It’s not a request but a demand – no matter how warmly the oppressor smiles or how often he says ‘Please’ – it’s always a demand. A pressing demand on your precious time, a demand on your peace of mind, a demand to allow yourself to be oppressed and dominated.
A demand, by definition, demands an oblique denial. There’s no such thing as a straight ‘No’. It is always a ‘No’ masquerading as a bold ‘Yes’.
A demand must be dealt with strategic delay. Take all your time, and then some more. Meanwhile, watch cat videos.
Internalize that the world is out there to get you. Internalize that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Internalize that you must breed misunderstanding and veiled hostility.
Criticism must find its way out as a compliment. Say, ‘thank you’ only when you don’t mean it, admire most passionately only that which you most deeply abhor, say ‘sorry’ when you expect an apology, and suffer in silence when the world pretends to take you literally.
‘Never mind’ negates everything said before it. It’s a base so strong it can neutralize any acid. Use it wisely. A novice might venture to call someone out as a ‘bitch’ and then say, ‘Never mind’. A more seasoned passive aggressor would only present a sharp hint of aggression, an intense terse verse limned with a casual indifference, and then conclude it with the coda of ‘Never mind!’
Let your words say what your actions don’t and vice-versa. An eye-roll is a fine accompaniment for ‘I’m fine’ and ‘Nothing’. When you have much to say, don’t utter a word. Inflict your inexplicable silence on your oppressors.
There’s no better place to be passive aggressive than Facebook. ‘Like’ ironically. Omit and arrange tags with tact. Burn bridges real-slow and let the monoxide suffocate them to death.
Confuse your oppressor by subverting expectations. When you’re expected to be annoyed, smile. When you’re expected to disagree, agree whole-heartedly. Trust your instincts when it comes to knowing what is ‘expected’ of you. Some qualities, like nobility, are seldom expected of anyone – use a demonstration of such a quality to strafe your oppressor.
Remember Nietzsche – “There are no facts, only interpretations.”