Email From A Reader About Passive Aggressive Behavior:
My name is Lance; I am in treatment for passive aggressive behavior. My wife printed out and showed me your article on About.com: Divorce Support. It was entitled Passive Aggressive Behavior, a Form of Covert Abuse. I have no problem with your article, in fact I agree with most of it. However I disagree with my behavior disorder as a form of covert abuse towards her.
I will admit to not being able to find the right words to express things to her. I stumble over words and more times than I want, the wrong word comes out and my meaning is unclear. The truth is I also have a case of dyslexia, I will always believe that my dyslexia will cause me to say the wrong thing. I constantly say right when I mean to say left and so forth.
I have been working with a therapist for about 4 or 5 months, so I have only started to understand and correct my behavior. I can admit that in becoming a passive aggressive person it took several years of negative conditioning. By negative conditioning, I mean I was never allowed to vent my feelings of frustration. I had no outlet, no safety valve. It all built up over several years and viola Passive Aggressive Disorder. My wish is this: I want to learn how not to be one anymore. Do you have any writings that point out ways to overcome this disorder? Can you point out any writings that would help? I am committed to overcoming it. I am not the innocent victim of a slow store clerk. I in fact did not give myself enough time to get to the store.
So why do I not agree with the term covert abuse? Easy, my intention is not to hurt, abuse or cause ill will. Honestly it isn’t. It’s case of not being able to effectively express emotions. All emotions need an outlet, both the positive and negative ones. How do you express the negatives with out causing resentments? That has been my path to this disorder. And I’m quite sure other people have taken the same path, before me and after me.
My wife compares me with her first husband. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic. He used crystal meth, an insidious drug. Did you know that drugs cause the user to lie and distort things? This is a way the drug has of justifying itself to the user. The user intern conveys what the drug is saying as the truth. And a vicious cycle begins. It’s a skewed vision in favor of a chemical dependency. He would tell her that he wanted to be different and such else. Meanwhile he sank further into drug dependency. I fear drugs and I have no desire to take alcohol. I too have told my wife that I want to be well. The difference between me and him is I mean it. I will work past this disorder. I want good physical health and better mental health too. The first step is to admit it, yes I admit to having Passive Aggressive Behavior. Yes, I admit I have caused stress in my wife. No, she did not deserve it. My responsibility is to erase what she wrote on the printout of your article. What she wrote was this: WOW-! All my feelings validated in one website! I carry that printout with me, usually in a pants pocket or in the glove box of my car. What she wrote, and what you wrote hits home.
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