Relationship Patterns and Passivity
People come to us for relationship issues and say, “Something’s wrong with my relationship; I’m unhappy with it.” But they’re not able to say what’s going on, except some details here and there; they’re not able to see the overall picture. We’re always encouraging you to step above the weeds and look in. What’s really going on? What are the toxic relationship patterns?
Today, we were going to talk about something less obvious, and that is passivity. I can’t count how many times have people come in and say, “Well, I just let him have his way because then there wouldn’t be a fight, it’s just easier.” My response to that is, “Is this easy? You haven’t described one easy thing.” Or you let them get their way, but then you’re so angry, and it manifests differently, and that’s destructive passivity. A lot of people think passivity is being kind and will get people to love you. “If I just let everybody have their way, they’re going to love me so much.” But it never happens, it doesn’t work that way.
There is constructive passivity, and then there’s destructive passivity. I’ve had people look at me when I say that like I’ve got two heads.
When it comes to the passivity, what would be the most significant behavior that people don’t realize is destructive passivity? Destructive passivity tends to be giving in to something when you don’t want to. You’re pretending, lying shall we say, that you’re okay with going to the in-laws for the 6th Thanksgiving in a row; when you don’t really feel that way, this is not a good thing.
Destructive Passivity Behavior
The destructive passivity behavior I always compare to is if you’re going down the street, and there’s a child or an animal in the road, and you keep on walking. There’s a car coming- something terrible is going to happen, and you just kept walking and not judging, just saying. It’s not doing something at that moment, where problems are going to happen. Not admitting that you don’t want to go somewhere or do something when somebody does is a car coming into your life, it’s going to be a problem.
Either that resentment of having to do it is going to make you blow up at some point or do something passive-aggressive. Or your partner is not going to think you’re lovely and kind and the best thing in the whole world, they’re going to believe you are not interested because you’re never involved, don’t care, spacing out, not paying attention, or just not being there.
The people who do this, think that they’re kind by thinking, “Well they need to vent, they need to go on and on.” They may need to, but you do not have to space out. If you think the other person doesn’t notice that, you’re wrong.”
Alcohol Abuse and Substances Abuse
Another behavior is, alcohol abuse and substances abuse, in general, is another way of disappearing. You may think, “Oh, this is helping my mood, so it’s going to help our relationship.” It never happens that way. The other person feels you have another outlet versus talking to them.
Another behavior is leaving. So one of the boundary settings that we talked about in several videos ago was to leave if someone is mistreating you. Such as if they are yelling, cursing, calling you names and it starts to make you anxious or scared for your well-being we always advise that you leave. Now that is a destructive passive move unless you make a statement first.
If you leave, the person’s left hanging, wondering if you are coming back, what’s going on, or they’re like okay you’ve got my point. They think they won, and you’re in agreement. But in fact, the constructive-passive way to deal with that is to say, “look I’m getting anxious and scared because I feel out of control, I cannot have this discussion with you any further. I’m going for a car ride; I’ll be back at 9.” That’s the line to add, so you can be passive and not destroy your relationship. This way is constructive; you’re telling them this is what’s happening, and you’re giving them an idea of what’s going through your head. Nobody is a mind reader.
Psychic-psychiatrist, we don’t read minds either, but we see these patterns, and people think, “Oh, how did you know that?” That’s what we do.
What to do
If you do passive behavior, you tend to go with one or the other- destructive aggression or destructive passive pattern. That’s a good thing to check to see what you do and try to change that.
You can’t force someone to be on the same page as you. But when you walk away and verbalize that you’re walking away for a moment and come back, it’s an easier way to be on different pages.
Notice we’re talking about how you can make changes to your relationship patterns, that’s a key piece. We’re not talking about beating on someone else to change because that is destructive aggression. We want you to make these relationship patterns change. You can do this; by making your own relationship patterns change. You don’t have to change the other person, this is impossible. Sometimes the changes that you make in yourself, your partner will notice, and that brings them to start picking up on it. They begin to get healthier; it’s not even conscious half the time.
Question from a viewer: What if someone says suck it up?
Answer: When they say this, that means they want you to be passive. This gives you the chance to say, sucking it up and not saying anything would be destructive to me and our relationship so I will not suck it up. And then you might want to consider that person as a red flag person.
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