January 14, 2008

Dealing With Passive-aggressive People

I admit that I have a hard time dealing with passive-aggressive people. Passive-aggressive people (P/A for short) use passive means to display aggressive behavior. They use every means possible to look like the good guy, and the other person like the bad guy.

Passive-aggressive people are untouchable. They never apologize, they don't take responsibility for their behavior, they complain that other people don't live up to their expectations, and they avoid facing hard truths, especially when it means they have to look at themselves. Oh, and when they hurt others, they turn it around so it's always the other person's fault and they deserved it.

We all show p/a behaviors from time to time. Nobody's perfect. But people who live their life this way are so tiring to be around. I am able to "feel" people's emotions and attitudes pretty clearly. P/a people "feel" different than they are acting. They act so strong and confident, when inside they are so incredibly fearful. I don't know which version of them to respond to. The surface acting or the true person who is hiding.

Most people who are p/a, I have to distance myself from them and basically ignore. I can't get involved with those kinds of people. But there are people in my life who are like this and I am not able to walk away from due to circumstances. I'm sure a lot of people have this same experience, with p/a people in their families or at work.

P/a people have friends and loved-ones who don't seem to be bothered by their behavior. How do they deal with it? How can anyone be close to someone like that? I'm baffled.

So, I'm going along, trying to learn how to deal with the people in my life who act passively and yet are aggressive underneath.

Perhaps the first thing I need to do is let go of any desire to get their approval. It's not going to happen. They complain about everyone (except those who they are in complete awe of or who they seek their approval), so I'm going to be one of those people they complain about.

Perhaps I also need to let go of the idea that having any kind of "real" relationship with them is necessary. I'm naturally a "connect with the universe" kind of person. But they are sending a clear message to the universe, "Do not try to connect with me unless I invite you in." Perhaps if I let go of my attachment to being "real" about things, I can deal better with them.

Perhaps I also need to let the universe, or karma, take care of it. There are a lot of things I can change, but p/a behavior is not one of those things. I need to let these people make their own choices, absent of my judgment of them, and then let the universe and karma take care of it. In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter if that one person is p/a.

Lastly, focusing on my own behavior is key. P/a behavior is a way to control a situation or person. Instead of trying to defend myself from their p/a attacks or clarify my position, I can simply do what needs to be done, focus on keeping my own integrity intact, and move on. I have no power to change the other person. I can only affect my own behavior. And when I focus on my own behavior, I can't be controlled.

I think it p/a behavior boils down to a fear of intimacy. And since I'm naturally an intimate person (perhaps to a fault), if a person acts the act of what intimacy looks like, but who is actually creating as much distance as possible, it makes me agitated.

It's my choice whether to allow them to continue agitating me, or to let it go. I will practice letting go, and see if I can make it a habit, or at least be conscious that I have a choice.

Do you know any passive-aggressive people? How do you handle them?


Sunshine Alternative Mama said...

Thanks so much for this, Tammy.

I was able to see clearly that the volunteer situation I am in involves a p/a person, Not a person I would expect to be p/a, so it has been subtle yet painful at the same time. I think I know what I have to do now.

I have other p/a people in my life. Setting limits and keeping myself intact seem to work best for me. It does require vigilance, to recognize p/a behavior (wow, I've been ignoring this current situation for two years), and to know myself well enough to not get dragged into it (except I did this time).

My mother was perhaps the most p/a person I've ever known, or at least known so intimately. It's hard to say about someone who has died, but it is true. I eventually did my best to accept that I couldn't please her and to teach myself (as best I could ~ she was my mother) not to seek approval. I also set a lot of limits, stacked one on top of the other. It didn't make things perfect, but it gave us a base to go forward from and to have a relationship that was warm and workable, versus the pile of pieces we were in 11 years ago.

Thanks for the piece.

Anonymous said...

"Living with the Passive Aggressive man", a book I bought from amazon has helped me understand the PA person I live with. That doesn't mean I condone that type of behavior and treatment. It's emotional abuse in reality. However, much of their inability to share their feelings is often grounded in childhood abuse development. They need to be helped in counselling and those in their lives to make decisions and not allowed to put another in the maternal/dominant role only to resent the person afterward. This means not doing things for them that they need to do themselves. etc. great read for both sexes, btw.
Really makes you aware of all the manipulative tactics they use and how by our actions we might actually be encouraging more.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I work in disability so I deal with passive-aggression all the time! However, I also live with one *sigh*.

To be honest my coping skills vary, they are very tied to how I am within myself at a given time. Some days it is easy to spot the manipulative behaviour and brush it off or deal with it and some days I end up kicking myself for getting totally sucked in.

Constant vigilance is how I cope with known passive-aggressives. It makes me very sad that I am constantly on guard with particular people but I have learned the cost of letting that guard down. Being happy within myself has also been essential and having strong boundaries that I DO NOT negotiate or give away.

One important place I had to come to was letting of of the hurt that some of these people inflict. Nothing is every their problem is is always someone else (i.e. me).

Thanks for your piece - good reading :o)

Anonymous said...

wow. Can I tell you how much your comments hit home?! My little sis-n-law is like what you described and I am very much a "connect with the universe" person. I just have to let go of the idea that we will ever be close. She doesn't want it so it will never happen. To even talk to her causes her to be defensive in ways that involves other people which makes it looks like I'm ganging up on her when it is actually her ganging up on me.

Your words were so very helpfult to me

http://freelancemum.blogspot.com/ said...


Very interesting post. I have several pa's in my life and recently I confronted the main one on her behaviour as it really was becoming poisonous. I hate rows but really felt it was time to take a stand. So I kept calm, stuck to the facts and confronted her with her behviour.

It's quite fascinating how pa's react when backed into a corner. First off she denied denied and claimed 'she couldn't remember'. Odd how she as a class A pa can never remember the hurtful things she's said to others but has a memory like a Mensa elephant when it comes to perceived slights against herself! They're all logged in blood and go back 30, 40 years. Then when I proved she was lying (won't bore you with the details) she said that she must be going crazy (poor me, I'm a victim feel sorry for me). Eventually, I calmly ended the conversation and put the phone down.

My partner then backed me up and tore several strips off her. He also said she had to apologise to me. It's been a week and guess what? Silence!!!

I know what will happen next. She'll ring up and pretend nothing has happened. But I feel a lot better for my partner and I having confronted her.

It's really really hard dealing with pa's but sometimes you do have to confront, if only for your own sanity. I've no doubt in my situation, she won't change and will probably be nursing a grievance against me (so mean and cruel sob sob) but I don't care.

Anonymous said...

Hey - "http://freelancemum.blogspot.com/ said..."
Your description hits home big time with two members in my family. One a sister and the other an aunt. I'm convinced there is a gene out there! Some sociopathy may be at play as well. They say extremely hurtful things, NEVER accept responsibility for their actions, and when you call them on their manipulative BS, they scatter like field mice and retaliate with silence. Then in a few weeks you get an email with some joke or funny picture trying to reconnect or a hang up on your caller id...and they act like nothing ever happened. Complete craziness. And my sister has a masters in counseling which only fuels her behaviour to be self righteous. Her education and lack of common sense has convinced her that EVERYONE around her is wrong and she is right. So much so that she has completely disassociated herself from friends and family. She does her own self diagnosis and pops a pill to stabilize whatever mood she wants. Which I'm certain only makes the problem worse. Just as you said, they pull things up from 25-30 years ago that typically never happened the way they perceived. It is pointless dealing with it. I have learned these individuals will never change or grow. It is almost like they stay trapped in an ANGER/RAGE stage and never move towards FORGIVENESS and HEALING. I almost think they enjoy it...it gives them purpose or relevance. Recognize the behaviour, accept that you will never get an apology and that they won't change. Take them in small doses and head for the hills!

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with a man that seemed to be so emotionally connected, or so it seemed. Soon the loving, caring man I thought I knew only sporatically appeared. Then came more and more lies and excuses for the most ordinary and basic things in life. I learned through friends that after being with him for six years (with two breakups sponsored by his family members) that he only hung around me and expressed love because he felt he had to and felt "guilty" if he didn't. He chalked his behavior up to his diagnosis of being "passive aggressive" and said he couldn't help it. Because he has told folks that he didn't want me around since yet kept me around for years (until April of 2008 when I left), I've asked him to return all the gifts and pay me back for all the trips for which I paid. Of course he won't, but this just brings the point home that how his lies resulted in taking my heart, years of my life, and my money.

He and his family members now consider me "disposable" such that the times spent and supposed friendships meant nothing because they see me, like anyone outside their family system, as a thing to use and when used up to be thrown away.

It's taken me quite a while to see that he is really messed up and the family system that he is a part of actually fuels his dysfunction. Although it's been painful, extracting myself from this hurtful chaos is the best thing that I have done for myself and for the healthy people in my life who really appreciate me and mean it.

The passive aggressive and his/her enabling dysfunctional family members are toxic to our hearts, our souls, and, in time to our health. Please, take it from me, GET OUT of a relationship with these types of people. Life is too short. If you don't, you will, in time, become the enabling codependent if you have any humanness in your system. There are so many wonderful people out there that would LOVE to get to know you and be in a HEALTHY long-term, mutually respectful relationship with you and you can really be happy!

Sarah Strudwick said...

I am a connect with the universe and love people for what they are kind of person but sometimes you just have to accept that passive aggressives will never change.

I spent over three years in a relationship with a married p/a man. One that got cancer twice, played "the victim", "the poor me", the "my wife is a bitch", the "I am sorting out my stuff", the "you dont understand how hard it is for me" the "i promise it will be different".

As time went I put so much into the relationship I started to think it was me!. Til finally i read up a few books about it and realised that I would be trying to "fix up" this relationship for the rest of my life. The more I tried to appease and understand him the more he withdrew and the less I got. The angrier and nastier he became the more he more he withdrew emotionally and eventually I had to put all that universe love stuff out of the way and say tell him in no uncertain terms to leave my life for good otherwise I would have to tell his wife about the affair.

Its interesting that these men appear to "want" intimacy but at the same time the fear it so much. The want to be with loving understanding woman but at the same time try to turn them into horible bitches so that they can lay the blame and beome a victim.

Its very sad and yes like sociopaths some people with never really have any connection with that universal source however much we would like it.

I think "anonymous" said it all quote "

It is almost like they stay trapped in an ANGER/RAGE stage and never move towards FORGIVENESS and HEALING. I almost think they enjoy it...it gives them purpose or relevance. Recognize the behaviour, accept that you will never get an apology and that they won't change. Take them in small doses and head for the hills!

Anonymous said...

My mom is very clearly P/A. Everything everyone has said so far--that's my mom to a T. I've dealt with it for years and it's never gotten better. We get into these fights, she gets sarcastic, NEVER takes responsibility for her part in the fight, NEVER apologizes unless backed into a corner, then comes the silence, and the next time I talk to her it's like nothing ever happened. I'd like to break this vicious cycle!

J. Carlton Ford said...

This was a great post! I'm a connect with the universe person as well. I try to "keep it real" but it is difficult to do when dealing with a P/A.

Like one of your other comments said, you have to confront a P/A for your own sanity if for no other reason. They will deny the wrongdoing, but at least you can call them on on it.

Anonymous said...

I too am intimately connected with several p/a in my family. I have tried without sucess "to just be honest" with one particular person for years. This is met with anger, avoidance, sarcasm, forgetfulness, and a history of gossip so damaging as to almost destroy our family. The person I have been trying to deal with is my mother.

She is also a perfectionist and has developed a hero-worship of a select few, while others such as myself, are "bad". I am bad as i have been divorced, therefore, i have failed, never to be forgiven, treated with respect etc. Of course this has made our parent/ grandparent relationship a long, painful, murky mess.

It has greatly worsened through the years. I have requested, implored, begged for any kind of family counseling. She has refused for 20 years.

I have been at my wit's end as to how to deal with her. How to have any sort of warm relationship with a person who doesn't believe i have a place of respect and authority in my own kids' lives.

My college-aged son now lives with her, while attending school, and while her generosity is most appreciated, his presence has made her even more possesive of him and antagonistic toward me.

So i have been making all sorts of mistakes. Mainly I have been willing to do almost anything for her approval (so as to stay in my son's life), try to be honest and straightforward, & allowing myself to rely upon financially at times.

Yes, things used to be much better when i did not rely on her for anything. And I did not try nearly so hard.

As of earlier tonite, my people-pleasing son, has just cancelled long-standing holiday plans with us due to this situation. My mom had been included in theory to travel with us, however, she has turned down the offer for years. I addressed this situation in a straightforward manner by both telephone and letter (to her).

Her response: More gossip, more drama, and now we have no plans for Christmas. (& they live 3,000 miles away)

He will live with her for years to come, as there is still much of his academic life.

I am so sad to imagine that this pressure will be put on him & the end result will likely look something like this Christmas.

And, yes, my son is a "grown-up", but he is living by her good grace.

It is just one very painful mess that affects many including my young daughter.

Any ideas, anyone?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow I decided to google this topic and am very surprised. What seemed a good friend at first and became a housemate has turned extremely sour and into some maniac. I too am in touch with the universe and want good for all but in our flat at the moment seems to be jealousy, anger, control, gossip and control all caused by this person. I've now confronted him over this and was greeted with further rubbish and have asked him to move out. There have been times where bottles and knives were brought as a threatening tool against me for speaking my mind about his behaviour. All this followed by no apology after he cooled down followed by more P/A behaviour it seems like P/A are caught up in a cycle. I have now told him any more of these fits of rage until he moves will be dealt with by the police. It seems that P/A ride friendships to the maximum thinking that its a tug of war and we go back to them cos we have nothing else. Well unfortunately this isn't the case. Take a stand and confront them. Our other friend X has had enough also after a weekend fit in a nightclub in the city. I was called Saturday and told about his behaviour which X like me had tolerated for some time. He too has finally taken a stand and told our friend that its time for him to move on. It seems P/A love to display "I will get you behaviours" they can't hold friendships and like quiet people as friends until you speak up to them. They take no responsibility for what comes out of their mouths love to bully and talk behind other peoples backs. They are scared and fearful when it comes to making decisions that involve their life or has to do with the law. They lie and manipulate and fear being caught out. They ride other peoples weaknesses and like to sneak and like to think they have something that will hold you cornered. They suffer regular depression bouts and often speak of their ailments, illnesses and health problems openly seeking attention. They are very tiring to be around and seem to be alone because of this. Wow look at this amazing. Keep being great people and never stoop to arguing with them. The great people pick themselves up and keep being awesome.

Anonymous said...

Up until recently, I didn't know that I exhibited strong P/A behaviors. I didn't think I did it that much. I somehow stumbled upon a PA info and I realized that I was basically showed mostly all signs of it. I confronted my bf, asking him if I was passive -aggressive to him and without hesitation he said "Yes." I realize it stems from my childhood (my father basically does what I do to my bf). I don't want to lose my bf, but I feel so strongly about not wanting to be dependent. I know it's dumb and it's out of fear of vulnerability, but I can't help the way I feel. I used to just bottle things up and act out in really bad ways. I'm coming to terms about my behavior and it makes me feel extremely bad. My bf is better at recognizing when I'm acting out in a PA way. I know I want to get better so I don't damage the relationships around me. I really do love people (meeting them, talking to them, helping out when I can), but when I'm mad it's just so disgusting sometimes. I'll be turning twenty soon, and I feel that I can learn better ways to cope with my feelings. It's really hard sometimes, but I feel that I'm slowly becoming better at expressing what I like, don't like, what I want and what I don't want. It's really hard to be vulnerable, but I try to talk out my feelings even if it's over something totally stupid. I feel dumb sometimes for expressing why I'm mad at something so tiny, but I feel it's important to get it out anyway so I don't internalize it. I don't think I'm a bad person at all, I just have a bad way of expressing myself that makes me seem like two different people. I'm aware it's a life-long thing, and it's hard looking back and accepting how I reacted to things and played the "victim". I know I have resentment towards my family that I need to sort out.
Not all of us are bad. I'm a pretty loyal friend/gf and I'm very loving when I'm not upset by something. I know it's gonna take time, but I feel like I'm taking charge of my life, something I didn't really do. I do understand people cutting out people like me (someone had did it and I didn't know why until thinking about it recently). It's very difficult to look within myself, but I know I have to so I can move forward.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I read your post and have just realized that my father is p/a! I never knew what it was but now I understand. My whole life I thought it was me. I have always tried to be perfect to try to please him but it was NEVER good enough. He NEVER said I love you, NEVER said I am proud of you, NEVER said I am sorry, NEVER remembers the HURTFUL comments that can not be forgotten, NEVER follows through on promises made to me and then the silence. Always making me doubt myself. After reading other peoples posts it made me realize that I am not alone. I love my father dearly but I just can't take it anymore! I need to make some changes for my sanity. I can't let him get to me. After reading up on it I now know how to deal with him. Thanks everyone for sharing! It was very helpful.

Anonymous said...

I have been married 14 years and we have 2 little boys. My wife is PA. She has been through 9 therapists in almost as many years. We are in marriage counseling now but I am tired. I do love her but I am having a very hard time accepting that the situation may never change and that the connectedness and intimacy I seek just may not be attainable in this marriage. It does make it somewhat easier to accept when I see her with same behaviors and emotional walls impacting her potential friendships and relationships with her family. Accepting this seems that I am giving up but not accepting it in a bizarre way deludes me into thinking there is hope that she will change. I have been told that that is controlling and that I need to accept the behavior. But it really seems like I am giving her a free pass to do whatever she wants - it feels like an excuse to behave badly and selfishly because that's just the way she is. I am actually now wondering if it's a sentence until our boys are in college. I avoid PA people in other areas of my life but I am struggling to find harmony while married to a PA person. Any success stories? Do I need to emotionally detach and focus on me and the boys? How can I help to steer the boys away from these behaviors?

Library Gal Quilts said...

This is just what I needed today. I have been friends with a woman I sew with for over a year. We have spent lots of time together and are a part of a larger group of ladies that sew. During this time I was "elevated" to a spot of honor by being her friend. She at the same time became angry (not openly) with another woman in the group and talked constantly about her in a very negative way. One thing she did was gather allies about this woman and I see it all perfectly now that she is doing this to me. I have fallen into the trap of it all. I was confused on Sunday with the cold shoulder routine. I called her several times this week to inquire how she was, etc. No response at all. So I get it now! This is her way of punishing me. What I need help with is this: This coming Sunday I am supposed to get together with her and another woman we sew with to do some preparation work on a class we are all taking in mid August. I could do this prep by myself, but agreed before this incident to be included. Should I go and pretend everything is status quo or should I just let her know I am not coming because of the bad vibes this week. Put it back on her. I am truly sad about this. Thanks so much, Pam

Tammy said...

So many heartfelt replies. And so many people who are struggling with P/A's in their lives. I wish I could help you all figure out how deal with your situations.

It's interesting how many P/A's that torture us are people in our families. We can't walk away.

P/A's thrive on trapping and controlling people emotionally. They can only do that if we have an emotional attachment to them. That is why P/A's are generally so wonderful around strangers, but are so terrible to people who are close to them - people who are close to them can be emotionally manipulated.

I realize now how much I participated in the relationship with the P/A's in my life. I openly cared. I cared about the them and about us being friends. When I stopped having such a strong attachment to wanting them to love me or even like me, it made it a lot easier to deal with them. When I'm not concerned with how they feel about me or what they say about me, I don't get riled up by their stabs.

Without that emotional attachment, their behavior is simply childish. How would we treat a child if they spoke to us like this? If they treated us like this? Or a stranger? We wouldn't let them do this. But we let people close to us do this to us. They know they have power over us, so they take advantage of it, and we let them.

Another part of my healing was to recognize that even though I was *saying* that I couldn't change them, I had this deep hope that things would get better and I could make things better between us. I still wanted to fix things and to make the other person "wake up." That desire just made me even more trapped in their games.

Once I honestly, really, let go of the idea that they would ever change, and that they would be P/A every time I saw them and that it was completely and totally expected behavior from them, it made it easier to be around them. It was almost a mockery to be in conversation with them. Like a little kid trying to kick and punch a 300 pound muscle builder. Silly.

But I do, deep down, feel bad for people who are so insecure and fearful that they cannot live their lives in an honest way, and instead fall back on making other people feel bad so that they can feel good. It makes me very sad, because I know what they are missing out on. And they only get one life. Yet, they waste it on this. So, that part is hard for me, when I'm with a P/A, because I wish they could see what they were missing.

But again, I cannot. As none of us can change the people we love. But we can change ourselves, and learn to be emotionally strong. We can care for people yet not let them pull our emotional strings. It's not the ideal situation by any means, but sometimes, caring for people from a distance, both physically and emotionally, is all we can achieve. We can, however, care for ourselves right now, right here.

Good luck everyone. I hope this post has helped you, as your responses have helped me. Keep the stories coming. Perhaps together, we can let go of our retaliated anger towards these people who hurt us, and learn to break to cycle, at least in our own hearts.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that P/A people acquired this mode of behavior over many years and likely NOW can only relate to others in this way. They have no other method, that they know for sure will work, so they stick with what they know. P/A would have likely managed to live their live around this type of behavior abd discovered how to best use it to their advantage ... the same way other people, who act in different ways, use their behavior to their advantage.
The best thing you can do is learn to recognize the behavior pattern quickly, then accept that, this is who they are, AND they are unlikely to change. In time, sometimes relatively quickly, they will likely desist somewhat in that behavior as it no longer achieves their purpose. People will always change their approach/behavior to achieve what they want ... eventually.
However, do not expect the P/A bhavior to go away. You may minimize the behavior as it relates to you, but you will still be affected by the effect P/A behavior has on others in your group/family/social circle.
For example, promises generally mean little to P/A people, are quite a lot of times are generally empty promises, meant to get others to commit to a direction/plan. When dealing with P/A people, you should simply never assume or hook yourself into a direction based on their commitment or promises. If you always do that then eventually that part of their behavior will stop, as it relates to you. NOTE: P/A generally bever take other peoples commitment or promises seriously, as well. They don't, because that isn't something they do, so that don't expect it from others. They may, try to leverage ailed commitments/promises to them for their benefit, but they never expected it anyway.
The most frustrating thing about P/A people is, like everyone else, they expect other people are like them and they see nothing wrong with themselves .. other than how other people interact with them sometimes.That means, you behaving like a normal person, trying to to get them to "come up to par" is a waste of time, as it's too far for them to go.
I guess that's the most frustrating part of dealing with P/As. The normal give and take, and negotiations, with P/A people... just doesn't work, they will never get to a compromise position that is accepted to you. At best, you can only move to their level of compromise, which generally is acceptable, as it's a pointless compromise that gets neither party want they want.
You should just accept P/A as they are, expect nothing more ... and it that isn't enough for you to maintain whatever relationship you have ... then you have to move on. Don't worry, there are enough P/A people out there, they will find someone they see eye to eye with eventually ... unfortunately because of P/A problem most of their relationships will never provide what they want or need ... so they almost almost generally end up will a lot of unfulfilled relationships, while to continue to struggle with ... "why is that." The answer is: they are simply unwilling or unable to give in return, want they want. AND that never changes.

Anonymous said...

You have to accept P/A people as they are, deal with them at a level you're comfortable with ... OR move on.

It's quite unlikely you will be able the change the behavioral patterns of a P/A, once it's established and "working for them". It encompasses their whole life and all their interactions. This is also true for people with normal interaction skills ... it's unlikely that will ever change either ... hence why P/A people are so challenging and frustrating for others.

Anonymous said...

I have been dealing with a p/a mother for most of my life. Now that I am 37 years old, the picture has become so much clearer. However, our dance has taken the final round. I am no longer accepting the responsibility of how she feels. She will also never ruin another birthday party, special celebration or holiday. Finally, I will not tolerate her guilting my children for not making her the center of the universe. Thank you for the space to vent as this felt as a great risk to me to admit that I won't be part of this mess any longer.

Anonymous said...

Is passive-aggressive )p/a) a personality disorder? Does it have a DSM-IV code? Is it grounds for disability? Can you refuse to hire someone who tests positive for p/a? Does the ADA of 1990 come into play here? Do p/a people accuse others of being p/a? Is anyone getting angry about all of these questions? Is backing p/a people into a corner a form of abuse or a coping technique? Do p/a people attract other p/a people? Who invited me into this rabbit hole?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! I have been reading a lot about passive aggressive personalities as my fiance's best friend (a woman in her early 20s) has been giving us both the cold shoulder for weeks, and has done this to my fiance in the past. When she is angry with someone, she seems to take the self-righteous path of silence, while bitching about whoever has committed the perceived infraction to other people in her circle of friends. It's like she's trying to gather support for her viewpoint like ammunition, and doesn't see that actually she is being very hurtful and immature. Initially she made a huge effort to be my friend and I thought we were close, but now she is treating me like a leper, and will no doubt deny having had an issue with anything once she has decided to get over it and pretend like nothing happened. I have realised from reading your post and all the responses that all I can do is choose not to care and to focus my energies on the healthy friendships I have with well rounded adults. It's sad, because I think my fiance may end up losing his long-time friend, and because of her MO, other of his friends may take her side and fall away as well. I just want to shake her, but there is nothing I can do. I know if I confront her she will deny everything she's done and demonise me for my perceived wrongdoing. Is it typical of PA people to be excessively judgemental about the choices other people make and the lifestyles they choose?

Tammy said...

Anon, it is part of a P/A personality to deny that they've done something that might be hurtful and to refuse to take responsibility for what they've done. What makes them do these things is the same thing that makes them P/A in the first place - fear. If they can't have a normal give/take conversation or relationship in everyday practice, they are going to be doubly aggressive or crazy-making when they are called on their behavior in order to protect themselves.

One other common trait of P/A personalities is that they have limited, if non-existent, faculties to empathize. They are quite literally in their own world, and none other exists outside what they see. Since this is the case, if we try to break that reality by offering up our point of view, they will defend their reality, damn the consequences and who cares who gets hurt.

It sometimes takes a while to realize that someone is P/A (as in, uses P/A tactics as part of their regular way of dealing with people), because P/A people are often charismatic and make people laugh. They are skilled at showing a likable facade and bringing people together on the basis of what is wrong with someone else.

They will not change when we point out their behavior and how it affects other people. We can't fix them, even we were once great friends, even if the P/A said a hundred times how wonderful we were. As soon as we no longer fit in their reality, we are on the outs.

Once we do identify them, the best we can do is take care of ourselves. It's a hard lesson to learn, but caring for ourselves and upholding our own emotional boundaries is the best thing we can do to handle people who are consistently P/A.

Anonymous said...

I have a mother who repeatedly bangs doors all the time amongst other issues. She literally charges around the house banging doors and repeatedly closes doors. I blew my top the other week and she now bangs them even more to provoke a reaction. I am trying to stay calm but it is difficult. I know she is passive aggressive and has a range of deep-rooted issues stemming from her divorce. She has now managed to turn my sister against me by her thought implantation that it is 'me' with the issue, not her. She has 'worked' on my brother and turned him in to a husband substitute to meet her unmet needs. He is now a mother's boy, abusive and has no regard for women at all. I am at the point where I have shut off and want nothing to do with any of them in the future.

Tammy said...

Anon, I recommend a book: "Emotional Blackmail: When people in your life use fear, obligation, and guilt to manipulate you."

The slamming doors, blaming you for her pain, and bringing other people in to prove she's right are all forms of emotional blackmail.

I don't know your mom, obviously, but my guess would be that she had these issues before the divorce. Seeing a therapist who can help you deal with her could give you quite a bit of insight in yourself and in her behavior. Remember, we cannot change them. We can only change the way we react to them. It's scary to change. Having someone guide us through it makes it a lot easier to stick with the new approach, and love ourselves despite how we are being treated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I too have a family member who is p/a and I finally sorted out today that, no....there is no reasoning with her. Doesn't matter which approach--focusing on behaviour, sticking to "I" speak---I will always be wrong.

I feel much better now, knowing that I do have to focus on putting it in a bubble and letting it go. Peace with me will equal peace with her...at least after I bubble the p/a stuff!

Anonymous said...

There was no reply to the 20 year old who is aware of having p/a tendencies. Is a person not capable of changing if they have an awareness of that behavior?

Our adult daughter is p/a. She is very controlling of everyone & situation. We are concerned about how it may effect our g-children. If fear & insecurities are behind p/a behavior, wouldn't it help to bring the monsters out of the closet by helping to bring her awareness of her behavior? Are there success stories?

Thank you

Tammy said...

Most recent anon: You asked if someone can change. Yes, it's possible for a P/A to change, but it's rare. Especially if the P/A has been like that all their lives, or uses P/A behavior on a regular basis.

Healthy people, if they are made aware of their behavior, will self-correct. It doesn't mean we can change people, but it does mean that when a non-pd is made aware how they are hurting people, he/she might immediately react negatively, but will give serious thought about it, because normal people care if they are hurting others. They may not change their behavior immediately, but they will at least make it clear they care. Normal people who care, however, tend not to use P/A tactics on a regular basis, only when they feel helpless.

Also, we have to be aware of how we are feeding into the other person's passive aggressive behavior. And, we can't expect another person to change simply because we tell them they annoy us. If we are healthy ourselves, and we work towards strong boundaries, whether they are P/A or not doesn't change who we are.

I would recommend reading Emotional Blackmail. Seeing a therapist is also helpful, because if a P/A person has control over us, we need to heal ourselves in order to deal with it, not try to change the other person. The other person my never change, and we have to accept that in order to move on. It may be that's all the other person needed, acceptance, to be willing to listen to us.

No-contact is the last resort, but if a person is very toxic to us, we have to do it. Not to get rid of the person, but to heal ourselves. It's not their fault, or their doing, it's our choice to do what we need to do. If your daughter is an adult who can take care of herself, this might be something to do for a while in order to gain perspective and heal. Not as a punishment, though.

Good luck in your search for healthy relationships.

Anonymous said...

It is the "forgetting" that makes them so hard to deal with. After 3.5 years of pa beahvior from my mother-in-law, I tried to have a rational discussion about some of her worst behaviors. She couldn't remember ever doing any of these things. Then she said, "I know you had a difficult childhood, so I can overlook this." I left feeling like I had been to the twilight zone. Recently she told my husband that I had come down to her house and "lit int her". She really doesn't seem to recognize the truth. I have to post as anonymous because she surfs the net a lot.

Anonymous said...

I have a p/a MIL. She is just awful. She creates a trail of destruction at every turn. I could drone on and on about all the drama, but it would take volumes to finish! There are several things that have worked best for me and my husband after 16 yrs. of marriage: counter-manipulation (this works best), calling her on her actions when they occur and in the presence of others, a "witness" if you will; setting big time boundaries when she visits, and most importantly, we've distanced ourselves emotionally. She lives in her own world and creates this "harmony" that does not exist. We let her believe her own "stuff" because it's easier. We pity her, but we have our own lives to lead.

Anonymous said...

I just realized that all these conflicted feelings I have about my sister stem somewhat from her p/a treatment of me. WOW on a whim I googled what exactly p/a is...and arrived at this message board where many of the "friend" and "relative" stories are so so similar to mine.

I'm sure going forward I will occassionally step on the landmines she drops in the future, as I did recently, and parting ways is not an option, so I guess I just PRAY for the stamina and patience to endure her in her times of temporary insanity when she has a p/a attack lol.

It just erks me that I'm this honest and real person, most people like me, I play with an open heart in life: and there's someone I consider a good friend and sister who plays with half her cards tucked away...it sucks big time.

Anonymous said...

Never take anything personally.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to so many of these comments because I've known several p/a people. I think, though, that people display p/a symptoms in different ways. I am now trying to learn how to deal with my daughter's new MIL who is not only p/a but also seems to be a narcissist. Example of behavior: She goes into long drawn out stories and everyone in the room has to listen. If someone starts a side conversation, she stops talking and waits to continue until she has everyone's attention. She has to be center of attention.
She has a fight going with someone in her family all the time. Of course, she's always right and plays victim. She is extremely sensitive to her own feelings (to the point of almost being paranoid and imagining slights) but shows little concern for other people's feelings.
She has made some extremely rude comments (why? I've tried to be so nice to her) to me which I've just tried to defend myself against in a calm assertive manner, because I'm entitled to have an opinion, right? Especially when she 'analyzes' me and what she says isn't even true.
Still, I'm afraid one of these days she'll cross my line and I'll blow up or say something cutting back.
I know from experience from other p/a's that the worst thing you can do is answer back in a negative way (with anger, sarcasm or even acting hurt) because as someone already pointed out, p/a's will turn the tables and make you the bad guy for suggesting that they may have done something wrong. It's almost like they needle you until you react, to pick a fight, and then they play the victim. You have to walk on eggs around these people because they will never let things go and will punish you forever.
Confronting them doesn't work either.
What you can do about it depends on what the person's relationship is to you. I certainly don't want to cause problems for or with my dau. and SIL because of her. OTOH, I don't want to just let her walk all over me.
I forgot to mention she is also very controlling and competitive. She's already trying to establish herself as # 1 most loved grandma to our new granddaughter. She's doing it by manipulation and being pushy and trying to push me out of the way. She has lots of 'expert' advice since she is a neonatal nurse.
I'm am just trying to be adult about it and let my dau. and son in law deal with her while I try to be nice and not play into her games.
I'm seriously thinking about getting some counseling in hopes I can get some tips on how to deal with her.
I think probably the best thing I can do is keep contact to a minimum and just politely disagree with her digs to me, but not react in a way that makes her think I even care what her opinion is of me.
I think that's part of their game. They feel control over you if they can make you feel like they don't approve of you. They don't realize that their puts-downs can really look like childish jealousy.

Anonymous said...

I am 31 years old and have a extremely passive-aggressive mother.

I gave up overseas job opportunities for her,and even gave up a huge fraction of my personal life for her. These included missing out important moments of my friends' lives for her 'tantrums' and even maintained a long distance relationship with my then-bf, to just stay by her side. I had hope that my presence would help and improve her.
Until a year ago, all my life I took it upon myself that my mother's unhappiness was my responsibility. Finally, all those years of stress made my digestive system to collapse, I was diagnosed with GERD, along with irritatble bowels. I consulted 3 different doctors and all gave the same diagnosis - stress was the cause. Was on medication for 6 months, 8 pills daily and lost 10kg. Even my attending doctor told me that it was time that I move on from her.

I would like to re-hash the following points from my experiences:

1. Accept that P/A person will NEVER change. My mother has fired responses such as "I will be like this until the day I die" in my face. In a twisted logic way, I think P/A people want to continue being like this because they do not know any other way and being P/A prevents them from accepting any constructive criticism.

2. Detach from the P/A person, eventhough the nature of a mother/child relationship is supposed to be close. Her reasonings are mostly illogical. It is true; some people are meant to be love from a distance. I have been living away from my mother for over a year now. Although every email and phonecall comes with a load of sarcasm and very hurtful remarks, it has allowed me to grow personally and reduced the sleepless nights substantially. And I tell myself: I cannot be upset for more than 1/2 hr after each phone call/ email from her. I need to control my own emotions.

3. Forget about seeking there approval. I realised that the frustration and sadness stems largely from me wanting her to acknowledge my accomplishments in life. P/A people do not have the ability to think for other people genuniely.

4. Accept that P/A people DO NOT care if they hurt you, they really just want to WIN. P/A people are blinded by their anger and disgrunt. My advise from those painful experiences: accept it is their problem and not yours. Move on with your life.

Have noticed that my mother's P/A behaviour has gotten worst;I know that she feels 'abandoned' now that I have moved out but she refuses to confront me about it directly. Instead, she is trying ways and means to have "private phonecalls" with my husband, which I now see clearly is an attempt to sabotage my marriage. My husband is polite to her for my sake (he thinks of her as a total joke) and she sees such politeness as an 'opening' for some twisted P/A behaviour that she can plot against me. Often she writes "personal notes" to my father-in-law.

She does not realise that everybody does sees her as a joke. She is incredibly lonely, which I think is making the P/A behavour worst. Her friends are having miminal contact with her. This is a clear result of her inability to build and maintain healthy-open relationships with people.

So now I realise that it will be healthier for me to accept it that she will never change, and I always be on guard against her. I need to always be in control, always stay calm and end the conversation when she digress. I have to be the one steering the relationship: I have to be assertive and in authority about when and how she can be involved in our lives.

There is no need to let one people ruin your entire life.

I'm still learning about how to deal with it but I know at this stage that I am getting there.

Thanks for this piece and all the great comments. I just had a very exhausting telephone conversation with my P/A mother yesterday and I really needed to see this today to help me stay on my path.

Anonymous said...

Reading this post was like having a huge light switch turned on! My roommate and best friend is p/a and while her behaviors always bothered me, they were magnified recently when her actions became personal towards me. I have a new boyfriend who entered my life when we moved, and this only added to how my life is going smoothly while hers is not. I constantly feel like I have to give her a "free pass" because otherwise I just get too angry all the time. I know that when my lease is up I will no longer live with her, but in the meantime I am just trying to let things go, and reading about the concept of doing the best I can and not trying to get her approval is huge! Seeing my new boyfriend butt heads with her actually confirms that he is not this way, but I still want to be observant that similar behaviors are not coming from him. How can you detect it faster?

Tammy said...

Anon, I think the only way to learn to detect it faster is experience and awareness. The more we are able to recognize and label behavior as P/A in hindsight, the more often we can detect it as it happens.

Also, those of us who are sucked in by P/A behavior have our own healing to do. There's some reason that we can't come outright and say "stop that P/A behavior" or shrug it off. It bothers us for a reason. So doing our own healing takes a long way down the road to being able to recognize a P/A person before they get too entrenched in our lives. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think the difference between one who can be passive-aggressive and one who IS passive-aggressive as part of their being, is what you pointed out:
- It's never their fault and will do whatever they can to turn the tables on you, even if that's in a non-aggressive fashion

- Never apologizing to anything. Their image/ego/pride is #1. Showing (real) emotion is revealing weaknesses to them, even if in reality it's pretty benign. They don't apologize for the reason they take other people's apologies -- weakness, conceding, the lesser person. They CANNOT emotionally walk in that circle.

It's tough when it's someone in a relationship with you. When they're the type that is outwardly cordial, fun, expressive about generic "stuff", with a love of being (acting?) happy. They are far more effective. How can such a person be doing this? If you even get them to express any assessment on an issue you're having (good luck), it will be thought out and minimal... they can be vague/fuzzy when asked a fair but direct question about something in regards to facing the music on an isssue... and react the same way as if you were on a first date and asked it (where it would be intrusive or rude, ie unfair then)... and when asking an unfair question, you're likely to get lies & deceit.

But they don't see it that way. They see direct questions about emotion or what-have-you as (what their gut tells them) unfair -- so they're just doing what they gotta do to, in their mind.

Again, it sucks when they're not obviously a PA person and you find out they're passive... and a bit fake, but in a pleasant way though... and they hide emotions and are minimal about things that may be awkward to them.... but you find out they're different underneath when it comes to anything that could be interpreted to themselves as remotely threatening to their pride -- that becomes "unfair" in their eyes, so their selective rationality on being deceiving and not showing emotion and all that becomes a part of them.

But they can still be pleasant and great to 95% of the people they run into and mingle & deal with, because they're not close and it works great for them on that level. But on a more intimate level, is where you find out -- and when it's your first time -- Holy Sh!t. It's confusing, frustrating beyond belief as you're the bad guy (you must be and seem to be), and confusing. :)

KD said...

Thank you to everybody for this post and comments. Today I became so upset and frustrated at my mothers behavior I didn't know how to deal with it. I too googled p/a traits and suddenly things became clear. I had felt like I had done something wrong and couldn't understand how she was able to make me (most of the time a very aware, rational and understanding person) feel so much frustration. At 24 I am constantly feeling like I am dealing with a sulky teenager instead of a caring and encouraging parent. If I hear her say "you'll be sorry when I am dead" one more time I will tear my hair out! The only solution I saw was to totally distance myself from her- which makes me quite sad. Is there any chance I will have a normal loving relationship with my mother or will it always be about her?

Tammy said...

KD - Distance is good. Growing up with that kind of parenting makes it hard for us to learn how to deal with it in a healthy way. It brings up too many triggers of past pain each time it happens. Space can give you a chance to heal.

Once healed, it becomes easier to deal with the P/A behavior, because it doesn't create emotional flashbacks anymore. So, when she says, "You'll be sorry when I'm dead," instead of feeling all the pain, anger, and regret of having a mom who can't deal with her own emotions, you might instead simply ask, "Why will I be sorry? Are you dying?" without emotional or needing to "get back" at them for being P/A.

When P/A behavior happens a lot in a relationship, I'm seeing, it's because we are in the habit of letting it happen. When we were raised by a family that uses P/A as a way to control us so they can feel better, we don't know how to stand up to it. Because not only are we faced with P/A behavior, these same people will react aggressively when we call them on it. So as children, we learn not to call them on it. Even though we are now adults, we go back to our childhood helplessness each time we are faced with a P/A behavior because we haven't yet learned how to cope with it, and it pokes an open wound in our past.

We can't change someone else, but we can make boundaries. And when we allow P/A behevior to continue, we have lowered our boundaries. Some people can hold in their P/A behavior once the boundaries are set, others cannot. But we have the choice of whether to stay and accept the P/A behavior now that we are adults.

Distance gives us time to heal, and also gives us a sense of control. But it's also important to explore our own co-dependencies and inability to be assertive or even recognize what we want or who we are when we are around our parents. That healing goes a long way. It's slow, it's challenging, but it can make a huge difference.

Good luck to you in your healing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post Tammy and everyones honest responses. I have learned so much from reading everyone's experiences. I am trying to distance myself from a p/a sister. She has always been like this but it has worsened after having children. She is always trying to undermine me by telling me things that are not true. She tells the rest of the family the "truth" then I am made to look silly/ bad when I act on the untruths. The last straw came when she purposely held the family Christmas lunch at her house at a time when she knew I had a prior commitment with my in laws. Everyone else knew about the lunch except me. It was embarassing for myself and husband to find out in front of my whole family. I confronted her and she gave the classic passive response of "but I didn't ask you because you were already busy". I don't want my children and husband to be exposed to this behavior.

Anonymous said...

I am surrounded by P/A people , mostly in my family . My mother , father , husband and mother in- law all have the same type of personality . They never admit to any wrong doing , and will blame you for the hurt they cause. It's always someone else's fault , or they pretend they didn't know they hurt you. When they apologize , it's not sincere . It's always as if they are saying the words to further belittle you ! It comes out like ' well I'm sorry that I care enough about you to tell you the truth about yourself ' ..... Not much of an apology . I left home early in my life because I couldn't take the fact thaty mother would create the illusion of wanting to be close to me , yet did everything she could to push me away . She put up a great front , and easily got people to see her point of view , as she was a very popular , charismatic person. Everyone loved her and couldn't see why I was such a horrible child ( as she portrayed me .... Making herself the victim ) . People would always tell me how ungrateful I was , and what a wonderful mother I had , but she would play tourturous mind games with me , day and night. Even when I finally ran away , she made it se to others like she kicked me out. To her , that was better than the truth , which was that I ran like hell , away from her . No one could see it . Those who did see it am could have helped , would not do it because she has lots of money . The worst part of it is that I ended up falling in love with a P/A man who has a P/ A mother , and the 3 of them together drive me up a wall. I am constantly defending myself , and walking on eggshells . I never know what's coming or who it's coming from. I try to keep a healthy distance from my mom , and my mother in-law , but I have to live with my husband. I just have to stop and breath sometimes , because I feel like there is no escape. I think people should live in the real world , but I'm trying to accept them for who they are. This post has really helped me understand them and myself. Some of it really hit home ! I know that they will never change , but I can change the way it affects me.

Anonymous said...

I have just been reading the posts on p/a behaviour and again have recognised my mother - the damage it has caused both to my other siblings and myself is so sad it has only been recently that I have begun to make boundaries and limits to what i will accept from her behaviour,as for the damage to myself I struggle with every relationship in my life and wonder if i will ever be able to feel true, pure love let alone recognise it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Tammy. Thank you for your blog. In a strange way it comforted me to know I'm not crazy and that my family member has really truly been trying manipulate my spouse and me for quite a while on an estate we're trying to get resolved (and the person has been very good at controlling the situation). We feel like we’ve done just about everything possible short of going to court. Do you have any advice for how to get an estate done when you feel you are dealing with a p/a personality? Thank you.

Tammy said...

To the last Anon - If you have legal issues involved with a P/A person, it's best to hire a lawyer and to document everything. Don't take any verbal agreements. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Great discussion here. I'm comforted to see that I'm not alone in having a P/A mother. Especially around mother's day, it's a societal taboo to admit that you don't have a good relationship with your mother. I have found that the only thing that works is to set boundaries. My last boundary was that I not be alone with her. I knew she was up to something and I knew she was jealous of my relationship with my father. I figured I'd be safe if I didn't let her get me alone. Boy was I wrong. She pulled my brother and I away from the group and read us a long letter full of false accusations about my father and claiming that he ruined our family. Stupid polite me sat through the garbage. I should have walked out but it never occurred to me that I could. She blind-sided me. I cried for 2 weeks after and I'm not one to cry. Later, I told her that what she did hurt me and I got the, 'I was right to tell you and you had to know'. That was when I finally got that she didn't care if she hurt me. My new boundary is to only correspond via e-mails: no phone calls or face-to-face. She still manages to get to me but she can't hurt me too much as I can hit the 'delete' button. It's been 3 years and I'm considering visiting - not so much to see her but to see others. If I do, my new boundary will be to keep the visit very short and have my husband stick to me like glue and help me escape if she pulls anything.

Anonymous said...

So this guy I have been dating has lead me to believe that the first two years of our relationship, when I wasn't a very nice girlfriend, was like living a horror movie for him. We broke up and he dated someone else for a few months taking her to meet the family, etc. I have done so much work on myself, investigating, evaluating and dissecting my past behavior that I now understand where it came from and know in my heart I will NEVER be Thr same person again. I have fought to get him back after all of this time only to find that again, when he is confronted with an issue that might present him as being called out on making a mistake or having to admit fault, he brings up the past and goes mute about the present. I now fully understand his behavior and know there is nothing that I do that will ever get him to let go of the past. He thinks he's very secure and it's all me. His P/A behavior comes from his mother, that I can see plain as day. I am so grateful for the ability to recognize this behavior and be able to cut ties with him now. I know in my heart now, which I had ALWAYS questioned before, that I am not crazy. Thanks for the support and sharing all of your own experiences everyone. It truly helps someone as they are newly discovering this illness to feel very "normal" ;)

Anonymous said...

My husband is P/A. We had a four year long distance relationship prior to getting married, so I did not know until about two weeks after we get married when the P/A behavior started to rear its ugly head. After 15 years, I am exhausted and don't even want to try any more. I've read the books, researched online for years, we've been to counseling for eight years, and I have no interest in continuing the struggle. I even had a therapist advise me to take an SSRI so I could deal better with it. At some point this year I just stopped in my tracks and said, "what am I doing?". Has he ever put this much effort or energy into me? Of course, the answer is no. I got off the SSRI, put the books away and I just don't care anymore. Yes, marriage is work and I am willing to work, but I am not his mommy. I feel trapped in a vacuum and a void right now, as I am unemployed. I have no reason whatsoever to stay in this part of the country when I am able to get out, so I have started applying for seasonal jobs with the National Park system near places I would like to live. A job with housing is the first step to get me out of here. For those of you who are facing a commitment to someone who is P/A by choice, I recommend you make a U turn as fast as you can and run. I realize that everyone has different thresholds and my solutions aren't everyone else's, necessarily. But if I had known what I was going to deal with on a day to day basis before I said, "I do", I would have said, "I don't". EVERYTHING is a torturous, cyclic struggle. The issue is never the issue, and everytime we argue we have to have a huge, nebullous, gargantuan and galactic compilation of every fight we have ever had. I'm done rescuing, reminding, having my own words turned against me as weapons, and being the only reliable and responsible person in our household. If things go right, it is just a coincidence that I got it right and its all thanks to him. If things go wrong, it is ALL my fault, every time. I can't defend myself against a caustic, complaining critic every day of my life. Please, please, please ... if you find yourself facing marriage to a P/A; do some serious research and find out what your long term situation will be. Debbie Downer? Yeah, I am; its just where I am in a twenty year journey. A few years ago, while we were in intensive therapy I was more hopeful. Now I just want out.

Anonymous said...

I had a horrible student teaching experience with a psychological vampire! The woman was unstable, but came off as sophisticated due to her appearance and charismatic personality. First, she would trash the aide in the room making comments about her cutting, how she enjoys coloring activities, and how she doesn't interact with parents. Next she would accuse the aide of grading papers wrong and not taking good care of a special needs student she was in charge of. The teacher even showed me a letter that the parent wrote complaining about the aide not helping her child purchase books during a book fair. This teacher would also put down other colleagues around the building. She actually complained about a person who borrowed a hole puncher from her and a cafeteria aide that would linger behind her desk.

Then it was my turn. My cooperating teacher would make comments about me in my earshot. This person would tell me to come in at 8:15 and then sigh when I did. Nothing I did was ever good enough. It took me forever, but I requested to leave and my leave was granted. A new placement for me and boy did she look foolish in the eyes of many. Say to yourself I just have to get through the day. the best revenge is living well. Passive aggressive people's judgements define them not you.

Everytime I think of her an image of garbage appears. Garbage belongs in a dumpster and thats where I leave it. My success proves her wrong. This personality type is difficult to deal with. I started to view it as a disease. People who have the social intelligence of an adolescent and lack humanity are empty inside.

Anonymous said...

I think the hardest thing is figuring out someone is PA. Most of the time it took someone else noticing and telling me or the PA made a very obvious dig. What makes it even harder is when you try to confront it's always what is your problem with ... I didn't mean that... total denial. So you go round and round with your head... am I imaging this ... but now for me two obvious clues for a heads up for PA person,they never apologize and if you usually feel worse after being with them.

Anonymous said...

My mother is extremely p/a, and unfortunately, most of the men I've been involved with in my life were that way too. I seem to attract that type, and I really, really do not want to. My ex-husband was just like my mother. They say you marry people who are like your opposite-gender parent, but for me, it's backwards. I do not even have a relationship with my father, though, so that might contribute. Thanks for this post, it is good to know others feel like I do.