Passive vs. Aggressive
By Yaritza Ellison
There comes a point in our lives that we say enough to negative people and behavior. Or at least I hope there does. I have seen a lot of people in my life in a lot of different stages. There seems to be a reoccurring instance of passive or aggressive behavior seen, depending on the situation. Most people react to the situation.
I have been one of those people.
It took a lot of self discipline to understand that some situations call for a passive sort of behavior versus an out right bold maneuver. I hope this helps.
Passive behavior is when a person says something and does the absolute opposite. More than likely, this behavior is negative. I’ll give a scenario:
Scenario 1: A person who disagrees with absolutely everything you do without giving you a positive input on how to improve the situation.
Scenario 2: A person whom you have told several times your plans in detail, agrees to them, however does everything to hinder or sabotage them.
In both the above scenarios, the person in question has shown that they are clearly against everything you have tried to do. They may not like you, or your decisions. But for whatever reason, the disconnect is there.
This does not mean that there are not benefits to passive behavior. This type of behavior is a silent rebellion to whoever has wronged you, or has hurt you. If you are really good at it, the person who has hurt you won’t know that it was you who has been sabotaging them. That does not mean that there cannot be negative outcomes either.
Negative outcomes to passive aggressive behavior include but are not limited to: running the risk of the person finding out it was you, or an outright aggressive move towards you. The best way to protect yourself from any of the above situations is to read the situation and person well. Is it really that the person is against you? What may have caused the disconnect?
I think that we all know what aggressive behavior looks like.
Scenario 1: the person becomes verbally hostile and physically aggressive when contraindicated or crossed.
Scenario 2: the person sends threatening letters, emails, and vocalizes discontent.
Just as with passive behavior, this does not mean that there is no place for aggressive behavior. Actually it’s just the opposite: aggressive behavior is beneficial in some instances. Such as, making bold financial moves, bold executive mergers, etc. People with aggressive behavior really pave the way for those with lesser courage to change things. They are braver and have a “nothing to lose” attitude.
However, overly aggressive individuals may find themselves a target of attacks. Either physically or mentally, these individuals face hate, resentment, or envy. The best way an aggressive person can protect themselves is to read the situation well. Does this situation call for a bold aggressive maneuver? Is there any other option that has not been explored?
Most often it is best to not choose any of the above behaviors. Some resolutions include the following:
1. Be sympathetic to the situation and person. Seek to understand what is going on.
2. Show empathy by placing yourself in the other persons shoes. More often, we just focus on the problem and neglect the moving parts to the problem. Widen your focus.
3. Do not involve yourself in group think. Be fair and come up with a solution that works for all parties. Sometimes the solution may not work at all for either party. That’s okay. The fact is that a fair and decisive leader is needed and you stepped up. Kudos to you.
4. Now that we have the solution, it’s time to act on your word. This shows integrity on your part. Let’s be fully honest. Not acting on the said solution is another form of passive aggressive behavior. Mean what you say, and act on what you say.
When seeking to understand why the behavior of one person makes sense to them, we should focus on the surrounding factors that influence it. Behavior is the by product of an individual’s surroundings. Some of the behavior is learned in childhood, other behavior is influenced by circumstance and is short term. Regardless of which, leading with an open mind and heart is key to any immediate or long term resolution.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.