Sunday, March 27, 2011

That old passive aggression trick again

Is there someone in your life who likes to employ that old passive aggressive technique in order to goad you into an argument?

A sibling, partner, wife, husband, child, parent, employer, church leader, boss or co-worker?

They ask you apparently sweet and reasonable questions, try to help you by pointing out your many and varied faults: "I am really only doing this for your own good. You DO understand that, don't you?"

They also act like master magicians, employing techniques of misdirection and the verbal equivalent of prestidigitation that would make members of the Magic Circle gasp with admiration.

You also get blamed for things that are not your fault, and you are blamed for events that are beyond your control or totally outside your sphere of influence. This can often involve a masterful technique known as blame transfer. If X makes a mistake they often feel unable to take responsibility so they will blame the nearest person for that mistake.

"If YOU had not been standing there, I would not have dropped that bottle. Therefore even though I dropped the bottle it was your fault!"

"I had an argument with someone whilst I was out. I did not feel brave enough to call them on their bad behaviour. So somehow, and although this does not seem fair or logical, I will come home and foment an argument with you so that I can take out my anger and frustation on you!"

"Your brother/sister is special. You are not. I will make you the sacrificial goat aka whipping boy/girl so that the bad behaviour of your brother/sister will not go unpunished. It may seem unfair that your brother/sister gets away with their bad behaviour whilst you are unfairly punished, but that's just how things are, here. And, in years to come, when we have turned your brother/sister in to a monster, we will work out some passive-aggressive way of blaming YOU for that totally predictable turn of events, too."


AlexisAR said...

What you've described, Matt, is my paternal grandparents' entires modus operandi. They've passed it along to their own children as well. Even my father has to fight the tendency to live according to their plan. They're not happy people as a result.


Matt said...

Sadly, there's a lot of it about. And the people who do this are not all Mormons by any stretch of the imagination.