Overcome Passive Aggressive Behavior in 6 Simple Steps


Do you tend to stuff your emotions and then are shocked when you finally implode? Hi, my name is Neisha and I have a confession I am a passive-aggressive personality in need of serious reform. I could sit here and give you a myriad of examples of why this behavior resonates with me but I digress. I am guilty as charged.

I am slowly teaching myself how to assert myself. It is unfamiliar territory but it gives me sanctity. I walk away feeling like myself esteem is intact instead of like it is buried in the trenches. Old habits die hard so how do you combat such a deadly one? I have five simple steps to overcoming passive-aggressive behavior.

1.       Confront the situation head on. –When I try this approach I get out of emotion mind and use both wise and emotional mind. Therefore, I stick to a logistical perspective in which I stick to the cold hard facts of the situation. For years I have avoided confrontation but as I mature I see that it is a necessary evil and is unavoidable unless your own values and belief systems are not valid to you.


2.       Plan of action.-If you get tripped up on your words or think you’ll lose your nerve then practice makes perfect. I find it useful to plan what I am going to say by either writing a journal entry of how I want the conversation to go or just write out my thoughts and how the way the situation was handled and how it could have been different.



3.       Stick to the facts and fight (yes, fight) fair. No hitting below the belt. Sometimes when we are trying to hash our differences people immediately get indignant and ignorant. We are often caught up in our own emotions and dealing with things that have nothing to do with the matter at hand. By sticking to the facts it keeps both parties focused on the point of the conversation. Often we resort to mudslinging because we are visual creatures and need an immediate reaction to what we are saying. Often how we fight mirrors how we have seen others hash out disagreements. Break the cycle.


4.       Keep a leveled head. Be willing to listen and be receptive to what both parties need from the conversation.  Both of parties’ feelings are valid. Never minimalize how one feels.



5.       Let the other person know how he/she made you feel. I know when we exhibit passive-aggressive behavior we either retreat or come out with guns blazing. Being vulnerable is the last thing on our mind. But by allowing the other person to hear how what they did make you feel inside will clue them in on how not to handle the situation the next time. Let me give you an example a loved one and I had fallout and we did not speak for quite some time, finally I confronted her and let her know how her words made me feel inside. In her mind her words were of comedic value and had no malicious intent but they cut me deep. Now we do not have those types of confrontations anymore. I spoke to her in a way where she could hear me versus confronting her in an accusatory manner, by saying you made me do this because you did that.


6.       Practice makes perfect. Try asserting yourself daily with those closest to you. For often they are the hardest to confront. I use to believe in the old adage “arguing always leads to a fight” so I avoided confrontation altogether. I would retreat (be passive and stuff my emotions) and then later come out with guns blazing when the emotions overwhelmed me (be aggressive and get physical). Now by no means am I violent person, well at least not on the surface. But in a recent conversation I realize I’m either docile or extremely violent and there is no in between. So that is something I need to work on daily.

Do you have any helpful tips to add onto this list? Are you willing to try some of these out? Please let me know how it goes? Share your thoughts below.

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