We all know this expression, right? How accurate can it be? It’s funny how you can dedicate two years of your life to a project, only to be put on the side lines from one day to another.
Nice people usually always end up being screwed over, does this ring a bell? People with values and integrity seem to battle more in order to succeed, does this ring a bell too? I am not only talking about work but all areas of their life.
As you might know my life has not been a common one, and I am still astonished to realise that I can still be so trusting and a little naïve.
But I must say that I have learnt more in the past two years and faster than ever before. Here is a small guide for the naïve, fun and good-hearted people to protect yourself and get the upper hand to the manipulative, passive aggressive, abusive, narcissist and power-hungry people.
Here is what you need to know
Most chronically passive-aggressive / Negative / narcissistic individuals have four common characteristics:
- They are unreasonable to deal with.
- They are uncomfortable to experience.
- They rarely express their hostility directly.
- They repeat their subterfuge behaviour over time.
Having lived these situations while in relationships or with colleagues, I used these 8 keys to handle the situations, helped by a man called Preston Ni, there are many more amazing motivational speakers but I chose to concentrate on this topic:
- Do not overreact & reduce personalization and misunderstanding.
Preston Ni says that When you experience possible passive-aggressive behavior from someone try to avoid jumping to a negative conclusion, and instead, to try and analyze and find alternative solutions before reacting.
However if this does not seem to apply, see below some actions you can take:
- Keep Your Distance Whenever Possible.
In so many ways, a passive-aggressive individual is harder to deal with than an openly hostile person. An ancient Chinese proverb describes passive-aggressive attitude by saying , “behind a smile, a hidden knife””.
When you have to deal with someone who is chronically passive-aggressive, be diplomatic. The rest of the time, keep a healthy distance.
- Don’t Try to Change Them.
A passive-aggressive person changes only when he or she matures and becomes more self-aware. The best way to deal with passive-aggressive is to focus not on changing their attitude and behaviour, but rather solidly
taking charge of your own.
- Don’t Get Sucked In. Avoid Tit for Tat.
It’s understandable to be upset when you’re on the receiving end of passive-aggressive behaviour. There may be an urge to “strike back” by arguing and using unappropriated language, or worse yet, by becoming passive-aggressive yourself. Neither approach is helpful, as the passive-aggressive will likely respond to your overt accusations with denial and claims of victimhood, and to any passive aggressiveness on your part with even more covert hostility.Don’t give someone the power to turn you into the type of person you don’t like to be.
- In Mild Situations, Display Superior Composure Through Appropriate Humour.
When correctly used, humour can shine light on the truth, disarm difficult behaviour, and show that you have superior composure.
- In Serious Situations, Proactively Deal with the Problem Early On and communicate the issue.
With passive-aggressive individuals that you have to have contact with regularly, it’s important to put a stop to any serious, potentially damaging patterns early on. Tolerating passive aggression will only encourage the negative behaviour to continue and intensify. Let yourself, not the passive-aggressive, be the one who sets the tone of the relationship. Whenever possible, formalise your daily communication by either putting things in writing, or having a third-party present as witness. Keep a paper trail of facts, issues, agreements, disagreements, timelines, and deadlines.
“Avoid making accusations and statements that begin with you, which are more likely to trigger defensiveness. Instead, use sentences that begin with I, it, we, let’s, and this, followed by facts. For example
- Ineffective communication: “You didn’t meet the deadline.”
- Effective communication: “I noticed that the deadline wasn’t met.”
- Ineffective communication: “Your jokes is really offensive.”
- Effective communication: “I don’t feel comfortable with your jokes. It’s offensive to me.”
- Give the Passive-Aggressive a Chance to Help Solve the Problem, if possible.
“Many passive-aggressive people behave as they do because they don’t believe they have a voice or think that they’re not being listened to. When possible, include the person in discussions on challenges and solutions. Ask for their input”
- Set Consequences to Lower Resistance and Compel cooperation.
“Since passive-aggressive individuals operate covertly, they will almost always put up resistance when confronted on their behaviour. Denial, excuse making, and finger pointing are just a few of the likely options. Regardless of what they say, declare what you are willing to do going forward. Importantly, offer one or more strong consequences to compel the passive-aggressive to reconsider his or her behaviour.”
I was a child model, I then went onto hostessing when I was in age, I have been a translator, an event coordinator and organiser, I have managed staff, waitressed and worked on movie sets to finally work as an EA back home, I gained the knowledge of what work ethics are and have tried as better as I could to treat my co-corkers and people around me with respect, the respect I would like them to have towards me. As much as it is awful to realise, not everybody possesses the same values or skills to be trusting and respectful, this will never change who I am, it just has made me stronger and enabled me to identify the signs of the people I should avoid employing or working for.
Passive aggressive or narcissistic behaviour does not only apply to the work space it also applies to the personal side of life, but this might be easier to discard people from your life, I have loved, been heartbroken and broken hearts myself, this is the circle of modern life and depending on the person you are dealing with you can get out of those battles matured and grown.
What I take from all of this is that life is never as simple as you thought it was when you were a child, that you will come across all sorts of people over a lifetime but I beg you to never change your good values and good-hearted attitude towards people, the only action you can do, is to protect yourself more, learn about these individuals and move on knowing that it is not your fault. They are battling a fight that is not yours.
Make lemonade guys, never stop taking the positive out of difficult situations.
* Parts have been extracted from an article written by Preston Ni and please visit this site for amazing guides on how to deal with all types of negative attitudes http://nipreston.com/new/publications/