I’m sick of dismissals, discounting, disregards. Dissing in general.
And I’m tired of the “disguised diss” most of all. This is where the passive-aggressive techniques really come in handy. Fortunately, I’m of Italian-Toscana descent (there’s so many reasons this is fortunate) and I wasn’t taught passive-aggressive; I was trained to speak openly.
Unfortunately, because of my upbringing I don’t always realize when I’m in the gaseous area of the poisonous pass-agg. This type of “communication” can be exasperating because I’m often unsure what has actually been said, and feel incapable of responding directly without seeming overly sensitive, emotional, dramatic. See calm down? f@#k off!
Need some examples?
- I’m sorry you don’t get what I’m saying.
- Don’t mind me. I’ll wait out here in the cold.
- Whatever you say is fine, honey.
But the part of pass-agg I want to discuss today: “embellishing” someone’s behavior by inserting loaded words that criticize you as a person but are disguised as saying how one feels. This bit really sucks.
Instead of frankly saying something like, “It’s difficult for me to listen when your voice is escalating/mumbling/whispering,”—all of which could be valid complaints—the “disguised diss” assertion is as follows: “When you’re ranting/have marbles in your mouth/whining like a baby, I can’t hear you.” Three things are going on in this sentence:
- what you were saying is dismissed as a “rant,” “having marbles in your mouth,” “whining,” instead of something you’re legitimately trying to say
- your character is denigrated
- you’re categorized as the aggressor because they “can’t hear you”
Other phrases/words used as pejoratives: she’s intense, he’s a drama queen, you’re badgering me, nag, railing, raging, harsh, zealous, hostile, emotional. All used to discount what a person is saying. Basically, the pass-agg person is controlling the situation: “If you don’t say it appropriately—the way I want it said—then it’s not valid and I won’t be listening to you.” How many parents have thrown similar statements in our faces when we were children?
But, we’re not children now or—hopefully—a-hole adults. So, let’s start speaking as respectful people. You’re free to complain about what’s not working for you but do it in a kind, straightforward manner and make it about what you need not about our nature.
Hear Oscar Wilde, “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”