There's a lot of disdain for passive aggressive behavior, and the disdain only drives it deeper underground. Let's compassionately acknowledge that we're all capable of it, use curiosity to understand its source, and try to find better ways of owning our power and autonomy.
A smoker goes for a hike, decides that she's careful enough with her cigarettes to light up, and accidentally starts a forest
Evidence shows that we think we're superior to others in every domain: We believe we're smarter, more attractive, more likable, and more skilled at a wide range of tasks, from math to leadership. For a long time, I hoped these narcissistic tendencies wouldn't extend to the domain of giving and helping. I was wrong.
We have long known that lucky charms and superstitious rituals provide psychological comfort to those hoping to win the lottery, knock in a winning run, or get an A on a calculus exam, but now there is good evidence that our superstitions actually work -- not through magic but through psychology.
Why do we believe fictions in the face of facts? When do the scales fall from our eyes?
Congratulations, You're Mediocre -- Now What to Do (hint: Bodhidharma and Jack Black would approve..!)
We tend to think of ourselves as more talented, knowledgeable, and indispensable than others. The danger of this inflated self-image is thinking we don't need to work harder than our competition.
It is well-known that women have curious powers to reduce men to hysteria or violence. Less well-known is the power of promiscuous female flies to reduce scientists to apparently self-deceptive blindness to scientific facts.
For years, psychologists have known that a lot of us exaggerate our qualities. In my case, it's overestimating how young I look. But get this: A 2009 study found that students who exaggerated their grades and grade point average showed "greater achievement motivation and positive affect."
In the dynamics of the sociology of science, there must be some payout for self-deceived true believers.