Sometimes biting one's tongue is an act of love and other times it's an act of passive aggression.
I don’t deal well in the passive aggressive world. Some would describe me as aggressive-aggressive, meaning I don’t use passive power-plays to try and manipulate other people. If I want something or if I disagree with something, I’ll tell you straight out. Maybe I’m just psychologically lazy in that I don’t have the time or energy to think through how to silently manipulate my environment. Maybe passive aggressive people are gifted in a way… if so, it’s a gift I lack and I’m not going to try to develop the skill. I roll more like the mafia characters in my books...straight forward...up front...in your face...badda big, badda boom.
For the most part, I find passive aggressive behavior hurtful. I’ve never witnessed someone acting in a passive- aggressive manner for the betterment and well-being of others. It has always been a selfish, power-play; one that has ultimately led to deeper wounds.
Some might say that being aggressive-aggressive is hurtful because it can result in arguments; but I disagree. I would much rather have someone talk to me about their concerns or even holler their objections than try to quietly manipulate me. I think to address something head-on shows a certain level of respect for the other person; to value them enough to treat them as if they are indeed worth your time and discussion.
Using marriage as an example: Married people argue…it is normal and researchers will tell you a certain degree of arguing can even be healthy for the relationship. It shows that partners are able to hold on to their individuality and use their differences to enhance the marriage. It is the partners who do not communicate that are in danger of permanently damaging the relationship. Disagreeing isn’t a bad thing; stifling it until it harbors negative feelings between you and the other person, is.
Aggressive-aggressive people might scream, yell, curse and throw something across the room; but those are merely hurt-driven actions, not hate-driven motives. There’s a big difference. I’m not saying those things are good or right…merely that they are human responses and not premeditated actions of hatefulness. When a person treats you with deliberate silence, it is a premeditated action designed as a power-play to cause hurt and the feeling of inferiority.
Passive aggressive silence sends a clear signal that you are not worth the other person’s effort to speak.
Passive aggressive people use silence as a means to maintain a position of power over others. It is indicative of the fact that they do not respect others enough to have a discussion, that they are unwilling to compromise and that they do not care one iota about anyone’s needs or how their silence affects others around them. It is a selfish act of passivity, wherein they can proclaim to have fallen victim to someone else’s aggressive nature, when in reality they are the ones victimizing others with their power-play of silence.
Not everyone who takes extra time to process their thoughts or emotions is being passive-aggressive. Sometimes a little time and space can be helpful in calming an otherwise heated situation. There’s a big difference between healing silence and a passive-aggressive power struggle… and that difference is often so thick it becomes palatable.
Silence can be golden, but it can also be a dagger. The difference lies in the heart of the silent one. ~