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Passive aggressives, covert abusers and staying in relationships too long
by Lauretta Hannon
Columnist
April 15, 2013 04:17 PM | 3974 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
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Q: What’s the difference between getting your point across in a nice way and being passive aggressive?

A: Nice is nice and genuine, but passive aggressive people rarely mean what they say or say what they mean.

The passive aggressive is a covert abuser who functions in a way that is hurtful to others and self-defeating. A passive aggressive person may utter sweet words that you want to hear, but you shouldn’t believe them for a moment. Their behavior and communication are laced with negative intent and selfish motivation.

As one expert explains, “They care for you the way they care for a favorite chair. You are there for their comfort and pleasure and are of use as long as you fill their needs.”

Common behaviors of passive aggressive folks include procrastinating, intentional forgetting, finding fault with others, and playing the victim and blaming others when they are actually responsible.

Q: People can’t understand why I’m not married or why I don’t have children or at least a boyfriend. And since I have none of the above, they ask me out loud (in public) or assume I’m gay. It’s not like I planned it that way, but they think there must be some simple explanation. Help!

A: I bet that questioning gets old very quickly. I’d be tempted to have fun with it and make up an outlandish and entertaining tale. For example, mine might involve a bizarre tragedy in an exotic land that doesn’t exist. If you try this approach, the smarter inquisitors will realize the rudeness of their ways and back off. The dullards won’t get it but will have quite a story to tell their friends.

If that’s not your style, you can always respond with something like this, “That has not been the path given to me so far. But my life has been a wonderful adventure still.”

Q: How do you know when it’s time to hit the road in the relationship? My partner isn’t mean to me. He’s sweet and loving. But I have this fear that we don’t want the same thing in the long run. We’ve talked it out, and he assures me he does, but I want to follow my career and live in the city. He’s not in school and working a mediocre job with no specific future plans. Is it worth losing a great man if you can’t shake the uneasy feeling that you’re just prolonging the inevitable? Am I being pretentious and demanding wanting a driven, ambitious man despite my partner being so great otherwise? I’m so confused and worried about making the wrong decision. I don’t want to lose him and regret it forever, but I don’t want to stay if we’re ultimately headed down different roads.

A: Darlin’, you already have and know the answer. That “uneasy feeling” you can’t shake is your inner compass telling you that he is not the one. Despite his great points, you must not settle. Do not play small. Follow your intuition, and you will gain far more than you lose. Your inner voice won’t let you make the wrong decision. There will be no regrets in the end.

Your question brings to mind a favorite quote from Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at thecrackerqueen.com.
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