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Connie Podesta

By: Connie Podesta (Guest Blogger)

Welcome back to The Paralegal Society! We are absolutely thrilled to feature this fantastic article by an award-winning motivational sales speaker, organizational therapist, TV/Radio personality, business coach and leading expert in the psychology of human behavior, Connie Podesta. Today’s topic is passive-aggressive people. Do you have one or two (dozen) of those in your life? Of course you do! We could all benefit from some tips in the passive-aggressive department, couldn’t we? 

Well, it doesn’t get any better than this, TPS readers. We have an excellent topic and a renowned guest blogger here to present it.  Without further adieu, here’s Connie…

Reprinted with permission from Connie Podesta Speaks, LLC: www.conniepodesta.com

In any situation where you suspect passive-aggressive behavior, you must begin by taking a close look at yourself and your communication style. This is not to excuse the passive-aggressive in any way, because their behavior is definitely unhealthy, nonproductive and sometimes even hurtful.

Realize that we do play an integral part in how people treat us. We can only change ourselves, not others. So the first step is to evaluate our own behavior to see if we are contributing to an environment that allows passive-aggressiveness to grow and thrive.

In order for someone to be motivated to seek revenge, they must identify an injustice done to them—real or not. We did not necessarily do them any wrong, but they perceive and believe our behavior to be inappropriate, unacceptable, unfair or unjust. Sometimes they are right. Nevertheless, their covert, devious reaction is still not excused. But now we have a place to start when trying to diffuse the passive-aggressive.

Passive-aggressives are often people who believe their lives are controlled by others; but they lack the skill, knowledge, desire and/or confidence necessary to be assertive. To minimize their attacks, be as assertive as possible. Most passive-aggressives find it no fun to deal with someone who will openly and honestly call them out about their behavior. Be aware that passive-aggressive behavior almost always produces a passive-aggressive reaction.

We are responsible for our actions. We must make a conscious decision to not simply react or behave in a way that just feels good for the moment. We need to weigh the choices so both our actions and our communication serve to enhance our relationships rather than destroy them. The only time it is beneficial to ignore negative behavior is when you are dealing with someone who is giving you the silent treatment. The same technique works on children, friends and co-workers. First, tell them you are totally aware of their attempts to get even with you for some “injustice.” Then go about your business and just let them sulk until they decide to deal with the problem in a more mature, assertive way. You will be okay.

Passive-aggressives are not used to being held accountable for their behavior. Challenge them positively! But be ready for the counterattack. For example, how do you respond when someone who is behaving inappropriately disagrees with you in a public forum? This is one of the hardest—and most critical—times to be assertive and not give in or up. The best assertive response to a passive-aggressive person who openly disagrees with you is, “Thank you. I appreciate your willingness to tell me how you feel face-to-face.” We might as well hear what they are thinking about us to our face because they are saying it behind our back anyway.

Never doubt that passive-aggressives are at war with us. Unless we know how they feel, we will never be able to plan a successful strategy to improve the relationship.

As with our children, the more a person understands what is expected of them and taught why those rules and expectations are relevant to their future well-being, the less likely they are to engage in passive-aggressive behavior. And they must know what the consequences will be if those expectations are not met. The more the person is involved in the process, the more they will understand about accountability and responsibility for one’s actions.

There is never a winner with passive-aggressive behavior, only losers. Do not ignore passive-aggressive behavior or it will get worse. Remember that we train difficult people! Just as with other communication styles, assertive is the only way to effectively deal with the passive-aggressive. Be prepared though, because they will surely test your assertive limits.

Connie Podesta is the author of “Life Would Be Easy if It Weren’t for Other People”—a book that is highly regarded as a must-read for understanding human behavior and how it affects our relationships.  She’s an award-winning motivational sales speaker, organizational therapist, TV/Radio personality, business coach and leading expert in the psychology of human behavior. Her newest book, “Ten Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd,” won the IPPY gold medal for “Best Business Book of the Year.” Audiences love Connie because she is down-to-earth, interactive, funny, and has a fearless energy that is contagious. She is passionate about helping people succeed and can tackle even the toughest of issues with a rare blend of real-life strategies, no-nonsense personality and laugh-out-loud humor. She has inspired millions to do what it takes to increase sales, attract and keep more customers, build longer-lasting, healthier relationships, strengthen leadership skills and become more profitable, happier and successful than they ever thought possible.

Please follow her online today at www.Facebook.com/Connie.Speaks.

This article was reprinted with permission. Copyright2012© Connie Podesta Presents LLC. All Rights Reserved. (www.conniepodesta.com)

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TPS readers – We hope you’ll use Connie’s tips today to begin to combat the passive-aggressors in your life! No time like the present to end an unhealthy communication dynamic. Please feel free to leave a comment, share an experience, or give a warm thank you to Connie for stopping by The Paralegal Society!

And remember, though high heels could technically be utilized as a makeshift weapon, the high road is the one to travel! Keep ’em on your feet, paralegals…and keep those passive-aggressors on their toes!

We’ll see you soon!