03: Stories of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

I grew up in a passive-aggressiveness home.

PART I

Seven tell-tale signs of passive-aggressive behavior. The linked article includes how to respond and how to address it in yourself.

1. Stonewalling

“Stonewalling, which happens when someone stops communication altogether, is one of the most toxic forms of passive-aggressive behaviors…”

2. Sarcastic comments

“Passive-aggressive behavior is often rooted in a person’s lack of self-esteem and fear of conflict, confrontation, or rejection…”

3. Pretending to agree

“Similar to sarcasm, pretending to agree is usually done to avoid conflict…”

4. Deflection

“‘People who communicate passive-aggressively often “play the victim’ because it’s difficult for them to acknowledge their own faults…They can also be unforgiving and self-righteous, holding grudges that can last for years.”

5. Silent sabotage

“Actively working behind the scenes to destroy a person’s project, relationship, or reputation is another form of passive-aggressive behavior…The behavior itself typically stems from a deep sense of insecurity. “

6. Intentionally failing to follow through

“Instead of voicing their desire not to do something, the person simply doesn’t do it…”

7. Making excuses

“excuse-driven behavior is passive-aggressive because you’re avoiding voicing your needs or wishes…”

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

PART II

One Christmas my father took a very expensive piece of jewelry he bought for my mom, and had it sealed inside a small can. Then he took that small can and sealed it inside another small can. Then he nested that second can inside a third can and had it sealed.

He gave it to Mother as her Christmas gift.

I remember her struggling to open it. I vaguely remember her sitting on the floor in the corner with a hand wound can opener.

For some reason she gave up and Daddio opened it for her. She was probably drunk.

Have you ever seen a drunk person trying to use a can opener?

We laughed and laughed. By “we” I mean, Daddio and two teenage boys.

Some people would say we laughed with her. But in hindsight looking back on all the family Dynamics I realized we weren’t. We were laughing to relieve tension and laughed a self-congratulatory laugh at such a brilliant plan to humiliate her.

PART III

And of course there was the mashed potato fight.

I like to think it was just fun stress reliever for the family, but in all reality my 5′ 3″ mom took the brunt of it from the three boys in the house. Again, I think my father and my brother would still argue it was all just fun and people that have issues with it cannot take a joke.

There are other stories as well.

PART IV

I was 15 and sitting at my desk doing homework in my bedroom.

Bedroom door closed.

Out of the silence I hear the sound of someone being open handed-slapped reverberating down the hallway.

My brother starts screaming at the top of his lungs, “Stop it! Stop it!”

My first thought is “wow! I’m glad that’s not me.” I hear my father storming down the hallway, and I wonder what’s going on beyond my closed door.

The door to my bedroom blows open. My father turns to me, fury in his eyes and with a low growl, says don’t ever touch your brother again.

I sit terrified as my father turns on his heels, punches a hole in the wall, and marches down the hallway.

After a moment of silence, I hear my 13 year old brother’s laughter down the hallway.

Essentially, my brother had stood upstairs in the living room, taking his shirt off and proceeded to slap himself so hard he made himself cry. Dozen of enormous hand-size red welts cover his body.

When my father came to the top of the steps, and saw these enormous welts, he just assumed I did this.

My brother’s jackass stunt before there was a jackass.

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