Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

RPackham Dec. 2014

And are new exmormons still suffering from it?

I have been reading an article from last June in the Huffington Post, by Amanda Chan, "The Secret to Dealing With Passive-Aggressive People"

I was struck by how much her description of P-A people sounds a lot like typical Mormon behavior, and how Mormon training actually MAKES people passive-aggressive and trains members to ACCEPT passive-aggressive behavior:

"For example, people who grew up in a family where one parent is dominant and the other is subservient may be more likely to engage in passive-aggressive behavior. "They learn that powerful and volatile people cannot be approached directly, but it's OK to lie to them, or keep secrets to get what you want," she explains. "For example, we've all heard this: 'We won't tell your father.' That's passive-aggressive behavior."

"While everyone exhibits passive-aggressive behavior from time to time -- all you have to do is think about the last time you said "yes" when you meant "no" -- there are some types of people who seem more likely to engage in it. People who are avoidant and afraid of conflict are more likely to be passive-aggressive, as are people who are low in self-esteem and self-confidence "because you've never been given permission to have your feelings, especially your anger."

How many Mormons - especially young Mormons and Mormon women - lack much self-esteem?

To deal with P-A people, some suggestions (more in the article):
- Set limits and boundaries (even as exmos many of us have trouble doing this)
- Practice assertive communication

"Confronting fear of conflict can go a long way in minimizing passive aggression. In fact, in trying to tamp down on this behavior, you might actually experience more conflict"

How often as Mormons have we heard that being "contentious" is a sin?

"Ultimately, stopping passive-aggressive behavior comes down to figuring out what you want, and tuning out all the rest. Some people are so overly aware of what other people think and expect of them, so they just go along with it -- at their own expense. "They're not thinking of what they actually want; it's all about the other party's agenda ... they're not willing to say, 'But this is what I want.'"

How often as Mormons were we told that "thinking first of yourself is selfish"?

Maybe a question should be added to the temple recommend interview:
"Have you been sufficiently passive-aggressive during the last six months?"

Stray Mutt
Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

And it frustrates the hell out of me when people come here looking for ways to deal with thorny interpersonal problems, and they're offered a pile of passive-aggressive "solutions." P-A behavior gets so ingrained in members that it even follows us out of the church. I wasn't aware of it until I was in counseling. "I do that? And it's wrong?"

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I'd say yes. The entire church is like a master class on Passive Aggressive behavior

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Is the pope catholic?

Not only does Mormonism inculcate passive aggressive behavior, it stunts the emotional growth necessary to move beyond it. This just another example of how insidious Mormonism is.

It's hard to simply "get over it" when you realize how much irreparable harm has been caused to yourself and your loved ones.

BIC TBM EX was a master at it, plus jealous and vindictive. 
Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I think it's more of an American West thing. Go to the east coast and people are much more direct. Go to Germany or the Eastern Bloc and there is NO beating around the bush.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Years ago, I worked for a nonprofit that had its annual conference in SLC. My boss, a Jew from Connecticut, was struck with how "nice" everyone she dealt with was. She knew that I had gone to BYU, etc., and told me about this. I rolled my eyes, because I knew what was coming.

Soon, the excuses started rolling in. Contracts she had signed would get off the phone frustrated because things were not going as they said. Instead of being straight with her, they promised "get right on that". My boss started to stress that nothing would come together. She started to realize that "yes" does not always mean "I will do that" in Mormondom.

Finally, after another frustrating call, she turned to me and said, "Is everyone in Utah this passive-aggressive?" I just nodded and said, "pretty much!"


Re: Packham, is this a serious question? 

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

My TBM husband and his family tend to be pretty passive-aggressive. One thing I've noticed over the years is that not only are they passive-aggressive, but they also seem to prefer to be treated with passive-aggressive behavior rather than directness.

Several years back, my MIL called to invite our family to a party on Christmas Day. I thanked her, but told her that we had decided to stay home that Christmas so that we could relax as a family and allow our kids the whole day to play with their new toys. I told her that she was welcome to stop by our house to see our kids if she wanted. My MIL started to cry and then hung up on me. I tried to call her back to smooth things over, but she wouldn't pick up.

Now, if I had responded to her invitation in a passive-aggressive way by telling her that I would let her know later and then just ignored her and never called her back, I think she would have been ok with that. As it was, my MIL was so offended by my direct answer that she didn't talk to me for a month.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

If you're a mormon woman and you're not passive aggressive, you get all kinds of lovely labels put on you.

I told the bishop that I was no longer going to teach a class after the next week. Nobody called or came to get the books. I drove over to his house and left them in the mailbox because they weren't home. I figured someone would need them to teach the class.

The next time I saw the bishop he made the comment that he didn't think I really meant it when I said I wouldn't teach any more. What? He then said that he thought I was so nice, and that he was surprised that I would do something so mean. Mean? Like drop off books that I no longer needed? Yep, i'm a mean one.

I've also been accused of being hard hearted for saying what I mean and meaning what I said. More than one mormon male has told me that they're afraid of me. I'd never said or done anything unkind to any of them. They just didn't know what to do with a woman who didn't play all the mind games and wasn't p-a. It literally scared them. The majority of mormon men wouldn't talk to me unless they had to.

When I built a new house I hired a mormon builder. It got back to me that he was afraid of me. I have no clue why. I saw him every day for about 6 months during the building process. I was organized, and knew what I wanted. Not one single thing had to be redone or changed. When the house was finished he told me it was the first time he'd built for a mormon and there wasn't a daily misunderstanding. He said it was so nice to work with someone who wasn't afraid to tell him what they wanted. Best of all the bills were paid and there were no money games going on.

I'm pretty sure that this is one of the reasons I didn't fit in with the mormon crowd. If you're not p-a they are afraid of you. That seems backward to me. I would joke around about it though. I would tell people that I was about to be p-a, and felt like I should warn them ahead of time. I would then laugh about it. They didn't think that was funny.

I was an Easterner. He was a inland Westerner. We drove each other crazy.
I have lived many years in the inland west, and it still drives me up a wall. My three friends in this town are all from places far away, and not passive aggressive. One is from the West coast, which doesn't have that tendency as much.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Most mormons I know are passive aggressive and I live in the midwest but most members even out her are from the west, heck even I am from the west.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Yep, totally passive-aggressive...that is until they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, then they are just plain AGGRESSIVE!

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

We believe in sugar-coated hostility toward anyone who doesn't agree with us, except when we are doing the blood atonement thing, then we just kill yo ass.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Thanks for this thread and the site to the Huffington Post article. Good information.

I was so surrounded by passive-aggressive behavior in my life. Attempting to break out of this mold took me professional help, plus, as the article stresses, mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness. I find it very taxing to be around people who operate this way now, and can usually only stand it for so long and then I have to bolt. (I hope this is a sign that I have made progress).

LOL, for the temple recommend question, but so appropriate.

I do not suffer from passive aggression...
I enjoy it.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Nowhere is passive-aggressive behavior more pronounced than among the disenfranchised.

The harried and under-apprecieted Mormon wife, the devout middle-aged elder's quorum member, and the zealous missionary youth of both sexes are over-represented here.

Watch and see.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Is there an advanced version of p-a known as passive REALLY F-IN AGRESSIVE?

My morman neighbors don't ask you to politely move your car ... they throw eggs all over it.

They don't come over and discuss whatever issue they seem to have with us ... they just knock the mirrors off my car and rip off the windshield wipers.

When I put up a light to shine on my drivway at night to discourage vandals they don't ask me to redirect where it shines ... they smash it off the wall of my house with a baseball bat.

But they always smile and wave at me and say hi.

I guess I may be passive-agressive to though, because I don't walk right up to him and pop him right in the nose.

I just keep hoping the harassment will end. Been years though ... sigh.


This is actually the reason why I came to these boards ... to try and figure out just how much danger we are actually in. Haven't seen a story quite like mine yet. Maybe some day I'll write you all a short novel about it and post it up for your consumption/amusement.

Talk about PTSD!

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?
you should call their bishop ;-)

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

The bishop is the only person P-As are afraid of. If he tells them to stop being butt heads, they may at least try. However, they will be mad as hell you told on them.

That's how a lot of mormons roll though. They won't behave unless someone either threatens or actually tells on them. They're like naughty little kids that fear getting spanked if daddy finds out.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I also went to therapy to deal with this problem. It helped that I moved thousands of miles away from any mormons I knew. It was a new fresh start. I could be anyone I decided to be. It was a great time to go to therapy.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Um, I think he might be their bishop.

Two households, side by side ... and they seem very connected and high up. Lots of activity, Utah visitors all the time ... missionaries meet up here and depart from here ... wedding functions held in their yards. Constant ward members coming and going. It's like they are the hub of the church.

I am worried about retaliation, they seem to feel quite at liberty to act this way with no fear of consequences. The law seems to be something they feel quite above.

They have singled us out as targets and its the constant pressure and mind games over seven years that have left me quite burned out and stressed.

When we refused to retaliate (and still won't) ... they even started staging vandalism on their own properties so they can walk up and down the street spreading false rumors that we are criminals to all the nevermo's in the neighborhood. This has worked, everyone hates us on our street now. It's just relentless, they keep up a continual pressure. They have drawn the whole street into this charade. It's bizzarre everyone falls for it ... they are just shameless!

Anyway, I'll post the whole story here in more detail someday.

Have to go see my daughters school play now. :)

CA girl
Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

This is why people don't respect Mormons. You can't respect people who are sneaky while smiling, act thirteen when they are 30 and frankly, lie because it's easier than being authentic.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I have found this as well. Apparently you also cannot confront them on any issues. You are just supposed to ignore it all. Frustrates me because I am a very direct person. I will tell you as it is. This has lead to my future BIL TBM to now ignore me for over a month and counting!

optioanl2 not logged in
Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Found this article also interesting and a good read.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I think we're all passive aggressive in a way. I mean, if someone were to walk up to me, spit in my face, step on my toe and then yell profanities at me for no reason, I'd flatten them to the pavement. But in person, I'm a pleasant person to deal with.

But with Mormons and being an exmo now, the members are trained to take offense to things that normally don't matter to "normal" people and them to react with vigor and vim against those that offend you because it's right.

Most of us will fight for things that are right, it just depends on what we see as right and what we see as acceptable "retaliation".

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

Yeah, New Jersey. The promised land of aggressive-aggressive,

You looking at me?

I love the West. I love Westerners. I don't love passive-aggressive.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I hope you do tell us your story, torturednevermo.

This is the way MOrmons operate to get what they want, and I'm wondering if they already have two houses in a row, they might want three houses in a row--the third being your house, sold to them for below market value. I've heard of Mormons running people out of their houses. It happened to a friend, who out-bid a relative of the next door neighbor. The relative was furious when he lost the house, and he and the neighbor relatives made my friend's life a living Hell. Fortunately, he found a job in another city, and disappeared. The funny thing was, that he had done improvements on the house, and after two years of raising values, the neighbor's relative couldn't afford the house. The relative also called the real estate agent, and harassed him at all hours of the night.

The new knee-jerk response of the passive-aggressive Mormon, is to sneer at you and say, "Have a nice DAY." in the same tone of voice that a normal person would say, "Go to HELL."

When my cousin and I told some missionaries to move on and not bother us, the missionaries scowled and hissed, "Have a nice day." My aggressive, not passive-aggressive, cousin said, "I'll let you have it."

Being passive aggressive is the technique of cowards.

If it's meant as an indirect attack, it's PA
The entire point of PA is to undermine someone else without looking like a direct attack. Kidding on the square, making 3rd person criticisms, using guilt as manipulation, saying one thing and intending to do another, making promises you have no intention of following through on, using lots of sarcasm, or sending messages without directly speaking to someone are all PA behaviors.

PA behavior is common among people who feel disempowered. Since they cannot get their way directly, they try other methods to do so or get their way.

An example of PA behavior was that I had planned a game day. One of my friends had wanted to do something else, so on the day of the game, he called other people and said, "it's too nice, we should spend the day outside." He then asked someone else to call me and say they were not coming because they had changed plans. Instead of directly addressing his desire to do something else with me, he undermined me and then had someone else do his dirty work, presenting me with a fait accompli. Meanwhile, I had already made lunch and set up my house for guests.

However, being so used to PA behavior, I called him up and told him that was the last time he was ever invited over. He was stunned that I directly addressed him, and then feigned shocked that I was so offended. Instead of apologizing, he tried to blame the other people he had called up. I said, "I know you instigated this and I now know you are manipulative. I don't need people like you in my life." I never saw him again except in large groups.

Being pleasant is not PA

Being nice to people or covering up our bad moods is not PA. What would be PA is for you to be pleasant to me, and then when I walk away turn to your friend and gossip about me.

PA is a form of attack, but it is hidden so the victim cannot easily respond. If you spat in my face, I could slap you and no one would blame me. If you gossip behind my back, then I may or may not know what you did to me. Even if I found out, it would be hard for me to retaliate without being equally PA.

PA is mostly favored by those who feel disempowered. Instead of addressing my problems with you, I address them with 3rd parties. Instead of saying "no", I say yes and and then don't follow through. Instead of saying what I want, I pursue it through manipulation and conniving. If you confront me, I will dissemble and try to blame others or feign ignorance.

Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

^^This. Direct communication is seen as adversarial, confrontational, and as a personal attack. I've stated things simply and without judgment on this and other recovery boards and been accused of attacking people. Nope, just open, honest, and blunt.

You see the same thing in the South. "Bless your heart" is a passive-aggressive way to say "Fuck off, idiot." This is why Southerners think Yankees are rude. We're not rude; we're just blunt and up front. We don't beat around the bush; we'll come straight out with whatever's on our minds. Southerners have to talk about 100 other things before they even get around to hinting at what they're getting at. It's maddening.

NeverMo in CA
Re: Are most Mormons "passive-aggressive"?

I know I'm making a BIG generalization here, but I find most women to be passive-aggressive to some degree, Mormon or not. I'm a neverMo woman, and I have always encountered flack from other females, especially when I was younger, for NOT being passive-aggressive. I am extremely polite and friendly, but if someone pisses me off, I will either forget about it (if it's something minor) or politely confront the other person about it: "You know, maybe I'm misinterpreting something, but when you just said-such-and-such, I found that really insulting." That REALLY flusters people, even though I'm very courteous when saying things like that.

Similarly, if I sense someone else is angry or annoyed with me, I have no problem confronting that person, nicely: "Maybe it's just my imagination, but I notice you seem to be annoyed with me lately. If I've done something to annoy you or offend you, please let me know so I can apologize." (Usually what happens is that they deny it, then I find out later through gossip that, in fact, they were pissed off at me for some stupid reason.) This has occurred one time with a male, years ago when I was in college. Any similar incidents, however, have occurred with females.

Having said all that, I will concede that one of my friends who is a TBM is more passive-aggressive than most women I've known, so I'm not saying Mormonism doesn't play a role. It's just that in my experience p-a is a female trait generally.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"