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Toxic People – Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder

September 10, 2006
Educate yourself – knowledge is power…..
Ultimately, you can only change yourself, not someone else.
You should view a toxic person in your life much like you would a wasp. You don’t want to be around it much, will avoid it but you don’t put too much of your life energy into it. You don’t hate the wasp, you just don’t want to be around it because it adds nothing to the positive aspects of your life.
You may not realize but while you were allowing them to make you feel angry, confused and irritated, unknown to you, they were seriously damaging your health. In other words, they were toxic.
Toxic People can be defined as “anyone who manages to drag you down, make you feel angry, worn out, deflated, belittled or confused.”
What makes a toxic person tick? “They’re people whose feelings of insecurity and inadequacy make them jealous, envious and uncaring, so they end up sabotaging your projects, your relationships, your happiness-even your car journey!”
They are a very self-absorbed person with a fragile ego. They’re insecure and need lots of reassurance and soothing words to build up her self-esteem.
Toxic people drain you, sap your energy. Everything is about them. They see the world from eyes that see only themselves and how everything relates to them and their needs. No one else’s feelings or thoughts ever carry much weight. True empathy does not exist.
Toxic people have not learned to fulfill themselves and have little self love so they in essence must “steal” your energy. Unnecessary drama, mountains made out of molehills, rage or blow ups over inconsequential things – who needs this?
“Help me, I’m a failure, I’m so sorry.”
The emotional blackmailer appeals to your sense of compassion by regularly appearing miserable and depressed: “I’ve screwed everything up my whole life. I can’t believe it’s happening again”
They want your sympathy. They have a never-ending stream of problems. When this starts happening on a regular basis tell him/her to get off their butt and start doing something about it. You can only wallow for so long there with them before it gets really tiresome. Do not be sympathetic – suggest positive things and if all they want is your shoulder to cry on yet again then walk away. It is a childish way to get more attention from you.
The passive-aggressive personality disorder might be described as a compulsive personality with an attitude. These individuals express an irritable or sour mood; aggression is usually pouting and complaining. They are frequently depressed or sulking and gain perverse pleasure in raining on everyone’s parade — even their own (Richards, 1993, p. 258). These individuals focus on the negative; they are moody and pessimistic (Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 334).
Individuals with PAPD are vulnerable to anxiety, somatoform disorders, and depression. Major depressive episodes are not uncommon. In the PAPD depressive cycles, there is evidence of a tendency to blame others, a demanding and complaining attitude, and low self-confidence.
It is typical for passive-aggressive individuals to be cynical, doubting, and untrusting. Other individuals with PAPD will express their rage overtly and directly. Aggressive PAPD behavior is intended to inflict discomfort, hurt, harm, injury, or destruction. These individuals have a disposition toward anger and aggression.
One essential passive-aggressive trait of resistance to external demands. She believes that the negativistic personality reflects both this general contrariness and disinclination to do as others wish but also presents with a capricious impulsiveness, an irritable moodiness, and an unaccommodating, fault-finding pessimism.
They display conflict, verbal aggressiveness, and manipulative behavior. Suicidal gestures and a lack of attention to everyday responsibilities are common. They are generally erratic and unpredictable and they function under intense fear….
They make unjustified protests that others make unreasonable demands; sulkiness, irritability or argumentativeness when asked to do something that the individual does not want to do; unreasonable criticism or scorn for authority figures; deliberately slow or poor work on unwanted tasks; obstruction of the efforts of others even as these individuals fail to do their share of the work; and avoidance of obligations by claiming to have forgotten them
Individuals with PAPD see others as intrusive, demanding, interfering, controlling, and dominating. They believe that other people interfere with their freedom. They experience control by others as intolerable; they have to do things their own way (Pretzer & Beck, Clarkin & Lenzenweger, eds., 1996, p. 60). These individuals are determined that they will not be subject to the rules of others (Beck & Freeman, 1990, p. 227). They resent, oppose, and resist demands to meet expectations from others in a behavioral pattern seen in both work and social settings
Individuals with PAPD view themselves as self-sufficient but feel vulnerable to control and interference from others (Pretzer & Beck, Clarkin & Lenzenweger, eds., 1996, p. 60). They believe that they are misunderstood and unappreciated, a view that is exacerbated by the negative responses they receive from others for their consistent defeatist stance. They expect the worst in everything, even situations that are going well, and are inclined toward anger and irritability
*Manipulators make uncertain commitments. They create confusion and blame others for misinterpreting the mixed messages they send.
*Promise-makers rarely follow through. They procrastinate, then artfully evade responsibility for their actions.
*Reality-twisters turn situations around so that THEY are the victims suffering YOUR anger and discontent, no matter how wrong they are.
 *Sulkers regard you as overbearing and controlling if you offer useful suggestions for them to help heselves.
The current criteria for the passive-aggressive personality disorder as proposed by the Personality Disorders Work Group for the DSM-IV includes:
*passive resistance to fulfilling social and occupational tasks through procrastination and inefficiency;
*complaints of being misunderstood, unappreciated, and victimized by others;
*sullenness, irritability, and argumentativeness in response to expectations;
*angry and pessimistic attitudes toward a variety of events;
*unreasonable criticism and scorn toward those in authority;
*envy and resentment toward those who are more fortunate;
*self-definition as luckless in life and an inclination to whine and grumble about being jinxed;
*alternating behavior between hostile assertion of personal autonomy and dependent contrition
Stone (1993, p. 362) suggests several subtypes of PAPD:
*those with anxiety or depression (about one third);
*those who are self-defeating and locked into punishing relationships;
*those who are vindictive; and
*those who begrudgingly put their lives on hold to care for others
Living with the Passive-Aggressive
Set boundaries, confront obvious lies, unravel ambiguities. Let the p.a. know how far things can go and what is acceptable and unacceptable in how they treat you.
Be clear about what you want. Communicate that you will not be treated cavalierly or with disrespect. Be specific about what bothers you…Tone is do not be vindictive or authoritarian. Do not use ultimatums you cannot enforce….
Confront the behavior not the character
ACCEPT NO EXCUSES: don’t buy into any of the reasons someone may offer for covertly aggressive behavior. If someone’s behavior is inappropriate the rationale they offer is irrelevant. Confront inappropriate behavior directly and label it for what it is.
JUDGE ACTIONS, NOT INTENTIONS: never try to “mind-read” or second-guess why somebody is doing something. There is no way for you to really know, and in the end it’s irrelevant.
AVOID MAKING THREATS: Making threats is always an attempt to manipulate others into changing their behavior while avoiding making assertives changes for oneself. Never threaten. Just take action. Don’t counter-aggress, just do what you need to protect yourself and secure your own needs.
WHEN CONFRONTING THIS BEHAVIOR, KEEP THE WEIGHT OF RESPONSIBILITY ON THE AGGRESSOR: When confronting someone about inappropriate behavior, keep the focus on whatever they did to injure, no matter what diversionary tactics they might use to keep you off base.
BE PREPARED FOR CONSEQUENCES: Always remain aware of the covert-aggressor’s determination to be the victor. It is important to be prepared for this, and to take appropriate action.
When you see/feel a “game” coming on…. walk away, stop the conversation, do whatever it takes not to become involved in the game. Remember that their goal is to manipulate and control you and the situation.
Do not give them any opportunity to “Pull the rug out from under you.” If they are on “best behavior” do NOT relax and assume this will continue… If they sense this, they WILL revert to p.a. tricks…..
IN ALL AREAS of your life let them know unequivocally that you will not play their games any longer………

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