Have you ever asked someone why they are not doing something that they said they would do, and they answer (usually after so many hours of argument):
“Well, you did this, and it upset and hurt me, so I didn’t feel like doing (insert whatever they said they would do).”
And you’re left gobsmacked, thinking, “WTF? Why didn’t you just tell me?”
This is passive-aggressive behavior.
And it kills a relationship.
Sometimes it’s a quick death. Sometimes it lingers for years, wearing you both down, until there is nothing left but bitterness and recriminations.
But it kills.
Sure as shit.
And here is how it kills:
It takes FOREVER to get to the heart of what’s wrong.
Sometimes, that conversation up there happens the next day. Sometimes, it happens YEARS later.
That not only means that whomever hurt the other HAS NO IDEA the damage, until WAY too late for anything to really be done about it.
Studies have shown that couples that address issues and annoyances quickly have happier relationships. Behavior can be changed much more easily when problems are pointed out early.
It creates a barrier to KNOWING each other.
When you are hiding your feelings, and acting out instead of talking about them, you are creating a distance between your true self and another.
And the BIGGEST reason: You do things you know are wrong.
You know that not doing something when you say you will is wrong. And yet, that’s a big part of passive-aggressive behavior.
There’s more to it than that, though.
There are the subtle things. Things that you hear about happening in many relationships.
- Withholding sex. Because you’re not “feeling it,” because you’re upset about something and haven’t expressed it, or allowed it to heal.
- Not saying “I love you,” or “beautiful,” or any of the other sweet things you normally would.
- Not doing the small things, because as soon as you think of them, you remember you’re still a bit upset, so you don’t, because they don’t deserve it.
And you KNOW it’s right to do these in a relationship.
But you don’t.
So, you not only let the big things slide, but the small things as well. Because you’re busy nursing your hurt.
And that’s one of the biggest ways passive-aggressive behavior kills a relationship. By making you be less you, so you cannot connect as deeply and intimately as you could otherwise.
The biggest part of passive-aggressive that is hurtful is the passive part.
Speak up. Say when you’ve been hurt. Talk it out. As quickly as possible.
Don’t compromise your relationship. Don’t compromise yourself.