On Being Passive-Aggressive

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passive aggressive

I was talking to my friend Maria about how Pinoys in general tend to be more sensitive than European guys. She grew up traveling to every part of the world (her dad is a diplomat) that is why she is very much exposed to different types of people. I pointed out to her that Pinoys are sensitive by nature and that most of us are careful not to hurt other people’s feelings, even though we ourselves are offended or hurt. That is why when we are pissed about something, most of us tend to resort to non-confrontational means just to avoid arguments (i.e. avoidance of the person, crying silently, pakiramdaman, parinig, scowling, etc.).

I admit that I am also like that on some level. I remember I was so annoyed at someone recently but I don’t wanna talk to her about it because I was worried that “she might get offended and think that I was bullying her.” So I kept it to myself and just kept on complaining every single day. I don’t know how it started, but I grew up having a hard time dealing with difficult things. I’m the type of person who is not very fond of confrontations; and if I know that something I feel has the potential to cause friction, I’d rather shut it down and keep it to myself.

Aside from that, I also have the tendency to express my frustration in other ways that are totally unrelated to what I’m pissed about. If I feel like I cannot express my anger, I end up expressing it in other ways — by being difficult, by being mean, by being moody, etc. I know it’s unfair. And I know that being difficult only makes things worse instead of discussing it to the person concerned. I can’t help it. It’s a habit for me to deny that something is wrong and continue to wish that it will just resolve on its own. Until the time comes when I realize that it’s never going away.

Is it just me, or is it inherently a Filipino trait not to want to rock the boat? Like Maria, friends who lived abroad always tell me how blunt everyone is elsewhere — particularly in the west. Is it really a part of our culture to be overtly polite? Have we developed this insane sensitivity to even the slightest things, that we’ve totally dismissed frankness out of us?

Just a thought.

  • Kat


    Yeah, I really think we should. Thanks Addie! 🙂

  • Addie


    One of the commenters to my recent post asks about the best representation of a Pinoy trait. I think this one has just answered it. We're so much alike. I hate confrontations. I dislike arguments, let alone argue for a living (I shall curtsey before them lawyers). I have the tendency to resign myself to anything and just cave in. Especially when I’m not really in the mood to explain. Or I try to drop it. And just get it over with. It's something that I would like to change about myself, though. I gotta rock the boat some time.

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