Here are some concrete examples!

Do you ever catch yourself being passive aggressive??

I do! Haha!

I wasn’t always an assertive woman and some old patterns, behaviors, and tendencies still shine through sometimes. Nowadays, I notice it, acknowledge it, and try to change it.

Passive aggressive behavior has been on my mind for some reason and I thought I’d take a minute and share some concrete examples of each style of communication. I didn’t know the differences before really at all, but I’m glad I’m more aware of them now.

There are four primary methods of communication: assertive, passive, aggressive, and passive aggressive.

Assertive: verbally expressing your feelings, wants, needs, and desires in a confident, clear, direct, respectful, self affirming way that doesn’t seek to hurt others.

For example: “I’m feeling tired right now, do you mind if we reschedule our meeting to tomorrow, same place, same time?” “When you arrived after the time we agreed to meet without calling or texting, I felt disregarded. Can you let me know in advance if you will be late?” “I’m not following what you’re saying, can you please explain it again, speaking a little more slowly and clearly?”

Passive: not expressing your needs and feelings at all due to a low regard for yourself or that you don’t deserve to be heard. May withdraw, isolate from others, do things you don’t want to do. Can’t say “no,” needs approval of others. May feel powerless, have weak boundaries, and will tolerate bad behavior from others.

For example: “Sure, since you asked, here is $2,000 even though I have a lot of debt I am trying to pay off, but I can’t say “no” even if it hurts me in the long run.” “Okay, I guess I will do that for you.” “Yeah, you got evicted from your old apartment, so you can stay here for a week (even though my spouse won’t like it) while you get back on your feet.”

Aggressive: hostile word choice, raising your voice and yelling, using threats, manipulating, using guilt, being overbearing and dominating, abuse of power. More concerned with the self and has a lack of how your behavior affects others (or lack of caring). Can use name-calling and swearing to induce fear and get others to concede and conform.

For example: “If you say that one more time, I’ll come over there and you’ll be sorry!” “I’ll knock you into next week if your dog poops on my lawn one more time!” “This is what we’re doing and I don’t care if you don’t like it, you’re going to do it anyway!” “Well woop-de-do, you think you’re soo cool and guess what! You’re not! You’re scum!”

Passive aggressive: purposefully doing something that you know is hurtful to others, but in a covert or hidden way, or in a way that would make people question if you were not aware of what what you were doing or if you purposely intended to hurt them. Using sarcasm as humor, but with an underpinning of truth that can be hurtful. Denying your anger and denying that people hurt you. You don’t share your true feelings to the person’s face, but will then gossip about them behind their backs.

For example: “She was late last time, so I’m going to purposely take a nap and run some errands and then show up late too just so she knows how it feels.” “I’m mad at her right now so I’m going to send everyone else a birthday card in the mail except her to teach her a lesson.” “Fine, I’ll help you with setting up this huge ordeal, but I’m going to order to wrong flavor, get the wrong type of napkins, and tell everyone the wrong time on accident and sabotage it as much as I can, oops, better not ask me next time to help.”

Does this help clarify the different types of communication?

What is your primary style?

Know that assertiveness is ALWAYS the answer.

There really is not an inappropriate time to be assertive.

It is a way of being.

Passivity, aggression, and manipulative passive-aggressiveness really don’t have a place in your life if you want to have fulfilling relationships. There are simply better ways of communicating and relating.

Healthy people who are assertive most of the time can see the other three behaviors so easily in others because they stand out like a sore thumb and are so obvious once you know more effective ways.

Do you ever find yourself being passive aggressive? Aggressive? Passive?

Those ways of relating must be serving you in some way (you wouldn’t act or communicate that way if they didn’t).

If you’re not okay with how your relationships are or if you’re not happy, keep striving to learn how to bring more assertiveness into your life.

Your relationships will thank you later.

Email me with questions if you have any ❤

Need help setting boundaries?

I'm working on a short course on How to Set Boundaries that covers when to set boundaries, knowing exactly what to say, and what to do if it doesn't go well! Join the waitlist so you'll be the first to hear when it's ready!

Yay! Stay tuned and keep checking your inbox!