Article updated 2018
What to Do about Passive Aggressive Women
The woman whom you had such a great connection with yesterday, but all of a sudden, won’t even look you in the eye if your face is half a centimeter away from hers.
The woman who is giving off the impression that something is wrong through her body language, but isn’t telling you what it is, and isn’t even giving you an opportunity to do something about it.
The woman who won’t even talk to you or acknowledge you. (Click here to take the quiz on “How High Value High Status Am I on Facebook?”)
The woman who has her back to you when you’re talking to her.
The silent treatment.
The rolling of the eyes.
The hostile body language.
The woman who just doesn’t seem to care about you or the friendship you had with her anymore (because dealing with the problem that has arisen is 1,000 times harder than it is to just not care about you anymore).
The bitch face her and her friends pull when you walk into the room.
The woman who slams doors to get some power.
The woman who gives ambiguous instructions, requests, statements or answers.
The woman who clearly doesn’t understand you, what you do, or why you do it, but couldn’t give a rat’s butt about asking you about it and trying to understand. Judgement is much safer.
The woman who moves things, says things, and organizes things in a way that seems to give off the impression that you or something you are doing is bothering her, but when you ask her about it, you get a curt and reluctant “no! Nothing is wrong!” and then she either walks off or tries her hardest not to talk to you again.
(An extreme example): the woman who threatens to hurt herself or somebody else when you confront her about something.
“What. the. hell.” Seems to be the only possible answer when you’re faced with a situation like this, since you feel so trapped and dishonored as a person.
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It’s much easier to make you wrong
One of the most painful things about being in this situation is that usually, women who act this way are making you wrong, and making you out to be a villain, without even considering that they themselves, have been far from perfect in their actions towards you. Even if they do acknowledge they could have been better in their actions – they nonetheless repetitively act from a place that makes you bad and them perfect.
It’s much easier to outsource blame for their own shortcomings and ill intentions.
Often, you know, they could just “not like what you wear” (which is just an surface justification for their own insecurities), perhaps they don’t like that you don’t value the same things that they do in life (ie: maybe, they like bitching a lot of the time and you don’t), perhaps their guy friends go on about how gorgeous you are when you’re not around and it makes them feel bad. Perhaps you just trigger them to feel bad about themselves, for whatever reason.
Usually, these women tend to surround themselves with women who are equally insecure and ill-meaning, and so the influence of their “friends” make it much harder for you to get through or solve a problem with them.
However, to be fair, I have to say that all of us have been passive-aggressive at certain times in our lives. It’s just that some women act from that state continuously and out of habit, out of ease and out of fear.
It’s hard because you probably feel like they have bad intentions (though I could debate the theory of bad intention and whether it truly exists, but that’s for another time). They give off a vibe that makes you feel excluded.
Two words to describe these situations:
Draining and Frustrating.
Just to be sure, passive-aggressive is defined as: being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment and aggression in an unassertive, passive way (as through procrastination, sullenness or intentional inefficiency and stubbornness).
Getting the truth out of people is a difficult task
If you are anything like me, you prefer people to just come up to you, and tell you what is going on, or just for them to tell you what the problem is, or you prefer to actually be in the know, so that you can move forward, reconnect the friendship/relationship, grow and learn something.
Here’s the problem: it’s going to be hard to get this (the truth, or their feelings) out of many women, especially if you are not very close to them. Many women won’t throw their fears to the curb in order to deal with a problem related to another woman whom they “don’t like”, don’t have a lot in common with, or feel threatened by.
It’s much easier to just make you wrong. Prepare for this to happen. This doesn’t mean you should expect it from every woman, it just means that you aren’t going to be able to solve this problem in every woman in the world.
My feeling is that many women are going to be way too scared to confront their fears and actually deal with it because it’s just ‘too hard’!
And it’s worse when these women get into a group because as I’ve established before, we become who we spend our time with.
It’s very easy to do the following things when you’re confronted with a woman (or two) who are being passive aggressive:
1) try to get power and significance by controlling something that’s related to them and getting revenge.
2) yell at them.
3) blame them.
4) Confront them in aggression
5) Make them wrong.
6) be passive-aggressive, too.
7) Blame yourself, and think you are the bad person.
8 ) get all hoity toity.
Here are the steps to take…
1) Understanding. Ask yourself what is missing in their life for them to continually act passive-aggressive towards you. Usually, they want to feel important and certain about themselves. And usually, they don’t feel particularly important or certain about their worth. (Click here to take the quiz on “How Naturally Feminine Am I”)
And sometimes, they’re just plain scared. Once you have understanding, you can act from a place of compassion, and actually do something about the situation, rather than just letting it rot. Even if it doesn’t work out – you become a better woman through your efforts.
2) Give them what they need, not what they want. They may say they need such-and-such, and it’s easy for you to just take what they say literally and withdraw and then do nothing about it (which could lead to passive-aggressive behavior on your part, too). However, what they really need is to feel important, significant, and to have their identity re-affirmed. Hard to do, I know.
Sometimes they just need to be appreciated for what they do or what they have already contributed, to know that you care, and to be made to feel safe around you.
3) Do not make them wrong. This will perpetuate their pattern. So, focus more on your feelings and the situation than blaming them.
But here’s the bottom line: What you decide to do is nowhere near as important as the meaning you choose to place on the events and the person you become as a result of the events – you always must take the high-road. There is absolutely no benefit in hiding from problems, or from confrontations, like they are.
So when do you drop out, give up, and stop trying to influence them? This is entirely up to you. How long you decide to put yourself in to being the leader and initiating a better relationship between you and them is your personal choice.
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A story of a housemate…
I want to leave you with one (of many) examples in my life, where I had to deal with this.
I once had a female housemate who I had moved in with. I didn’t know her prior to moving in. We interviewed each other, and she was in a hurry to get a housemate in, and I was also in a hurry to find a suitable place. Before I moved in, it was clear that we were opposites, however, we seemed to manage to get along well – enough to make the decision to be housemates.
At the beginning, we had great conversations and some talks about very personal things. However, over time, we began to not talk to each other very much, and we were both busy so we also didn’t see each other much – despite living in the same house.
Things were fine for the first 3 weeks. And then I attended a birthday gathering of hers. There were, of course, other women at the gathering. I didn’t get the best vibe from some of them. And it seemed, to me, that after that day, my housemate was suddenly more cold to me. Things went downhill from there.
We both did continue, at times, to make an effort to talk to each other, but when I am in my own home, I tend to be quite reserved and quiet. It became more of a business relationship over time, and our differences were clear:
I have extremely high standards for myself when it comes to health, fitness and cleanliness.
She wouldn’t always clean up properly after herself, spent most of her spare time watching television and making excuses as to why she couldn’t go for a run or do the cleaning or get off the couch. At night time, she would have long and loud phone conversations, complaining about how terrible the quality of men is, that there are no good men, and just generally having a complaint session about other people and calling them names.
She would often be really depressed and not even look at me to say hi, and then when she was in a great mood, she would then talk to me. When she was depressed I would pick up on her mood and just want to get out of her way.
Her lack of cleaning did bother me, but not too much. After all, when it got too messy it only took me 10-20 minutes to clean up after her.
As time went by, as it became clear that we were very much opposites, the tension got to a point where it was too much (as it always happens). We had a heated misunderstanding when talking about kitchen utensils and cleaning utensils.
I proceeded to tell her that if she had a problem with something I was doing, that she could just tell me since I would sometimes find my stuff moved, or I would pick up on her trying not to talk to me, and even trying to ignore me at times. I had felt for months that she had concerns but wouldn’t tell me anything. She denied she had anything to tell me.
Yet at the same time, when I was talking to her, she would have her back to me, and wouldn’t say much and definitely didn’t look like she wanted to say much.
And that same day, about half an hour after that misunderstanding, while she was on the phone to a friend, I hear the front door slam loudly, while I’m crying in my room, thinking about what I could have done wrong, and getting very stressed over the tension.
Of course, seeing me this way, David (my man) immediately proceeded to look for a new place for me to stay. I was too upset to even think about finding a place because I wanted to fix the situation I was already in with my housemate.
Anyway, a few hours later in the day, I received a call from David, telling me that he had happened across an ad on the internet – my room had been listed for rent on the internet that very day, stating that it would be available for a move in two weeks from that date.
I was floored. My housemate had not told me about it, but I thought that perhaps, given some time she would tell me about it. So I waited a few days, to see if she would approach me about it. She didn’t, so I confronted her on the 3rd day.
Before I even said anything, she launched into a few minute-long justification of why it had been put up. Saying she had not gone behind my back. (??) And that she was ‘just looking’ to ‘see what’s out there’, and that her friend told her to put it up.
The (almost) resolution
After talking it through, we came to the conclusion that she thought I was the perfect housemate – always paid on time, always cleaned, respected the house, was quiet and observed all the requirements we had talked about when I moved in. However – she wanted somebody more ‘like-minded’. She said, like-minded was that we would do some things together, like have a meal or go for a walk along the beach. Fair enough.
She also proceeded to mention that she needs to be told what to do by people, and it took her a week to work herself up to talking to me about something. From this conversation, we decided that we would be more open to each other and make a point to connect with each other. (read my article about the best revenge to bad girlfriends)
So I thought, OK, great, we have made a little bit of progress. She also promised to take the ad for my room off, of her own accord.
That was a Tuesday. By Monday afternoon the next week, the ad was still up. She again had not approached me about it. On top of that, in the preceding days, I had made a point to talk to her and initiate conversation, but her response was disappointing, to say the least. She just wasn’t bouncing back at me with any more conversation. She was keeping it very business-like.
When I asked her about why the ad hadn’t been taken down, she told me she had asked her friend to take it down for her because she didn’t know how to.
The point is: if it was important enough to her, she would have found a way to talk to me about our problems. And if she really wanted to take the ad off, she would have.
She was indicating, through her actions, that she didn’t value fixing the problem over being comfortable. And she made it harder for me by continuously denying things. It became obvious that she simply did not want to deal with the problem, rather, she would prefer to get somebody else into the house than deal with our issue (which she hadn’t even brought up in the first place before she placed the ad up without notifying me about it).
Here’s what I learned from the experience:
1) In order to help the process of her feeling comfortable around me, like her, I was going to have to accept (rather than reject) my own lazy side, and accept the part of me who likes to feel bad about myself (a massive challenge for me). This was really seeing the situation for the gifts it brought to the table. I believe this experience was put in front of me for a reason.
2) I had, at times, been too busy judging her for her laziness, the way she talked about (and treated) men, and her passive-aggressive behavior to actually form a deeper connection with her, which contributed to the whole problem.
3) That my resistance to connecting with her because of our differences, and because I felt like I didn’t want to be ‘brought down to her level’ by associating with her most likely made her feel like she wasn’t enough, which made the situation worse. Her passive-aggressive behavior was already a result of feeling diminished and scared.
4) Going by ‘rules’ – ie: paying all my rent early, religiously cleaning up after myself, keeping to all the house requirements, and being quiet, really isn’t what she wanted or needed. In fact, that kind of thing really isn’t what people perceive value in, even though it may be important to them that you pay your rent on time. What she wanted, since I was living in, and renting a room in her house, was a friend.
5) Either I expend lots of energy influencing her, and myself, to form a good connection with me so that we can live amicably (which was hardly worth it since she had so many other women in her life feeding her ‘reasons’ for her actions, her judgments of me, and influencing her to make the decisions she was making already – why would she sacrifice the love of a number of existing friends who were meeting her needs over forming a connection with a person she hardly knew?) OR
I was going to have to decide to leave the house and in the meantime, take leadership and form common ground and a connection with her.
6) Confronting her with the intensity that I did about the ad being placed on the internet may have been justified, but it was not necessarily helpful in preserving a relationship.
7) Ultimately, since I was living in her house, I felt I was working with a situation where her power was greater than mine, so whilst I would continue to form the connection, I didn’t really want to LIVE within her proximity.
Given the situation, (we were talking about somebody who had placed my room up for rent without telling me, it was not worth my energy. I have a bigger mission to work on than to chase her for not taking the ad down.
That is just one example from my own life of dealing with passive-aggressive women.
Do you have any experiences to share with us? Please share in the comments section below your ways of dealing with passive-aggressive women. Looking forward to hearing from you. 🙂
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