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Remember This 6-Letter Phrase to Mend Passive Aggression

Passive aggression is an indirect way to express anger or frustration. Ignorance, sarcastic remarks, pouting and saying that they’re okay when they’re not are all examples of passive-aggressive behavior. You have probably noticed this kind of behavior in others or even in yourself. A person may refuse to communicate with you or explain the nature of some problem. 

Still not sure how to spot passive aggression? This article explains it all - The Tell-Tale Signs of Passive-Aggressive Communication.

How to deal with passive aggression

Phrase to Mend Passive Aggression couple arguing

At first glance, passive aggression doesn’t seem like a big deal. But people who have to deal with passive-aggressive behavior know just how much stress and confusion it can cause. The most disturbing part is that a person who uses passive aggression in arguments tends to do so repeatedly, even if it hurts everyone involved.

Justin Bariso, an author, speaker, and all-around expert in emotional intelligence, mentions one simple 6-phrase that stops passive-aggression in its tracks. That phrase is: 

Attack the problem. Not the person.

Phrase to Mend Passive Aggression couple upset and silent

This simple phrase is helpful for both those who fall into passive aggression to protect themselves in an argument and those who observe this type of behavior in a family member, colleague, or friend.

The number one goal in conflict situations where passive aggression is displayed is letting the person go out of their box and switch from passive communication to active. "Active communication doesn't assume someone can read our minds or 'just know' what we're upset about," states psychologist Nicole LePera.

If you notice passive-aggressive traits in yourself, Bariso recommends expressing why you’re upset in a firm but compassionate way. Try using one of the following phrases to switch to active communication:

  • I felt hurt by what you said.
  • That's not a joke. Please stop.
  • It’s very frustrating when you keep interrupting me.
Phrase to Mend Passive Aggression annoyed person in front of a woman

When you observe passive-aggressive behavior in others, you’ll need to confront the person. There’s no other choice than open confrontation. Don't forget to "Attack the problem, not the person."

Express how the person’s behavior makes you feel. Say that their shutting off is confusing and that you don't know how to react unless the person shares their frustrations with you. If you can approximate or guess the source of the conflict, try to ask the person directly if that’s what it is. Try and find the source of the conflict and resolve it with kindness and openness, and you’re guaranteed to “turn passive aggression into active peace,” as Bariso thoughtfully puts it.

Reference: Inc.com

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