I’ve noticed recently that there is an ugly side to my character that has snuck in somewhere along the way. It is, that I sometimes use passive aggressive ways to make a point.
For instance, me and the children joined a library this week. We were picking our first books, I took a while and chose two to start us off. As I was putting the coats back on the children to begin our exit to the car, I turned around to see that a woman had picked up one of the books and added it to her pile. At that point I had a three choices of how to deal with this;
A/ realise it was an innocent theft on her part, I’d put my two books near a pile of others so she obviously just thought it was fair game – put it down to an unfortunate mistake, pick another and then be on my way.
B/ approach the lady with a smile and explain that I’d chosen this book, had set it down to dress my children and request I have it back
C/ mutter (in a voice clearly audible to lady) to Minnie (what makes it worse is I bring my daughter into this foul play!) that one of our books seems to have disappeared so we better pick another.
I chose C and the lady saw through my act immediately. Apologising harshly she threw the book back on the chair where she found it, instructing me to take it. Immediately I knew I should have gone for options A or B. But why didn’t I? Why would I go for the passive aggressive option instead of simple, polite confrontation? If I’d just asked nicely for the book back, she would have probably simply given it to me. Or if not, and she contested that she now had it, I could have walked away knowing I did the most honest thing and I wouldn’t be just a little disgusted by my underhand tactics.
I’ve been thinking about why I pick the passive aggressive option, is it because I am scared of confrontation, and why am I scared? Does this mean I am scared of people and what they think of me? Or is it because I want a fight and I’m trying to pick one in a more socially acceptable way? If this is the case, why do I want a fight?
I think whatever it is that causes me to be like this will probably be to do with the stress of moving countries, or tiredness from having two little children, maybe it’s simply because I am British or worse than these, some “woe is me” attitude is still left over from having to do IVF.
Until I find the root of my behaviour I will just have to treat the symptoms, i.e. starve my passive aggression. I vow the next time I get an opportunity to confront someone or something I do it the open and honest way. See how that works out.
Here endeth my first blog confession – I have a feeling there will be more!