Some people cannot help being passive aggressive when life turns a way they don’t like—which is characteristically most of the time. Actually, we are all tempted to behave in passive aggressive ways. Most of us have engaged in it.
So what is it: passive aggressiveness?
It is covert anger. When someone can’t get their own way they resort to resistance even when it appears they are cooperating. They have no intention of cooperating. They have every intention of creating mayhem under a guise. Their smile is really a sneer. Their “Fine, love to help” is really a “Fine! We’ll see, buddy.” They think pathologically; and negative agenda continually the pattern.
Many of us have someone in our family or within our workplaces that exhibits this sort of problematic behaviour. No matter what we try they may insist on doing everything they can to bring off the win. Everything is a competition and selfishness is the drive. But they seek the win in ways to not cause enough ripples that we’ll attack them back. It’s about the scheming undertone of their demeanour.
What can we do to endure them?
One Idea: Lose with Grace
Yes, lose! Keep reading.
When winning is no longer the key to our agenda, and our agenda swings to favour them, we win when they win. But this is not submission. This is actually choosing to take the upper hand; to give them what they want; to rise above the pettiness; to make a heavenly statement of tack by dying to self.
Losing with grace will not be a popular choice of tactic. Many will think we are a pushover, and that’s exactly what it looks like. But who has control? Who has made the choice as to how each situation will play out? Who will never become discouraged? Who is to remain cheerful, despite their reaction? Who truly has the power?
Only the mature person can die to self so consistently as to rise above the passive aggressive person and win while the passive aggressive thinks they are winning. So long as winning is not the point to us, and serving the passive aggressive is the point—and better with the purest of hearts to that end—we rise above all our frustration, and we divert our emotional energy into a spiritual exercise of giving all the glory to God.
The sense for victory that we gain in losing at one level but winning on another is a heavenly prospect. Nothing can come close to the blessings of God encapsulated in knowing there is nothing any human being can do to upset us. That is our vision.
If nothing can upset us in this world we truly belong to God—in the sense of our solemn devotion. When everything of Earth fades away we can endure the passive aggressive and every other problematic person. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.