New Year's Resolution: Adios Passive-Aggressives
The BEST thing that ever happened to me (besides discovering Ouidad)? Having my boyfriend, now husband, call out my fighting style.
Back in the day, I met any sort of conflict or difference of opinion with stone cold, painful silence. A zipping of the lips. An 'I'll Show You' mentality. When we got together, twenty plus years ago, Andre had every frustrated right to kick me to the curb.
I would have been really pissed about that.
And he SHOULD have known why.
Crazy, right? Indeed it was. The idea that you can disagree with someone, not engage in ANY discussion and somehow the other party should not only just KNOW why you're angry, but instinctively know how to fix it.
And while my communication skills have vastly improved since those days, the last remaining bastion of the past, has been my willingness to be verbally assaulted by passive-aggressives. Case in point. A recent conversation, if you can even call it that:
"Dawn. I didn't even know you were here."
"Yeah. I was at the kids' table for a while."
"Stranger." Pause. "Strange."
"Ah, yeah. Do you know who my parents are? You'd be strange too."
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not really in the habit of calling people 'strange'. Especially outloud. Especially during holiday celebrations. In my (mentally sound/balanced) world, not only does that classify as socially unacceptable behavior, but 'them sort of seem like fighting words'.
Yet, instead of busting out with a perfectly well deserved, 'what's with the word association?' or 'um, why exactly are you insulting me to my face'. Or even, 'hmm, you seem a little angry; what are you really trying to say', I opted for my standard coping mechanism: deflection by humor. You know, so no one feels uncomfortable, or anything.
Seriously? No. More.
Don't worry. I'm not giving up my insight or understanding of the pained person actually hurling the insults. I will still realize that these quick, mean spirited digs have much more to do with repressed years of deep hurt of their own doing, and really nothing to do with me. At all.
But this year, I've actively decided not to play along. Nope. Sorry. Not only am I refusing to accept blame for anyone's personal failures, other than my own, I am no longer going to believe that somehow this is my penance to pay for having the gift of self-awareness. Or for choosing to be happy. Or for having a solid marriage, loving relationships, the ability to make good financial decisions, being committed to health, learning more about the world around me, enjoying a good lip gloss or whatever it is about my life that seems to make it okay for you, to hate on me.
So, passive-aggressives, in 2013, you can continue to hurl your most angry fastball my way, but be aware that this chick is ready to play. And if you don't want me to go all Dr. Phil on your ass, how about we just agree to the most simple of adages: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.