"There are many ways we can respond to conflict. We can face it head on and say what we feel, or we can skirt the issue and hold our feelings in. "
My go-to reaction for most of my life was to keep my real feelings on the inside. It didn’t work so well. I inevitably revealed how I really felt in some under-handed way, like sarcasm, rolling my eyes, or simply saying, Nooo, of course nothing’s wrong, I’m fine in a tone that made it pretty clear nothing was right. Sounds pretty nasty, right?
Jody E. Long, Nicholas J.Long, and Signe Whitson have studied passive aggression. In their 2008 book The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive-Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, they define it as a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger. NYU Medical Center defines a passive-aggressive individual as someone who “may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists.”