Aggression has a bad reputation, but what happens when you ignore the inevitable?
Most would consider niceness, calmness, and tolerance to be positive qualities, traits that make interactions pleasant for everyone involved. But too much of a good thing can be dangerous, and when grievances are not aired to “keep the peace”, a road to passivity is created.
Personally, a passive personality is even harder to deal with than its opposite — the aggressive personality. Most who regularly practice the art of passivity consider it a good thing, and consider themselves easygoing, nice people. For the most part, their passivity deflects confrontations and conflicts that others easily fall into. The problem is that angry or sad feelings do not disappear when you choose to ignore or suppress them. They either cause resentment or arise in a later situation. It can also turn into passive-aggressive behavior, where the passive person’s ignored anger shows itself in subtle ways
After awhile, passivity becomes self-creating — suppressed negative feelings cause the passive person to feel more resentment towards whatever or whoever they believe caused them. When this happens, the feelings can be expressed more strongly than they would have been if they were dealt with immediately.
Conflicts caused by passive behavior can be hurtful and confusing for all involved. That said, here are some actionable tips to prevent yourself from slipping down the slide of passivity:
- Practice speaking up for yourself when you feel you’ve been wronged
- Express negative feelings constructively, as soon as they arise
- Once a disagreement has been discussed, try your best to dissolve any resentment that might be leftover
- Realize when trying to keep the peace is causing you to feel hurt or angry
- Do not use disagreements of the past as a reason to be angry, or stay angry, with another person
- Keep disagreements separate — if you dislike the way someone handled themselves in another situation, don’t bring it up in a later disagreement
Finally, remember that anger alone is not bad, it’s the way you deal with it that determines the outcome of a situation, and ignoring your anger is not the best way.
Anyone else with experience with passivity or other tips for stopping passivity in its tracks?