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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading comments at various places online about what non-INFJs consider to be INFJ faults. Yes, I know we have no faults; but let's put that aside for the moment. One frequent complaint is about a perceived INFJ predilection for passive-aggressive behavior. (Let's define such behavior as delaying/concealing a negative response rather than addressing some issue in an immediate and direct manner.) And so, to the question:

Addressing INFJs: What is the cause of passive-aggression in INFJs:

(a) Simply wishing on general principle to avoid outward conflicts;

(b) Needing time to process happenings/feelings;

(c) Wanting to avoid having to tell someone a painful truth;

(d) Fear that the angry strength of one's own feelings will only make things worse;

(e) Fear that the nature of the other person is such that his/her reaction to what one would say will only make things worse;

(f) Hope that one can just shrug it off;

(g) Passive-aggression is simply spontaneous and inexplicable in INFJs;

(h) Several of the above;

(i) Something else (specify: ____________)
 

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I can't speak for all INFJ's, only myself. Of course it depends on the context but generally speaking, I find (for myself) that c, d and e are true. But the main thing that tends to make me passive aggressive is when I feel the person has slighted me in some way (also passive aggressively) and I feel justified in taking a shot at them back. Basically I want them to feel the same way they made me feel. The other reason would be when I'm being too much of a coward to take on the real issue head on. Both are foolish, wrong, childish and unproductive, in my opinion. But that about sums it up for me.
 
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I prefer simple passive-pacifism. It's a lot less trouble than all that aggression.
 

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Passive aggression is non-verbal aggression
Passive aggression might be seen as a defence mechanism that people use to protect themselves. It might be automatic and might stem from early experiences. What they are protecting themselves from will be unique and individual to each person; although might include underlying feelings of rejection, fear, mistrust, insecurity and/or low self-esteem.

This is my way:

I am always friendly, polite and agreeable
Making excuses that I can’t make it when I didn’t want to go in the first place
Ignoring texts, email, messages and phone calls. Especially if there maybe conflict
Silence. So powerful for me.
Ambiguity, Oh how cryptic I can be, leaving everyone baffled and lost.

Cure: Assertiveness training
 

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h is my answer. A good bit of that applies to me.
Sometimes I get irritated when someone doesn't understand something like I do when it's "obvious". I'm not proud of that, working on chilling out. (mostly one of my best friends lol)

Or if it seems like people don't understand what personal space is it can send me over the edge where I have to leave the room or I just try my best to not lash out and kinda zone out. I'll be in the kitchen cooking and have 3 people and a baby walk in screeching. AHHHHH

Oh oh! When someone refuses to see all sides of an argument. *bangs head against wall*
 

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I actually am passive-aggressive (it's good to know, as an art teacher once told me) and using your letters, here's why:
b & a (in that order). Yet, another reason I am passive-aggressive is because I lack the fundamental ability to assert myself often (it makes me uncomfortable) and so I use passive-aggressive tactics in order to make others perceive that I can assert myself in a given situation.
 
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Even if I think about the INFJs I've come across who I dislike - as in, can barely see a redeeming trait in - I haven't seen passive-aggression as a prominent nor memorable trait. That's not to say I never see it, but it's not a defining trait I can remember in unpleasant encounters or observations.

I see passive-aggression in ISFJs and INFPs quite often. I see a morally/intellectually superior cattiness in INFJs that I also see in INTJs - but I wouldn't call it passive-aggression. More so a "I'm far more enlightened than you, that's why we're disagreeing" attitude and these individuals are not at all passive about it. It's an overt display.

To the people who don't like me, in person I mean, I think they'd call me a lot of things - but not passive-aggressive. What flaws I believe people would perceive in me are probably more overt, excluding my appearance which is rather passive - where I aesthetically have an "I don't care about anything/anyone or you" look on my face.

An overt 'false' sense of superiority is more what I see as being a common complaint towards our type overall and myself as an individual.

To differentiate individuals within INFJs as a group, I agree with @bpbm. The least assertive people tend to be the most passive-aggressive without realising that's what they are - because their anger/annoyance/frustration has to be expressed somehow, and that's how it emerges.
 

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I've been reading comments at various places online about what non-INFJs consider to be INFJ faults. Yes, I know we have no faults; but let's put that aside for the moment. One frequent complaint is about a perceived INFJ predilection for passive-aggressive behavior. (Let's define such behavior as delaying/concealing a negative response rather than addressing some issue in an immediate and direct manner.) And so, to the question:

Addressing INFJs: What is the cause of passive-aggression in INFJs:

(a) Simply wishing on general principle to avoid outward conflicts;

(b) Needing time to process happenings/feelings;

(c) Wanting to avoid having to tell someone a painful truth;

(d) Fear that the angry strength of one's own feelings will only make things worse;

(e) Fear that the nature of the other person is such that his/her reaction to what one would say will only make things worse;

(f) Hope that one can just shrug it off;

(g) Passive-aggression is simply spontaneous and inexplicable in INFJs;

(h) Several of the above;

(i) Something else (specify: ____________)
Hmm this is interesting!

I used to be very passive aggressive because of poor communication skills.. I'm not sure if I agree that it's an INFJ thing, for me it was a learned behavior. My family wasn't good at talking about problems and feelings, so I wasn't either for a very long time. It took a long time to figure out how to express my feelings without being overwhelmed by them or being afraid expressing negative emotions.

I agree that B, D, F are contributing factors to how I feel about passive aggressive behavior. If E is a contributing factor, then I am probably not good friends with this person.

Now I'm pretty confrontational haha - not in a vindictive way though, more like if I'm VERY certain someone did something wrong I will speak up and I can be really direct about it. If it's a friend and I know they're a good person, I'm very measured with my words because I don't want them to feel attacked when I broach the subject. In general I try to measure my words so that it isn't seen as a personal attack - that could derail the entire conversation.

I get really frustrated when I receive passive aggressive behavior because I do see it as immature behavior. It's somewhat easier to deal with in person, online/not face to face, it can be a disaster lol
 
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Do you think there are times when it's appropriate to be aggressive?
Absolutely. When someone attempts to steal your durian, use whatever force necessary. After all, as the Romans said, vivere non est necesse, durio necesse est.
 
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Is that latin for "don't touch my shit?" haha
No, that would be "noli turbare shiteos meos". The above translates as "life can mind its own bloody business, I've got durian to attend to".
 

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I thought of a couple of other reasons for my passive aggressive behavior:

-Sheer Laziness

-Manipulative tactic -- I want them to realize I'm irritated so they are forced to confront me and not the other way around. Makes it easier for me for some reason and maybe in my mind, I think I'm making it easier on them too.

-Draining -- In the moment, I find it too emotionally draining to dig into things deeper or, it's simply not worth it to me.

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I also think a lot of this will be flavored by enneagram stuff. For instance, my brother is a type 9 INFP and his version of passive aggression is always silence or stone walling. It's not that I NEVER do that but my own version tends to be less passive and more aggressive lol even though both behaviors are technically passive aggressive.
 

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As a general rule I try to avoid being passive aggressive because I dislike being on the receiving end of it and I like directness. I've gotten better about voicing my anger and frustrations fairly openly as I've gotten older and not bottling them up but (c) and (d) would probably be the most likely cause of a passive aggressive reaction.
 

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[IMG:]http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k142/MimosaTr33/11196233_10205755745607324_2040443243120032784_n_zpshhrfulua.jpg
[/Img]
 

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Crap. Well I don’t know if anyone will be able to view that, this computer sucks. Won’t let me edit my post or upload photos to the topic, annoyinggggg. Ok but if you are so inclined you can copy paste the address I put up into your browser and hit enter, it may show you the pic.
The point of the pic is this: there are four different avenues we can take
1. Passive; I lose, you win
2. Aggressive; I win, you lose
3. Passive Aggressive; I lose, you lose
4. Assertive; I win, you win.
I made a note when I saw this and it says at Passive Aggressive “Nobody wins because no communication”. Seems accurate. We’re all seeking to be assertive.

 

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The cause might possibly be learned, or habit, and in seeing it that way there is no blaming involved, or shame.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
These responses are all very interesting to me, and I thank y'all (keep 'em coming!). I realize I'm defining passive-aggressive a little widely; but, judging by usage in the comments around the net which prompted this thread, the term has acquired this broader meaning to the "man in the street."

For me personally, all of the listed reasons have come into play now and then; but mostly on such occasions I want to process what's happening and not in my estimation make a bad situation worse. There are people who just enjoy quick squabbles in a visceral way, and I'm not going to supply them with that drug.

Now addressing non-INFJs as well: See? We have reasons for this behavior--we're not just being evil. (We're evil in other, more effective, ways. :crazy: )
 

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Yes, I know we have no faults; but let's put that aside for the moment.
Dang. That spoils things ;)


One frequent complaint is about a perceived INFJ predilection for passive-aggressive behavior. (Let's define such behavior as delaying/concealing a negative response rather than addressing some issue in an immediate and direct manner.)

This is definitely where my issue with passive aggression lies - definitions.

I think of someone I would consider passive aggressive, and then compare that to behaviors that people often call out, and find they don't really match.

For instance... not doing the dishes. A lot of folks will look at a missed chore or a time delay on something, as passive aggressive, and that seems to me, like just a roundabout way to avoid being understanding that other people screw up and we all have to be patient with each other.

There's a lot of reasons to be late or to not get a task done... it's more likely that people are being lazy or forgetful than that they are actively trying to cause discomfort with their lack of action.


Addressing INFJs: What is the cause of passive-aggression in INFJs:

(b) Needing time to process happenings/feelings;

(d) Fear that the angry strength of one's own feelings will only make things worse;

(e) Fear that the nature of the other person is such that his/her reaction to what one would say will only make things worse;

(i) Something else (specify: ____________)

^ Those :) ...

And for option I:

I would say this is the biggest one, for me anyway.

I always feel I can kill negative feelings.

Say you've got one small suitcase and three generous sized items to pack. Only two of the items will fit in that bag, so you have to pick.
For me, in a difficult situation, the item I always try to take out is my personal feelings. I've got the feelings of the other person weighing on my mind, I've got this sense of responsibility to look forward and make sure the future works out okay for us both, so if I really have to pick I choose to leave out the "me" part.

That's a big job, although a lifetime of it makes it a habitual decision. It would be harder to not process that way.

So it takes me some time, and if you look at my face right after saying something mean to me, I'll look a bit hurt and angry and not want to talk to you for a bit.
The average person assumes you're shutting them out due to the anger, and then they translate upcoming actions or words in light of those feelings. So if your next words are polite and moderate, they think you're being passive aggressive and "the worst is yet to come"... they get scared or irritated, because they're expecting a reaction they're not getting.

But the thing is, what's going on in my brain is a process of breaking down those feelings, looking at them, and discarding anything and everything that I can eliminate, in a methodical way.

For one thing, I don't like allowing people to have so much leverage over me as my loosely permitting emotional reactions in myself would grant them.

For another, emotions of the self are not conducive to achieving resolution with the other person, and I'm naturally tuned in to "the next moment", rather than the current one... which results in me wanting to shape what the relationship looks like going forward.
It's a pretty predictable chain of events that lead from one person being unhappy to the other being unhappy, and then everyone is unhappy - and that just sucks.
So I try to fix it before it happens.

It's pretty darn annoying when people take that as passive aggression.
I think passive aggression requires some actual bloody aggression - like you should be actively & intentionally causing a problem for the other person before they use that term on you.

I really am an emotional person at heart. So if someone does something upsetting - yeah, I'm not going to look happy.
But am I going to be vindictive?
No!
What I want is to de-escalate the situation.

I kinda don't think of it as conflict avoidant behavior (I could be totally wrong here), just because if someone continues to escalate the situation, I will put my fighting gloves on and finish what they started.
I don't really feel like conflict is such a big deal - it's just not my goal, and doesn't make me happy.

Sometimes good things can come of conflict though... when it forces people to put their cards on the table, if those people are reasonable, they can usually utilize the new information about each other to work out their issues in more depth and come to a better resolution than they would have otherwise.

So, overall, I would say... maybe my definition is wrong, but I see passive aggression as trying to escalate a situation without coming out bluntly about it. And you can bet that if I get into a real argument with you, there's not going to be much hiding of my opinion.
 
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