In my previous blog, I talked about how passive-aggressive behavior can affect your relationship with your in-laws and also your spouse. It can be difficult to deal with, particularly if you don’t have a relative who engages in this type of behavior.
Here are a few more tips on how to best deal with the situation.
Houston Marriage Counseling: More Tips for Handling Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Politely Decline Help – One behavior that many passive-aggressive people engage in is agreeing to a favor or even offering to help and then becoming resentful or playing the martyr. Sure, your mother-in-law will help, but she’ll make it clear that she’s miserable the whole time. Or even worse, she won’t actually follow through, causing problems for you. If you find yourself experiencing this behavior, there’s a simple solution: don’t ask for help or accept any offers.
Let Go of Guilt – Passive-aggressive people often use guilt to manipulate others, and if you cave, it often only gets worse. There will always be something else to complain about. For example, your father-in-law complains that he only gets to see the kids every other week. When you start visiting weekly, he now complains that he only gets to see them once a week! This is simply a method of control. Remember, you have the right to make your own decisions based on your morals.
Don’t Be Passive-Aggressive in Return – It can be tempting to want to give the offending party a taste of their own medicine, but this will actually backfire. Instead, it’s better to behave in a manner that you hope others will as well. Be aware of the messages you are sending the other person about how to interact with you.
Let It Roll Off Your Back – Don’t take this behavior personally. This is a pattern of behavior that this individual developed in childhood as the result of being punished for expressing negative emotions or due to an intense fear of confrontation or losing control. And often, your misery actually rewards the behavior. If the behavior isn’t making you unhappy, then they may actually stop, so remain positive. Similarly, it’s important to control your temper since becoming angry can provide your in-law with the opportunity to play the victim.
Be Consistent – Just like you do with your children, praise positive behavior, and ignore or don’t give in to passive-aggressive behaviors. You won’t see change immediately, but often over time, you’ll see a difference.
Struggling to get your spouse on board or to help him or her see the issue? Consider trying Houston marriage counseling to get on the same page and prevent relationship issues.