I tend to think people shouldn't diagnose themselves by internet info. Especially people like my patients/clients. Not so much for me. I will do it to no end. I have no shame.
So I took the liberty and diagnosed a family member (by marriage - I make no blood claim) with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder. Wasn't that great of me? Don't worry, I didn't inform her of her new disease. And no, for those that have asked, my SIL does not know about my blog.
See, my SIL is meeting us to finish cleaning out my MIL's house. Not a fun chore by any stretch of the imagination and compounded by dealing with the SIL craziness. And her behavior cannot be explained by the stress of the unfortunate situation because this is how she acts ALL. THE. TIME.
We have a very limited amount of time. Therefore, my smart husband and my smart self chose to fly in on Friday night, and have all day Saturday and Sunday to get done what needs to happen. We have to go to other businesses on Saturday while they are open. She chose to fly in Saturday at 1:00 in the afternoon. The airport is a full hour away. And a full hour back. And waiting time. And she will need to stop at the store for food because without a constant supply of food she might perish-and-die-right-on-the-spot. We (my smart husband and my smart self) are renting an SUV because we need to haul stuff away. Renting it with our money. She is taking her mom's old car home from the house, which we do not have keys to. Here's a classic look at how conversations with her go. This is the email we received, over a week ago with no normal human conversation preceding it:
"Hi I booked my flight. I arrive on Saturday at 12:55.
I will ask Jane to pick me up unless you can.
If she can't then you will have to help get me to the house."
The end. That's all she wrote.
Passive: "...unless you can" - is that a question? Wouldn't it have been easier to say, "Will you pick me up from the airport?"
Or how about, "Will you take 2-1/2 - 3 hours out of a day where you need every available hour to get things done and pick me up from the airport with the only available vehicle because I am an inconsiderate moron who could not see the logic of flying in Friday night for the exact same price which would have made it easier for everyone?" That would have have worked just fine. And a fine summary of the situation, if I do say so myself. See, I can meet passive-aggressive head to head.
Aggressive: "...you will have to help me..." Um, I don't HAVE to do anything.
This crap drives
In dealing with a PA (Passive-Aggressive), we have learned some techniques to make life easier for ourselves. (This took more internet research - don't ya love the internet?) One is to be very clear on what you are asking. Never beat around the bush with a PA. Another is that you always make the PA take responsibility for their words and actions. PA's are masters of not doing this. So with her, we've learned to use her own words to reply. It forces her to take responsibility for her choice of words. In emails, we will often put them in quotes when responding.
My smart husband's response:
"If you want me to pick you up at the airport, you will have to mail me a set of keys to the other car. Ally will likely need the rental car during that time frame."
And despite her chronic claims of lack of communication on our part, she did not respond. However, during a brief conversation yesterday (yes they actually SPOKE) she told my husband, "I still don't have a ride from the airport. I can't get a hold of Jane."
To which my husband, refusing to give in, replied, "Oh."
And then he added (again), "If you want me to pick you up, you need to send me a car key."
Her reply, "It's too late to do that now."
Him, "You can two-day it and it will be here Thursday. Or you can overnight it to Mom's neighbor, I'll get it when I arrive."
Her, "I don't think I can do that."
Again, the question Will you please pick me up from the airport? was not asked. Isn't this a fun little game? I think I may shoot somebody. Or maybe just pull my fingernails off one by one - that would be more fun.
You, too, can be an internet psychologist/psychiatrist/mental health professional! It's as close as your local computer!