My natural tendency is to be passive. I used to enjoy peaceful relationships and hate conflict. Go along to get along was my unspoken motto.
While Shana and I were engaged I dismissed all conflict and acted as if I was fine. Everything wasn’t fine. In fact, I began experiencing chest pain that eventually landed me in an urgent care center. It felt like a 15 pound brick was on my chest every morning.
Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, tension, anxiety and anger continued to stew until I couldn’t contain it any longer.
I began having outbursts of anger and verbal aggression that left Shana in tears. It was a lot like a volcano. Everything appeared to be fine but then it suddenly erupts!
The word passive is derived from a Latin word meaning “to suffer.” My experience with passivity resonates with that meaning. For years, I suffered through anxiety, depression, and an inability to deal with conflict.
Every now and then choosing the path of passivity or inaction is beneficial, however it can do a lot of damage emotionally, physically, and relationally when it is your go-to response to life’s challenges.
Although it’s not always easy, acknowledging the impact your passive behavior is having on you and taking steps towards assertiveness can have a huge impact on your health.
Next week I’ll talk about my journey to a more assertive approach and how it’s impacted my relationships.