I use to suffer from severe passive behavior and communication. I would not say what I wanted, escape confrontation because it was uncomfortable, dodge responsibility because I could be blamed, and generally sidestepped who I truly was as a person. I compromised my character. People interacted with a mask of behavior that protected my vulnerable self.
Passiveness, otherwise known as submissiveness, is the opposite to aggression. Passiveness literally means detachment and acceptance. It is acted upon rather than acts on something. Passive communication involves things such as “keeping under the radar”, “not sticking up for yourself”, saying yes when you really want to say no, and overly “selfless behaviors”. While it is different to being shy or quiet, shy or quiet individuals are often passive.
Amongst my reasons for passive behavior, is the benefits of passive behavior and communication, and why it is such a severe problem in families, the workplace, and human interactions. I want to share with you the deep reasons behind why people avoid “sticking up for themselves” and many other passive behaviors in this article. I believe once you understand this behavior, a powerful world is revealed before your eyes that would otherwise have remained hidden.
Adults’ Contribution to Weak Behavior
Parents, teachers, and adults in general are partly responsible for passive behavior and communication in children. At a young age and continually in life adults condition passive individuals to continue their submissive behavior through verbal rewards. Passive individuals receive praise for their selfless actions, keeping quiet, and not voicing their concerns.
Passive behavior literally means detachment and acceptance. It is acted upon rather than acts on something.
A bully steals a toy from a young girl who does nothing about it. An adult observing the girl tells her she is nice for not doing anything and making the bully angry. A student sits in the classroom, not answering any questions. The teacher at a parent-teacher interview says to the child’s parents that the child is nice and quiet. A young boy is asked what he wants for dinner, but his brothers and sisters interrupt him by saying what they want. The young boy then says, “I’m happy with what the others want” to which his parent praise him for compliance and selfless.
These three examples are common situations people get trained to continue passive behavior. Overtime, the person’s occasional passive behavior shapes into a stringent passive personality. Soon enough, the person doesn’t defend his space, participate, or state his desires. What may appear “nice” transforms into a severe, habitual communication and behavioral problem that sucks the life from the person and his relationships. It’s no wonder many people struggle to learn assertive communication skills.