Passive-Aggressive? Fine!

ONE (behavior)

Passive-aggressive behavior is characterized by a pattern of passive hostility and an avoidance of direct communication”, says Wikipedia.

One specialization of this is the Malicious Compliance, intentionally inflicting harm by strictly following the orders of a superior. This is bad, I know! But who could tell that they’ve not been there?

Here’s a story for you : In France, a few decades ago, during a very cold winter, a private, during his military service, was freezing his arse off at the entrance of a base, shift time. Imagine him holding his rifle, taping his foot on ice and snow. At one moment the base’s big boss nasty general came with his car and parked near the front desk, asking the duty little soldier this : “Private! Come here! My windshield is full of ice. I order you to throw a full bucket of hot water on it, at once!”. Of course, the little soldier opened the faucet and waited for the water to be boiling hot (malicious complicance!) before sparging it (at once) on the glass – which, of course, exploded immediately.

There’s a joy into this, right?

 

TWO (words)

What we see daily, what we read daily, is passive-aggressive tone in words. This is very common these days. You just have to say something gentle, knowing (hoping?) that the other side will understand it’s sarcastic.

“Thank you for cleaning the table! It’s very kind!” to someone who did not, for example – instead of saying : “I’m sad that you didn’t clean it, we should talk about organization”.

The easiest passive-aggressive sentence is pretty common, it’s :

“Fine!”

or

“Whatever!”

…both mean exactly the contrary, right?

 

I really often read passive-aggressive speech on social medias. “Honestly he’s sooo talented it’s so amazing I’m so impressed”. A laughing emoji can help us realize this person writes the contrary of what they think.

“Oh what a great (function) he is!!”…

 

Curiously, there’s no joy (at all) in writing the contrary of one thinks. It says : “I’m too weak to fight, and I’m afraid to say my truth”. It says : “As a matter of fact I don’t want to fix or change anything”. Passive.

 

THREE

But maybe one day someone will grow up, and won’t answer “Fine!”. They’ll answer : “This is not fine, let’s talk about it and decide together something”.

Maybe one day someone will grow up and answer : “I don’t like this, I’m not amazed, nor impressed – let’s find out why”. But now there’s a problem : it’s that the readers are SO used to passive-aggressive tone that they’ll think one just said the contrary! Damned!

 

Using a passive-aggressive behavior or tone in front of someone is to acknowledge the other one is stronger than you.

  • It’s why it’s a joy when you use it in front of stupid hierarchy. Because it gives you a way out, a way to “win”.
  • It’s why it’s sad in front of people around you. Passiveness means you acknowledge the other one is stronger, or, at least, that you don’t want to fight.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Unsteadiness, Propositions & Expectations : Life!

I’ve known someone who expected people around her to be :

  1. Steady
  2. Without any pressure
  3. Without expectations

It was really like an Instruction Manual!

I explain her… expectations :

  1. If you say you’ll doing something, you HAVE to do it. Steady. You have no right to change your mind, or to adapt to events, desires or possibilities. STEADY like a sh*t in the fridge.
  2. It is forbidden to ask. Propositions are considered nasty. Because it’s “pressure“.
  3. Don’t have any expectations (which are “pressure”, of course). You own brain is considered useless, or boring, and therefore will not be considered.

So I’ve have been a complete mess next to this person! Because :

  1. I’m not steady and I will never be. I make mistakes, I change my mind, I meet other people with desires. Things happen. Reality is complex and moving. I adapt. I am not steady.
  2. I have a brain and I use it, so I love propositions! If I feel close to someone, I feel free to tell what I think. I expect a dialog, and a person able to say “no”, but also “yes”.
  3. I – of course – have plenty of expectations, because I’m alive. I am not a king, but there’s no queen around either. Equality is interesting. In certain situations, I expect something, yes. I don’t understand why I shouldn’t, too!

 

A few dials :

  • In fact, I don’t even know what pressure is… Human beings I’m in relation with, have questions, propositions, ideas. I dance with them. Or not.
  • The idea of pressure means you COULD be pressured. Which is absurd, between adults. Unless you feel weak, nobody should be able to pressure you (exception : your manager, and the law).
  • If you’re used to obedience, any living human interaction will harm you.

 

What, or who is really like this? :

  • Steady
  • Without any pressure
  • Without expectations

A zombie, a robot, a valet, or a dog. With communication skills, but in a certain way only : obedience (and understanding what you’re asked). There’s an instruction manual, right? Just follow. Be strong. Or run.

Thanks for reading!

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There’s a “You’re crazy” point in almost every #argument

The “You’re crazy” point in an argument, everybody knows that.

It’s very similar to the Godwin’s Law, an Internet adage which asserts that “If an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler“.

It’s almost a law for “violent communication”. Instead of talking, telling your truth, have “impeccable words”, you just say to the other one “You’re crazy!”, “You should see a therapist”. Or worse : “I’ll put you in a mental institution”. That’s it.

I do think that, at this point, you should stop arguing and take a deep breathe. If you think it’s possible, try to make the other person to talk about himself instead of putting labels on you.

Yes yes, that’s the door to go outside of this.

But… Does the other person want it?

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : itspeteski

 

 

“Be Spontaneous, please” (Can you see my mask?)

“I’m taking a picture of you. Please smile. Nooo not like that! A big, natural, spontaneous smile”.

Everyone understands this example, right? When someone asks you to act… spontaneously, you’re stuck in an awkward grey nauseous mood. It’s called “the be spontaneous paradox”. It can happen anywhere, in a couple, a family, at work : one person requests something that can only be given spontaneously – love, interest, appreciation, desire, tenderness… You’re now stuck in a Double Bind.

Here’s a good dialog from the 2006 movie “The Break-Up” :

  • I busted my ass all day cleaning this house and then cooking that meal! And I worked today. It would be nice if you said “thank you” and helped me with the dishes.
  • Fine. I’ll help you do the damn dishes.
  • That’s not what I want.
  • You just said that you want me to help you do the dishes!
  • I want you to want to do the dishes.
  • Why would I want to do dishes?
  • Why? See, that’s my whole point.
  • Let me see if I’m following this, okay? Are you telling me that you’re upset
    because I don’t have a strong desire to clean dishes?
  • No. I’m upset because you don’t have a strong desire to offer to do the dishes.
  • I just did.
  • After I asked you!

MMMmhh?

Imagine a club, a private club with big mellow armchairs. The boss enters the room and solemnly criticize the atmosphere, and then asks everyone to be a little more gay and happy, “a few more laughs would be perfect!” – Imagine the disaster!… (I saw this one day from a web forum administrator. I tried to explain him, but without any effect).

Tool 1 : Learn how to detect when someone asks you to “act spontaneously”. And beware of this when it’s meant but unsaid, perversely implicit : it’s worse ! Your answer can be multiple.

  • If you try, you just have to put a mask. But it’s not you, it’s theater. Maybe you will have to wear it!
  • You can just say no, of course.
  • Go meta-communication : talk about this, explain the paradox and that you will not stay stuck into this.

Tool 2 : Do you do it? Putting other people into these “Please change and act spontaneously like this and like that“? If you did, can you detect the desperate unease and awkwardness you put in the other’s brain? Can you see the mask?

I will always remember this example I got from Watzlawick, a father punishing his kid telling him “Go to your room, and come back when you smile”. Horror!

 

#seed #wing

Shup the YOUYOU Horn – main tool of #nonviolentcommunication

You probably heard about Nonviolent Communication. It’s very useful and, if I was the president, I would make a law to teach this at school ! You’ll find dozens of books about this, and you should buy one.

Jacques Salomé is a French author (I recommend “If Only I’d Listen to Myself”, it’s his best book and it’s probably the only one translated in English) who says that when we argue (with colleagues, with your parents, with your wife), you bomb the other with definitions :

  • You are so lazy!
  • You never loved me!
  • You are like your mother!
  • You always forget your socks everywhere in the house!
  • You are such a liar!
  • You You You!

See? In an argument, we say “You”, we define each other. Of course, this is mean, violent, useless and stupid. It’s “sticking words to a person”, so what?

Salomé call it “La Communication Klaxon” (because in French You is Tu, tututuuuu, like a horn). Stop youyouing the other ones. Use this :

Tool :

It’s simple. Say “I” instead of “You”. Talk about your own feelings, and tell why you’re hurt, learn how to argue with elegance, be constructive and helpful. It’s a matter of kindness and benevolence. That’s all. And that’s a good key!

Love. Thanks for reading!

#candles