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Passive Aggressive Behaviors In A Marriage: Ever A Good Idea?

As an online divorce review site, we’re drawn not just to the goal of making divorce less burdensome on those who’ve decided to move forward, but we’re also fascinated by the behaviors that can push a marriage to the breaking point. Over the years, one of the most common that comes to mind is that of the passive aggressive husband or wife.

Passive aggressiveness is essentially an indirect expression of hostility. It is a way of saying that you are displeased with something or someone without coming out and expressing your feelings. There are numerous reasons why people choose to be passive aggressive. It could be out of fear or pettiness or boredom. (Boredom, as in they want to see how long it takes their spouse to “guess at” what they’re feeling.)

It’s frequently used, but is it ever a good idea?

In a word, no.

Re-reading the definition makes this answer a bit self-explanatory. There is nothing wrong with being tactful or reserved or slow-to-speak. In fact, those behaviors are generally wise. But those behaviors are not what passive aggressiveness is.

Passive aggressiveness is HOSTILITY, and hostility never wins arguments or solves anything. It simply keeps the conflict going and escalates it to a new level. It is a weapon, not a solution.

So what can you do if you have tendencies toward passive aggressive behavior?

1. Realize the difference between passive aggressiveness and “biting your tongue” or “keeping your cool.” Again, come back to the word “hostility.” It may not be loud and violent, but it’s negative, disruptive, and unhealthy.

2. If you feel the need to get a message across, speak it. If you can’t do that, then get to a quiet, private place away from your spouse and wait for the flood of negative emotions to subside.

3. Remember that people vary at their ability to pick up signals, and don’t take your spouse’s ignorance regarding what you’re feeling as a sign of aggression.

What are some things that have helped you avoid passive aggressive behavior? Sound off in the comments section!

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