February 13, 2007 12:50am CST
Is Passive/Aggressive behavior something that is learned or is it genetic?
• United States
13 Feb 07
I think it's learned, although some temperaments may be more susceptible than others. My experience has been that passive/aggressive behavior tends to be more common in people who are conflict avoidant, i.e. they swallow their anger rather than expressing it. Many years ago, I spent some time in therapy, learning (among other things) about my own passive/aggressive tendencies. In my case, the root cause seemed to be a family-of-origin in which it was "emotionally unsafe" to express honest feelings, at least if they contradicted my parents' view of the world. Since I couldn't effectively express many things "actively," I learned that the only way to get them out was through "passive" means-- resistance, avoidance, being late, not getting ready when needed, and so forth. I'm glad I've worked through that stuff... and (more importantly) have learned to choose people who aren't so insecure they feel the need to beat up those who have different opinions.