Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Passive Aggressive Behaviour and People Pleasing

As you know, I just discovered that I'm a people pleaser.  I have been aware that with my depression came some passive-aggressive tendencies.  It took me the longest time to admit that I have anger issues.  Everyone around me could see it and I'ld be yelling at them "I AM NOT ANGRY"  I'm not sure what all those issues are or where they came from but I know now they are there.  The more I think about it the more I think the two behaviours are connected.  When I'm angry, I can't come right out and say so.  Sometimes it's because I don't want the person to be angry with me (this applies especially to my kids) but it's often simply because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or rock the boat.  Is that passive aggressive or am I suppressing my anger?

Now I'm reading about these things and what else comes up?  Self-sabotage.  I don't do that do I?  I just can't decide what I want or how I'm going to achieve it.  I become so entwined in what I want to do and the fear that I can't do it that I get stuck.  Oops it says that's what self sabotage is, sort of a passive aggressive way to deal with yourself.   I've heard that depression is anger turned inward.  Wait now they are talking about procrastination being a passive aggressive behaviour.   Wasn't I just saying I've concluded I'm a procrastinator.  Maybe I should stop reading before the whole DSM applies to me.  Does this count as hypochondria?

So here are some anger confessions:

1.  I feel that I have been a tremendous burden on my husband.  He has stuck with me, put up with me, taken care of me, I don't want to nauseate anyone with mushiness but you get my drift. All of this means I have no right to be angry with him at any time, for any thing and not any where nor for anything he does or doesn't do, after all, he saved my life (literally) and he has been standing by my miserable depressed self all these years.

2.  It is not John's fault that I don't have my own car, in fact it's my fault because I can't hold down a job.  Unfortunately, this makes me dependent on  him for  the grocery shopping.  I know he is always tired but when we have no groceries in the house and he calls to ask if he needs to pick up anything at the store on the way home, or asks what I want for dinner,  I typically refuse to answer.  I say I don't know or it doesn't matter or I'll have whatever sometimes I have even suggested something I know he doesn't like.  I think it's my passive aggression that leaves poor John making dinner all the time.

3.  One of the most common ways for me to express anger is with sarcasm.  I was raised on it, I had masters for teachers.  This one in particular I know, drives my daughter around the bend but sometimes the sarcastic remark will slip out before I really realize I'm thinking it.  It is usually followed by "Ha, ha, ha, just kidding"  This doesn't fool anyone any more than it ever fooled me.

4.  I mentioned previously about saying "sure thing" to requests and then just not doing the thing.

5.  The whole procrastination/self-sabotage thing is apparently passive aggressive.

I think this post has gotten a little unwieldly, particularly the second paragraph, but I was on a roll.  Forgive me for rambling.

I just want to add that I'm really learning a lot from articles written by Leon F. Seltzer at Psychology Today.  (Thanks again to "Running in Circles")  He does refer frequently to our relationships with our parents and I recognize some things, however, I want to make it absolutely clear to any and all who read this that I do not blame my parents for my problems, my shortcomings or my depression.


  1. I hope that you found some enlightenment in the articles. My dr say to get out more, outside, exercise, work, volunteer, shopping just getting out the house. So I may try that. Hope you havve a great evening. Have you been doing anymore sewing? Take some pictures :)
    Hugs, Kim

  2. Oh you got me going with this post--I relate to so much of it, I just had to laugh. I try to stay away from all the 'labels' because I'll drive myself absolutely batty thinking I have all of them--especially considering I'm not really qualified to make that kind of decision. I like information and understanding because I believe it can help me change some things, but if I don't watch it--I'll become obsessed.

    As for the parents thing, I don't want to blame mine either--I believe they really did the best they could, but I also recognize that it did affect me and it's something I need to consider about my behavior.

    Ramble on! It makes perfect sense to me lol!

  3. I relate a lot to what you're saying here except that I do blame my parents a lot, especially my mother. I've learned to look at how her parents were abusive as well and so rather understand what happened. Just one more thing I need to get over.
    I think I'll go take a look at Seltzer and see what he's saying. You have me curious.

  4. Kim: The phrase "getting out more" makes me shudder. Probably good for me but sooo tough. Yes I'm sewing will put up some photos soon.

    Running: Thanks. I'm glad I'm making sense to someone. Usually my trouble with reading articles is that that's all I do. I have to start trying to DO what they suggest.

    Linda: I used to blame my parents but I so often feel that I have failed my own kids in a lot of ways that I realize they did the best they could. Takes a while but acceptance will come.

  5. Kim; seems I answered this post in the wrong place!