When I first got married I hated conflict. The thought of an argument made me nervous and so I avoided upsetting conversations with my husband all the time. If I was angry about something, instead of voicing my upset, I would go underground and act it out rather than talk it out. As you can imagine, this would be very difficult to live with.
Fortunately over the years I learned the error of my ways and worked like crazy to learn to speak up and stop acting things out. However, during those first years I remember justifying my anger and seldom thinking that I was at all wrong with my behavior. Seeing the mis-behavior of others was so obvious that it didn't occur to me to look at my own.
Sound familiar? Human beings justify our own screw-ups all the time, while condemning the screw-ups of others ad-nauseam. We are quick to let ourselves off the hook for poor behavior, yet can make others pay for their bad behaviors for decades. Understandably, this is a recipe for disaster when it comes to relationships, jobs and even life.
Living a good life is about bringing our best selves to the table at all times. The truth is, I wasn’t passive-aggressive because of what my husband did or didn’t do. I was passive-aggressive because that was MY dysfunctional way of handling problems. As soon as we get caught up in thinking that “we do what we do because others do what they do,” we’re all in trouble. The same is true when we think, “We are who we are and others should just accept us.” I’ve heard more excuses, justifications and blame for people’s poor behavior to last me a lifetime. I’ve even done my own fair share of all of these. These moves, however, aren’t serving us.