>On Tuesday, I had the honor and pleasure of guest lecturing at the University of Maryland Baltimore County to a group of 20 students taking a freshman psychology seminar on passive aggressive behavior and using The Angry Smile as their textbook.  The students shared great examples of passive aggression and asked insightful questions about how this behavior shows up in familes and relationships.

One student asked me about the best way to prevent passive aggressive behavior from occuring.  Complex child-rearing and developmental conditions aside, the answer I gave was relatively simple: 

When family members, relatives, partners, spouses, co-workers, bosses, teachers, and anyone else who interacts with an angry person make it clear that they are open and willing to receive that person’s anger–that their honest and direct expression of anger will be tolerated, accepted, and even honored for its honesty–they provide the kind of environment in which indirect, passive aggressive communication styles are unnecessary.  

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