Passive Aggressive Behavior

Learn how to express emotions and overcome conflict avoidant and passive aggressive behaviors.

    ways to overcome conflict avoidant and passive aggressive behaviors

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    1. What is Passive Aggressive Behavior?
    2. What Causes Passive Aggressive Behavior?
    3. Help for Passive Aggressive Behavior
    4. More Information on Passive Aggressive Behavior

    What is Passive Aggressive Behavior?

    Passive aggressive behavior, also known as passive avoidance behavior, can be seen as a type of defense mechanism used to deal with negative emotions such as stress, frustration and anger. Conflict avoidance is a key trait, and instead of confronting and expressing these emotions openly, the passive aggressive individual will deal with these emotions indirectly, often in disruptive ways.

    While the passive aggressive person will seldom display anger outbursts or confront emotional issues assertively, they are prone to other more subtle ways of expressing their emotions such as indirectly insulting someone with a joke, "accidentally" being late for an important meeting that they didn’t want to attend, or forgetting a loved one’s birthday or anniversary.

    Passive aggressive behaviors include disappointing others, being unreasonably stubborn, disengaging emotionally, forgetting, making up excuses and frequently blaming others for one own mistakes or behaviors. If someone close to them hurts or wrongs them, they retaliate by sabotaging, deceiving or undermining their efforts, all the while making excuses and always protesting their innocence if their behavior is confronted.

    What Causes Passive Aggressive Behavior?

    These behaviors are often learned in childhood when the expression of negative emotion is punished, or seen as bad or selfish. As a result, negative emotions are often suppressed until the bottling up becomes unbearable and the emotions have to be expressed in some way.

    For the most part, they are done unconsciously as the individual has little insight into what they are actually doing. While passive aggressive behavior is often subtle, it can be incredibly hurtful and damaging to relationships if it does not stop. Just as these behaviors are learned, they can also be un-learned, and with a little help and effort new ways of dealing with emotions can be adopted, and the conflict avoidant personality can be reshaped and fear of conflict can be managed.

    Help for Passive Aggressive Behavior

    Natural Remedies

    There are a number of herbal and homeopathic ingredients which have been shown to greatly help with managing emotions such as anger. Nux vom. is one such ingredient and it is commonly recommended to people who are prone to irritability and anger and those with impatient tempers.

    Another useful homeopathic ingredient is Chamomilla which is particularly effective when the emotional reaction seems out of proportion to the situation or event. This ingredient is wonderfully calming and can be used to soothe anger and irritability as well as any underlying anxiety. Finally, Lycopodium is especially useful for those who find it difficult to express their emotions and is highly recommended for someone with passive aggressive tendencies.

    More Information on Passive Aggressive Behavior

    How to manage passive aggressive behavior
    • The first step in combating passive avoidance behavior is recognizing it. Most of the time you are probably unaware that you are doing it. Take time out to reflect on past reactions and behaviors and make a list of as many passive aggressive behaviors that you are guilty of.
    • This leads us to the next step. Learn to take responsibility for the mistakes and problems in your life. Then minute you open your mouth to blame someone else, think about how you may have been responsible for some part of the situation. This may be difficult at first, but the more you start admitting it to yourself, the easier it will become to admit it to others.
    • Your parents and other caregivers may have contributed to your poor coping mechanisms, but it is up to you to change your behavior now and accept responsibility for how you react.
    • Become assertive. Passive-aggressive behavior often stems from an avoidance or fear of conflict and so it is important to address these fears. When you feel hurt or angry, don’t bottle it up and become quite, rather confront the issue as it happens. This doesn’t mean lashing out aggressively, as this is just as bad. Rather talk the matter over and speak honestly about your feelings. If someone upsets you, tell them how their actions made you feel. When conflict is out of the question, talk out the problem with someone else.
    • Learn more appropriate ways of dealing with emotions such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques, or physical exercise. These are excellent ways of working out frustrations and anger.
    • Understand that nobody is perfect, that includes you. People will always disappoint you at times, and you too will make mistakes along the way. Remember to forgive and accept the mistakes of others, as well as your own.

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