How to Overcome Hidden Anger and Passive Aggressive Behaviors.

Passive aggressive people do have something called hidden anger because they are not able to communicate their feelings. They tend to harbor their feelings inside. When they do not vent their anger appropriately, they engage in passive aggressive behaviors. They are not actually demonstrating their anger with aggression, assault, physical injury, but they act in a way that appears to be passive aggressive. Some of the examples are, particularly delaying the child support money payment, not filling the gas in the car when requested by the spouse, reaching late for appointments, delaying projects at work and not submitting them within the due date. Children display their anger by violating the curfew time, deliberately forgetting to do their chores and giving lame excuses. They are angry with their parents for making rules and they tend to become passive aggressive.

We all experience anger. It is a powerful emotion which can be very detrimental to our health. People who harbor anger have very distorted perception of the events and situations. They tend to perceive thorns in the dozen of roses, and see storm in every cloud. Their relationships are scarred and bruised and they live in constant struggle. Anger can destroy mental health as well as physical health.

There is a difference between Aggressive Anger and Hidden Anger. Aggressive anger is displayed through verbal threats, scream, physical blow, breaking and destroying objects and property. However, the Hidden Anger is sneaky, subtle, and covert. It also has its risks and bad consequences. Passive aggressive behaviors are expressed secretly in a docile way. Anger is sometimes a natural reaction but being mean is not acceptable. Hidden anger is indirect, incongruent and unproductive behavior. It is consciously planned, intentional in nature, vindictive and sometimes can be unconscious. It blocks resolution as it is intended to hurt someone, annoy or destroy. Hidden anger is also triggered by needs that are not met like need for attention, love, care, being in control and many others. Hidden anger is never positive because of its manipulative nature. In other words, it can be toxic to relationships. If you have been a target of hidden anger, you will likely feel like you are a bad character. Passive aggressive people are very skillful in manipulation. They have the obsessive need to control, manipulate, engage in childlike/immature behaviors, are often self absorbed and depressed.

There is hope available. People can change. You have to work on your need to control so that you can get rid of your black and white thinking. Also, try not to be manipulative of others to get what you want. Learn to openly express your feelings.

Here are some helpful guidelines to help overcome passive aggressive behaviors.

1.     Learn to accept difficult feelings.

It is very important to have the awareness of your feelings. Sometimes knowing what you want can also help you become more contended. When you have hidden anger, you push people away from you. When you realize that this is the case, you are likely to become more tolerant and accepting of others. In addition, if you feel that you have been exploited because you were quiet, you will learn to become more assertive in your interpersonal style to get what you want. If concealed emotions and resentments have adversely affected your life, you can shift things in a more positive direction, using that energy for your betterment. Start using problem solving skills, productive and open expression to help you gain more control of your life.

 2.     Encourage Open Expression.

If you were brought up with messages like it is not okay to have anger, you are more likely to hide and mask your true feelings. The long term risk of this behavior is hidden anger, which is counterproductive. It is important to define your trigger emotions with specific words. Then take action that can change things. It is very important to be responsible for your feelings using, “I” statements. Avoid name calling, swearing, using sarcasm, and other indirect messages that imply blame and put downs. Also try to have congruity in your thoughts, feelings, and actions. When there is incongruity, you become more difficult for others to understand what your needs and wants are. Try to review your style and modify accordingly. If you have an authoritarian style, with the need to rule, it will discourage honest expression. If your style is passive, indulging or indifferent, it will not be effective. However, if your style is authoritative, it will allow you to exercise control but in a warm, responsive, and encouraging way. This will facilitate a good bond as opposed to close down communication and distancing others.

3.     Refrain from using words like shoulds, musts, and oughts.

If you use these terms, you are likely to remain silent and let your critic take over. Try to realize your critic self talking to you and telling you to remain quiet because,”good people should pacify at all occasions at all costs”. This kind of self talk is counterproductive and makes your anger hidden.  Express yourself honestly in an open communication as opposed to tolerating the injustice exacted upon you.

4.     Allow yourself to be human who makes mistakes.

We are all human and are likely to make mistakes. We all have bad days. If you become critical of yourself for making mistakes, you will be shaming and belittling yourself. This causes learned helplessness too. When you belittle yourself or little children, you put a barrier in open communication. Do not try to hide your feelings and be honest in your expression.

In summary, when you practice open, positive, and helpful expression, you are likely to turn around your indirect style. This will take some time because it took a long time for you to go underground with your anger, it will take additional time to stop counterproductive thought pattern and apply new problem solving skills.

5.     Become a Rational Problem Solver.

You can eliminate the possibility of having hidden anger when you become a rational problem solver as opposed to dwelling on the problems. Indirect anger often stems from ignoring problems. Try to focus on the solution, not attack. Choose one issue to resolve at a time. As mentioned earlier, refrain from using “you” statements and use “I” statements. Take a deep breath and relax and try to resolve your problems in a cool and calm manner. Try to gather the details and identify what you are arguing about. Try to identify your goals, brainstorm solutions and evaluate your options. Write down the pros and cons of each solution. Discard ideas that are impractical and unproductive. Think through the obstacles, choose the best plan. Then try to implement your solution and review it periodically. Once you have reviewed it, try to adjust and fine tune your solutions. Refuse to get discouraged and do not listen to the critical self talk, like, It will never work.”This can decrease your optimism and make you pessimistic.

6.     Adopt an Assertive Style for Interaction.

When you are too passive or too aggressive, it back fires on you. It is important to exercise your bill of rights and not feel guilty when you assert yourself. Try to accept your anger and identify your triggers. Anger usually comes from a lonely, jealous, sad, embarrassed place. When you learn to identify your triggers, you are more likely to deal directly with those feelings as opposed to masking them and being indirect. Additionally, it is also important to stop the negative automatic self talk. Our mind tends to produce negative thoughts moment by moment and this disrupts our inner peace. Challenge your negative self talk with rational counter statements like,” Why am I saying this? These are just thoughts, not reality.” Act assertively, using your bill of rights without feeling guilty. Do not react aggressively, passively or passive- aggressively. Most of all, try to be proactive as opposed to reactive. If you are reactive in your style, you will tend to rehearse your negative thoughts and dwell on them too.
In this way, we see that passive aggressive style and hidden anger are detrimental to our health and inner peace. Our physical health is also affected when we mask anger and it also leads to resentment, ruining our relationships. Implementing the above suggestions and guidelines, will gradually help you become honest with your feelings and decrease passive aggressive behaviors. Hopefully it will help you rebuild your relationships too. Please visit www.cognitivehealing.com/hypnosis-services to learn how hypnosis can facilitate the well being of the person and promote growth. Relaxation exercises induce the hypnotic trance and this facilitates the receptivity of the subconscious mind. Suggestions offered in this state of mind become more effective and help individuals alter their behaviors in a positive manner.

Hypnosis can help address passive aggressive behaviors. Please visit our Blossom Hypnosis page. Schedule a free consultation with Rekha Shrivastava today.

10 Comments

    • Tessa said:

      This inuerdtcos a pleasingly rational point of view.

      September 2, 2014
      Reply
  1. Aditi said:

    I think this will really help me, It’s exactly how I behave. I’m going to make a very positive change to it. Do you have any tips that will help me in figuring out why I behave the way I do?

    January 17, 2014
    Reply
    • Nergis said:

      Actually from the research I have been doing it ALL stems from the childhood…your PARENTS. It becomes painful when we go backwards into our life and realize certain things as to WHY we act the way we act.

      September 4, 2015
      Reply
  2. Josep Vinyals said:

    This is a thorough and well-written article regarding a topic i’m interested in. Very useful, thanks.

    March 17, 2014
    Reply
  3. Smitha said:

    I have been going through this behavior for the last few moths. Reading this article, really helped me. I will start working on it. Thank you!

    May 7, 2014
    Reply
  4. Great article Rekha. I know that for men who grew up with the Western social/cultural norm expressed anger is seen as “manly” or “strong”. But the world is so much smaller now and we as human beings are more than our family or even nationality of origin’s expressed norms. Anger expressed aggressively in most work and or social contexts is not acceptable. I have recently become aware that I sometimes have been perceived in that way and never really knew it. So…. learning to express anger in an acceptable way is critical for our society. This article speaks to this and I am appreciated of this information. Namaste #PBTGA

    June 1, 2014
    Reply
  5. Nelso said:

    I have been dealing with these all my life. But it has been reaching its tipping point lately, my relationships are taking damage and i want to change. Please, if anyone has any tips or help to offer, write me at jasv.14@gmail.com

    August 29, 2014
    Reply
  6. Missn said:

    Hi Reka…I am researching this because, of course, I figure I have this problem. Could not figure out what was wrong but one of the things I know is that it is also about an unhealthy spiritual relationship…with God…or emptiness. So have been working on this in two ways, both spiritually and psychologically. Would love to be in contact with you as am sure you could provide some valuable insights. I guess it is about getting rid of the false self, personality…however, I also know it comes from thinking that the higher power is an authority figure and trying to get their approval rather than having a relationship with “God,” which is to be love. This is how I am attempting to work on it.

    November 3, 2015
    Reply

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