No more passive aggressive people for me: My father is gone and so is that dysfunction

It’s time to do something radical.

This has been coming for a while, I can see that now, but it couldn’t really happen until after my dad died.

It’s time for me to stop allowing passive aggressive people into my life.

Easier said than done though when you’ve grown up with one in your life every day.

My dad was one.

He wasn’t always passive aggressive. It mostly came out when he was threatened or upset, and then the old pattern would rear its ugly head.

But at times it was there under the surface even when he wasn’t feeling unsure. For example, I’d suggest a place to eat out and he’d say, “Sure. Anywhere is fine with me.” But under the surface I could tell he had his own opinion. Sometimes if he didn’t like the restaurant after the meal he’d say, “Maybe next time we could go get chicken.” His way of saying indirectly, “I didn’t really like that.” And somehow because I chose the place it was kind of my fault he didn’t like it.

That was relatively small, but the thing with passive aggressive people is that their behaviour adds up fast. They don’t want to come right out and say what they want or don’t want, so they try to control things under the surface with comments or behaviours.

And they can be sullen and uncooperative at times too. Stubborn and rigid. If I’d suggest anything spontaneously it was never well received. I’d get the, “Oh well, I don’t know, Jackie, I’m not sure I’m up to that today. Maybe another day.” So he’d control the time things would happen, and put an end to my ideas.

Another thing my father would always do is rain on my parade. If I was in a very good mood and I told him about a very positive thing I was excited about he’d never be enthusiastic about it. He’d literally ask me so many questions about whatever I was talking about that he’d put out the fire I had in my heart. He’d say something like, “Oh so you have a new job. So where is it again? And what will you be doing there? Isn’t that kind of far, how will you get there? Is it worth going all that way for that salary? Maybe you should see if you can find something closer to where you live.” And on and on it would go. I learned from a young age not to take my excited heart to my father, he would ruin it for me very quickly.

But one of the most difficult parts of dealing with anyone who is passive aggressive is that they will pretty much never tell you how they actually feel. So when you’re talking with them about anything emotional or important what they say doesn’t ring true. I get this feeling that their words and behaviour simply don’t match. And though I want to believe their words, there’s always something inside of me telling me I’m being played.

And because I grew up with a father who was passive aggressive some of my girlfriends and boyfriends have been too.

Recently I had to let a relationship go because the passive aggressive behaviour was getting really weird and closer to aggressive. One thing they did was deny my feelings, and they are still doing that. Though I have broken up with them literally four or five times, they were still sending me messages almost every day saying they loved me. I had to tell them that it was not appropriate, but that didn’t seem to make a dent. I then had to tell them not to contact me for at least a month. Whether they honour that or not I still have yet to see. I have told them repeatedly I need my space, but that doesn’t seem to matter to them, because they want what they want, which is to still be with me, even though I have clearly said numerous times I don’t want that anymore.

The weird aggressive thing was them peeing down the side of the toilet bowl. Sometimes I’d find a little and sometimes a lot of pee sitting around the bowl near the floor. At first I thought it was my toilet leaking, but then after they moved out it stopped, so I knew it was them. Who does that? Apparently kids will do that kind of thing when they don’t feel it’s safe to express certain emotions, but a grown up?! I found that particularly creepy. And super gross! And of course they denied doing it, even though I know they did. So there we are back again with them not saying how they actually feel or taking any ownership of their feelings.

So I have decided that kind of interaction is over for me. If I feel as if someone is playing me, not expressing their true feelings, acting stubborn and sullen, raining on my parade or outright rejecting my feelings they will get an express ticket out of my life.

With my father it was not something I had a choice about, and I loved him for a lot of other good qualities that he had. Also he was my dad, and as an adult I was able to have clear boundaries with him, and then minimize the weirdness passive aggressive behaviour creates in a relationship.

But in more personal relationships, no, I cannot do it. How can I be in a friendship or love relationship and know that the person is not telling me how they really feel. I cannot. It makes me feel crazy and it’s like dealing with a child in an adult’s body. I end up making all the decisions because they never have an opinion supposedly, and then they act disconnected and unresponsive when we’re doing things because they haven’t bought into any of it because secretly they’d rather be doing something else. So I drop into the parent role and them the child role. And then they become the resentful child when things don’t go well or just because they didn’t have a say, when they refused to say what they wanted in the first place. It’s a circular, maddening situation that I’ve lived through so many times with my dad, and that I don’t want to live through with anyone else ever again.

But I know the reason why I can make this radical decision now is because my father is gone. I don’t have to accept that type of behaviour in my life anymore. And I’m not going to.

I will need to be vigilant, because it could make me feel comfortable at first because it’s familiar, but I will stay alert because I want straightforward people in my life from now on.

And I don’t want any aggressive people whatsoever. I’ve lived with enough people like that and it’s over now. My mental health is my priority, and I’m proud to say I am courageous enough to be radical and say No!


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