Doing Battle With Passive Aggressive-ness

If you know anything about this behavior, you know how inappropriate the whole idea of “doing battle” is in dealing with it. “Doing battle” is something overtly incensed people do for reasons of emotion or when their sense of justice has been offended. The whole purpose of the passive aggressive form of relating ( or non-relating) is so that battles may be avoided; sometimes it seems at all costs.

However, if you are a person suffering from the effects of your adoption of this behavior, or if you are suffering on the receiving side, there are things to learn that can help. I say that hopefully.

In my own case, most of my life, I was ignorant of the concept, while well-versed in the life application. It isn’t until I learned about how to categorize and label it that I could start to “do battle” with it, rather than the people employing it. That is the number one issue…stop allowing yourself to enter the battlefield for love with a passive aggressive. And on the stage of life we are often playing in a sort of battle to love and be loved. Some Christians may feel that we don’t fight for anything, let alone LOVE! But in fighting against our own fleshly failings, are we not doing battle? And is it not to bring down the walls that inhibit truly loving God and others… and in many cases, learning to love ourselves properly along the way?

It was in the struggle to understand and receive the love God had for me, and His view of who I am that revealed the insidious destruction of passive-aggressivity. Without the gentle, yet firm ( oh how those words would transform our relationships if only we used them as a rule of action!) hand of God upon my life I would probably have lurched from battle to battle, from person to person, running from the wily abilities of passive aggressives to find me, and my own illusions of control and ability to fix others lives that made me such bait. But God deals very differently with us, and when He steps in as the true Savior, and the only one with power to make real and lasting differences in our lives much of the veil falls away… in this, as in many of our foolish ways.

But it isn’t as simple as just “letting go and letting God”. We have our work cut out for us, and it stretches our being to become healthy and to keep relating in a healthy manner to those still invested in their sickness. And it is sickness! Jesus asked: do you want to be whole?, do you want to be clean? It was for us to ask the questions of ourselves. Do we want to be whole or do we want to continue to live with the victimized/victimizing perks and costs because we have become comfortable with them? Which is it? Healing or walking away sadly….”You just don’t understand…”

In reading some advice concerning freeing oneself from the vicious cycle and the death it brings in relationships, a distinction was made between guilt and shame.

Guilt – in my definition – involves behavior, while shame is about our being. Guilt is: I did something wrong; I made a mistake. Shame is: I am a mistake; something is wrong with me. ~Setting Personal Boundaries

It made me think of the Garden of Eden and original sin. When we are guilty, and we know our wrong actions, we start to feel ashamed. God does not shame us, and that is why previous to the original sin there was no shame for nakedness- we were not considering anything about ourselves as a “mistake”. God said it was good and we believed Him… we lived in the experience of ourselves as good and loved. But when we have done something wrong then there is real guilt- there really is something wrong, and it needs healing or transformation. It needs to change.

The challenge is to unlearn that we can battle or manipulate ourselves out of our mess. Submitting to God is simply coming to God and saying, “Daddy, I am sorry, I need to be forgiven and changed”. He is the only one who can, but here is the wonderful thing: He infuses us with the ability, with His nature. Both the people who adopted passive aggressive coping mechanisms and those who have chosen the walled up hostility forms can have a new pathway, one that gives them what they really and truly desire. We can help those we love most by becoming whole healthy people, people able to love and receive love. And most help ourselves that way, as well.

And that is a truly wonderful thing. Beats the other way of life all hollow.