Sunday, December 11, 2011

Arab men and passive-aggressive behavior: Do they go hand-in-hand?

Before starting this post off, I'd like to begin by stating that this by no means describes every Arab man out there. In fact, a lot of the Arab men I know are the sweetest and most caring men I have ever met. This post is just a generalization that is based on my personal experiences through my own endeavors as well as the acts I’ve observed through my girlfriends and even through some of my male friends. And, of course, this behavior is certainly not limited to Arab men, but just what I have deduced through researching this topic. The reason I have decided to write a post such as this one is because I happened to have stumbled upon the term, “passive-aggressive behavior” while studying for an exam. Never having heard or read about it before, I had a sudden epiphany. The kind that gave my mind and heart closure after all these years. And that moment was when I finally understood: It was never me. You’ll understand what I mean by that at the end of this post.

Merriam-Webster defines passive-aggressive as, “being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness)” I know you're probably clueless at this point about what I am trying to state, but just bear with me. Have you ever found your significant other to have an uncontrollable rage and don't understand why? Keep reading on, and I'm sure this post might answer that question for you. 

I have read a couple of articles on passive-aggressive behavior, and a lot of them have said that the causes are unknown and could occur because of a number of reasons; be they biological or external factors. However, a lot of them have said that it’s got to do with how parents handle their child's tantrums at a young age. Basically, how controlling parents are over their child’s self-expression. And that is how I came to the conclusion of how it is Arab men that tend to have the typical P/A behavior… For those of you who don’t know… Arab parents can be extremely controlling and may even resort to beating their children, mostly their boys, in order to stop them from their outbursts or even to “shape them into becoming a man.” Which, in turn, causes these boys to search for other alternatives to let their frustrations out. And what parents don't know is that it definitely does shape them into becoming the men they are, but not in the ways they hoped.

Before I continue on to explaining several characteristics that make up an individual’s passive-aggressive behavior, I’d like to begin by sharing my personal experience with you all. Of course, I am going to respect the privacy of that person, so no names will be mentioned in the course of this post.

I was in a relationship with an Arab man for three years, and, at least to my current knowledge, we were in love. From the start, he had serious trust issues, and always accused me of cheating even though I was with him most of the time… He also made me stop talking to and seeing all of the male friends I had, which of course, is my fault too as I shouldn’t have even tolerated demands as drastic as that. But, I was young and na├»ve, you also should know that when it was good, it was really good, so I can’t say it was always bad. Anyway, a lot of the times, he would get mad at me for small things and even go so far as to swearing at me and calling me bad names for insignificant reasons such as forgetting to call him to wake him up. Still, I let that go even though it took a great toll in my self-esteem, yes, emotional abuse does really hurt one's self-image… Which again, is partly my fault for enduring it. During these anger outbursts the one thing I would always think was, “How could a man from such a good, wholesome family with no extreme problems in his life be like this? How is it that he has no faith in me? What was it that I did that was so wrong for him to have shouted as much as he did? Maybe it is me… Maybe I am all those things he’s calling me.”

I could not have been more wrong.

According to Dr. Wetzler’s book, “Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man” the several traits that can be in are:

  • ·      FEAR OF DEPENDENCY  - Unsure of his autonomy & afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs - usually by trying to control you. 
  • ·      FEAR OF INTIMACY - Guarded & often mistrustful, he is reluctant to show his emotional fragility.  He's often out of touch with his feelings, reflexively denying feelings he thinks will "trap" or reveal him, like love.  He picks fights to create distance.
  • ·      FEAR OF COMPETITION - Feeling inadequate, he is unable to compete with other men in work and love.  He may operate either as a self-sabotaging wimp with a pattern of failure, or he'll be the tyrant, setting himself up as unassailable and perfect, needing to eliminate any threat to his power.
  • ·      FEELING VICTIMIZED - The P/A man protests that others unfairly accuse him rather than owning up to his own misdeeds.  To remain above reproach, he sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of your excessive demands and tirades.
  • ·      MAKING EXCUSES & LYING - The P/A man reaches as far as he can to fabricate excuses for not fulfilling promises.  As a way of withholding information, affirmation or love - to have power over you - the P/A man may choose to make up a story rather than give you a straight answer.
  • ·      CHRONIC LATENESS & FORGETFULNESS - One of the most infuriating & inconsiderate of all P/A traits is his inability to arrive on time.  By keeping you waiting, he sets the ground rules of the relationship.  And his selective forgetting - used only when he wants to avoid an obligation.
  • ·      AMBIGUITY - He is master of mixed messages and sitting on fences.  When he tells you something, you may still walk away wondering if he actually said yes or no.
  • ·      SULKING - Feeling put upon when he is unable to live up to his promises or obligations, the P/A man retreats from pressures around him and sulks, pouts and withdraws.
All of these traits explain the exact same thing my ex-boyfriend had. Which is exactly why I was shocked. And honestly, it’s something I can’t blame him for. Perhaps it was him, or maybe it was the way he was brought up, or it could even be genetics, as some researchers have concluded… Either way, this isn’t only an issue of my own. A lot of my girlfriends who were/are dating Arab men told me they were having issues almost exactly like mine. At least now, I have an answer for them.

In writing this post, I hope to have made two things clear: 
1) I have officially rid of the past-ghost that's been following me around and 
2) For women, myself included, to open up their eyes and realize that it is not them who are the issue, but their so-called “boo’s.” So either tell them they've got a problem (which they probably will not listen to) or leave 'em. There are PLENTY of other fish in the sea. 


  1. Awesomely amazing post! You little psychological minx you!

  2. Arab men and passive-aggressive behavior: Do they go hand-in-hand? - BEST TITLE POST EVER!!!!!!!

  3. OK. you met a Bad guy And because the Arab guy
    you have analyzed all the Arab personality in one person...Genius.
    There are geniuses of racists Applaud
    you r good example why we says USA ppl got nuts in their head.
    how many people were killed because of christian terrorism?
    Let's not mention the poor Indians. Who have been subjected to genocide of the Christians.
    And will not mention Nuclear bombs on Japan. Vtnam and massacres. And blacks from Africa are kidnapped and their bodies thrown into the sea. . And gallows against blacks.
    Let me tell you the real terrorism, the U.S. made On the Arabs.
    American terrorists stole 250.000.000 gallons of oil from Iraq
    American terrorists took the lives of 1.500.000 people in Iraq and using White phosphorus to burning the women and children.
    American thives found 0 weapons of mass destruction.
    And above this you are hypocrites and liars.
    Dear, not the Arabs who need to correct their photos.
    But you and your country should be ashamed for the next hundred years

  4. Hi Anime van,

    Clearly I have offended you in some way which I'm sorry on my part, but if you are going to reply in this manner, you should at least do some research on who I am and where I come from. I, myself, am an arab. I am not an American. And I stick by what I have said in this post as it is MY thoughts and MY opinions so I'm not going to be ashamed of anything. And everything in this post, as I have said, is what I have observed with not only myself, but numerous of my girlfriends too. So this post was what I concluded out of research I have done. Which you have completely failed to do, dear.

  5. Excellent title – your observations are true to my experience, however limited.


Thanks for commenting fellow Diem-er! xx