A wife mumbling about how she does everything all day and that it would be NICE to get SOME HELP now and THEN.
Or a girlfriend commenting on a friend's status about how nice it is that YOUR man takes YOU out, HINT HINT HONEY, followed by a pretending-to-be-joking-but-we-know-you-aren't "LOL."
Or the cryptic status that somehow both complains about doing something and pats oneself on the back for doing it, while also hinting for applause and pity, usually ending with "this is just my life now...", presumably followed by drinking at 3pm and a divorce in 3-6 months.
Ahh, the not-so-subtle 'art' of being passive. It's art in the same way that feces paintings are art. That is to say, it makes people judge you, raise an eyebrow at your mental well-being, and avoid you in the future.
Unfortunately, it's not just adults that do the passive bullshit. My 8-year-old daughter has also gotten very good at the Passive Dickhead Move. Instead of asking for help, she'll grumble about how "I can't get this..." but she won't ask for help. Stubborn little fucker. Her father and I stand by, silently waiting for her to request our help, and then watching her struggle with the weight of her own bullheadedness. At dinner this weekend, she sat down first and her father sat next to her. When she finished her dinner, she had trouble getting out of her seat because his chair was positioned slightly behind hers. She mentioned that she couldn't get up. I told her to ask her dad to move. He was sitting right there, looking at her, waiting for her to use her goddamn words.
Instead, we watched her wiggle, scoot, finagle, and finally almost fall to get out of her spot and clean up her dishes. We looked at each other silently, smirking. As she walked through the kitchen to go wash her hands, I scooted my chair back to block her way, to see if she'd say "Excuse me." Instead, ever passive, she turned sideways and squeezed behind me, without saying a word. I called her back and we had a short talk about how important it is to be direct, and how her dad and I are intentionally working on developing this quality in her because it's an important skill to have as a child and as an adult.
When my baby sister was a toddler, when she saw someone holding something she wanted, like ice cream or a toy, she would come up to the person holding it and say, "Who's that for?" with a sly sparkle in her eye. My older sister and I still quote her to this day when someone passively hints at something, because we found it to be hilarious that a toddler would understand how to be passive.
Then again, baby sister spent the first give years of her life at home with our mom. Mom is the Grand Master of the "Mumble & Martyr." To do the Mumble & Martyr is very simple. Many women seem to have mastered this act, but my mom is definitely the champion. She still does it to this day, I hear. Here's how it goes:
- First, grumble that the chore isn't done yet. It doesn't matter if nobody else is home, or if they're busy working, or if they're at school, or if they just plain didn't think about this chore because you always swoop in and do it. That does not matter. Just grumble that it's not done yet. What matters is the fact that YOU say it should be done NOW, and it ISN'T done now, so you must make it clear that you are annoyed that it wasn't done by now.
- Then, get angry that you're the one who's going to have to do that chore, right now. Clearly nobody else cares or else they would've done it by now. Take it personally that nobody helped you. Clearly they don't love you if they see you doing this but they don't help. Obviously they think you're their slave. They must have intentionally left that there so you'd see it and take care of it, especially since you've done it the last 10,000 times. Didn't they know that you were miserable those last 10,000 times? Don't they care? Those heartless, selfish bastards.
- Third, after sighing loudly and making as much noise as possible getting ready to do the chore, do it. Wash those dishes, put away that laundry, gather up dirty dishes or clothes. Not with a smile, oh no - that would be a loving act done with a humble heart out of love for your family. No way do they deserve that; they did this to you! Do it with a scowl, mumbling the entire time about how nobody takes care of their own stuff and how it's unfair that it all falls on you.
- Finally, after you begrudgingly do the chore, make sure that everyone in the house knows you did it. After all, it's not called a "chore" for nothing, amirite ;-) ? Tell everyone that you did the dishes. Tell them exactly how long it took. Tell them how many other times you've done that exact same chore. Under no circumstances should you make them do the dishes next time, or have them do a different chore to make up for it. No way should you make each person responsible for themselves, like adults. Just do it, then make them feel like shit for not having done it first. How else will they learn!?
I used to be extremely passive. I'd hint at what I wanted. I'd ask people to babysit my kid by telling them I wanted to do something and later asking if they were busy that night, and then I'd get upset if they didn't get the hint. I'd drop signs to my boyfriend or my boss about what I wanted, and then I'd fume when they didn't grant me my wish. And that anger is what takes it from 'passive' to 'passive-aggressive.' Which is not a pretty color on anyone. Being passive and then getting angry about it is total bullshit. It's like getting mad at someone for something they said to you in a dream. You just seem like a psycho with very tenuous roots in reality.
If you can't man up enough to be direct, you do not get to be upset.
Other people are not mind-readers. They don't owe you anything. And they aren't the ones who are responsible for YOUR choices.
Being passive is selfish. (I want something, but I don't want to ask someone for help, so I'm going to hold it all in and hope that they help me.)
It's impolite. (I don't trust people enough to be direct with them.)
It's presumptuous. (They should be able to read my mind!)
It's immature. (I shouldn't HAVE to say it! THEY should KNOW!)
How to stop being a passive dickbag:
- Go to the person that you are requesting something from.
- Calmly state your need.
- Ask them for their help.
- Thank them, regardless of their answer.
Be a fucking adult. Be direct.