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How do you deal with passive aggressive behaviour?

(58 Posts)
icanneverremember Sun 11-May-14 11:26:23

Particularly when it's outright denied such as:

"I don't look pissed off" when the other person clearly has a very grumpy expression and is sulking.

I have tried pointing out the passive aggression and saying things like "could you please lose the tone from your voice. I am trying to have a discussion with you but your tone is upsetting the children"
The response is met with even more passive aggression such as:
"You just can't let anyone be pissed off can you? Perfect Ican, you're always perfect aren't you? Yep, it's obviously just me, the problem's all me." (obviously said sarcastically, angrily and usually followed by stomping out of the room.

Any genuine advice on how to deal with this would be greatly appreciated as it's a recurring issue for us.

Lweji Sun 11-May-14 11:29:02

I don't think you can deal with it. You can walk away, though.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-May-14 11:29:53

He's trying (and succeeding) to shut down the conversation with this childish behaviour. What is it you're trying to discuss? Let me guess... it's something that would involve him having to do something, put himself out, make a change?

gurningpug Sun 11-May-14 11:31:34

Ignore them

winkywinkola Sun 11-May-14 11:32:14

I wouldn't engage with this at all

If you're trying to have a discussion and he responds in a poor way, leave the room or at least end the conversation.

Pursuing it gets you absolutely nowhere. The other person has issues and those issues will create big rows if you pursue the issue each time

FunnyFoot Sun 11-May-14 11:33:44

Maybe you should just let the pissed off person be pissed off for a while.

I occasionally get in a grump for sometimes no reason. Left alone I will come out of it and be fine. Badgered in to talking about it when I am not sure of the answer winds me up even more and make me more pissed off.

Your aggressive constant questioning doesn't seem to be the answer if it is a recurring problem so try the leave them alone and talk when their in a better mood might be.

Lweji Sun 11-May-14 11:34:28

Having said that, Transactional analysis might help a bit.
The second example sounds like you are in a parent role and he adopts a rebellious child stance.
I'd give it a go, possibly within counselling and see if there is any improvement in the communication.
But don't discard the possibility of walking out.

The first instance sounds more like gaslighting, althou he may not be fully aware of how he feels and how it's showing.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-May-14 11:34:40

I'm all for ignoring this kind of stuff but ignoring doesn't necessarily work if there is something important to be settled. Just kicks the can down the road and leaves the original problem frustratingly unresolved. That's why I asked what it was that was being discussed.

Rummikub Sun 11-May-14 11:36:55

I think leave them to their sulking. My x was like this. It's horrible to deal with. No reasoning with them. I tried various things. Ignore them till they were more receptive. Try to talk it through with them and ignore the tone, the looks, the yawns, the sighs. It's exhausting isn't it.

Lweji Sun 11-May-14 11:41:24

We can advocate ignoring them, but they end up as exs don't they?

And we can't if the moods affect family life or the children. Particularly if the person doesn't recognise they are in a bad mood and just takes it all on the people around them.

gurningpug Sun 11-May-14 11:46:10

You just ignore them until they're in a better mood, no?

If they're permanently moody then yes they're an ex.

tigermoll Sun 11-May-14 11:52:17

I used to go out with someone who pulled a lot of PA/sulky/woe is me stuff. I'm afraid I used to just laugh at him smile

Lweji Sun 11-May-14 11:57:01

You can't ignore them if they are taking it out on the children or you, for that matter.

icanneverremember Sun 11-May-14 12:41:22

I have tried ending the conversation by saying something like "I can see you're upset so I don't think we should talk about it now. We'll talk about it when the kids are in bed. This is usually met with "Oh so we do it all on your terms" and more protests. I have gone as far as to say "I am not discussing this with you any more until you feel able to control your shouting/tone of voice. We will talk about it later" which is often met with "yes, too right we'll talk about it later."

I think the worst bit is the passive agressive nature of his behaviour for the rest of the day. He will spend the day sulking and barely talking to me and will be hyper defensive of any thing I say. On these occasions he will also have less patience with the children which in turn gives me more cause to be pissed off with him and the cycle continues.

These conversations are frequent and are usually brought about when trying to discuss an issue where we might have differing opinions. I feel as though he is very defensive if my view is different from his and he will become stroppy and childish, claiming that (Ican can never be wrong can you? You just can't stand it if someone doesn't agree with you" I feel that these accusations are unfair as surely part of having a pov is that you think yours is correct?! I try to always be open minded to the fact that I'm not but we don't even get a chance to debate the issue before he throws his toys out the pram!

Lweji - We are exactly in those roles - parent/child (or dictator/victim if my husband were to be believed grin ) Can you tell me more about transactional analysis? I've been reading a book written by an educational psychologist about modeling good problem solving skills to your child, I found it really helpful and have been putting some skills into practise, DH refuses to read it though.

icanneverremember Sun 11-May-14 12:46:50

Cogito - For example we were discussing whether to change the nanny's working hours. Another example might be discussing what to do today. If my opinion or view differs from his we have big problems. This is why I want to get it sorted - it's an almost daily occurence. I really, honestly have tried changing the way that I say things and making sure that I don't come across as aggressive, defensive or negative myself...

winkywinkola Sun 11-May-14 13:26:53

Icanneveremember, it sounds horrendous. Brick wall over and over. How wearing.

Rummikub Sun 11-May-14 13:38:59

Well yes ignoring and not resolving does mean they end up an ex. But it takes 2 to resolve issues. He doesn't sound like he wants to. Is there something else going on?

chemas Sun 11-May-14 13:40:02

It can be so exhausting! funny that I should find this tonight after feeling a little alone, I never like to talk too much about it because I do love my partner and don't like to run him down but the constant battle to find reason with him can get a bit much! especially when you're made to feel like you're imagining it because it is never recognised. if you find a solution please let me in on the secret! like I said I love my partner but I totally understand how frustrating and hurtful it can be to be the only voice of reason and have to let it slide because you know sensibility is key in family life! would love to give him some childishness back some days but more than that would just love him to see reason! And I understand it's not just about any example you can give its a constant attitude that usually rears it's head when they are asked to extend them selves in one way or another! keep strong! and maybe enjoy a cup of tea and have a good giggle because let's face it it can get quite silly sometimes!

Rummikub Sun 11-May-14 14:10:47

In the end I found it more than exhausting, I was walking on egg shells. Re wording things in my head before I said it so I wouldn't be inviting a passive aggressive response. When I did the same to him (I really had to force myself to behave in such a way) he hated it!

icanneverremember Sun 11-May-14 14:16:04

Haha, too true about it getting silly sometimes! We had an exchange that wentblike this yesterday:

Me "One of us needs to go to the shop for milk"
Him " for God's sake, we've run out again?? That's ridiculous"
Me "don't worry, I'll go."
H "I'm happy to go"
M "I know but I honestly don't mind, I've got my shoes on so I'll go"
H "Well I don't mind going either"
M "I know, you said that, but I'll go" (turn tonwalk off)
H " I said I'm happy to go"
M "I'm going, it's fine. Really"
H "Well I don't mind going"
At this point I thought he was messing around and making a joke of it so I laughed. Until I saw his face. Genuine anger!!! Wtf?!?

icanneverremember Sun 11-May-14 14:18:26

Rummikub Snap!! That's exactly where I'm at. But, like the previous poster, I really want to sort this as we have a lovely family and life together and he has many good points - communication's just not one of them!

FloatMyBoat Sun 11-May-14 14:21:49

Well you are not alone ican and i'm in the middle of one of the strops today! We can go weeks or months and all is great then the next few weeks can be up and down and exhausting. Most times i don't know what is up . I bet you feel like your partner decides whether you get along or not. That's what it feels like for me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-May-14 14:25:10

Do you ever spend much time apart OP? That rather overdone exchange over a pint of milk sounds like the kind of 'everything you do irritates the hell out of me' state people get in when they've been chained to radiators together in Beirut... hmm

Aradia Sun 11-May-14 14:37:55

My abusive ex used to do this.

My life is a million times better now he's an ex.

winkywinkola Sun 11-May-14 14:41:56

Using the milk exchange as an example which isn't important just stop talking and say okay you go. Thanks. If he complains then you really have an issue that I don't know could be resolved.

Is he looking for a fight all the time

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