Here is a short version of the model for transforming passive aggression into a loving, responsive partnership. First, we need to share with you this basic proposition:
There is a strong connection between personal history and present behavior, more precisely how the old attachment to the first love figure (aka “mother”) is shaping our love connections now;
In short: being unable to communicate in a positive way with his wife, happens not due to bad intentions now, but it happens when men use an outdated protective system that developed to protect against excessive parent’s control or interference in their childhood.
STEPS TO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE MEN’S TRANSFORMATION:
Men need to:
-Identify when and with whom they developed in their childhood this “communication shield” expressed as interpersonal passive aggression.
-Locate the feelings attached to that control childhood situation, and release them;
-Separate the way he regards his wife from the way he regarded his mother/caretaker in the past. Learning how to separate the two is crucial.
-Re-learn to frame interactions with his wife in a new, appreciative, positive way.
-Learn and use a new repertoire of connection phrases (delivered by us) to foster interaction in a positive leader way;
CASE EXAMPLE: (Managing a very personal “PA SHIELD”)
GEORGE’S PERSONAL MILESTONES: (05/26/15)
1.- Taking personal responsibility for the hurtful impact of doing some reactive behaviors on the relationship;
2.- Searching for and identification of past old anger, and discovering how he created the “passive aggressive shield” as a defense against parent’s control;
3.- Learn to separate anger and resistance against parents, (which produced the shield) from emotions generated here and now in the marriage;
4. Understand how his use of the “PA shield” now produces counterproductive results with his wife;
5. Grasp the connection between protecting his own isolation (needed to be able to work) with generating feelings of abandonment in his wife, which then reacts with her own controlling behavior;
6. George experiences demands for company from his wife as suffocating control, and reacts by isolating himself more, (as in the “PA shield”)
7. The solution for control is not more isolation, but the opposite: open up the “PA shield”, trust the relationship and learn to share time and projects.
8. Now, his wife’s request for company will be framed as a legitimate search for love and connection (not control) and solved doing shared activities/projects.
9. Both need to be able to negotiate better their reciprocal needs: (George’s need for space to create, and his wife’s need for company) and to confront each other using Fair Fighting techniques;
10. Keep a routine of maintenance of connection: schedule conversations about home issues, schedule dates and have a clear idea of the time they need to have together.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
Here is an outline of all the typical roadblocks and barriers that men have to overcome on their way to achieving such transformation process.
FIRST ROADBLOCK: long-term denial of the behavior done to others, because using the “passive aggression shield” feels “normal.” (He can say: “I‘m not passive, it’s the way I was brought up)” (the Passive Aggressive Test helps here)
SECOND ROADBLOCK: resistance to accept his own responsibility for the hurt he does (is not that “she provokes him”; he does PA behavior because it is the only response he knows from his past.)
THIRD ROADBLOCK: refusing to accept hidden, past anger and to deal with the baggage of negative emotions linked to the origin of “passive aggression shield” back in childhood.
FOURTH ROADBLOCK: resistance to learn and adopt softer interactive behaviors (e.g. Reflective listening as not being “manly behavior”); or not having the skills to do them;
FIFTH ROADBLOCK: Wanting to use good communication skills but sheer ignorance of how to do, what to say, and how to confront with love. (Our list of phrases helps here)
Do you want our help? The first step is to take the Free Passive Aggression Test, here:
This connection between attachment and actual behavior is backed by solid psychological research, as in the book: “Attached: New Science of Adult Attachment,” by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller.