Offensively Defensive

“It’s come to my attention that passive-aggressive is the result of shockingly low self-esteem”

You’ve probably experienced it, the person who is nice and gentle to your face, but bitchy and cruel when your back is turned. Or perhaps someone who’s slightly more direct: “You’re such a lovely person why don’t you wear nicer clothes.” Or, “You’re so pretty, you’d make much more of yourself if you dyed your hair, and wore a little makeup.”

Another example of passive-aggressive is the “I’m only joking” response. It’s that time when the joke’s at your expense – you take offence – and the “I’m only joking” rebuttal is used. Or there’s being pleasant one minute and sarcastic the next.

Sullen behaviour is also often exhibited by the passive-aggressive. It’s a form of manipulation, as is being taught guilt; or perhaps as it’s better understood, we’re ‘sent on a guilt trip’ or ‘given the cold shoulder.’ Those with low self-esteem, who find confidence a threat, are often the worst manipulators.

“People who find you a threat – because of their low self esteem – are more likely to use sarcasm and a passive-aggressive stance”

To help discharge, any negative emotions this might create within us, we can see this kind of behaviour as the defence mechanism of the emotionally immature. It’s also the kind of behaviour often exhibited by children seeking love and attention. Allow their behaviour to become ‘water of a duck’s back.’

“We could – if we choose – give them the love they’re seeking by making them aware of their behaviour. Send them this post if you like” 

The more you understand the psychology – of why people are the way they are – the more bulletproof you become. It will also become easier to enjoy your life and dismiss the negative people from it.

The other side of this, is finding yourself wondering: “Why is it so many people seem to take a dislike to me?” Or “Why do I get sacked from jobs so often?” It could well be, that it’s in your nature, to be passive-aggressive and defensive. Over time, this behaviour can become an unconscious, instant reaction, to those we feel threatened by. Working on raising our self-esteem and self-awareness helps to improve interpersonal skills.  

On parting I recently said to someone:

“Stay out of trouble.”

The response was:

“Trouble finds me.”

I understand why. Do you?

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