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Passive aggressiveness is so common, but it's also one of the most harmful things one can do in relationships. To help you understand the damage you and/or your partner cause by being indirect in expressing emotions and anger, here's a point form set of reasons why it's so harmful.
- It makes solving relationship problems almost impossible. You can't solve an issue if one or both people deny it exists. If a person is angry, or harbors resentment, and the other partner inquires, but is told that everything is fine, how do you deal constructively with that? The answer is that it's very difficult.
- The person who is being passive-aggressive at the time creates a situation of conflict and confusion for the other person. You KNOW the person is angry, because of his or her actions, but the person is denying anything is going on. The feeling is one of being trapped and helpless.
- Passive-aggressiveness creates anger in others. It's that simple.
- Passive-aggresiveness also ends up focusing on the passive-aggressiveness techniques rather than the underlying problem. For example, if someone often "forgets" to do something he or she promised, the discussion that eventually comes out is about WHY, and often won't address the real resentment and hostility that underlies the "forgetting".
- Good relationships are based on trust, which is eroded when one person KNOWS the other is upset, but the upset person is, in effect, telling a mistruth. It may not be intentional lying, since the upset person may be telling the truth so far as he or she knows it, being out of touch with the emotions, but nonetheless, it creates mistrust. It's hard to trust or rely on someone who seems to be less than honest.