Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Passive-Aggressive

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On any given day, I receive hundreds of emails from women who either want to marry me or see photos of my Adonis-like naked body.  The truth of the matter is that I’m not a perfect specimen of manliness, despite what you think.   I have one fatal flaw, my Achilles heel:

I am passive-aggressive.

I’m not a very combative person in general.  But if I feel that I’m wronged, I have a habit of storing that information in the back cages of my mind, where it waits, like a Belgian tiger in heat, ready to leap out and attack at the most opportune time.

Forget what I just said.   That was literary bullshit that doesn’t convey me at all.  My passive-aggressive nature is nothing like a Belgian tiger in heat.   That is way too aggressive for Neilochka.  My approach would be more like the sneaky snake, slowly trapping my prey in a devious manner.

Or as Sophia likes to say to me on more than one occasion:

"Neil, you’re such a woman."

Hey, it’s not me stereotyping women as devious sneaky snakes.  Blame Sophia.  But when you tell her this, just beware that she is like the Belgian tiger.

Last night, we went to Sophia’s parents house for Passover.   As we’re driving, Sophia wanted to see the cake I bought.  She wasn’t happy with the choice I made and told me so.  This irritated me, because I thought Sophia was acting too picky, but I let it slide, mostly because I know Sophia gets nervous when visiting her mother.

The meal was delicious until it was time for dessert.  Sophia’s mother didn’t like the cake and told this to Sophia.   Sophia said that her mother was too picky and defended my choice of cake, even though the cake really was bad.

Now imagine we’re driving home afterwards.  Would it be stupid of me to bring up to Sophia that she had acted before JUST LIKE HER MOTHER?   Do most women really want to hear this? 

Or was I being passive-aggressive?

I have this bad habit of remembering hurts from as long as ten years ago.  Maybe I should take a lesson from blogging:

  1. You write a post. 
  2. You get your comments. 
  3. And then you put that post in the archives. 

Have you noticed that hardly anyone ever reads you old posts once they’re done.  Sure, you get some spammers and some crazy people still talking about Lindsay Lohan, but mostly the past is past.  It used to bother me that I would write a cool post and then after a day or so, no one would care anymore.   But maybe this is a good approach for real life. 

How can you be passive-aggressive when you put all your old issues into your archives and never again look at them?

57 Comments

  1. Telling a woman she is just like her mother isn’t passive-aggressive, it’s SUICIDAL! And on yontov yet…OY!

  2. You are still alive after comparing Sophia to her mother? You are one lucky man.

  3. Neil, you could print out your posts and start lining cat litter boxes with them if you need a better example of how forgotten our posts get after a few days. It’s a nice cathartic exercise; then you just won’t care anymore.
    P.S. I hope Sophia didn’t leave any bruises after she was done kicking your butt for the mother comment?

  4. Funny. I was just having a conversation about passive-aggressive people this morning. They drive me batty. I’m all for saying what’s up, when it’s up, and that’s that. But yet, coming from you, I find it charming. Go figure.

  5. We’re all in agreement here. It takes great courage – or a pronounced foolhardy streak – to compare a woman to her mother…
    And I find sarcasm to be a great antidote to my own passive-aggressiveness. Mostly because it usually makes me laugh, and once I’ve laughed, well…

  6. Did you really think we didn’t know you were passive aggressive? No, really?

  7. Neil, I’m completely passive-aggressive (it’s what is done in the midwest, and I haven’t ever shaken it…!). Wouldn’t it be a bitch if we were fighting?

  8. How lucky you are, Neilochka, to have Sophia for your wife!
    If it were me, I’d turn to you and say out loud: Exactly! That’s what I told you! The cake you bought is crap!

  9. Next time, go to Ralph’s, buy the Thousand Chocolate Chip Cake. You’ll have no complaints.

  10. Even more effective than “putting the past behind you” is exacting quiet revenge against those who have wronged you.

  11. “How can you be passive-aggressive when you put all your old issues into your archives and never again look at them?”
    I’ll tell you how…because unless you completely delete…they are always still lurking.

  12. Never ever tell a woman she is “just like her mother”, if she has ever complained about her….Golden Rule #1

  13. Hmmm…passive aggressive. What can I say about that? Is there anyone who isn’t passive aggressive? Oh, yes, other than my significant other, who does not allow a passive aggressive word to pass my passive aggressive lips. It’s liberating and annoying, all at the same time. It sounds like your Sophia might fit into the same mold…is she secretly Danish?

  14. I can’t believe you got THAT cake.

  15. I would think if someone’s personality trait bothers someone, and that person doing the complaining has the EXACT SAME personality trait — and probably inherited it from that other person — that the first person would want to be made aware of this information in order to change.

    Did I just write “change?” Why am I laughing so hard at the idea of someone “changing?”

    Uh, would this comment be considered “passive-aggressive?”

  16. Beware the “Belgian tiger”…a rare breed of European tiger that subsists on a ferocious diet of lager and pomme frites.

  17. And here I am all worried that someone may read a post from the past and bring it up now. Looks like I’ll have to find something else to worry about.
    Like cake.

  18. this philosophy could work…it’s not so healthy to hold onto old stuff. passive aggressive behavior is a HUGE peeve of mine and the worst is when i catch myself doing it. i just want to strangle myself when i do it.

    i wouldn’t have mentioned that sophia had acted the same as her mom because you already know it is a sore spot. some things are better left unsaid.

  19. Neil, I thought you’re used to see 2 sides of each story!
    Why, f.ex., in this case you insist of calling the trait in question”picky”? Why not say that person is a perfectionist?
    See how that changes the whole perspective?

    After all, being a perfectionist, she’s chosen you, in the past.

  20. I don’t judge you Neil. In my mind, passive aggressiveness is really just tact used for evil.

  21. maybe the not-so-great cake you bought was a subliminal-passive-aggressive maneuver in reaction to some wrong buried deep within your memory, and the entire episode was concocted so that you could pull a double passive-aggressive whammy all in one evening.

  22. I agree with the suicide assessment. Not be done, under any circumstances.
    And while I agree that life would be better if we could truly move on from past events, I don’t think it’s humanly possible.

  23. Scarlet totally beat me to the punch: maybe you should stop buying crappy cakes.

  24. OK…OK… from now on, no more crappy cakes. I’m sure that will mean we’ll never have another disagreement again.

  25. Not to be Captain Obvious or anything, but good job on passive-aggresively telling Sophia how you felt through this post. Does that actually work?

  26. I don’t think it was passive-agressive of you to tell Sophia she was acting like her mother. Passive-agressive would have been deliberately buying a cake that tasted like ass.

  27. Brian — she hasn’t read it yet. I’ll report back if she is talking to me later tonight.

    And good eye — blogging is the passive-aggressive’s greatest tool.

    JackT — you have a point. Sophia didn’t want a cake with chocolate, and I got a cake with a chocolate crust.

    And Danny, thank you so much for having Sophia and I over tonight for the second seder. Don’t worry — we won’t be throwing matzoh balls at each other. Imagine, going to a blogger’s home for Passover! Now, did you want me to bring a cake?

  28. The only thing worse than telling Sophia she acted just like her mother would have been telling Sophia that as a woman she should have been in the kitchen baking the damn cake herself.

  29. I’m a example model of the passive-aggressive person. I doubt I’ve ever shown any type of anger or animosity, yet nicely enough, anyone has yet to point this out (“Dude, you -never- get mad, wtf? Are you dead?”).

    Usually if I were in a situation like you were in, I’d probably make an attempt at some sad joke that only seems funny to me but was meant to escape the situation (“Yeah, well, shitty cakes were half off.”) or point out something logical which doesn’t work with females (“Well, you’re going to look at it for two seconds and then gorge it down your throat.”).

    Maybe I should be getting a little more angry, but then again, someone might say, “You have some anger control problems.”

  30. Neil, you should have taken Hostess Sno-Balls. They’re great anytime, and they’re bright pink at Passover.

  31. I wish we’d had your stinky cake. Mine had to have been a bigger bomb than yours. Truly inedible. And I did tell Andrew he was just like his father last night, too, with less than stellar results.
    Happy Passover!

  32. Fortunately, you’re not REALLY passive-aggressive unless you get indirectly hostile merely because a fellow blogger, or anyone, simply annoys you.

    And mocking humor is a great way to express that.

  33. Why is everyone so against passive-aggression? What’s the alternative – full-on aggression? I’ll take snide little comments whispered just loud enough for me to hear over a punch in the face any day.

  34. Belgian Tiger, eh? I’ve been to Belgium many times, but never seen this mythical creature of which you speak. Perhaps it’s hanging out in the dark forests with the Unicorns of the Hinterlands? Oh well…the next time I go there I’m going to have to go on a Belgian safari. And if I don’t find any….then I’ll just head over to the downtown Brussels bar and have another Duvel.

  35. A cake with crust? That’s disgusting. Maybe it was passive-agressive after all.

  36. Another singing voice post please! Something about goats would be nice.

  37. Funny, I was just thinking about my old posts too yesterday. Amd been thinking about reposting them.
    Had I been in your shoes, i guess I’d have acted the way you did!
    You’re sure lucky to have Sophia in your life!
    Regards to her!

    Fitèna

  38. Leah — It took me forever to figure out why everyone was making fun of this Belgian tiger. I meant Bengal tiger!

  39. life lessons from the internet. only in this day and age.
    I can be passive-agressive too, esp. when playing tug of war, cause I want my opponet to think they’re winning, then I yank real hard and try to win. Oh, I argue the same way.

  40. I lived in Belgium for 3 years, and the tigers were never passive-aggressive. They were rather sweet, really.

  41. should’ve bought railroad cake.
    the ad from a bakery:
    “KOSHER FOR PASSOVER RAILROAD CAKE
    When you add marzipan, apricot glaze, raspberry glaze and moist sponge cake you get Railroad Cake. We are not sure why it’s called railroad cake – but we know it’s on track.”

  42. Bengal Tiger!! OOooooooohh! Right.

    You should really compare Sophia to one of the Cincinatti Bengals. Girls love being compared to linebackers from terrible NFL teams. And that stripey helmet is quite an eyecatcher. It’s Easter this weekend and perhaps she needs a new bonnet?! Nothing like a fancy helmet to warm the cockles of a girls heart.

    Trust me on this one. 😉

  43. I am absolutely going on that Belgian safari – and I am taking my camcorder too. Anticipate some rare footage of that even more elusive Belgian Tiger on my blog, sometime in early June.

    I am the queen of passive-aggressiveness. But I haven’t mulled the subject enough in my brain to say anything coherent about that.

  44. Good call, Neilochka! You should start a movement.

  45. In real life I’m just aggressive-aggressive. But on the internet, I like to write shit about people in a passive aggressive manner that just makes me feel better. So I suppose I’m really just being “such a woman”, but whatever.

  46. Hundreds of emails each day? Really?

    Sophia sent you to buy the cake? Really?

  47. I think it makes for a good conversation to tell a girl she is just like MY mother!

  48. I once shot a Belgian tiger in my pajamas. What he was doing there I’ll never know.

  49. Wow. I think that the blogging and archiving is a good approach to life.

  50. Excellent analogy Neil! If we can apply it to life, we would all be much better off.

    3T

  51. Neil, I care about your old posts AND your passive-aggressive ass.

  52. neil, you are the silly of silly.

  53. Hi, Neil. I just recently looked up the meaning of Passive Aggressive because I kept hearing it on Grey’s Anatomy… anyways I think I have the disorder, too. Wrote a blog entry about why just two nights ago. And yes, I can’t agree more that blogging is our greatest tool. Glad to know there are so many of us out there! May I add you to my blog list? Thanks!

  54. Your subconscious is clearly telling you what you should have done: been a tiger, bought a belgian bun.

  55. Not good to joke with a person who has Passive Aggressive behavior. My ex is P.A. and I have studied it heavily–3 books, 50 sites on the internet, etc. Now what to do to help her, thats the big question…some say its treatable, some say not…
    FYI, blogging is not P.A. thats expressing, venting, showing passionate emotionalism, etc. –Know this–THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A P.A. WHO DOES IT AND SOMEONE ELSE IS THAT THE P.A. “DOESN’T LIKE TO CONFRONT THE PERSON THEY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH…”. Neil you stated that she will probably read it, which means you want her too for absolution. Anyone can have P.A. traits it doesn’t mean they have P.A. Behaviral Disorder.

  56. Dave — Thanks for commenting. It sounds like you know a lot. I would think a passive aggressive person could use blogging as a way to speak to someone, without talking to them directly. For instance, if I was pissed at my wife and wrote some sarcastic comment on a blog post that I know she will read rather than telling her face-to-face. Not that I would ever do that, of course! A-hem…

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