The passive aggressive behavior stems from feelings of unexpressed anger and bitterness, which the person tends to hold on very tightly and is unable to let them go. But, to paraphrase a 12-step sponsorship guide that I once read, hanging onto these types of feelings works for you as well as trying to murder a person by poisoning yourself.
Truth be told, as cool as this motto sounds, it’s a half truth. In reality, the behavioral patterns of the passive aggressive person can hurt you just as much as it hurts the people you love. I should know, it’s why my wife nearly left me. She couldn’t take my conduct anymore, so she gave me a choice: either it goes, or she goes.
Th Terrible Ways I Handled Personal Frustrations
I might not exactly fit the profile of the passive aggressive, from what I’ve read about it…oh, who am I kidding, it fits me like a glove.
You see, back then my drinking hadn’t really gotten out of hand, but the tension at work continued to build up inside of me and, without noticing, I allowed it to overflow into my personal life.
The accumulated anger and resentment towards my boss – in conjunction with my erroneous perception that I was powerless to do anything about it – was projecting on my wife. I allowed myself to become angry and silently blame her for my misfortunes, when she used to be my biggest supporter.
Did I Ever Open Up to Her?
Naturally, I never confronted her and never openly expressed my frustrations, that’s the passive aggressive code. The mist of tension in our home, however, intensified to the point where you could slice it with a knife. Our intimate life was practically non-existent and things were getting worse and worse. And so was my drinking. I should also point out that, being the drama queen that I am, I often over-exaggerated the seriousness of my work problems, as if not receiving a “well deserved” promotion was the end of the word. In short, I felt miserable and I was sulking ALL THE TIME.
Walking the Thin Line was Over
While I never perceived my wife as the most assertive person in the world, she was actually the one who made me realize how badly I was behaving when she gave me an ultimatum. It was either tell her what’s really bothering me or she’s moving back with her parents.
It was Sudden and Terrifying
I was certainly not prepared for a declaration of war; I had no comeback to her little speech and, truth be told, I was instantly overcome by guilt and embarrassment. It was ten times worse than when I had soiled my trousers in front of the entire class in second grade.
Fortunately, she also had prepared a contingency plan, to which I said yes immediately; she handed me the phone number of a therapist who specializes in helping people overcome negative behavioral patterns and learn the correct ways to cope with what life throws at us. It was my first visit to this type of establishment that would prepare me for the extensive post rehab therapy sessions later on.