How Aggressive, Passive, and Limiting Attitudes and Behaviors Affect Us

We have peace and happiness when we are connected to our True Self. Being connected to our True Self allows us to feel empowered and become our Best Self.

We all have differing personalities, strengths, and weaknesses that are expressed in how we navigate the various aspects of our life, and when connected to our True Self we live in harmony with others – we don’t allow these differences to create conflict.

Many of us became disconnected from our True Self because we developed unconscious influences that created misperceptions about who we truly are, and who others truly are.

These misperceptions are derived from being witness to or from experiences we had within our familial, cultural, or social backgrounds, causing conflict within our beings.

Being under the tutelage of these unconscious influences we react in ways that not only undermine us becoming our Best Self, but also affects our relationships with others. Life becomes more difficult than it could be.

Being disconnected from our True Self we do not feel empowered to create the life we want. We often believe how we behave and our ways of reacting to others or situations are attempts to gain authority over our lives, but sometimes they are feeble attempts to counteract feelings of disempowerment.

Most of us are somewhat disconnected to our True Self. We may feel lonely, depressed, left out, disadvanted, or disemp0wered in someway. So rather than cut each other down we must move towards supporting each other.

Unconscious influences show up in selfish, aggressive, passive, or limiting attitudes, and the behaviors these engender. (They also show up in other ways, such as with dysfunctions and addictions, but I am not addressing those here. I am focusing on every-day attitudes and their behaviors that we can more easily choose to change once we understand them). Below are some examples.

Ambition, Success, Power, Pride, and Greed―are all attitudes that we can fall prey to, but that can easily derail our lives if not kept in check.

Ambition, in and of itself, is not a bad quality. Pure aspirations from our souls’ yearning bring harmony into our beings and ultimately direct us toward fulfilling lives. However, ambition can blind us to realities and distance us from those we love.

Success often follows ambition and makes us feel fulfilled for our efforts. However, we must be wary of the allure of what comes with success and the power it brings with it.

Power brings with it authority, and that responsibility must be handled with honor and integrity―not wielded over others, otherwise we will create disharmony for others, and ultimately, our self.

Pride can prevent us from expanding into all that we can be, as it can cause us to become myopic in our views. It may also erect emotional boundaries that can distance us from others.

Greed sets up limiting vibrations about abundance as it carries an underlying belief in the lack.

All these attitudes can derail our successes or alienate us from others.

Aggressive Behaviors and Attitudes: Control, Manipulation, Criticism, Bullying, and Impatienceare protective devices whose intent is to make us feel powerful, but as they come from a position of weakness they further lower our sense of self-worth.

Control: The most pervasive form of Humanity’s protective devices, control gives us a false sense of power over our lives, as well as on those we attempt to wield it over. Most controllers are quite apt to use other techniques to maintain their sense of power.

Manipulation: A controller often resorts to underhanded, manipulative tactics to influence others or situations to get their own way, either through aggressive or passive-aggressive tactics.

Criticism: Most often recognized immediately as blatant disapproval usually accompanies it, criticism can also be masked as someone claiming to help us see or do something better and in their way.

Bullying: An aggressive approach used by those trying to satisfy their injured self-esteem, bullies attempt to scare or control their victims, often intentionally hurting them. They frequently use escalating tactics.

Impatience: A weakness that stems from a lack of knowing that all is well, the person is often irritated with everyone and everything, usually stemmed from growing up in an atmosphere of agitation, anxiety, intolerance, or criticism.

Passive Attitudes and Behaviors: Helplessness, Victim Mentalities, and Passive-Aggressiveness―come about because of low self-esteem and fear of failure. When we fall prey to using passive attitudes and behaviors to counteract our fears or others’ aggressive tendencies, we are recoiling from our inner power base and its ability to empower us.

Instead of using aggressive techniques to get what we want or lashing out to avoid hurt or pain, our personalities combined with our childhood experiences influence us to react passively to real or imagined onslaughts by turning our emotions inward.

Helplessness usually comes about because we have never been encouraged in life or have been criticized and belittled to such an extent that we have given up trying. Lacking self-confidence, one of the best remedies for helplessness is trying new things.

A few years ago I heard Dennis DeYoung from the band Styx say at one of his concerts that “the reason people like me are doing well and are successful is mostly because we failed and got back up and tried again and again, many, many times,” and that failures are often great classrooms of learning. We have to fight our urge to feel helpless when we fail. .1

Victim mentalities develop when we are ineffective at getting what we want and finding our own empowerment. Feeling frustrated, we may adopt responses whereby we resort to blaming our situations on others or the world.

Passive-aggressiveness occurs when we feel helpless, victimized, or simply lack the self-esteem to speak up for ourselves. To be heard or get what we want we resort to subtle, non-aggressive tactics such as sad or long faces, deep sighs, and silent treatments.

Behaviors that can be Aggressive and/or Passive: Self-Indulgence, Envy/Jealousy, and Defensiveness―are attempts to placate our neediness, which do nothing to increase our self-esteem and thereby keep us in a negative mind-set.

Self-indulgence is the placating of our neediness. This encourages us to feel sorry for ourselves. Wallowing in our own issues keeps us stuck in our problems, and we are blinded to the possibilities of our lives.

Envy and Jealousy keep us in a negative frame of mind because they focus on what we lack, as our minds are filled with what another has. We are then not focusing our attention on how to get what we want, and the vibration of discontent will not invite our desires into our sphere.

Defensiveness comes into play when we are invested in being right, want to make the other feel wrong, or feel the need to protect and uphold our position on the subject at hand.

Limiting Attitudes: Minimalist Tendencies and Small-Mindedness―develop because we feel we are not deserving enough, or believe there is not enough love or goods to go around.

Minimalist tendencies keep us in limitation. They develop because we believe there is not enough of whatever we feel we are lacking, whether love or goods, to go around. Focusing on only what we have at the moment and not entertaining the possibility of having more in the future cuts off our connection to better circumstances, both personally and financially.

Small-mindedness plays out as our focusing mainly on the limited or minute details of events or living instead of on the bigger picture. This holds us to a limited view of life, leaving no room for hope of a future with a wider range of possibilities.

When we operate within limiting attitudes, we develop tunnel vision. When we drop minimalist or small-minded tendencies, our beings can then open up to all the potential the Universe holds for us.

Law of Expansion - Universal Law 6 (of 6)

We are either aligned with our True Self, or we are misaligned.  A Course in Miracles tells us we are either acting out of love, or out of fear.

All expressions of love make us feel good, encourage and uplift others, and create harmony in our lives.

All expressions of fear, such as anger, revenge, greed, cruelty, etc., may make us feel good in the moment, but act to distrance us from our True Self and ultimately do not serve us.

As our unconscious influences keep us disconnected from our True Self, to find peace within ourselves, empowerment in our lives, and harmony with others we have to override them so that we can rekindle that connection.

We have to break through the barriers of our unconscious influences and their misperceptions, and the attitudes, reactions, and behaviors they engender that keep us disconnected from the love within our True Self.

Self-examination helps us to unearth the causes of any aggressive, passive, and limiting attitudes and behaviors that keep us from being our Best Self and free from conflict with those around us.

However, when looking at our past or current errors in perception of who we truly are and who others are, we must always be on guard against self-condemnation. We must remember:

The purpose of self-examination is not to make ourselves feel wrong

but to uncover and release what is blocking

our connection to our True Self.

© Rosemary McCarthy, (originally posted October 2016,

updated August 2018).

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1 Dennis de Young, singer from the band Styx, performed at Bourbon Street, Ste. Adele, Quebec, June 23, 2007.

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