Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Passive Aggression

We live on the North side in Pittsburgh and our neighborhood is increasingly faced with the effects of crime and decay of society in the city.  I'm not sure what all the contributing factors are but I think one may be the effects of passive aggression.  Let me explain.

There is a growing tendency of a younger generation to use the anonymity of social media to express hostility and aggression in a passive and ultimately ineffective way.  Twitter posts like "hey guy on the bus behind me, thanks for singing along with your ipod.  I share your love for music" and "person in class behind me, thank you for repeatedly cracking your gum during this test."  Instead of actually addressing the person on the bus or the student in class, we make these comments.  It seems, on the surface, like this is a safe and effective method to deal with irritation.  But in reality it goes nowhere.  So we do what human beings seem to love to do, we do more of something that doesn't work hoping that it will work better!

The effect, I believe, is growing pent-up hostility that eventually comes out in unnatural and unhealthy ways.  So when one of our neighbors this week asked some kids to stop playing basketball at his private hoop, they attacked him, breaking a few ribs and causing other harm.  I can't help but wonder if these kinds of violent outbreaks are not, at least in part, contributable to society's growing inability to deal with little issues in healthy ways.  What if we learned to confront and challenge one another in healthy appropriate ways in the little things?  Perhaps our anger wouldn't grow into uncontrolled rage that causes others harm.  Your thoughts?


Mark Heotzler said...

I completely agree. At times I feel myself cringing at side remarks and complaints made by people about small insignificant issues without addressing the source personally. Yet sadly I cringe even more when I post that facebook status or whisper that comments to my friend. I think something that contributes to this broader problem that infiltrates community cohesiveness and safety is the breakdown of actual neighborhoods and neighbors. Over the past twenty years, every body wants a simple life and doesn't do anything outside of their own comfort. No good deeds or gestures done to each other, no unpacking the groceries for your elderly neighbor, no lending out tools, no culdesac barbecues. People are afraid of other people. Parents can't let their children stay with a neighbor until they get back from work because they are fearful of other people. Mistrust settles in and everyone is now fending for themselves. Is this a tangent, yeah probably, but I think the two issues are closely related.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I also think a sense of entitlement contributes. Who says that the guy who's bothered someone is singing on the bus is entitled to a bus ride that goes exactly as he wants? Perhaps being grateful that you have access to the bus and transportation to get to where you are going would make his bus ride more pleasant. Let's stop looking for others to make us happy and understand that our contentment and joy is not dictated by our circumstances! This Twitter stuff you talked about is just a vehicle for this type of vice! Thank you!