Many cultures teach us from a very young age to suppress our feelings, whereas ideally we should be educated from an early age by our parents, schools, society in general to understand our emotions and how to deal with them.
The consequence of pushing our emotions under the carpet, sugar-coating it in simple lies what sophisticated cultures call ‘appropriate behaviour’ or many times ‘simple politeness’, we deal with an entire system of passive-aggressive culture.
It’s everywhere. We write passive-aggressive emails, Facebook posts, text messages, we even treat our partners, family members, friends and colleagues with silence treatment and verbalising a lie that says: “All is fine!”
We mastered it so well that we have created another epidemic emotional disaster that has caused us recently started to speak out. We struggle mentally because of this and we are trying to break free. Good on us!
I don’t know about you but I have dealt with passive-aggressive people in my business for years. Now when I look back, it was an abusive behaviour, like a sugar-coated bullying. I can’t go back to the person explaining the hell I was put through but I did one thing, I removed myself. I also voiced my opinion and left that behind, swearing that I won’t allow anyone to torture me or my team like that again.
So, what is actually happening to the passive-aggressor?
Passive aggression is a method used by those who want to avoid their own hidden feelings. People who don’t want to deal with or confront their anger, fear, resentment. So they stay passive-aggressive thinking that they have it all under control.
Another pattern passive-aggressors show is that they never understand why people leave them. How come they’ve alienated so many people, including thrown family, they wonder.
What can we do?
A lot. We can raise it openly, shed some light on the hidden demon pushed under their carpet. No fights are needed, but if you do recognise this in someone close to you, you have the right to mention that their behaviour, tone of voice is suggesting that not all is well as they claim it is.
And you most certainly don’t allow yourself to be drawn into that drama.
You put clear boundaries to keep your own sanity first and you don’t allow their own emotional, unresolved issues affecting your inner peace.
An awakening mind, someone on a spiritual journey of discovering their deeper wisdom would do this with a lot of compassion for that person but never at their own cost. Self-love must never be jeopardised by someone who lacks self-love and therefore harms others.
It is not your job to tip-toe around a passive aggressive person or to fix their issues because you will be trapped in a place of fear that truly isn’t yours. Their passive-aggressive, unaddressed and drawn into, can cause anxiety and even depression.
Never knowing what is going on. Sounds like total dishonesty to me 😉
But it is your job to examine your own emotions and perhaps learn what not to become, maybe you recognise that on occasions you can be passive-aggressive too?
How to use Buddhist teachings to help out?
Meditate. Examine your own emotions and learn more about them.
We all, without exception, suffer from painful emotions such as anger, jealousy, resentment, fear, anxiety, attachment, arrogance, righteousness.
What we can do is to become a wiser and kinder version of ourselves. Not ‘the best’, just the most compassionate and wisest we can be.
We first start with ourselves by acknowledging our feelings. We befriend even those ugly part os us. With compassion, rather than oppression, we look at our negative emotions and give them a new understanding.
Once we understand them, we can start learning beyond the obvious meaning of the conventional world and use the awareness of our pain to generate virtues such as compassion and patience.
Start with yourself, you will then very unlikely great others without these virtues.
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