DEALING with P-As: Communication (Part 4)

PREVIOUS: Dealing with P-As – Communication (4a)

SITE:  “How to Successfully Handle Passive-Aggressive People,

NOTE: Communication is the T category of T.E.A. It’s about words, but much of it is expressed non-verbally, with body language & tone of voice…..

ALSO – It’s understood that dealing with a P-A at work has the advantage that they are being paid to accomplish tasks & can be fired ‘for cause’. Dealing with P-As at home is much harder, whether a spouse or child, altho you can ‘fire’ a spouse, but not young children.

Def – ATTITUDE: A predisposition & tendency toward or habitual way of responding to ideas, objects, people or situations. Each specific attitude (helpful, positive, negative, arrogant, defiant, cool….) will influence ones choice of response to difficult or pleasant experiences (stimuli).
The 4 main components are:
(1) Affective: emotions or feelings (2) Cognitive: conscious beliefs or opinions (3) Conative: inclination for action (4) Evaluative: positive or negative  (More…)

Stay Friendly AND Assertive
Attitude: Because Passive-Aggressives (P-As) feed on negativity, they look for a ‘bad reaction’ from the Receiver (R= us) so they can make a situation be about you without getting blamed. They vent emotion from behind a mask of indifference.

Don’t stoop to their level – being P-A or attacking – in return. If you fall for their ploy of getting under your skin, it will divert attention from the real problem you want to address. Be open, honest & direct about the issue, which will allow you to be more in charge of your responses. Staying calm allows you to clearly see their actions rather than what’s wrong with you. Model positive behavior. Whether dealing with children or adults, show how you handle frustrations & problems in healthy ways (Adult ego state), which will let others know what you expect of them, & how to interact with you. But don’t assume they’ll copy you!

Assertive communication is direct, non-reactive, & respectful. Being clear & level-headed are important in dealing with a P-A. Show confidence, be collaborative & make it clear you want to solve the problem in a way that works for both of you. It’s not just about getting your way, but taking the other person into consideration. Offer a positive alternative to their behavior & its advantages, as well as asking the P-A to contribute a useful option they can live with. Take the time to reach a fair solution

• Avoid verbal confrontations & power struggles which only reinforces the P-A, & will increase your frustration
• Avoid broad statements like “You’re always doing this! / Why can’t you ____? / When are you going to____?….” which are accusations, not solutions
• Avoid rehashing the past, trying force a solution, or sounding disgusted
• Avoid telling them what you think their motive is for problem behavior.
• Avoid telling them they’re passive aggressive

✰ Instead, point out the inconsistencies between their words & actions, keeping it factual rather than emotional. Describe their specific behavior objectively & its negative effect on the goal you’ve set for them (which they may even have agreed to but are ‘messing up’: clean the garage, finish a paper, write a proposal, prepare a presentation, research a subject, fill out their eval form, pick up milk….

Listening – It’s also important to listen to wha the P-A is saying, without interrupting, especially without accusations or blame. Consider the other person’s point-of-view, & acknowledge it. Validate their feelings or opinions, even if you think / know they are wrong.  Acknowledging that you heard their position does not automatically mean you agree with them.

In Mild situations, use humor! This helps in conflict resolution, can be a great way to shine a light on the truth, disarm difficult behavior & show your composure.
EXP: Is someone you see often is too stuck up to respond to your: “Hello, how are you?, you can say – to they silence: “That good, eh?” It may or may not break the ice.

NOTE: Other reasons for this silence are not P-A but rather shyness, preoccupation or illness. One woman who was undergoing chemo treatments felt awful much of the time. Every week an acquaintance would ask “How are you”. After the second or third time the sufferer got tired of repeating “I’m in pain, weak & tired, thanks.” So she stopped responding & just shook her head. She hoped shuffling along with a cane would be enough of an answer!

NEXT: Dealing with P-As #5


DEALING with P-As: Emotions (Part 3)


is tricky to deal with

Dealing with P-As #2

SITE: BLOG re. P-A relationship

Notice how you feel around the P-A.
Pay close attention to your instincts. You’ll definitely feel frustrated, & then angry. If you don’t know what’s happening or you’re blaming yourself you may even despair. You are actually in a situation you can’t win – nothing you say or do seems to please them or get them to hear you.
• You can feel hurt if they give you the silent treatment
• You’ll feel annoyed that they’re always complaining, but don’t do anything to improve their situation
• You’ll likely feel tired or deflated, IF you’ve been trying to make sense of their behavior, & spending a lot of energy trying to get them to co-operate.

Make Friends With Your Anger
To be effective in dealing with P-As you have to be OK with your own feeling of anger at them (acceptance) – because that’s a normal reaction to being jerked around.

REMEMBER: We have our own hot buttons, which P-As can take advantage of  – once they get to know us. Identify them, & then notice when you get real anxious or have a strong angry reaction when one of them is bumped into.
: When ignored / accused wrongly / called ‘too sensitive’ / treated as stupid / taken advantage of / not given credit…..

Moderate your response
Develop a “Teflon coating” for yourself when dealing with P-As — stay calm, keep your voice neutral, hold your emotions in check. The less reactive you are, the less fuel they have for their hidden anger tactics

• If possible, find out what the P-A’s angry about – in the present situation. Notice a problem they’re reacting to as soon as you can

• Because P-As don’t show their anger, you can talk to someone who knows them well enough to tell you the P-A’s buttons, & what subtle signs to look for

• Think seriously about what might really be driving the P-A’s behavior, which is usually a symptom of something else (or deeper) that’s upsetting them. NOTE: these is a tools for you, not in order to fix them

Stay as neutral as you can manage – even if you have to act-as-if. When you do get upset (which is likely), calm yourself down first before addressing whatever issue that’s bothering you – take a walk, crank up the music & dance, call a sponsor, read a page or two from the Al-Anon “Just for Today” Meditations…..
Then figure out exactly what you need/want from this situation, what is actually possible & what realistic outcome you can live with

It’s also good to practice ++ self-talk (until it’s automatic), such as:
• I recognize his ______ as P-A behavior – it’s a familiar pattern which I see & acknowledge
• He wants me to get angry & yell, so it’ll end up being my problem, not his
• I know what’s behind her procrastination, intentional inefficiency, ‘laziness’…
• It is her anger/ resentment that she’s not owning up to

🤔”I didn’t cause it / I can’t control it / I can’t cure it”.
• I don’t want to (& won’t) participate in this pointless P-A manipulation
• I deserve to be treated at least with respect, at best more lovingly
• I trust my gut reaction when I feel jabbed – because that’s what just happened

Learn reflective listening & express empathy toward the P-A, which can sometimes be helpful in dealing with sideways anger.
In any case, be compassionate toward yourself & the other person. While this may be difficult, expressing empathy for the P-A can help disarm them. You can reflect (mirror back) their suppressed emotions by saying things like, “It seems like you were frustrated by what happened in school / at work….  today. That makes sense & must have been hard…..”
It helps to remind yourself that someone has probably been patient, understanding & compassionate towards you at times when you were not at our best. Pay it forward.

FROM Elephant Journal: “The passive-aggressive individual is not a bad person, they are simply a person who has been deeply hurt.
And when such a person is a family member, friend, or intimate partner, the only way to stay present is with expansive love.
Pushing such a person to be honest or direct does not work because they cannot see past their own fear and hurt.
Space and time are essential for healing.
Even more so, trusting that person & seeing the best in them can alleviate the fear, & reassure them that they are trusted, held with love, & embraced with security.”

PS: In most cases it’s the P-A’s behavior / communication that’s hurtful / unhealthy (bad), not the essence of the person. This is because the ‘acting out’ comes from the person’s False Self, rather than their hidden Healthy / True Self. However – their hurtful behavior is not to be excused or overlooked.

NEXT: Dealing w/ P-As #4

DEALING with P-As: re. Us (Part 2)


I won’t get sucked in

Dealing w/ P-As #1

SITE: Anger & Stress management audio C.Disks, Inner Child tapes….


FOR US  — the Receivers (R) of passive-aggressive (P-A) words & non-actions, in our personal life or at work
The obvious first step is to learn about Passive-Aggressive patterns of communication & behavior. Interaction with one’s own P-A child, spouse, parent or friend will need to be a bit different than what we can do when dealing with someone at work. But the fundamentals are the same.

T.E.A: Before we can take action (As) in dealing with a P-A, we need to be as prepared as possible. That starts with our ability to manage ourselves, both in our thinking (Ts) & our emotions (Es).  As the previous posts outline, here we’re mainly looking at dyed-in-the-wool P-As – rather than occasional P-A behavior we all use when direct expression of displeasure & anger are not wise (work) or safe (home).

Identify P-A for what it is: HOSTILITY
Remember –  if you have to ask a person to do something (legitimate) more than twice, you’re dealing with passive-aggressiveness. You’re getting the indirect message:”No I won’t, & you can’t make me!Review P-A characteristics.

Don’t be fooled by the innocuous, sugar-coated presentation of an experienced P-A. Once you recognize it’s a sign of hostility, it can give you the courage & confidence to stand up to it. The biggest mistake ‘receivers’ make is to be lenient. It’s a power struggle, so once you give in to P-A behavior, you lose your personal power & your options.

IMPERATIVE:  Vulnerability in any area of your life is an invitation for the P-A to harm you where it hurts the most – as you’ve probably already experienced. So – eliminate them as a source of psychological or financial support as soon as you can, & exclude any you become aware of in future before getting tangled up.

When you don’t have a choice (at least for the present)
a. If it’s someone at school, work, neighborhood, church, or other group – give them as little info about you & your life as you can – right from the beginning, & that includes good things! which they can easily envy (tell no great successes, feelings, problems, deep beliefs, family issues, personal weaknesses….).

P-As like to ask all kinds of personal questions, which seem innocent & concerned, like they’re really interested in you. But they’re very good at remembering what they hear, even little things you mention in passing, & will find ways to use it against you later. SO – if you can’t avoid answering, keep it brief & vague, said friendly or straight-faced

b. When it’s people who know you well, it’s much harder to detach. Changing your part in the Perpetrator-Victim ‘game’ has to be done slowly & carefully. You will likely feel a measure of fear, but if you keep going, you’ll find it’s empowering.
It’s best to do it piece-meal – tell them less & less about things that matter to you AND/OR things they have turned against you before – a little at a time until you’re out of the toxic symbiosis

Don’t take the bait
There’s a difference between actively dealing with P-A comments & behavior (via our Adult) vs. getting sucked into the emotional chaos they can create (by our WIC). For exp, when a P-A is sarcastic, only respond to the words, not the tone.
It’s imperative to stop yourself from doing their psych work for them by asking Qs like “Why did you say that? or What does that really mean?”
These might get you a shrug & an “I don’t know”, or start an argument – but not the truth. It’s a way of enabling them to not be responsible for their feelings.
So if they were to say”Thanks a lot!”, you can just respond with “You’re welcome” – either with a smile, or in a neutral voice, which can make their brain go ‘TILT’.

Don’t take it personally
P-As revel in painting their world – & yours – with negativity, with a misery-loves-company attitude – & they’ll bond with you in their misery – if you let them. You’re either just the most convenient person to dump their resentments on, or you’ve chosen to be with them because of your own corresponding damage.

As stated in other poststhe P-A’s anger comes from their own upbringing& later from living with too much injustice & powerlessness – so it can not possibly be your responsibility. You do NOT have the power to fix their pain, only they can do that. What you do have power over is protecting your own hide, & cultivating your sources of serenity & enjoyment.

NEXT: Dealing with P-As  #3

DEALING with Passive-Aggressives (Part 1)

will drive me crazy – if I let them!


SITE: Dealing w/ P-A STUDENTS (for parents & teachers)

BOOK: The Angry Smile

REMINDER: “Passive-aggressives are not less angry, just less direct.”
A good portion of passive-aggressives (P-As) were raised by mothers who were neglectful, non-nurturing, overly controlling, not allowing for any self-expression…..
So you didn’t cause it. If you’re in a relationship with a passive aggressive person, stay focused on yourself, & what you want to accomplish.  We are only responsible for our T.E.A.s.

Our responses will be safest & least drama-producing for ourselves & others when they come from the Parent ego state, as part of our True Self – rather than re-acting from the False Self / WIC. This includes making sure our own anger is healthy – because P-As do sorely try our patience!

REVIEW of some P-A tactics – THEY:
⚡️ Avoid work and social obligations, often making excuses
⚡️ Critical, Blame others for personal failures
⚡️ Complain of being unappreciated or misunderstood
⚡️ Exaggerate misfortunes, often run late
⚡️ Don’t do something that’s asked of them, reluctant or fail to keep promises
⚡️ Are persistently pessimistic, even when things are going well
⚡️ Sabotage, are sarcastic, give the silent treatment, withholding intimacy

At Work – a P-A ‘team’ member may:
• Use fake manners to cover a lack of genuine respect / manners
• Interrupt – with a quick “sorry” – without real acknowledgment of the other person’s presence, conversation or activity
• Smile, & then do whatever they want by saying to the  other person, “You don’t mind, do you?”

• Take credit for what another team member said – by restating it as if it’s her own idea
• Use subtle sarcasm against a team member and call it humor “Just kidding”!
• Intellectualize instead of apologize –
“I wonder why I did that?” instead of, “I’m so sorry.”

• Use neutral statements instead of true empathy. “Yes, it is difficult, isn’t it?” instead of, “How can I help? Let’s look at it and find a solution”
• Hold others to a very high standard of behavior & call them on imperfections / mistakes / oversights… in front of others (shaming)
• Use apparently logical reasons to undermine others’ success – and then say “You understand, don’t you? / You don’t mind, right?”…… (Lydia Dishman)

🌀 No boundaries.
have a nose for People-pleasers (P-Ps), Scapegoats & Victims – anyone with a big red button on their forehead that says “You can mess with me because I can’t stand up for myself”.
• False-nice people (the Passives) have weak boundaries, low self-esteem & are afraid of conflict – making them perfect targets for the P-A’s hostility.

• P-As (who have walls around them) create drama & confusion that reinforces the Passive’s feeling of universal unsafely, & which directly impacts her/his ability to accomplish tasks, whether in business or at home.
‼️ P-As know when & how much they can get away with! so it’s up to us to work on developing / strengthening our Boundaries.

🌀 Confusing Communication
P-As will say one thing (like “Sure, sounds great!”) but mean the exact opposite, which is disorienting & disconcerting. Even if we (the Receiver) don’t fit into the Passive category we can still get lost in the morass of the P-A’s manipulation if we don’t understand the game they’re playing. Pay attention!

• And if we tend to be straightforward, we assume others are too, so we’re likely to take the P-A’s apparent agreement for a commitment: They said they’d call the IRS / pick up the laundry / look for a job / do their homework / get that project done by Fri…. didn’t they?

But for ACoAs, especially if we grew up with P-As, when we now have to deal with another P-A for any length of time (which we may have inadvertently picked as boss, spouse, friend…..), some part of us can have a ‘sneaking suspicion’ they’re going to flake on us or drag out the promised action endlessly – but we still hope that this time…..

Sadly, depending on someone who is determined to constantly stone-wall leaves us endlessly disappointed, & having to do everything ourselves anyway. Sometimes it’s not even worth asking .

🌀 Fighting fire with fire?
It’s inevitable that we’ll be frustrated & angry around P-As. But approaching them with sarcasm or our own passive-aggressiveness will only strengthen their resolve to be defiant. Besides, they’re much better at it – having had a lot more practice. 🙂
<—– If we meet their anger with ours, the interaction will escalate, or they’ll just withdraw even more.  Remember that you’re always dealing with their hidden angry Inner Child!
We’re not likely to ever get the co-operation we want or need, so trying to ‘shake it out of them’ never works.

NEXT: Dealing with P-As (#2)

Qs: Are You Passive-Aggressive?


these questions!

PREVIOUS : P-A Comments

BOOK: Overcoming Passive-Aggression…..

SITE: Why Empaths Freeze Around Fake People” 

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


REVIEW: Ways to express anger – Bible perspective

Qs re Silent Treatment – Christian focus
A Master Mind student formulated the following Qs for such a person to ask themselves, but they can also be used in couple’s counseling & in group.

✏️What are you trying to achieve, accomplish, or prove with the silent treatment?
✏️What are you trying to protect yourself from by choosing silence?
✏️Is this a defensive tactic? If Yes, then against what?
✏️What are you trying to control when you use the silent treatment?
✏️What are you afraid of if you were to actually talk to the person you’re ignoring?  ✏️What is it that makes you so angry?

🔎Are you aware how this tactic affects your family—the infliction of abuse?
🔎Are there any other people in your life you treat this way?
🔎How does it make you feel when you are ignored and alienated?
🔎Do you have anyone holding you accountable for this tactic?
🔎Will you change now? Will you stop doing this?

QUESTIONNAIRE re. being Passive-Aggressive 
Unexpressed anger can build up and take over your life, making you miserable in many different ways. You may have deep unresolved anger if you:


_____ Deny your feelings of frustration, irritation and impatience

_____ Are afraid to express strong emotion, believing it’s wrong to be angry

_____You appear sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath

_____You cover up feeling inadequate with superiority, disdain, hostile passivity

_____ Frequently vent injustice about your job or home situation to others

_____Smile but are bitter and cynical, while you are hurting inside

_____ Are excessively impatient and irritable

_____ Are bored, apathetic, have lost interest in things you used to enjoy

_____ Become easily frustrated with other people’s faults

_____You’re afraid of being alone, & equally afraid of being dependent

_____You sulk, withdraw and pout

_____You constantly protect yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, left, dependent or simply human


_____ Are unnecessarily critical of yourself

_____ Turn your anger on yourself and beat yourself up

_____You complain frequently that you’re treated unfairly

_____ You procrastinate frequently, especially on things you do for others

_____You are often late and/or forgetful

_____Express disbelief at others’ driving, resulting in road rage

_____ Have continual thoughts of revenge

_____ Grind teeth or clench your jaws; chronic muscle tension in your face

_____ Chronic muscle tension in neck & shoulders, that worsens when upset

_____ Habitually clenched fists, tap feet or hands when upset


_____ Are afraid to express your opinion because you might blow up

_____ Overly polite, cheerful, ‘grin & bear it’ to hide feelings of injustice

_____ Agree to do something, then don’t follow through. “Forget” your promises

_____ Want to be known as the “nice guy/gal” but inwardly are in turmoil

_____ Are sarcastic and use humor destructively

_____ Frequently pepper your talk with cuss words

_____ Must have the last work in a disagreement, keeping a fight going

_____ Pick at others & provoke them to anger

_____ Are secretly or outwardly judgmental about the actions of others

_____ Displace anger on safer people (less threatening) or on objects

_____You’re unwilling to give a straight answer

_____ You make up stories, excuses and lies

_____You drag your feet to frustrate others

____ You don’t speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone


Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 3)

not Pass-Agg 

Honest doesn’t mean hostile. 
Pleasant doesn’t mean passive!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (Part 2)

SITEs:” Emotionally Volatile People
• “Difficult People & how to Handle Them


REVIEW (cont.)
3. CAUSEs of the game
ACoAs – from our family, school, religion…. we were NOT allowed :
• to be angry, to the point of not even knowing we are!
• to know what we wanted, how we felt, what we preferred (being too much of an individual got smashed – so it left us confused)
• to ask for anything (don’t bother them)
• taught to never put ourselves first
• always had to always be perfect (no mistakes) – so better not choose anything
• no matter what we did, we were punished, so we couldn’t win
• safer to not be too visible (in a dangerous family, & later in abusive relationships)
taking any risk was discouraged, made fun of, punished (so now we can’t risk ‘failing’& being disappointed)

4. EFFECTs of the game
a. Negative BenefitsWE DON’T:
• have to figure out who we are, what we want & need
• have to disobey any of the toxic family rules
• have to admit we’re angry, even raging, underneath
• have to stand up to the ‘control freaks
• have to make a mistake & deal then with the consequences
• AND we get to blame others when something goes wrong
• & maintain the illusion of being nurtured (taken care of by others)

b. Negative Consequences:
• we are dis-empowered, loose self-esteem, stay a victim, are infantilized, stay mute, don’t risk anything
• always feel scared of losing people (FoA), of being disapproved
• increases our Self-Hate & Loneliness

• never get what we really want, unless by accident or by luck
• lose out on many opportunities to grow, to be heard, to have fun
• always feel scared of losing people, of being disapproved of
• make other people mad at us, a lot! for forcing them to carry all the responsibility & then getting blamed

a. General: We need to identify
• all the ways we were hurt as kids, including the specific messages we got & still obey, like ‘don’t feel’ , ‘don’t talk’ (Toxic Rules)
• prevent the Wounded Inner Child from running our life BY growing a Healthy Adult & Loving Parent  who then can make executive decisions about how to own & express our needs
book-end with the IC, to outgrow living in the past. If done consistently, it will teach the IC the difference between what’s possible & real in the present, vs the way it was in our dysfunctional family

b. For Passive-Aggressives – we need to:
own our resenpassiveagrro3tments, anger, rage, bitterness, which are hidden
• learn safe ways of discharging our rage & healthy ways of expressing it to others, when it’s needed
• practice saying what we need, want, like, prefer – to find out that nothing bad happens to us or others
• stop looking for other people to be in charge of our lives, tell us what to do, make our decisions & choices
• keep a safe distance from anyone who is easily provoked to anger

Practice making ‘I statements’ every day, silently to yourself, so that it becomes easier & easier to say out loud:  “I want… I need… I don’t like… I’d rather…  that’s not for me… ” UNTIL it’s second nature!

c. For Volatiles – we need to:
• find out what’s under the rage: the reality of child abuse & neglect we lived thru, and the pain it created
• accept that the rage is legitimate, but our actions are not always healthyScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.24.27 PM.png
• work on getting our rage out in safe, appropriate places (therapy groups, 12-step programs, doing rage-work at home, drawing, writing…)

own our Inner Sadist: make friends with it, but don’t ever let it act out
• learn calming techniques (bio-feedback, meditation, prayer, visualizations…)
• become safe enough to feel what’s underneath – grief, sadness, loneliness, hurt, sorrow, vulnerability
• keep a distance from P-As, who try to pull us in by their surface charm & ‘interest’ in us

Practice comforting & mentally holding the IC, so he/she doesn’t feel so alone with all it’s pain.  Give ourselves permission to cry – it is not a weakness – no matter what our family taught us!  Crying clears out toxins & releases pent-up emotional stress. It’s very necessary!

Realistically, while P-As can definitely work on having permission to express anger & rage, it’s usually up to the V. to STOP the game, stop reacting to / expecting (anything) from the P-A. Maybe even have to leave!

NEXT: Qs – Are you P-A?

Passive Aggressives – Review for ACoAs (Part 2)

P-A person

– but you are (lucky you)!

PREVIOUS: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs (#1)

SITE:When your Defenses lead you into trouble

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


REVIEW (cont)

2. WHO plays the game (Chart – slide #7)
a. P-As always look for & often find another person who is overtly angry / volatile* (V.) to play the game with – no fun being stuck with all that UN-expressed rage alone! (See: Inter-personal games, Eric Berne).  As adults, they desperately need to maintain their illusions of being perfect, in the faint hope of getting or keeping their parents’ approval, being taught that strong emotions are considered dirty, messy, dangerous – even murderous! This pattern of being P-A is another unhealthy way of copin4 stylesg with intense FoA – fear of abandonment

b. ✶ Volatiles need P-As (or their part, or the game wouldn’t work):
• it gives them an excuse for letting out some of their rage ‘legitimately’
• it’s much safer than aiming the rage at the real target – their family
• the rage makes them feel powerful, to cover vulnerability & emptiness
• Vs are used to being disappointed, too, and are equally unconsciously addicted to finding people they can act out their childhood ‘story’ with.  And P-As do continually disappoint! It’s their trade-mark, & it can be used to identify them.

Sooner or later, usually later, it is inevitable that Vs will get angry, raging, even nasty at P-As – out of legitimate, intense, longstanding frustration!
Of course: Vs have to stick around for this! They’re part of the game.

DIRTY POOL – P-As unconsciously, sometimes knowingly, always use ‘available’ Volatiles as their own personal pressure valve – as if getting the V. to explode with rage would relieve their own pent-up hostility. When Vs get angry, P-As get very self-righteous. They feel victimized & cry: “I haven’t DONE anything!  Why are you attacking me?”

• accuse Vs of being controlling, even though they set the V. up:
— to take care of them emotionally & practically
— to vent their anger/rage for them
— to make all the decisions in the relationship!

• make Vs the crazy or bad one (instead of themselves), of being abusive & unfair, of reacting to ‘nothing’. That way the Vs can be ‘the monster’ for pouring out that vile stuff (anger) which P-As are terrified in themselves.
Then they can continue to feel superior & ‘clean’, keeping their ‘good boy / good girl’ status. After all, P-As can point to being easy-going, never raising their voice, or letting out that ‘nasty‘ anger – right?

BUT that’s exactly the point – they don’t DO many things that are their responsibility, as well as not expressing their needs / wants.

When P-As make other people responsible for all the decisions they should be making Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.41.09 PMdo themselves, (even if they like the ones being made for them), they are neglecting to ‘show up’, hold up their end, be an equal partner or peer – ie. an adult.  P-As passively, stubbornly – yes angrily – demand to be taken care of! but never say what they actually want or need, because they don’t have permission

• THEN, if/when something goes wrong – when they don’t like the choices the V. made for them, or are disappointed with the outcome – they can blame the other person & continue to play the victim role

• AND P-As can say to the other person: “YOU’RE always making the decisions! YOU’RE so controlling!” (& unspoken: “I hate you”). Wow! How dishonest.
✶ BUT if the V. stops playing the game, the P-A may finally tip their hand – if only briefly – showing the true rage behind their mask

EXP: Mark (P-A) & Sandy (V.) meet at a classical concert & become art-loving, theater-going friends. Mark regularly says self-deprecating things that are clever & funny, & Sandy obliges by laughing.
After a few months Sandy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her complicity in Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.04.49 AMMark’s self-hate. The next time he makes a crack about himself – she doesn’t laugh & is quiet.  He gets annoyed & indirectly insults her for not responding ‘correctly’.

Later he buys her a B/day gift which deeply offends her artistic & Christian values – an ugly-made Indian goddess statue – knowing her religious background! She can’t imagine his intention – but is outraged. She instantly blows up at him & gives the gift back. Naturally he’s hurt & angry – but doesn’t show it. Instead he mails her a scathing note – making her the ‘bad one’.  End of friendship! Sandy feels ashamed for blowing up but also relieved.

NEXT: Passive-Aggressive ACoAs, (Part 3)