“Oh no, let ME make dinner since you are SO much more exhausted than I am!”
“Thank you for throwing your dirty clothes on the floor next to the hamper, I really appreciate it.”
Passive-Aggressive: “a type of behavior characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation.”
Sound familiar? Here’s the thing: it is so easy to spot passive-aggressive behavior in others but we’re not as quick to recognize it in ourselves. But, if we’re honest, all of us resort to this behavior at times (some of us more often than others!).
There are perks to using passive-aggressive language of course (otherwise we wouldn’t do it). For one thing, we can maintain our “innocence” when confronted with our snotty attitudes: “I didn’t mean it that way, you’re putting words in my mouth”. We don’t have to take any personal responsibility for our actions if we have deniability. We can also fool ourselves into thinking that we are taking the moral high ground, because if you break down our sentences we didn’t actually say anything “mean”.
But, at the end of the day, passive-aggression is just what the name implies: It’s passive because we avoid direct confrontation and it’s aggressive because we really are attacking the other person. And worst of all, it’s dishonest because we aren’t speaking our truths.
Plus, doesn’t it seem that our passive-aggressive tendencies show up more often when we’re dealing with those people we love the most? Spouses, offspring, parents, and siblings all get the brunt of our indirect aggression.
Well, very recently it hit me that I was getting very passive-aggressive with someone I love, someone I want a good relationship with, someone I admire more than anyone else, …
I have been praying for an ongoing issue for years now and have received no answer. And, frankly I’m tired. Sure, I could have been direct with God and told him about my anger and frustration, and how I feel he has let me down, but I was afraid. Because, who wants to make God mad?!
So, instead I became passive-aggressive. I actually tried to take the moral high ground.
I. tried. To. Take. The. Moral. High. Ground. With. God!
Can we just let that sink in for a minute? (Does God roll his eyes?).
I very sweetly (and indirectly) reminded him of how long I had been praying and how hard I try to please Him. And, just in case he had forgotten, I asked him to remember that He is a God of healing and He was kind of falling down on the job.
And then, I tried to guilt him into giving me what I wanted: “Um, you know how there are horrible people in this world who hate you? And, remember that I’m your child and I love you and yet I am the one stuck in bed while they are off living life and having fun?”
Once I realized what I was doing, I was so ashamed.
I was actually being passive-aggressive with the God of all creation!
As humans, we know when someone is being passive-aggressive. And, it’s annoying. We’d rather the other person just come out and say what they really mean. So, if we as mere humans want honesty and truth, how much more does God want that from us?
I am now practicing being completely open and real with my Father. Frankly, it’s still a little scary. But, it has already brought me into a much deeper relationship with Him. Not only is that the way I want it, but that’s the way He wants it too.
Now, I just need to remember to put this into practice in my other relationships as well!