Passive Aggression

Posted on July 28, 2016

By its nature passive aggression is hidden, often buried well below our conscious horizon. Therefore, many of us can claim we are free of any aggressive thoughts or behaviours. Most of us are familiar with overt aggression, that attacking, yelling physical violent form of aggression; then there are those of us whose favourite form of aggression is withdrawal. Typically we do not see this as aggression; we are just leaving for the sake of peace, it is a tactical withdrawal, but still a form of continuing the fight. Our withdrawal actually provokes the other side because we act superior and above it all, but it is a form of aggression and just as nasty as its more vocal and physical counterpart. In most relationships, including ours, our form of aggression at some point becomes a polarising behaviour. One partner is obviously aggressive and the other leaves the scene, and as we know whatever it looks like in any relationship the level of aggression on each side is equal.

Then we have passive aggression, the “nice” person’s favourite. Good, nice, sweet people love passive aggression and can never understand why their world is filled with angry aggressive people who carry out random acts of violence. We are all guilty of this especially in our nice civilised world but to find a high profile example in the UK. we need look no further than the leader of the Labour Party. He is a really nice man and every time anyone speaks of him they always talk of what a nice man he is: kind, gentle, thoughtful and not a bad bone in his body. However, looking around him we find people cowering in feelings of intimidation, members of his party in open warfare, firing threats and acts of aggression. He is a good example but he is not alone.

By our thoughts we create. That is why positive thinking is so important, because it creates a positive world for us. However we do lack consciousness about many of our thoughts and this is where the world comes into the picture. It reflects back to us what we think about and when our world is in turmoil we need to recognise our lack of awareness about what we are doing and get out of our denial.

A Course in Miracles says very clearly that every thought we have creates form someplace in our universe. Every aggressive thought we have creates aggression in our world. Even our idle thoughts create, since every thought has power and direction. It is not possible to have a neutral thought: every thought is either building a better world or going in the opposite direction. When we are passively aggressive we hide what we are really thinking and our true attitude. It is an almost perfect disguise – on the surface we can appear so innocent and yet if we get called on it we can easily adopt a good victim stance that in itself is aggressive.

We are all capable of aggressive, angry thoughts and behaviours so we need to recognise how dangerous “nice” people can be. Can we accept this direct link: the more fearful the world that we live in, the more that this is a result of our own attack thoughts? In truth our fear and anxiety is us waiting for the retribution for our own attacks – even if they were “just” thoughts.

Today across the world we are witnessing many acts of violence and aggression and we need to respond to this by taking a really close look at ourselves and how much we have contributed; lets start to do our bit to break this cycle of fear and aggression. This begins with us in our relationships and with honesty we need to practice acceptance, forgiveness and letting go until we come to a peaceful mind.

And from now on we think much more carefully as we recognise the power of our thoughts. Today would be a good day to be aware of any attack thoughts we have whether they are directed at our family, colleagues, friends or the wider world – and know that we can make another choice. The stakes seem to be getting higher all the time.


Sue and Jeff

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