Archive for the ‘Passive Aggressive Behavior’ Category

I went to the parking lot to get my car, and stuck under the windshield wiper was a paper napkin with a sarcastic note scrawled across it. The writer wanted to know whether I thought I was so much better than the other plebeians who worked at the building that I could park in the aisle.

In truth, I had parked in the aisle. In my defense, however, I blocked no one because the aisle is three car widths wide, there were no other spaces available, and I pay a monthly fee for parking.

At the same time, I felt a bit intimidated by the message on the napkin. I think I felt guilty because the note harked back to what I was taught as a child – that it was wrong to be pretentious or to think I was better than anyone else in any way.

Another factor may also come into play when a person is accused of some wrongdoing. Regardless of whether the person is guilty, he or she usually feels uncomfortable. This is probably because as children we were expected to be good and to do things right. And when we didn’t do something right, we lost our parents’ approval for a time, which translates into a loss of love. As adults, when reprimanded, we too feel that vague sense of loss of love.

Because everyone is sensitive to criticism and most everyone gets criticized from time to time, here are 3 questions to ask yourself.

  1. Is this criticism valid?
  2. Is it partially valid?
  3. What might I have done differently to have avoided the criticism?

By asking these questions of yourself, you put in perspective the criticism.

You might also want to keep in mind the following story which was written in the third century B.C. and recounted by Will Durant in “The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage”.

‘When a simpleton abused him, Buddha listened in silence; but when the man had finished, Buddha asked him: ‘Son, if a man declined to accept a present made to him, to whom would it belong?’ The man answered: “To him who offered it.’

‘My son,’ said Buddha, ‘I decline to accept your abuse and request you keep it for yourself.'”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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It might be an eye opener if I focused on the ways people persecute each other in the course of a day. Here are some all too frequently used ways to persecute someone:

Blame someone else when you go off your diet.

Smoke in the home of someone who doesn’t smoke.

Be late for an early-morning breakfast date.

Don’t send an RSVP when the invitation clearly calls for it.

Let everyone else in the company know you’re going to fire someone before telling the person himself.

As you’re leaving a meeting on Friday, tell a subordinate in an ominous tone you need to talk with him Monday.

Allow a sales clerk to ring up your purchase first, even though you know someone else was ahead of you.

Always wait until the second notice before paying a bill.

Say you’ll mail a friend’s letter and then let it sit in your car for a week.

Refuse to let another driver pull into your lane.

Make your carpool sit for 10 minutes while you finish getting dressed.

Be a half-hour late for a dinner party and don’t call. And when you get there, don’t apologize.

Stay in bed until the last minute and then scream at the children to hurry up and get ready for school.

Don’t make your child-support payments on time.

Cancel a dental appointment five minutes before you are to be in the dentist’s office.

Make a lot of noise in the morning, even though everyone else is sleeping.

Don’t tip the waitress because the food doesn’t taste good.

Tell a job applicant you’ll call on Monday to tell him whether he got the job, and then don’t call.

Smoke a cigar at a meeting.

Lecture your child for an hour on his transgressions and bring up everything he has done wrong in the past.

Let your dog bark for hours outside in the middle of the night.

Simply hang up when the party on the other end says “Hello” and you realize you’ve called a wrong number.

Lend a book to a friend when you’ve already promised it to another friend.

Never pay back the petty change you borrow.

Throw your spouse’s coffee away without asking whether he or she is finished drinking it.

Use someone else’s idea but take all the credit.

Do you know any other ways that you may be persecuting someone?

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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It’s sheer agony working for my boss,” a woman recently told me. “He’s unbelievable.”

She continued: “In conversation he always puts you on the defensive. He asks rude questions such as “How old are you anyway?” “Are you a natural blond?” “How much money does your boyfriend make?”

“When he wants to make a point, he puts his hands on your shoulders to let you know he’s serious.”

“He assigns you a project, but then checks up on you 25,000 times. He butts in, changes it. He won’t let you be responsible for it.”

“He comes up and picks lint off my suit. He straightens my collar or my scarf. I want to say ‘Buzz off, slime ball.'”

“He acts like I didn’t have a life before I started working for his company. He thinks he made me what I am.”

“He can’t sit down very long. In the middle of a brain-storming session someone will be talking and he keeps butting in and interrupting. After he says what he wants to say, he gets up and leaves. Or he leaves while someone else is talking. We think he’s gone to the John. He doesn’t come back. We say, ‘Where is Fred?'”

“When decisions are made after one of these brainstorming sessions, he’s mad if we don’t use all his ideas.”

“When he’s with a client, he promises them the world. And then he reneges.”

“He is unbelievably tight when he negotiates salary. He uses every tactic in the book to intimidate you and make you feel insecure. He tells you that earnings are down. Times are hard. He’s doing you a favor by keeping you on the payroll. No one else would want you anyway. He, on the other hand, lives in a million-dollar house and drives a Jag.”

“He talks of being friends and thinks nothing of asking you to stay late or to come in early or give up a weekend. He says, ‘Friends do that for each other.’ But he never says thank-you or rewards you with a bonus.”

‘He takes your ideas and somehow in a week or two they become his ideas.’

“He starts a conversation in the middle of what he’s thinking about and you are always trying to play catch-up and figure out what he’s talking about.”

“He makes lewd remarks about other women.

“He makes lewd remarks to your boyfriend about you.”

“He never asks any follow-up questions about your life. You could say, ‘I broke my knee last night’ and he wouldn’t ask you how you did it.”

“Almost everyone thinks he’s a jerk. Doesn’t he get it?”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.  Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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I walked into the kitchen the other morning and there was my husband’s dirty cereal bowl, a few toast crumbs, and a half cup of leftover coffee sitting on the table. “No big deal,” I thought.

I picked up the coffee cup and bowl, carried them to the sink, rinsed them out, and put them in the dishwasher. I also wiped off the table and wiped up some coffee grounds that my husband had obviously spilled while making coffee.

When I saw the milk sitting on the counter, I felt a slight twinge of annoyance. I hate it when people leave milk unrefrigerated. But when I found that the milk was still cold, I thought, “no big deal,” and put it in the refrigerator.

I prepared breakfast for our daughter, packed her lunch, grabbed a cup of coffee for myself, and went upstairs and got dressed for work. As we were about ready to leave the house, I did a final check. I turned off the light in my daughter’s room, “no big deal,” I unplugged her curling iron, which she had forgotten to turn off, “no big deal.”

We jumped in the car and I remembered it was Tuesday. My husband had forgotten to put out the trash. I jumped out of the car and instructed my daughter to do the same. The two of us lugged the trash cans out of the garage and to the street. The one I was carrying spilled and I got something icky on my hand. No big deal.

I went to the car, got the keys, unlocked the house, washed off my hands, remembered that I hadn’t defrosted anything for dinner, pulled out a package of hamburger, got back in the car, closed the garage door, and we were off.

Half way to school my daughter told me she had to have four dollars. I looked in my wallet and all I had was a twenty. I needed the twenty because I was going out for lunch. “Oh well,” I said, “Take the twenty. I’ll work it out, no big deal, I’ll stop by the bank.”

That night I found the cat didn’t have food in his bowl, poor kitty, so I got out the bag and filled his bowl. The cat is not my responsibility, but no big deal. While I was at it, I washed out his water bowl, gave him fresh water, and cleaned his litter box.

The week rolled by with a lot of “no big deals.”

On Friday I went to the garage to get my car and there sat the trash. That day I was running very late so I let the trash sit.

That night as I drove in the garage, I saw the trash. I walked in the house and gave everyone a loud lecture on what being responsible means…turning out lights, putting your dishes in the dishwasher, making sure the cat has food, putting out the trash.

My family looked at me like I’d lost my mind. My husband said quizzically, “What’s the big deal?”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.
Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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I asked a friend who is an architect how business was going. He said it was fine except that he had a cash-flow problem because people weren’t paying him fast enough. Then he smiled boyishly and said, “of course, I don’t bill them right away either.”

“How long do you wait until you bill them?” I asked.
Now he laughed sheepishly and said, “oh, about three months after I’ve completed the work.”

“You do your clients no favors.” I said. “People who don’t get billed for three months have already forgotten about that debt because they are on to making new ones. And then when your bill comes, they have to stop and figure out how to make a payment to you.”

“So why do you think I procrastinate?” my friend asked.

“Maybe you have a problem with charging people for services,” I said, “and you don’t think you’re worthy of the money. You’d be surprised how many professionals grapple with this issue.”

“That’s interesting,” he replied. “Have you any other ideas as to why I procrastinate?”

“Maybe you like the stimulation that comes from living on the brink of financial trouble. Or you are testing people to see if they will call and ask about the bill.”

“Why else do you think I procrastinate?” urged my friend.

Not able to resist, I went on, for I like to play, “I’m only trying to help you.”

“Maybe you had a parent that procrastinated and modeled for you that way of behaving. You just never learned how to be a self-starter. Or you procrastinate because that’s the way you learned to express your anger. Procrastination is passive-aggressive behavior, you know.”

“But what do you think is the real, underlying reason for my procrastination?” my friend queried.
“Maybe you’re not supposed to be more successful than your father, so you procrastinate to keep yourself less successful. Or you’re afraid to fail, so you don’t complete a project.”

“Why else?” he demanded.
“Could it be,” I mused, “that always asking ‘why’ is in itself a form of procrastination?”

“Let’s change the subject,” laughed my good-natured friend.


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Are you the passive agressive one in your relationship? Take the test below to find out!

The Passive Aggressive’s main focus in life is himself or herself. For convenience, I’ll use “he.” However, there are also many women who are Passive Aggressive. The Passive Aggressive does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. He’s often late, he procrastinates, he tells you he will do something and then he doesn’t. He could get the job done faster and better, but he doesn’t.

Often a person will ask me, “How can someone be passive and aggressive at the same time?” Here’s an example.

Suppose I tell you I’ll meet you at 11:00, and I don’t show up until 11:30 because I decided to watch the end of the ball game. In addition, I don’t even bother to call, nor do I apologize when I see you. My behavior is angry. It discounts you. I’m not jumping up and down having a temper tantrum, but my behavior is certainly aggressive toward you. However, I am expressing the aggression passively. That’s why it’s called passive aggressive behavior.

In addition to being passively aggressive, many Passive Aggressives have very nasty tempers. Remember: it’s standard operating procedure for Passive Aggressives to do as they please. So if you confront them about their behavior, they often turn the confrontation around, and confront you on your behavior. Except their confrontation is usually more angry. As a result, it is you who backs down. And once again, they get their way. What is confusing at first about this personality type is that Passive Aggressives are often very caring and sensitive people. In fact, many of them will go out of their way to do nice things for you. The catch is, they take care of you when it’s convenient for them, and in their own way.

For example, Passive Aggressive buys you a beautiful wool sweater for your birthday. You’re allergic to wool. Or Passive Aggressive knows that you hate cats. He brings one home for the kids. Perhaps the best description of a Passive Aggressive is that he does what he damn well pleases. Take the following test, check off each item that applies to you or your mate.

You do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and how you want to do it. You set your own standards of behavior as opposed to following the standards of others.

You resist expectations of others by dawdling and forgetting. You hate it when others set deadlines for you, and often you do not meet them.

You get angry when crossed. You have a nasty temper and frequently use it to try to make your point, intimidate, and get your own way.

You think others have no right to tell you what to do, and often when you are told what to do, you respond in a defensive and hostile manner.

You rarely find yourself in a position where you think you have made a mistake and you need to apologize.

You often do not do what you have promised, and your mate is always on you about what you haven’t done.

You are unsure of yourself, and internally you feel powerless, and dependent and lack self-confidence.

You defend your behavior with such excuses as “I forgot,” “It never occurred to me,” or “I’m sorry you think that of me.” You feel innocent when you offer these excuses, and when you apologize it is usually a maneuver to get your mate off your case. Your apologies do not contain a promise to change.

You don’t think about how your behavior affects others. You simply do not take others’ wants and feelings into account if you want to do something.

You see yourself as basically a nice person and can’t understand why others often feel irritated and angry with you.
If you have checked off 8 or more items, you are definitely a Passive Aggressive. If you have checked off 5, 6, or 7 items, you sometimes have passive aggressive behavior, but you are not a passive aggressive personality.


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Pouting closes off communication channels between parent and child.

Dear Pouting Parent,

Did you know that pouting closes off communication?

Pouting says I refuse to be close.

Pouting is a form of anger.

Parent, you can’t fix the problem when you pout.

It’s okay to be quiet and back off from your child when you’re ready to chew a nail because of his or her behavior. At the same time, answer your child when she tries to talk to you. If she tries to make small talk, understand that it is her way of saying, “Let’s be friends” and her attempt to get back in your good graces.

At some point, discuss her infraction and what you would like to have happen differently in the future. For example, you might say, “I’m very disappointed in the way you acted when your friends were over. As an apology and a gesture of good will, I’d like you to take out the trash and shred that stack of papers in my office. Once you do these chores, I’ll put away my bad feelings, and we can be friends again.”


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