How to Stop Being Passive Aggressive

PAT workbook

howtospotDo you want to learn how to stop your own passive aggressive behavior?

Perhaps you’re just now realizing that your past marriage struggles were connected to your own behavior, or perhaps you've come to terms with the fact that you need help stopping some action that you didn't even know you were doing. See, listening to your spouse really teaches you what needs fixing, and this goes both ways!

There are many sites that tell husbands how to identify their behavior and actions, and many sites that help wives identify it, too. You can even find internet resources to understand why passive aggression exists in the first place. However, very few resources help you, as the passive aggressive man, understand how to STOP your behavior. It’s like learning how a bomb is made, but not learning how to turn it off in time to save the world!
Your reasons for changing are your own, but the first step in your healing process is to accept the past and move forward. Don’t be beaten down by guilt or anger at how your passive aggression has hurt the marriage – focus on what you can actively do TODAY to change your life TOMORROW. So where do you start? What are your options? How can you change your behavior instead of just coping with it?

The best place to start is with your own self and your own story:

Yes, you may have read a lot online about why passive aggressive people behave the way they do… in general. NOW, you need to look closer at yourself and see where your past pain lies. For some, this may mean some hard (but necessary) sessions with a professional grief or abuse counselor. Your past pain will often dictate how you react now: so if you understand your past pain, you can almost predict which situations are going to set you off! Begin compiling knowledge about your “trigger” situations, and start thinking now about the bad and good ways of handling the emotions that surround each trigger situation. Once you know the hurt buttons left by your childhood abuse, then now you know what needs attention in order to be managed. Emotions repressed keep making you act up, even forcing you to act silent and hostile towards people who love you.

Need some help? Let’s look at an example of a reaction:

You realize that in your interactions with your wife, you often remember something one way, while she swears you did or said something another way. If you know that a common passive aggressive behavior is to defend, deny and rationalize what happened in order to force it to conform with your own views, you’re on the right track to getting to know yourself better. In what ways might, say, last week’s interaction be a case of you rationalizing an event? A good sign of you doing this, is that you don’t actually remember exactly what happened, only what you suppose happened, based on “This is how I would act.”
So, what do you do? Ask the other person: "Please, can you tell me again what is your version of what happened? I need to compare that with my recollections, and see where my memories are going in a different way than yours....It would be good to agree in one story and not have two competing with each other, right?"

Need more help identifying basic passive aggressive behaviors, and applying them to your situation?

You can find all the information you need in our system, called "The 4 Steps to FREE Your Marriage of Passive Aggression!” You won’t just learn about how and why you act passive aggressively, but how to use that knowledge to STOP your passive aggression once and for all.
  1. janet, 26 March, 2013

    A great article of insight for any passive aggressive who is “open” to learning.

  2. Nora Femenia, 27 March, 2013

    Thanks Janet for this comment…in this blog, we assume that we are all learning in life, so sooner or later, everybody would “open” to life lessons…It is not fun to get stuck into repeating the same wrong defensive actions, right? it gets boring and stale pretty fast, I do believe, when you realize that repeating the same defensive PA behavior gets you away from all the adult fun….you are ready to move and grow up!

  3. kawabi, 17 April, 2013

    And isn’t the idea of moving and growing up a wonderful goal for passive aggressive men to shoot for! They have no idea how much joy life would hold for them. But alas it’s theirs to determine!

  4. kawabi, 17 April, 2013

    And isn’t the idea of moving and growing up a wonderful goal for passive aggressive men to shoot for! They have no idea how much joy life would hold for them. But alas it’s theirs to determine!

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