Don’t feel badly if you didn’t get this acronym; I just made it up: Adult Passive Aggressive Behavior. Many of us have been guilty of it at least once. We smile and nod and then do what we want, all the while being self-involved, unkind, sneaky, manipulative, dishonest, and most of all unjust, by not giving what is rightfully due to the others. Passive aggression is hard to spot at a glance because we tend not to believe an adult is really acting that way.
I clean homes to make ends meet while I am building up my coaching practice. I charge a very reasonable $25 per hour and am willing to do almost any chore. I was recently hired by a man to clean his and his partner’s home in a nearby town. At my initial visit, I spent 3.5 hours vacuuming, mopping, washing, dusting, changing beds, cleaning windows, etc. While I worked the visiting mother-in-law hovered over me, inspected my work, took mental notes, and made comments. When I left she gave me a little over half of what I was owed. A phone call to the owner assured me that a check would be forthcoming for the balance.
Soon an email informed me that my work was not perfect and that I was fired. He assured me the check for the balance was still in the mail. Weeks later, I called when the check didn’t arrive. This triggered his anger and his refusal to listen to reason. He hung up on me after telling me to get out of the cleaning business. Nice guy.
The worst part of passive aggressive behavior is the withholding of justice. When we do not give what another person is due, and make up a story for ourselves in order to justify our injustice, we are acting sub-human. It’s not pretty and we think we’re getting away with something, but we are actually contributing to the tearing apart of the human community. How do we deal with such people? Very carefully!
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