Friday, April 25, 2014

The Origin of Passive Aggression

"Moreover, if we communicated our anger at their denial and their reaction to such assertiveness was scary or punishing, we would have learned to keep our anger strongly bolted inside, afraid to express that which would surely come back to haunt us."

I chose this article because of it's relevance to my own life. Originally, I intended to find an article about aggression, and ended up finding one about passive aggression; an indirect form of aggression. They talk about it's origin, how it forms in oneself over time. 

It is important to define passive aggressiveness: '"acting out" our grievances, behaviorally protesting what is experienced as unfair, while yet contriving to protect the relationship we really can't afford to jeopardize.'

It all begins with a want, that as a child we can't distinguish from a need. We expect that this want/need will be addressed automatically, as it had in the womb. When we ask for it, and the parental figure cannot provide, we feel disappointed. This repetitive disappointment becomes associated with things we want, to we repress our wants. We also don't want to depend on the parental figure that cannot provide for us and don't want to anger them in fear that we would have take our survival into our own hands; and that's way too anxiety-producing.

"Because experiencing these wants and needs can itself get connected in our minds with parental disapproval or rejection, we may well feel obliged to obliterate even the awareness that they exist."

Being assertive about our wants or needs result in disappointment or anger, so we result to passively addressing them where the punishment will be less substantial than if we have been honest about it. In conclusion, our parent's inability to take car of our dependency needs teaches us to become 'manipulators and liars'.

Since we had to depend on parental figures who weren't reliable, we also restrain ourselves in our adult life by refraining from any communication that could result in conflict and become distressing.

In addition, 'since we could never trust that our parents would respond positively to our needs, now grown up we're still not comfortable being in situations of dependency.' In the future, we need to try to resolve old anger and resentment, and accept that our parents gave us as much as they could.

-Emily Szentkuti

link to article

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