You may or may not know this about me, but I used to be a horrifically passive-aggressive person. In my defense, my parents weren’t good communicators so this sort of thing was all I knew. They weren’t always what you could call passive-aggressive necessarily, but they did not communicate what they wanted, expected or thought very well at all. So I guess my only response was to learn to communicate in this way.
“I lived like that for YEARS and never realized what a mess I was.”
I say “I used to be” because, trust me… you can ask the Hubby, I was a WHOLE LOT worse in the past. But even though my passive-aggressive tendencies are extremely reduced these days, there are times when I reactively resort to coping with things this way. I guess you could call me a ‘recovering passive-aggressive’.
I began researching today about how to deal with passive-aggressive behavior. Once I was aware of myself acting this way and took steps to stop, I became keenly aware of others who were severely passive-aggressive. And it is other passive-aggressive people who seem to instinctively pull that same PA reaction out of me.
Let me clarify here by saying that I did NOT realize this is what I was doing all those years. I knew what it meant, but I didn’t really know the term or even when I heard someone use it, it never registered that, in fact, I was a passive-aggressive person. I was complete blind to it. Now that I make an effort to NOT live passive-aggressively, my life is much more peaceful. At least my “inner voice” isn’t forever playing this running monolog of the latest conversation with someone else or some upcoming confrontation I was going to or WISHED I could have.
So far, I haven’t read anything about this trait so maybe I’m the only one who did it, but I suspect that’s not at all the case. I think it’s probably the main “thing” with any PA person. I could spend entire days replaying some conversation, changing my responses or creating new scenarios. I would work up these awesome, very dramatic confrontations I wanted to have with people who had hurt me or wronged me. In my scenarios, I would passionately make my points, I’d ‘tell it like it is’ and give them a piece of my mind. I’d tell them how horribly they treated me or how deeply they had wounded me and they’d always see the error of their ways and spend the rest of eternity trying to right their wrong.
I’m telling you, folks, having a passive-aggressive tendency will make your mind sick.
I lived like that for YEARS and never realized what a mess I was. I mean, sure, I also dealt with depression and diabetes too and recognized those “ailments”, but I just never realized how terribly passive-aggressive I was as just a routine…an everyday occurrence.
“…it never registered that, in fact, I was a passive-aggressive person. I was completely blind to it.
Now, after a few years of coping with recognizing and having others around me, some new and some not-so-new, who are very passive-aggressive, for some reason it has finally occurred to me to research how to deal with them! I don’t know why I never thought about it before. I guess this is all some sort of self-therapy and I’m just giving a name to the behavior I displayed for most of my life. I wish I had known this stuff before now, but as it stands, I guess there’s a reason for it all. If you have known me for eons and tried to point out my ugly temperment, I’m sorry. At the time, I just could not see it and I probably responded poorly. ** * sigh * **
Right now though, I’m desperate to make sure my mind operates in a completely NON-passive-aggressive way so I can get through to others who are seriously PA and tend to direct most of that inner bitterness at me.
Maybe that’s because they know I myself have been and can still react passive-aggressively? Is it a thing that PA’s try to push other PA-people’s buttons? Hmmm… I wonder… but I bet it is.
“I’m telling you, having a passive-aggressive tendency will make your mind sick.”
I may be wrong, y’know… because for reals, I’m not a psychology major nor do I play one on TV, but in this case, I realize that I behaved this way because of deep-seated hurts and rejection during my childhood. Coupled with the depression, I think any sort of dismissive attitude towards me had to make things worse. Just to be told your thoughts are not valid is such an awful feeling. When it’s repeated in a child’s life, I guess you end up with someone like me. Someone who feels worthless, guilty, useless and bitter. The only way I knew to deal with people was in a very non-direct way. That’s why I am a MUCH better communicator in writing than I am in person, face-to-face.
I’m learning to stop that self-destructive, harmful-to-others, sick-mind way of living, finally. It’s a slow process, but maybe, hopefully, Lord willing, I am at a place where I can now destruct difficult relationships with other who are way too much like me… like the me I used to be. But I’m not sure how to deal with it when it feels like all the manipulation and aggressive non-actions are just to be mean. When I was at my worst, I don’t think I ever just set out to see if I could manipulate someone for the heck of it. It was never just to be mean. But if they hurt me, boy, I could be one of the craftiest, nastiest passive-aggressives you ever met. That was a sort-of justification to me: you deserved it if you’d been mean to me. And not knowing any other way to communicate with people, I reacted in kind! In that way, I feel like I was different than some PA-people are. From where I sit, it seems some people just want to manipulate me for fun. Just because they’re bored maybe? I don’t know, and like I said, I don’t remember ever being passive-aggressive toward someone just to be mean, just because I didn’t like the way they looked or because I wanted all the attention. I ** * think * ** I was only that way towards someone who hurt or attacked me. It was my defense when someone was just ugly to me. I’ve never been a mean-spirited person however maybe my poor husband would tell you otherwise. I don’t think I’ll ask him at this time. Maybe one day, when I’m more confident that I’ve overcome that way of responding. ** * ha * **
Again, I’m no psychology major by any means, so I’m not sure if this is even possible … to have different motivations for PA actions? Is that a thing? Or does this behavior always stem from insecurity and low self-esteem no matter if the person is mean-spirited about it or just defensively reactive? Are some people just really mean without having some past damage to their self-worth or psyche?
Hmmm… so interesting.
ANYway, I’m trying to educate myself here. I know there’s a lot of scripture that can be applied here, but I am too tired to look it up and paste it here. Just don’t think I’m looking only at the psychology of it and not the spiritual side of having this kind of personality. Believe me, I certainly realize living with a PA attitude is NOT at all Christ-like. That’s just one more reason I’m so thankful God gives big grace! I have needed and STILL need tons of it! I can now see how very sinful my attitude and actions were when I lived my life from a place of hurt and bitterness.
I just hope I can learn to leave that all behind, even in snap-reactive situations when it’s more likely to slip out again. I want to live the way Jesus wants me to. I want to be able to help other people to either overcome passive-aggression in themselves or help PAs around them. I know we can be difficult people to love, hard to interact with and I want to help people see how destructive and reversible it is. Jesus can heal the diseases of bitterness and manipulation and passive-aggressive mindsets.
Lord, let it be so!
PS: I realize being vague, like leaving out any identification, is a tactic of a passive-aggressive person however, in this case, I definitely do not want to identify anyone since any of the several people this could apply to could possibly find this post. I also don’t want to identify anyone, even people I am not “analyzing” or whatever just because that would be rude.
Remember, I have also “analyzed” myself in this post. I am trying to make myself better and be able to help anyone else who may need it to overcome what I am overcoming.
For God’s glory!
Happy Monday, y’all! I hope you guys had a great weekend. Ours was awesome because our baby-kids returned home from Haiti after being there for two weeks! It was great to finally have them back!
I just have to say, not to brag or to put down anyone else’s church in any way, but I just love my church. It’s huge in comparison to any other church I’ve ever attended, but it doesn’t feel huge and the preaching is just so phenomenal and so applicable. It isn’t that we hear only feel-good sermons, the way many in our area believe. Quite the contrary!! Many times my hubby and I leave church feeling very humbled and challenged to do better, to improve ourselves and always be transforming ourselves to be more like Jesus!
So Pastor Trevor’s latest series is called “Sweet Spot” and concerns the giving of spiritual gifts from God to His children. It’s about the fact that each of us are given specific spiritual gifts and that we should discover and hone them, leverage them for the kingdom of God. Use them to help others and lead them to faith in Christ!
Here’s the link we were given to take a test that will help determine our spiritual giftings: Spiritual Gifts Questionaire Almost all of our family have taken the test and some of us spent Saturday evening comparing and sharing how we ranked.
I have to say I was a little surprised by my scores. Granted, there are some statements on the test that are a little ambiguous and so I answered “neutral” to many when I was either unsure of what it was saying exactly or when it seemed to have two parts and I would feel one way about the first part and another about the second. I may go back and take it again in a few weeks and see how I score then.
As for the first attempt, I scored very 5/5 in teaching. Not super-surprising. I am the eldest child and we tend to be teachers by design. I homeschooled my children through high school, so yes, I wasn’t shocked to score high in that area, although I don’t really consider myself a good teacher.
I may tend to be a little impatient which is probably why my second high score was in prophecy. Hmm. Now, before you jump to the usual conclusion about what ‘prophecy’ means or what it means to be considered a prophet, let me explain that the gift of prophecy is not about foretelling. As Pastor Trevor so aptly put it, “It’s about forth-telling.” Meaning it’s about seeing potential and being pretty honest with our opinions.
That makes much more sense to me!
Yesterday’s sermon was about prophets and their strengths and weaknesses. About how prophets are perceived and misunderstood sometimes. It was a really great sermon and I can’t wait for the rest of them! I’m really glad that I won’t miss out on any due to the Orlando trip to MasterLab 2016 next week, too!
The big picture of this series is that we are responsible for using whatever spiritual gift we’ve been given for God’s purposes. We’re responsible for figuring out what that gift is, and to realize that no one alone is fully equipped to be a spiritual “multi-tool”. We are, as Romans 12 tells us, many separate members of one body and a member or “part” on its own, is limited to what it can do and only what it can do. When working in conjunction with the rest of the parts, a body and therefore its parts, can be much more productive.
Of course, we have all heard the sayings about “teamwork” and “many hands make light work” and such. This is not a new idea, but it bears repeating because we always seem to need the reminder!
Some points that were brought to light about the fact that each person has different gifts and different abilities to use those gifts, so that none of us are the same which can lead to different approaches, ideas and ultimately, misunderstandings.
We need to remember always that we were created by and for God…made ON purpose, FOR a purpose! We are created as originals and should not attempt to be or settle for being a duplicate.
When it comes to the individuality of our gifts, we can misunderstand each other because of our misconceptions of one another. Since we see EVERYTHING through the lens of our particular giftings, whether we realize it or not, sometimes we don’t understand the words and actions of someone who is also viewing the world through their own particular gifts…gifts that are not like ours and whose strengths are not the same as our own.
And we must understand this: Our spiritual gifts are not about having an ability as much as the capacity to develop an ability. Think about that one for a sec. It’s not necessarily that we are ‘bestowed’ with a particular gift but that we discover and develop the gift! We have to invest ourselves in it.
Since the sermon focused on the prophet, Trevor gave us the characteristics, challenges, potential dangers for and public perception of the prophet.
As a person who scored high in the gift of prophecy, I could relate to so many of these! Things like the fact that as prophets, we are rather opinionated, we see the “wrong” first, we’re impatient, we tend to be loners or prefer isolation, we are highly intolerant of dishonesty, very transparent in that we are very much WYSIWYG…‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ and we want justice to be served.
Our challenges are not being very good one-on-one (even though we don’t much like crowds), we’re suspicious, never taking things at face-value, we tend to jump to conclusions and over-think things, we have a tendency to be (or at least appear!) bossy and super-negative, and others (especially those gifted with service and mercy) tend to see us a completely tactless in the way we speak to people.
The dangers we must watch out for are the tendency to be easily depressed and discouraged (hello!)…we see the wrong first, remember? We want it to be righted and sometimes that can be overwhelming. Even when it’s a “wrong” in our own lives. My experience is that this is the worst of all. If I feel powerless to fix what’s wrong in my own life, then I tend to just give up on anything else. I feel unworthy to mention it let alone fix it. For me, these feelings stem mostly from feeling out of control where my health/body is concerned. Feeling exhausted so much of the time doesn’t lead to an organized life or clean home, ya know? WANTING these things done and being able to accomplish them are two entirely different things! sigh
Another danger is we find it hard to forgive. Thank God, He’s been working on me in this area for many years and I’m getting lots better at this, but it is still a struggle! We tend to default to anger and bitterness. I think this also links back to our struggles with depression. We can become prideful and we find it easier to rebuke than restore.
That last one explained why I didn’t score higher as an encourager the way I thought I would! Seriously, this whole blog is about my desire to encourage others to stay positive, to never give up! But when I read that, “finds it easier to rebuke than restore” it made me realize that this is so true of me. I feel like it’s being encouraging, but others see it as rebuke or scolding! When I say, “Pick yourself up, put your big kid pants on and get on with it!” it’s not seen as super-encouraging! Hahaha! And what’s really funny is that I wouldn’t see it that way either if it were directed at me. So… I have a big task here to be a bit more soft and gentle with my “encouragement”. Although… I still think sometimes people just need a good (but loving! -haha!) kick in the pants to see that they are just wallowing in self-pity.
Ahem. Maybe I have more work to do than I thought. grin
So, to conclude Trevor made clear that we all need prophets in our lives but we need to learn to understand them as much as they need to learn how to interact better with those who are not prophet-personalities.
Wow…see why I can’t wait for the rest of the series? I’m anxious to hear about server-personalities since my Tommy is one and those who scored high in mercy (Taylor) and those who may have scored equally in several areas the way Casey did and those who scored almost equally in teaching and administration the way Corey did. I haven’t seen Melissa’s score, but I suspect she would probably fall into server or administrator? It will be interesting to see.
I pray this whole thing helps us all to communicate better with each other and those around us!
What do you think about this sort of “personality” testing to determine spiritual gifts? Have you taken one? How did you score? Can you see other traits from reading my blog?
Oh…here’s the sermon too. (NOTE: when I posted this link, the video was not yet uploaded. Check back. It will be available soon but look over the notes and group questions in the meantime!) Go watch it, and go back to watch the first one too. I think you’ll love it!