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bogfrog

How to combat your own passive-aggressive tendancies?

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I have grandually become aware over the past few years that I can be a very passive-agressive person.

Largely I put this down to a turmultuous and often painful childhood, which undermined my trust in my parents and most other people I came into contact with.

Almost as a form of self-defence, I have become well versed in the art of pushing people away.. Putting up sheilds, hiding behind my spiny armour and building barricades.

But it seems that I just can't stop it.

I have found myself to be fighting an almost constant battle between a me who wants to be in harmony with the people I love and a me who feels like I am always in danger of attack, being critisized or that others are assuming the worst about me and my intentions, leading me to instantly step into defend and attack mode, before I am even aware of this shift in my behaviour.

Its like a compulsion, and i'm sick of it. I'm sick of hurting myself and damaging my relationships with others by continuously creating conflict and complication.

I don't know if anything can eventuate from this post, other than a good vent and some self-reflection..

But maybe one of you guys out there feels the same or has tried to deal with this aspect of themselves before.

If anyone has suggestions, my ears and mind are wide open to make considerations on your thoughts.

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I recognize what you are explaining in myself, the only thing i do after iv'e had the realization that I was actually being mean and a little bit of a bitch, i just stay quiet and reflect about what I am going to say next, "don't speak before you talk" mode.

But only after I noticed them/him/her react to it negatively so to speak.

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Well, first of all, you're not alone. :)

I was an extremely passive-aggressive person, and to a lesser extent I still am (every so often I'll leave angry, insulting passive-aggressive poems about humanity on my fb page, as well as not talking to my flatmates when I feel down).

The main thing I think is important you already did - that's to identify that you enjoy being loving and open, more so than being defensive with your walls always up.

The second thing I think that is important, is to make sure you're clear on whether a painful childhood is a reason, or was a cause to be passive-aggresive. If it's a reason, then it implies you never have to stop being passive-aggresive, as you will always have that reason to explain it away to yourself.

If it was just a cause, then it means you are able to change, and your mind can't use it to explain it anymore.

It might seem a bit weird to nail it down, but I think it's an important step. It only takes one shonky layer of bricks at the bottom to tilt the entire house.

Lastly (for now), I don't know if this will help you, but it helped me a lot. Basically (took me ages to sum this up), I would rather be only fairly cautious, and experience deep trust with people, than be extremely cautious and perhaps never experience deep trust with people. In the first case, you can still be hurt. But if someone has taken ages to get to know me, they know how I think and all my secrets, and who and what I care about, and they're just waiting for the right moment to hurt me the most - then they can win. I would prefer to experience that trust with the people I care about, and take a tiny risk that one of them is spending years planning something, than to never experience anything at all. Said differently, I'd rather cook and get burnt - than never cook at all.

For me, it never was magically fixed. I still work hard all the time to be who I want to be. It's definitely hard, but it's always getting easier. So really, what I'm trying to say, is don't be afraid. Take a smooth breath, unfurl your brow, bite your tongue (metaphorically) - and say what you really feel. :)

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Haha I bet these facebook poems are something to behold in the right frame of mind!

Theres something to be said regarding your progress in the fact that you can still live in a house with flatmates. I don't know if I could ever go back to that.

On a logical level, I clearly understand that 99% of people aren't out to get me in any way, shape or form.. Yet it is the subconscious level which I am grappling with, its as if I have a built in guard dog, who bites before danger really even shows up.

Time and time again, I am left wondering why the fuck did I say that and where the fuck did that come from.

Its like wildfire, gone before you really even see it and then the flash illuminates the cruel words you just inflicted on someone who was honestly trying to help you.

I think what you said about cause and reason is very important. Thank you for your objective point of view, I have often felt extremely stuck considering my childhood as the reason for my behaviour. You are so right in saying that it gives your mind an excuse. Thinking like that makes me feel that it is an un-escapable way of being which I have been hard-wired into through a lifetime of mistrust.

But considering it a 'cause' should help to put the guard dog away when she is not needed.

Thanks too for the assurance that it takes hard work and determination to become who you would like to be, as with all aspects of self-training. I suppose to focus my attention on this facet of my personality is a step on the right road, one which will un-doubtedly require vigilant observation and a commitment to thinking before I scald others with my fire-whip tounge.

Thanks bro, I really appreciate your words of wisdom.

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Maybe you could make a habit of a short pause before you reply to people, that way you'd have a chance to run it through your filters and make sure you're reply is appropriate.

It doesn't hurt to keep people hanging on your words sometimes either, it can give your words more impact and make you appear more deliberate and worldly.

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It doesn't hurt to keep people hanging on your words sometimes either

Too true.

There are far too few people in the world who really consider what they will say before they say it, instead of burbbling out a stream of mumbo-jumbo.

I just gotta try my damndest to be one of those first types of people.

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Thanks kea :)

I know you'll do well, hehe

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Hi Bogfrog :) I can be quite passive-aggressive too, but am getting a lot better with my overall state of mind since starting hypnotherapy in march. I really don't much like talking about myself and my problems so I found traditional psychiatrists (at the rehab place I went to twice) to be quite useless for me. Hypnotherapy however kind of dragged out latent traumas that I wouldn't even had guessed had as much impact on me as it did! Under the soothing calm of a lulling sleep-wakefulness (you're aware what you're talking about), you find yourself releasing all sorts of interesting shit. I'm not sure how it works in NZ, but in Aus there can be medicare rebates if the hypnotherapist is a doctor. They can also kind of "program" you into feeling more confident about your place in the world (and for me that meant letting go of the need for passivity within reason). Choose one that you feel comfortable with otherwise it'd likely be an utter waste of time and money. I chose mine from looking online because I liked the look of her face (trust your instincts) and she does it in her home, rather than a sterile doctors surgery. My lady isn't a certified psychiatrist or psychologist, but I absolutely know she was the lady for me; I can be 100% honest with her (pretty pointless if you can't be) and she holds no judgement on me even when I talk about recreational activities (which she often finds fascinating; I think she'd find The Corroboree VERY interesting lol).

Good luck! And remember you (and your opinions) are just as important as the next person :)

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I suspected that I used to be like this, until 15 years ago when I discovered that being active-aggressive was far more honest, fulfilling. At least people know what to expect, and anything less from me on occasion, and I'm viewed as a Saint. :innocent_n:

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There is a reflective meditative technique in which you detach and watch your impulses as they arise.

It is the technique I learnt as a young man and if you can master it it will provide total control over how you react to any impulse.

You can dynamically program your own responses, or remain aware and decide event by event..

For me it started with catching a thought as it arose in my mind.

Rather than attempting to supress thought, by becoming aware of how thought is generated you automatically gain control.

Alternatively you could talk to your doctor about trying medications that will interact with your brain chemistry.

This too can provide an awareness of brain function and control.

A problem with this is that the doctor will likely want to get you on one medication and leave you on it when using different medications will provide a broader awareness.

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Hi Bogfrog :) I can be quite passive-aggressive too, but am getting a lot better with my overall state of mind since starting hypnotherapy in march.

They can also kind of "program" you into feeling more confident about your place in the world (and for me that meant letting go of the need for passivity within reason).

Hey thanks for the advice Fancypants, now that you mentioned it i am surprised i didnt think of hypnotherapy earlier, as it has always been a topic of interest for me.

I recently read a book called "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Dr. Brian Weiss, a psychiatrist who stumbled into the field of past life regression while trialing hypnosis upon a patient who was totally un-responsive to tradtion treatment. A very interesting read, i am alwasy happy to find work by professionals who have been very narrow minded and always done thinkgs 'by the book' and then came to realise that humans and the world we live in are far more intruiging and complex than their reductionist theorists have led them to believe.

i'll put my feelers out and see who/what i can find :)

Alternatively you could talk to your doctor about trying medications that will interact with your brain chemistry.

This too can provide an awareness of brain function and control.

A problem with this is that the doctor will likely want to get you on one medication and leave you on it when using different medications will provide a broader awareness.

My upbringing and lifestyle have led me to be very suspicious of most things which come in pill form (apart from the fun ones B)) and i always prefer to go for a natural remedy if possible, although i do find it very interesting, and had not really heard of such medications being available. I don't suppose they do a taste tester pack haha?

i was under the impression that if you asked for anything like that they would be shoving anti-depressants down your throat before you can clarify what you actually want.

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I read that book around 2 months ago because my boyfriend recommended it. Interesting stuff!

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Yeah it did get tedious sometimes once you became used to the format but the parts where his patients were chanelling were pretty cool, and made me somewhat more convinced that there is a greater purpose for each of us.

A quick google search led me to a lady in my area who offers things like past life regression, soul retrieval and hypnotherapy. Small world eh?

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