Discover Your Worth! I’m a recovering passive-aggressive. For years of my life, I told myself that I was easy going, I loved helping people and I was a peacekeeper. But truthfully, I was a coward—afraid to say no, draw boundaries and if necessary, upset the right people.
I was a pressure cooker, letting offenses simmer until they were the perfect bitter emotional stew. Then, when I couldn’t take the heat anymore, I’d blow off steam … one sarcastic and demeaning comment at a time. Then I had the nerve to shrug it off with a casual, “Wow, can’t you take a joke?”
Even now, I see shades of my passive-aggressive past rearing its head. But I’ve learned how to deal with it, by dealing with myself. Last week, I shared how to handle passive-aggressive behavior in others, but today I’d like to share strategies to help if you’re the guilty party:
Perform a Diagnostic: Many times we ignore the emotional warning signs accompanying our reactions. Regardless of the deeper “whys” behind it, we must own and recognize our anger. My passive-aggressive behavior came from feeling unappreciated. The fact is, nobody ever forced me to say “Yes” when everything in me screamed, “No!” But, I felt guilty letting people down. And, rather than working on myself in this area, I decided to make everyone else the bad guy. All the while, glossing over my role.
Watch Your Mouth: Are any of these phrases frequently in your communication rotation, “ Whatever.” “No, really, I’m fine,” “I’m not mad” or “I thought you knew?” If you find yourself saying these things frequently to avoid confrontation or disappointing people, then you’re a passive-aggressive. Sooner or later your inconsistency will create a breach and distance in your relationships that goes beyond the cold shoulder you put up to avoid confrontation.
Put Yourself First: You have every right to feel however you feel. Your anger, disappointment and/or frustration are valid. Others do not need to cosign on your emotions for them to matter. However, you do have the responsibility of communicating your feelings and thoughts in a constructive manner. Stifling emotions won’t make them disappear, they are only festering with the potential of creating a scenario where you will speak or behave harmfully.
Get Clear: There are few things more off putting than an emotional conversation that isn’t focused on a pre-determined desired end. The best way to set both you and the offending party up for success is to clearly communicate what you view as the problem and the desired solution. And make sure your heart is open to hearing their perspective. Just because it exists in your mind, doesn’t make it reality!
Confront: Remember that your thoughts and feelings matter. Nobody is a mind reader and the only way to know that someone knows what you think or feel is to tell them. Communicating what you expect and feel in your relationships is your responsibility.
Define Your Wealth! Every day affirm, “I am clear, honest, direct and loving in my communication.”
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Coach Felicia is a Certified Executive Coach who empowers her clients to “Turn their Worth into Wealth” as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO their WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make!” seminar MP3 at www.coachfelicia.com!