“There is only one success,... to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.”
~Christopher Morley, 1922
I wrote recently on the subject of overcoming passive aggressive behaviour and this is, perhaps, a sequel to that.
It seems passive aggressive behaviour has another name; from the relational perspective it is co-dependency; one in the relationship may have their problems—in this case, passive aggression—and the more emotionally-able partner finds themselves betwixt between enabling the passive aggressive behaviour and withdrawing totally, even perhaps becoming passive aggressive themselves to counteract dire negativity.
The quintessential passive aggressive person routinely responds negatively, but instead of reacting angrily their anger simmers just below the surface; their behaviour is manifest in stubbornness, face pulling, veiled sarcasm, manipulation etc. They, by their personality, are unplayable.
Notwithstanding the fact that we all feature for this type of behaviour every now and again, this type of partner is characterised as the consummate deflector; at the extreme, they stake an “absurd maddening claim” on the lives of their loved ones, peers, and associates.
Negotiating Through A Minefield
If we would be married to someone like this, or we have a business partner this way inclined, or we work with a PA (and we all do), we might be quickly discouraged. We recognise that someone has staked “a claim” on our lives—the only true possession God has given us.
But, recognition is a great response to the revelation: rather than be blown away by the bomb-laden ground all around us, such knowledge ensures our ears and eyes are piqued in order that we might grow in wisdom. God has blessed us with this learning ground. It is not a curse because God has intended it for our growth.
We need to be sure we don’t set up situations where we enable negative behaviour by either playing the victim or aggressor ourselves.
Down-the-line assertive behaviour is our mandate; we are to look out for their true needs as well as ours; we are to be advocates of true fairness and appropriate justice. This can be difficult as objectivity is not a universal gift prevailing itself over all our circumstances. We are destined to get it wrong. We do need, though, to pray for objectivity.
Making Enough Room For Ourselves
The truth, overall, is we are the ones responsible for our own happiness. We cannot use others’ behaviour as an excuse for our own misery; that is, of itself, verging on passive aggressive thinking—and we know where that is leading!
Making enough room for ourselves is taking full responsibility for the whole of our lives; it’s taking every bit of the control God has blessed us to take. The only control we don’t take is the cherished part of surrender that sets us apart as faithful to the Lord.
When we realise that God has licensed us for life we waste no time on excuses; fully prepared with such a sound premise, we live each day prepared and ready to live the abundant life. No one controls us but God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.