We tend to use the term passive-aggressive quite liberally to describe behavior we find annoying in others. “Oh, he is so passive-aggressive!” Passive-aggressiveness is, in fact, a pattern of expressing negative feelings indirectly rather than openly addressing them. It is a coping mechanism people use when they perceive themselves to be powerless or when they fear that using their power will lead to a bad outcome, such as anger, conflict, or separation.
Surprisingly, though passive-aggressiveness is designed to avoid provoking anger in others, the opposite occurs. Behaviors ranging from the meekly non-assertive to the outright hostile surreptitiously give hidden anger a voice, inciting those on the receiving end to react with frustration, anger, and resentment. With repeated occurrences, relationships erode and often are ultimately destroyed.
As damaging as this pattern is, behaving passive-aggressively doesn’t make a person bad, nor does the anger that lies beneath this behavior. Rarely is passive-aggressiveness a conscious or deliberate choice, but rather it is a complex mechanism that derives from childhood experiences, causing great suffering to those in its grip. We need to have as much empathy for the perpetrators as for the confused and angry partners who are injured (romantic partner, friend, co-worker, boss, employee, parent, adult child, or sibling—any substantial relationship), until the perpetrators understand their problematic behavior and bring an end to its reign over their lives. Awareness of how the behavior is in play is half the battle in making a better choice.
In this web conference, we will explore passive-aggression in detail and look at its sources. I’ll introduce eight keys to helping those with passive-aggressive tendencies find new ways to relate to their anger and to express their needs and feelings more directly. I will also offer reliable strategies for the partners who inadvertently find themselves caught up in a passive-aggressive dance. These methods will help both types of clients to disengage from the cycle and to start taking effective steps to eliminate passive-aggressiveness from their lives.
This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:
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"The information was detailed and helps to identify characteristics of people with passive aggressive behavior." - Elaine Zachrel, LCPC
Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.
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Premium or Pro Membership with GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no cost. Not yet a Premium or Pro Member? Mental health professionals can attend this live web conference for $29.95 or access the homestudy recording for $14.95.
Dr. Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT is an author, speaker, and psychotherapist with more than 30 years experience. Her clinical expertise includes treating relationships, women's issues, anxiety, aggression, anger, aging, workplace issues, and work-life balance. Dr. Brandt has treated people from a variety of backgrounds coping with extreme scenarios and rough patches by emphasizing the mind-body-heart connection as key to achieving mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Through her work promoting emotional healing with mindfulness, Dr. Brandt directed her attention to the study of anger and passive-aggressiveness, and her books 8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness and Mindful Anger: A Pathway to Emotional Freedom explore strategies for overcoming the debilitating behavior.
Dr. Brandt is an experienced practitioner of somatic psychology, and she has employed numerous other methodologies, interventions, orientations, and treatment plans. Whether in a clinical or workshop setting, Dr. Brandt guides people toward heightened awareness and intuition and reveals positive paths to emotional health. She teaches others how to empower and reinvent themselves and helps bring understanding, enthusiasm, and happiness to their lives.
Dr. Brandt has been interviewed by Parenting Magazine, Larry King Live, The Love Connection, The Los Angeles Times, eHow.com, and The Huffington Post, among others. She completed her master’s degree in clinical psychology at Goddard University and her PhD in philosophy with an emphasis in psychology at Pacific Western University. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband. For more information on Dr. Brandt and her practice, visit www.abrandtherapy.com.