased the number of weekends her son (who is 8) stays and she has a new boyfriend over more and more - it's not the kind of house that is big enough for her, me and her entourage. Admittedly I do spend some time at my boyfriend's house, but as a fellow introvert we have spent way too much time together and it has caused friction...

    I let her know (by e-mail) that I felt uncomfortable in the house with her son (I just don't really like kids) and her boyfriend. It wasn't the best way to go, but infinately better than me flouncing round and ignoring her and taking out my frustrations on my poor boyfriend...

    We "talked" about my issues last night and I think she is a little more aware of my need for space... It's only for 6 weeks - then I move into my own space - finally!

    But I digress....

  6. #6
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenity View Post
    My mother is an INFP. I had first hand experience with passive-aggressive behavior throughout my childhood. Not unlike myself, she lived in her own world and was oblivious to the evil doings of her Fi.

    My brother and I, both being STPs, didn't understand her behavior because it was so irrational to us. She was also oblivious to this and couldn't understand that people couldn't read her mind.

    So we got the silent treatment a lot because we couldn't read her mind and she, for whatever reason, was incapable or unwilling to communicate her feelings. I always felt like nothing I ever did was good enough or right, so I learned at a young age to emotionally disconnect myself from her as protection. As a result, and although I love my mother, we have never and likely will never be close emotionally, and that breaks my heart.

    It wasn't just the silent treatments - it was any and all forms of passive aggressiveness. I see it as stemming from an incapability or unwillingness to confront the situation and communicate your true feelings effectively through words, while communicating your anger or aggressiveness passively through actions, or lack of action.

    Essentially, you're mad at someone, and you do things attempting to make them see your anger, but you don't communicate it verbally.

    Like Randomnity, I've never been good at guessing games, especially when it comes to other people's feelings. If you want something from me you have to tell me.


    I think I've come across another thread where the poster talked about his INFP mother doing this to him.
    I am so glad that I have made a point of communicating clearly with my kids whenever I am upset, there is no point in using passive aggressiveness with my own children since I am not afraid of confrontation and I can't continue it for long.

    I can't hold on to anger long enough for my passive aggressiveness to even work, sort of shut up shop, or stomp around for less than an hour before we hit open confrontation mode where I need to deal with it now rather than later.

    On the other hand my entire family seem to be made up by passive aggressive types (especially my esfj/ & p siblings) and my isfj friend. It can be irritating when it goes on for far too long, initially it doesn't bother me since I understand it can be a difficult thing to confront someone in an assertive manner, so I can easily make allowances for someones need to communicate their upset this way.

    However if after a few hours in which I have attempted to get you to communicate properly, by showing you that it's ok to just speak, the passive aggressive person is still doing it, then I can get rather annoyed myself.......which is never a good thing really.
    Echo - "So are you trying to say she is Evil"

    DeWitt - "Something far worse, she's an Idealist"

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  7. #7
    Member Shaggy's Avatar
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    I always saw passive-agressive as a path to agression rather than the way you deal with agression. I see the silent treatment as implosion. A way to deal with stress.

    Passive-agressive is personality trait that I believe a lot of us introverts have in common. It is a cumulative amount of stress that stays at bay until it has reached a line of frustation. Once the line is reached, you act upon the agression that has been building up inside you. How you act upon that agression can vary. Everybody picks their battles, but enough is enough. I typically see this agression being very intense relative to the ones that respond immediately to mostly all stress as it comes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rangler's Avatar
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    Passive aggressiveness is possibly the most frustrating thing to deal with as an ENTJ leader. How much of my time is spent trying to destroy these bitches? A lot.
    R[a]ngl[e]r

  9. #9
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    i don't do passive aggressive either...just SAY it already...damn!
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rangler's Avatar
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    They should all just drop dead.
    R[a]ngl[e]r

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