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The Passive Bully

I hate it when people preface a statement with things like “Not to be mean, but”, or “Not to be nosy, but” – etc., ad infinitum… 

If you’re trying to be honest with someone, then just say it.  Don’t start off by claiming that they’re going to automatically take your statement wrong.  If you know that they’re going to read something else into it… obviously you know that the words are going to be hurtful, upsetting, or just plain hard to hear objectively, and you quite simply don’t care about their feelings.  You want to make a statement, but you don’t want to get nailed for it.

You’re going into the situation, knowing full well that you’re being aggressive, nosy, blunt, mean, whatever, and you’re trying to cover your tracks… save your own butt from recrimination… all with those few words.  I’m sorry, it doesn’t wash with me.

I prefer the honestly insulting remark to the “You took that wrong” track.

I’ve heard it before.

The debacle with my brother a couple of years ago.

One of the statements he made in his nasty e-mail to me was “My little sister died years ago, I don’t know you”.

When I questioned that, got angry and hurt by it… I was told by him and by my mother that “He didn’t mean it that way, you took it wrong”.


How do you take a statement like that incorrectly?

I’m sorry, once the words are out, you can’t take them back, can’t soften the initial blow.  You can apologize, and try to make up for any hurt caused, but you can’t make it not-have-happened.

This is passive bullying.  Making sweeping statements, prefacing them with “I’m not saying this to be mean, nosy, etc.”, and when the other party gets hurt, claim that they took your “honesty” wrong.

Don’t be passive.  If you have something to say, just own up to it.  Say it, and take your lumps like the adult you think you are.

Grow up.


4 thoughts on “The Passive Bully

  1. I love this post. I guess I never thought of it that way, as passive bullying. Luvs ya!!

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