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I've just learnt I'm a passive agressive bitch :0 How do I stop?

(16 Posts)
hoover Wed 20-Aug-08 09:00:09

I must be a real pita. I do the silent treatment & am sulky.

I was unhappy about something 2 days ago, tried to talk to dh about it. He didn't want to talk. SO all day yesterday I blanked him, ignored his calls etc. He's told me I'm passive agressive, and will therefore play me at my game and is refusing to talk to me!

I looked up pa and it's true.

But I don't know how to argue/resolve conflicts without feeling like he's just taking the piss or feeling like a victim. My family are crap, so I've always grown up not discussing problems. I never raised my voice to anyone in my family, or discussed problems. All my family tend to just ignore each other if they're pised off - my sister hasn't spoken to me for 10 years, my mum didn't speak to her sister for years, my grandma doesn't speak to 1 of her daughters.

So how do I change and learn how to resolve conflicts with dh without getitng sulky or silent or withdrawing?

GooseyLoosey Wed 20-Aug-08 09:06:19

Why don't you explain this to him. Say you wanted to talk to him but he wouldn't, so you brooded about it and were angry - you express anger in silence. What would he have preferred to have happened to resolve the issue that upset you in the first place?

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-Aug-08 09:06:32

I think you've taken the first step by actually aknowledged that you are pa and want to change that.

I would recommend reading 'The Road Less Travelled' by M Scott Peck.

Once you start accepting that other people are not going to act or behave in the way you expect or assume them to act, once you give up trying to control other pople's actions (therefore always setting yourself up to be let down and disappointed), and once you realise that you alone are in control of your emotions and behaviour and stop blaming others for this, you will be able to resolve conflicts easily with anyone.

I'm sure someone will be alone with better advice shortly.

WumphreyCushion Wed 20-Aug-08 09:07:20

Don't take all the blame on yourself. smile
Your post states that your DH didn't want to talk to you when you were unhappy about something either.

Dealing with confrontation and conflict effectively is really hard.
I used to just pretend like nothing had happened, but gradually realised that this just gave everyone a green light to walk all over me.

I think it's really down to self-confidence, and understanding that it is OK to express negative feelings.
Doing it in a calm yet effective way takes practise.

Maybe you could have a look at some books on how to handle your anger, and increase your self-confidence?
Your DH should read them to, so can both agree on how to deal with each other when you have a disagreement. smile

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-Aug-08 09:07:33

See Goosey, I think that aproach is putting the 'blame' on the anger onto hoover's DH, which isn't really fair.

Shitehawk Wed 20-Aug-08 09:09:34

Talk to your dh - tell him what you told us in your fourth paragraph.

He has to do take some of the blame here though; you tried to talk to him but "He didn't want to talk". Presumably he knows you well enough to know that this would lead you to sulk, but chose to do it anyway?

GooseyLoosey Wed 20-Aug-08 09:16:17

I see what you mean Over and that was not what I intended. I do find that it sometimes helps with dh to find out exactly what methods of conflict resolution he thinks are appropriate when he won't talk to me because he does not want to deal with the issue at hand. His ignoring things does not make the issue go away.

I agree that sulking for days won't help and is not a good idea but IMO hoover's dh is partly to blame here for not addressing her problem when she wanted to. You can read all the books in the world about conflict resolution but unless the other side wants to play fair, you may find it hard going.

hoover Wed 20-Aug-08 09:17:01

When he finally talks to me again I will explain to him, but I do need to learn how to resolve conflicts - totally alien to me. I just feel like a pushover or a victim or that the other person has 'got away with it'. No argument is effectively resolved. I just don't know how to do it.

OMDB, I'll look at that book, ta.

WC you suggested looking at books - can you or anyone suggest a specific one that is good?

Thanks for your suggestions everybody.

kama Wed 20-Aug-08 09:21:39

Message withdrawn

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-Aug-08 10:26:38

It's a very good book, I highly recommend it. It is very old so sometimes written in a style and with attitudes that need to be taken with a pinch of salt these days, but overall, very good. It changed my life (or at least, my outlook on life) and made me a more content person.

HappyWoman Wed 20-Aug-08 11:18:33

i know this is not the same - but i read a book called the rules of life.
one of the things i learned was to treat your partner like your best friend - it is not a 'fight' about who is right. It suggested always being the first to say sorry - i know it sounds a bit weak but actually the key is to not appologise for your side/opionion but just that it caused a conflict and you are sorry that you ended up fighting.

Believe me it really does work because you never have to say you are sorry about what you are argueing about - just that you are sorry they are upset and that you ended up shouting/not talking/sulking or however you end up. It actually makes you feel somehow better than the reason for the arguement.

You have already realised that the tactic you are using is not working so it may be worth giving it a try.

raramum Wed 20-Aug-08 18:23:56

Really interested in this post as am a bit of a huffer too, especially if people don't take me seriously. Have been going to counselling for years but have yet to fully loose that pa instinct but am getting there - it takes a while to loose the habits of a lifetime especially as an adult but definately realisation of the problem is the first step. I only realised that I used pa recently - cos have been known to blow my top a bit too so have been working on that issue in counselling until now....ha ha one of these days I'll be perfect and Gandhi-like wink

anorak Wed 20-Aug-08 18:38:18

It is hard to change set patterns of behaviour especially if you don't know what you should be doing to replace them.

I like HappyWoman's point about your partner being your best friend and it not being about winning and losing. If you give each other the silent treatment no one is the winner; you both end up having a horrible time. The best thing to aim for in a disagreement is to understand the other person's viewpoint, and help them to understand yours. Then you have some chance of a resolution and the argument not being repeated.

It's best to choose words carefully and think before you speak, always aiming at saying something constructive, helpful, and not accusatory. You are trying to resolve a conflict so that both of you can live together happily, not to 'be right' or win a battle.

hoover Thu 21-Aug-08 06:03:41

Thanks for wise words. Have ordered book ( must hids from dh!)

I don't mean to be so, but I feel dh is a real 'lawyer' and twists everything. I always feel I get 'beaten' so clam up and stop talking. It feels like my only weapon/coping strategy, but I see it's distructive, so will try better. Thanks again.

My eyes have been opened But yes, hard to undo behaviour of last 30 something years

SuperBunny Thu 21-Aug-08 06:17:48

Good Luck Hoover.

I think I can be quite PA at times but never really realized - I tend to be sullen and quiet after a disagreement, not for any reason other than I don't know what to say and I withdraw. I certainly don't do it to be a PITA but I think that is the result.

I have a history of putting blame on others and am incredibly stubborn and often, resentful. My ex used to twist everything too which I think contributed to the way I behave(d) I am now learning to say how I feel and to let go once it has been discussed.

I like thinking of a relationship as not something to win or lose.

This is a good thread. Will you come back and let us know how the book helps?

ConstanceWearing Thu 21-Aug-08 07:23:23

I agree with a lot of what has been said, but does it depend on what you are arguing about?

For example, if you were arguing because you liked garden furniture A and he liked garden furniture B, then sulking wouldn't be acceptable because you have to meet each other half way on a joint purchase decision.

If, however, you were arguing because DH stayed out all night after the pub, without informing you that he was going to do this, what course of action do you have besides getting grumpy about it and sulking? Especially if he is not willing to talk about his behaviour with you afterwards?

If under these circumstances somebody called you PA, they are diverting attention from the main issue, aren't they? The main issue being their refusal to compromise their behaviour (I'm not being argumentative, I may be entirely wrong, but I sincerely would like to know because I used to be a great sulker myself).

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