There’s Never a Good Time to Write About Passive-Aggression

two pieces of toast with kitty faces in them
Image by Caroline Apollo / CC BY

“Fine! He is being passive aggressive with me, and it’s gonna backfire; I’m gonna be active friendly.”

Natalya Vorobyova

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There’s never a good time to write about passive-aggression. Because no matter what is (or isn’t) going on in your life, someone will read into whatever you write about it.

And they’ll think that your piece about passive-aggression clearly is about them.

Because they know that they’re deeply passive-aggressive. They know that everyone else knows that they’re passive-aggressive. Even if they’re off in a corner seething where no one can see them. They think it’s obvious. To them, they’re broadcasting their feelings, loud and clear. And of course the rest of us can read their minds. Because they are thinking at us as hard as they can.

And they know that the only reason that other people don’t say anything is because the rest of us are that way, too. Because we’re so passive-aggressive ourselves.

Passive-Aggressive Priming and Pareidolia

pareidolia (noun) –  the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern

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The trouble with passive-aggressive people is this: Passive-aggressive people see passive-aggression everywhere.

Like devout followers of Christ who see the face of the Virgin Mary burned into every piece of toast (hello, pareidolia).

Or children who, while bored on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, rifle through a cubicle and see office supplies as toys.

Or kinksters who call home improvement stores “Dom Depot” and walk the aisles spotting implements of pleasure and pain.

Most stimuli are ambiguous — especially when you’re dealing with social matters. It’s never quite clear what one interaction means. Let alone a series of them. And passive-aggressive people are primed to see their way of coping with the world in others. Any time things are unclear.

Which they usually are. Things are usually unclear. Because we’re human. And life is unclear.

So there’s never a good time to write about passive-aggression. But I’ve been meaning to for a very long time.

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Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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