Friday, April 24, 2009

The Angry Smile

by Nicholas James Long, Jody E. Long, and Signe Whitson

I'm not an avid reader of self-help books at this stage of my life. Which is to say I devoured many of them in earlier years. There have been several helpful ones and several that I felt were bunk. Among the helpful were Psychocybernetics, The Magic of Believing and, with that, my mind goes blank. One that follows that same vein, but that I felt was bunk is The Secret.

So with that introduction let me present a helpful self-help book, The Angry Smile. I have heard the term 'passive-aggressive' tossed around, but I really didn't know that much about it. That's why I picked up The Angry Smile.

As I started reading the descriptions, I thought, "Good grief! We're all passive aggressive." A dismal thought. Soon the dismals exploded when I was equipped with a definition of the disorder: "The essential feature is a pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance." The key word is pervasive. All of us do some of the behaviors some of the time, but it isn't habitual. "These individuals habitually resent, oppose, and resist demands to function at a level expected by others. The resistance is expressed by procrastination, forgetfulness, stubbornness, and intentional inefficiency, especially in response to tasks assigned by authority figures."

The book discusses the major causes of passive-aggressive behavior, such as a reaction to early, prolonged and excessive parental abuse. There are 3 other pathways (causes).

One chapter talks about why people use passive-aggressive behaviors. Another reviews the five levels of passive-aggressive behavior.

Part 2 of the book helps identify the 5 different behaviors at home, at school, in marriage and in the workplace.

Part 3 provides helps for changing this detrimental behavior. I learned how to respond to my daughter who always responds pleasantly that she will do the task I ask her to, but then she never ever gets to it. (In her case, I don't think the behavior is passive-aggressive because I don't think she is angry at me as an authoritative figure, rather I think she's lazy. In the past when she says I'll do it in a minute or when I finish this other activity, I haven't followed through.

There is much to be gleaned from this book.


Framed said...

I so do not like to read self-help books so I will gladly skip this one. I'm getting better about not adding more to my list.

Kailana said...

This actually caught my interest, but I don't know if it is enough to get a copy. I hardly ever read self-help books!

Bookfool said...

That sounds pretty interesting to me. I think my eldest son could be classified as passive-aggressive, although he's toned down in recent years, possibly because he's not living under my roof! :)

Zibilee said...

I think this book sounds really interesting. I have always really wondered what the hallmarks of passive-aggressive behavior are, and wondered if I may be a perpetrator at times. Thanks for posting this, it looks like something I should read.