Yes, this is a rant.
I am so damned tired of passive aggressive bullshit I want to …… I don’t know what I want to do. I want to run away. I want to not wake up in the morning. I want to never read email, or take care of my home or my children. I want to leave my life. Because honestly, I don’t know how the fuck to deal with passive aggressive behavior.
I’ve come a long way with this. I now recognize (sometimes) when I am dealing with it. I recognize it not because I understand it, but because I understand how it makes me feel. If I feel like I want to scream in someone’s face, spewing spit and not even caring – chances are I’m dealing with passive aggressive behavior. & yes, I have gotten to the point that I have spewed spit into others faces, mostly my children. Quite unfortunate, because the person I should have been doing this to was their dad, but I never had the balls to do so.
Anyway, this weekend is a great example. I am trying, unsuccessfully, to sell our house. Tomorrow I have my 27th first showing. I.E. – no one has even liked it enough to come back a second time. I’m exhausted and, more importantly, I’m scared. What the hell am I going to do if I am stuck with this house in June, when my ex’s support payments no longer include the mortgage deviation? What am I going to do with my son and I if we end up selling this house for shit?? Scary thoughts.
Saturday we had an early showing. By early I mean 11AM. This is early for a teenager. However, he knew the night before that this was happening. At 9:30 I was gently prodding him to get out of bed and get moving. By 10 I was loudly prodding him to get the hell out of the shower and get his room done. By 10:30 I was too despondent to speak to him. By 10:30, when he was still moving like a turtle swimming through molasses, I knew that if I spoke to him I’d be spewing major spit……which would then land on the floor, counter tops, etc., requiring more cleaning.
I knew, because of how I felt, that I was dealing with passive aggressive behavior. And, I had over an hour to analyze, so I had a good idea of what was happening. My son was imitating his father – the narcissist.
Any time I suggested to the father that we were on a deadline, that he needed to hurry, that there was a time frame to be adhered to, he automatically slowed down. Every freaking time. Even for the fun stuff. Even when we were headed with friends to a water park: the minute I stated a time – well, it was like a trigger to him to slow down. If our lives were on film it would appear that the film had been set to slo-motion, that is how obvious he was.
It didn’t take long for me to understand the fury exploding in his head when I stated a time, or a time limit. I could see it in his body language: he was one remark from me away from a total rage. He was almost at the boiling point. He was moving slower and slower, taunting me, waiting for me to yell WTF, at which point he’d be justified backing me into a corner and spewing venom at me. I knew what I was up against, and I quickly came to the point that I no longer wanted to make plans. Why would I want to plan an outing, when I knew that, even if he’d agreed to it, I’d be facing passive aggressive bullshit.
On Saturday I did not spew spit all over my son’s face. In fact, I didn’t even want to. Did I want him to hurry the fuck up? YES!! Would I have expressed it that way to him? NO. He is a victim in all of this. He is 15. A 15 year old is supposed to challenge the demands of his parent. Unfortunately for him he has 2 major impediments: 1) He is the only left with his mother, on whom he depends and loves and wants to take care of 2) he’s got a role model of passive aggressive behavior from his father.
Later on Saturday I asked him what the thoughts were that ran through his head when I said “Hurry Up”. I knew what they were. I knew he thought “Fuck You”, because he’s a teenager who watched his father act this out. It took him a few minutes but eventually, without me providing the words, he said “I think Fuck You”. Thank God!!!
He and I are able to discuss dicey subjects, and this is certainly one. I didn’t mention passive aggression, or his dad. Instead I said this: “Our behavioral patterns start at home. I get that when I say “hurry up” you want to shout “fuck you” and, instead of hurrying up you slow down. The problem is that if you don’t turn this around you will behave this way in all areas of your life. Any time someone says “hurry up” it will act as a trigger and you will actually slow down. You need to turn this around now.”
Is that all it takes? I don’t know. We’ll talk about it again, I’m sure. He will continue to slow down when I say “hurry up”. I could approach him as I did his dad, trying different phrases, different angles, different planning sessions, but I won’t. Because I have learned 1 thing: Passive Aggressive Behavior can not be manipulated. You will never be successful trying to dance around your partners passive aggressive behaviors. In fact, each different tactic you try will strengthen your partners passive aggressive behavior.
I imagine there is a logical reason for this but quite frankly, I don’t give a damn. I’m tired. And sad. And overwhelmed, and sick of it.
So, I will work with my son to reduce his passive aggressive behaviors. I owe him that. I will do so openly, honestly and hopefully, in a non-threatening way. Will I pull it off? Probably not. But I’ll try.
As far as my ex narcissist, I now say to him what he said to me for 25 years: Fuck You. When he pulls out his passive aggressive bullshit, which he does whenever we have an interaction, I’m putting it right back on him. I am saying, flat out:
Here is What I Said/Did….Here is What You Said/Did (I include dates too!). I end it with I’ve Done My Part, I Am Done.
Ain’t nobody got no time for this. Know what I mean?