Are you ready to stop them?
Don’t defend yourself. The passive has been setting you up to defend yourself, vigorously, so they will look more victimized by you.
Don’t power struggle. Just keep smiling, it will irritate the passive more than anything you have to say. Get frustrated and they will feel victorious. Take it personally and you’re wasting energy. They treat everyone like this sooner or later.
Make any statement that you need to and follow it with silence. Do not beg, bargain or attempt to bribe the passive aggressive. The more you talk, the less powerful you will sound.
You can also show your personal strength by probing their statements with out fear. “Jane, you said you’ll be happy to take on this project, but you sound angry. Is there something else you’d really like to say?” Passives gain power through silence, lack of communication and misunderstandings. Make it perfectly clear that none of that works
Your own view of the events is more important than what you are being told. And you don’t care about what they say, how they paint the picture, or the promises they make. You care about the history of actions they have built up with you. Never hear the words and forget the history. You decide on actions from here on out.
Be Candid and happy to help them by describing their specific behavior. They’ll deny it and you’re going to be fine with that. “oh good! I was so hoping I was wrong.”
Make parallel conversation and then redirect to the actual subject. Talk about a subject that’s close to the craziness they’ve been bringing up and then swing back to the subject before they can interrupt. “OMG, that is exactly like the time my grandmother drank all the Christmas nog and now we need to look at the third issue before the board. Mary Ellen don’t you have a report on that?”
Passives will tell you all about how your ideas won’t work. Put them on the spot. “I’ve noticed you have a number of opinions on this so I’d like to hear what your solution is to this. We have about five minutes do you think you can fill that?”
Now that you’ve asked for their opinion, they will say at least two or three completely contradictory statements. And you are going to overuse the phrase, “I’m confused.” You will not say things like, “You are so full of …..” You will want to say that, but you will talk about your confusion instead. You will follow that with factual statements about the three opposing things they’ve sworn are the same, or the differences between their words and their behavior. Keep this utterly factual, do not raise your voice, and do not use these words; always, every, & never.
When you deal with a passive aggressive you are not having a conversation with a logical person. It won’t matter how logical you are, how well prepared. They aren’t looking for a hole in your argument, they’re searching for the hole in your emotional armor. Once your irritated or upset, they’ve found it, and now they’ll mess with you.
They will use technology to hide. They looove e-mails and texts. Text them back that you need a face to face meeting and then use your new skills to stop them cold. Your e-mails all need to be backed up so you can access and use them as evidence if necessary.
Leave a paper trail of everything you do with the passive aggressive. Take notes of every meeting and then e-mail them to everyone who was there. Cover not just your a_ _ but your whole person. Record and send to multiple people on every interaction you have with them.
Do not rely on the passive aggressive to get anything important done. Record that they said they’d do it, send that e-mail out to multiple people, and then record all the various parts of the two to three back up plans you’ve got in place.
Now go forth and conquer!
Photo by Alan Cleaver_2000 flickr photo stream