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Re the use of the expression passive-aggressive

(78 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Vintagejazz Fri 22-Aug-14 16:27:24

Just seen it being used totally inappropriately on yet another thread. Is this just some kind of buzz wordy/catch all phrase on Mumsnet that is no longer expected to adhere to its original meaning?

AryaOfHouseSnark Fri 22-Aug-14 17:46:05

^now that was a good example of passive aggressive. ^

AryaOfHouseSnark Fri 22-Aug-14 17:46:22

Oh bollox, new page.

1sneezecakesmum Fri 22-Aug-14 17:55:28

MNHQ recently asked for people to comment on why AIBU is such a horrible place and asking for pointers as to how obnoxious posters post.

I said that PA posts are one of the typically manipulative ways posters twist what someone else says. There was lots of agreement and PA seemed to become the buzzword! I have an awful feeling I started the PA trend! Hadn't seen it much til then blush

Vintagejazz Fri 22-Aug-14 18:00:38

ISneeze I first started to notice this a couple of years ago when the expression seemed to be strewn around threads like confetti. It's actually not as bad as it used to be, so I definitely wouldn't blame yourself for it.

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 18:05:44

It's misused all over the internet, including on mumsnet and including on this thread. I mean, look, we've had at least five or six different definitions of it now, all of which are wrong; this is what it actually means:

Passive-aggressive behavior is the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, sarcasm, stubbornness, sullenness, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.

For research purposes, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) revision IV describes passive-aggressive personality disorder as a "pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in social and occupational situations".

And I wish people would stop getting it wrong because it gets on my wick.

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 18:09:09

I've just read back and the only instance of passive aggressiveness on this thread is the tenant who pissed people about.

Vintagejazz Fri 22-Aug-14 18:10:11

Well I think my example of the apartment tenant corresponds exactly to that description. She delayed, was hostile and sullen in attitude and failed to make the place presentable for viewing even though that was her responsiblity.

DownstairsMixUp Fri 22-Aug-14 18:10:55

Watch any interview with Peter Andre mentioning Katie Price. He is pretty much always passive aggressive. Twat.

Vintagejazz Fri 22-Aug-14 18:12:51

x post cruickshank.

LiverpoolLou Fri 22-Aug-14 18:13:16

I think my sister bridesmaid example fits the description too. confused

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 18:13:49

Yes my original post was a x post as well. I almost don't want to post again in case it happens a third time!

Vintagejazz Fri 22-Aug-14 18:17:23

I've seen it described in dictionaries as 'behaviour that allows people who aren't comfortable being openly aggressive to still get their own way under the guise of pleasing others' and I think the 'oh no I'm fine honestly' accompanied by an injured or resentful look or sad sigh would also fit the term.

But I've seen it being thrown at people in totally inappropriate ways on threads and it's irritating and has really turned me off the expression.

AryaOfHouseSnark Fri 22-Aug-14 18:19:18

Ok, so the snarky exchange about hoeing a lie down up thread. That doesn't count as pa ?

LiverpoolLou Fri 22-Aug-14 18:20:21

I didn't know that the DSM has it listed as a personality disorder. I learnt new something today.

unrealhousewife Fri 22-Aug-14 18:30:14

I think it's just an adjective describing a certain behaviour. Someone who puts up with something in real life but complains to others is displaying p.a. behaviour because the are choosing not to be assertive.

If the example in this case was about someone who didn't understand what was happening or who had objected to the problem but been ignored, then not p.a. In the case oulined here it was.

There's a lot of it about, it's a by-product of self-preservation. Don't want to risk losing face by directly complaining, so smile but stab in back later.

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 18:30:50

Oops yes missed the bridesmaid; she's passive aggressive too. Ok, so this thread has got passive aggressive nailed. Time to go out and spread the word across the rest of mumsnet and indeed facebook, all discussion boards including discussion boards attached to newspapers and especially the BBC. Fly, my pretties, fly!

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 18:33:21

BZZZZZT unrealhousewife that isn't passive aggressive - two-faced, disloyal etc maybe, but to be passive aggressive you'd have to be sabotaging what you're meant to be doing without actively committing an act of sabotage.

unrealhousewife Fri 22-Aug-14 18:41:45

Cruickshank i said the Behaviour is passive aggressive. It just is. Doesnt mean the person is p.a. In themselves.

I remember when the phrase was coined, it was definitely a kind of behaviour and just a pseudo smart way of saying two-faced or backstabbing.

To me it describes someone who is unable to be assertive and so finds fault in the other person rather than seeking a conclusion. People who do nasty things just for the sake of sabotage and disguising it as something else are doing something different.

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 18:43:34

Well, that might be what it means to you, but it's not the actual meaning. Still, everyone else has their own personal definition of it and misuses it with gay abandon, so I guess you might as well join in.

unrealhousewife Fri 22-Aug-14 18:50:44

How can procrastination be indirect expression of hostility? Isn't it self sabotage?


LiverpoolLou Fri 22-Aug-14 18:55:23

Oops yes missed the bridesmaid; she's passive aggressive too.

Thank fook for that. I thought my years in therapy had been wasted.

cruikshank Fri 22-Aug-14 19:02:42

No years in therapy are ever wasted.

[gibbers, softly, in a corner, about People Getting Passive Aggressive Wrong On The Internet]

IonaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Aug-14 20:10:34

<Tries and fails to think of ironic PA way to say 'chaps - please try not to do quotes from other threads> - it makes the people you're discussing rather IMpassively aggressive, understandably, and then we have to get the bun nets out again... and we'd only just put them in mothballs for Autumn...

In the words of Gordon, the blue Express engine, 'It isn't wrong but we just don't DO it'.

Bingo! Nailed the PA technique by means of channelling the Rev W Awdry.

unrealhousewife Sat 23-Aug-14 00:38:23

Here, have a go at these grin

Tikimon Sat 23-Aug-14 03:01:35

People don't use the word "irony" or "ironic" correctly either.

Sometimes you just have to shrug, come to terms that there's dull crayons in every box, and take a stance of apathy.

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