I was brought up in a household where manners and courtesy were expected and practiced. As I grow older, I am so thankful for that training. I’ve long been an individual who despises phoniness and subterfuge. It’s difficult for me to comprehend some of the gyrations and ridiculousness that individuals perpetrate on others. I’m not one to participate willingly in some of the psychological games people play, but don’t think I don’t know how it’s done.
Passive-aggressive individuals pose unique challenges in society. Why do I see them as duplicitous? It’s simply that some of them present themselves in a certain light and then do something entirely different. Some would say they’re hypocrites. They’re not. They’ve chosen not to be confrontational and then done what they’ve wanted anyway. In other words, they go along with a situation but then subvert the actions after the fact.
One of the areas I’ve found this to be prevalent is while serving on various committees throughout my life. During my teaching career, I served on two bond issue committees. The second bond was huge ($91 million dollars). I was one of 22 committee members. Always present in the back of my mind was my home training to be conscientious and to put forth my best effort. Knowing I represented a few constituencies, faculty and fellow twin residents, I took my role seriously. We met on 16 consecutive Monday nights for a few hours at each meeting. A large issue arose, midway through the 16 weeks, over school buildings and handling a growing population. We had it figured out. There would be an addition to one elementary school. The committee was in agreement.
The very next week after our meeting convened, we were told that we needed to plan for a new school to be built. It wasn’t a question of discussing the issue, it was an order. Naturally we were aghast and upset. But administrators deftly steered the bond issue in the direction the Board wanted to take all along. There is so much more to this story but suffice it to say it was the last time I served on a district committee. Committees are formed to satisfy a requirement. The work done is seldom reflected in the outcome. That is duplicitous.
I’ve headed committees where the members were in agreement in meetings as to the issues and forward momentum, only to have one or two members later undermine the work of the committee in their own fashion. Why not indicate disagreement during the meeting itself? These same people are often the ones who have not thoroughly read the meeting materials or read the background information pertaining to the committee’s purpose and/or role. That is passive-aggressive behavior and it’s duplicitous.
As one who is organized and takes my responsibilities seriously, these folks frost my cupcakes. And I’ve allowed them, over time, to suck the joy and enjoyment for some activities from me. It won’t bother them. They don’t have a capacity for empathy. I was taught not to stoop to the levels of poor behavior. And I won’t. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t defend myself.