Avoiding the art of passive-aggression
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 3, 2012 16:05
The air at NDSU is heavy with a blanket of spring fever. Also, most students are feeling the tension with upcoming finals, job searching, moving and working. As stress and temperatures rise, tempers and passive aggressiveness often flare. Relationships, friendships and work places often suffer.
I am far from perfect. Amidst the finals crunch and a bout of serious spring fever, I find myself on the cusp of flipping off the unsuspecting passerby or driver who lollygags across my path. I have to be very deliberate about keeping myself in line because I will be the first to admit albeit reluctantly, I was once the queen of passive aggression.
I have taken off my crown of passive aggression and traded it for assertiveness. Assertiveness is not a natural trait for me. I have had to work at it. This means I have to honestly evaluate myself on a regular basis including my actions and behaviors. I laugh at myself when I begin to dabble in passive-aggressiveness once again.
It is actually quite funny to step back and reflect upon the little things that upset me and how much relationships improve when I am open, straightforward and honest to begin with. Here I have compiled a handy-dandy list of species of passive aggression I invented for your own convenience and fun!
The denial-asaurus is known for notoriously incompatible nonverbal and verbal language. This species often exhibits classic signs of anger and hostility (crossed arms, red face, clenched jaw) while insisting that they are a-OK or giving cryptic comments. This species vehemently denies their genuine feelings. Denial is a weapon for these aptly named species. Inevitably, all of this bottling of anger creates a simmering cauldron of hostility. Watch out for the volcanic eruptions of the denial-asurus when they eventually get ticked enough to explode
One of the most delightfully frustrating yet hilarious results of this type of passive aggressiveness is leaving notes to the person they are angry at rather than telling them to their face. These notes are left under a guise of nicety but spill over with currents of hostility. For example, my old workplace had a note that said, “We’re not a maid service or your mother, so clean up after yourself!” The Passive Aggressive Notes website is completely devoted to these types who claim to hate confrontation but often end up making a situation worse by attempting to avoid it.
The sulk-a-morphs are ancestors with the denial-asuruses. Sulk-a-morphs are expert chameleons. Upon first predatory scent of confrontation or anger brewing, they often withdraw and retreat to their natural habitat. The favorite phrases of sulk-a-morphs before retreating to their lairs are “I’m fine” or better yet, the classic “whatever” circa the Valley Girls ‘90s era we all know and love. By refusing to engage in honest discussion, the sulk-a-morphs leave unresolved issues at bay and their significant other or friend dangling by a hostile thread. They relish the victim role. In fact, these Robert Deniro wannabes could win an Oscar for playing the victim.
The procrastinator-rexes are a particularly frustrating breed of passive aggressors. These people pleasers often swoon people over with agreeing to requests they really do not want to do. They will exclaim “I’d love to” at any request in an attempt to please, then proceed to accidentally “forget” or put off said requests. Those who dabble in procrastination the way that Paris Hilton dabbled in acting with equally catastrophic results. If only these procrastinator-rexes could just say no, the person who made the request would not be disappointed and the whole brooding bit could be spared.
The sarcastic-pedictals are cloaked in a skin of sarcasm to camouflage the hostility beneath the "I was just joking" exterior. While everybody needs a good joke, this species is particularly cunning and generally hurt their loved ones with sarcastic jabs. If the brunt of the said species jokes acts upset or offended, the sarcastic-pedictal magnifies their well-honed role as playing the victim.
Next time you feel tempted to leave a note next to your roommate’s dirty dishes or storm off, recall this handy dandy list and ask yourself if you should be classified under one of aforementioned species. If so, perhaps consider listening to loud music or screaming in your pillow instead. Hallelujah.
Tessa is a senior majoring in English.