The Silent Treatment/ Passive Aggressive Behavior

Topic: Effective Communication
Goal: Overcoming Negative Communication: The Silent Treatment/ Passive Aggressive Behavior

“What’s bugging you?” “What’s eating you?” “What’s the matter?” “What’s wrong?” “You don’t look yourself.” “You’re not acting the same.”

Something is wrong. Everybody knows it. Everyone sees the change in your demeanor. You really are acting differently. You however, are putting on a show. You are upset but you refuse to address the situation. As least you refuse to admit and address it right now. You most likely will address it in a few hours, a few days, a few months, but it is coming. And oh the firestorm that will ensue.

You may be feeling overwhelmed. You may feel hurt. You may be having a difficult time processing your feelings. These are all normal feelings. Your behavior exhibited in light of these feelings however, may not be appropriate or helpful for your relationships.

So, how can you best share your feelings with the people around you? More importantly, the people that love you? How can you process your thoughts and express your feelings without lashing out, without hurting others, or without hurting yourself?

First, lets understand and agree that communication is paramount. How you communicate with your spouse and/ or your family members will color the nature of your mutual relationships. Given that these individual relationships are ones you wish to cultivate, here are a few steps to help you move pass one of your negative communication patterns.

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1. Take a figurative or literal deep breathe. Journal. Pray. Meditate on Scripture. Schedule an appointment with your counselor.

Employ a method or methods where you can take time to collect your thoughts, clearly process your feelings, and gain some perspective.

2. After taking some time to collect your thoughts, process your feelings, and gain some perspective, your next step is to engage your loved one.

Start by expressing your gratitude to your loved one for their concern. Again, provided this is a healthy relationship that is reflective of mutual empathy, consider that your loved one is most likely trying to help you. The manner in which they demonstrate this help may not be exactly what you need or appreciate. Nevertheless, try to consider that person’s perspective. Of course you will never really know unless you effectively engage your loved one.

3. Clearly communicate your feelings to your loved one.
Use I statements to express your feelings rather than blaming your loved one for their actions. (Ex. I felt sad when you…)

4. Allow your loved one to also express their feelings.

5. If you and your loved one aren’t able to effectively arrive at a mutual understanding, you may consider enlisting the help of a trusted advisor or professional counselor.

For Meditation:
1. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭‬‬

2. A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭‬

Remember, it takes time to change behavioral patterns. Give yourself and also your loved one some grace. Let’s communicate in love.

Moving Day

There really is such a thing as staying too long, overstaying your time. It’s important that we remain sensitive to the timing and direction of God in our lives.

Many of us don’t like change. Some of our life situations may be less than desirable. Yet many times we opt to remain in a situation or place rather than move or change to something else.

Fear can paralyze us. Sometimes in the physical sense but more so in the emotional and spiritual realm. Fear may inhibit you from engaging or trying something that is in your heart. God may be nudging and nudging you to move on but you remain in your current place because you do not want to fail, because you do not know what is on the other side, because no one else has ventured in that place before.

In the Biblical account of the 12 Hebrew spies, we learned that only 2 believed Israel could successfully conquer the giants and possess the land of Canaan, the Promise Land. The majority of the spies brought a negative and fear laced report about the land and doubted Israel’s ability to possess the land. They essentially doubted God, questioned His instructions to them, and denied His power (Numbers 13).

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Consequently, the children of God continued to wander in the dessert for 40 years. Of those 12 spies, only the two which brought the report of promise, faith, hope, (Joshua and Caleb), were permitted to enter the Promise Land. The other men died before the next generation was permitted to enter Canaan (Number 14). That is a powerful story and a costly lesson.

Reflection: Where is your Promise Land? Are you ready to move?

Keep your antennas up. Don’t overstay your time. Deny fear the ability to gain ground in your life. Stamp it out! Most importantly, be obedient to the voice of God.

Meditation: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬).

Rejection

Rejection hurts! It brings with it unwanted feelings and negative thoughts.

Unsolicited evaluations of others often trigger moments of rejection and can leave you feeling like you are and never will be good enough. You may never be the right size, never be the right color, never speak the right way, dress the right way, walk, act…etc.

Listening to the chatter of others can be deafening. These negative evaluations may force us to question our decisions and denigrate ourselves. Those negative evaluations are extremely detrimental to our sense of self and at times our wellbeing.

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Why not listen instead to the one voice that always speaks love to us? It is the one voice that trumps all others. Why not listen to the voice of God? What He says about us is what really matters.

When we read God’s Word we realize that He loves us for who we are even in light of the components of our self that can and should be changed. He and only He can love us and move us to the place of lasting change, with our acceptance of the Savior. He may use other people to mentor and disciple us in some areas. These processes however, should always be enveloped with love. Ultimately, the only person who unequivocally can determine what warrants change in a person is God. He can and will shape us into who He intended for us to be. We soon realize that we do not have to live according to others’ standards of the right color, the right gait, shape, etc. Those are components of ourselves that have no bearing in eternity.

Reflection: What is your natural reaction when you feel rejected? Sometimes we may respond by inflicting pain upon ourselves or even hurting others when we feel rejected. It takes work but we can successfully move past moments of rejection towards our destines.

So look forward! Don’t look back!

Meditation: Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:18-19

Loving on you today!

 

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