Article by Deborah Lloyd, Reiki Master
Unlike the angry client in the previous article, where it is relatively easy to detect this client, the passive-aggressive client may be more difficult. This person may take actions that are passive in nature but are actually aggressive in intention. It may be difficult to figure out what is really going on, as the behaviors can be quite subtle but you know somewhat is not quite right.
Let’s look at some examples of passive-aggressive behaviors in a Reiki practice setting:
- The client always arrives fifteen minutes late and expects a full session, although you have subsequent appointments. He becomes sullen when you inform him the session is over.
- The client makes a derogatory remark such as, “I like the atmosphere of your room, but your Reiki is not as strong as (fill in the name).”
- The client asked you what your fee is when scheduling the appointment. After the session, she asks again and grimaces when you tell her. Then, she asks if you’d accept $20 less, with no reason given.
- The client “forgot” to bring cash or credit card with him.
It is intentional that my last two examples are money-related, as often fees are the area where the passive-aggressive client focuses. The underlying message from the client may be, “I think your fees are too high, but I am not comfortable telling you,”; or, “I should be treated differently than your other clients.” There can be a mild tone of arrogance, where the client has a misperception s/he deserves better treatment than other clients.
Sometimes, comments that seem passive-aggressive are made by a person who is uncomfortable being direct or fully honest. Some families, and close friend groups, have established an indirect method of communication. No one clearly states what they are experiencing and feeling, but the group members try to express their preferences in subtle ways. There can be a great deal of guesswork in these situations! When these people interact with others outside of the group, their indirect ways of communication can seem passive-aggressive – although they had no negative feelings.
When the indirect client talks about the Reiki session, the Reiki practitioner may feel unsure if it was beneficial to him, or not. He may make vague or noncommittal comments, and you may think he thought it was a waste of time and money. Or, he may make comments that seem more passive-aggressive in nature, but that was not his intention. It can be confusing!
A few years ago, a client of mine stated the session did not seem to change anything. While I provided some information about the unseen effects of Reiki at times, she did not respond and left quickly. I could not figure out what had just happened. Much to my surprise, a few of her friends, whom she referred, contacted me for sessions within the next few weeks. And, she returned in a month or so. She shared she has a difficult time in expressing her feelings, as that was not allowed in her family of origin. She apologized for her swift departure after the first session. She was not being passive-aggressive but rather admitted to difficulties with direct communication.
One of the important lessons I learned from her is, “Don’t assume anything about a client.” We never know anyone’s full life story, and we do not know what the immediate effects of Reiki may be.
When you suspect passive-aggressiveness behaviors, it is good to be patient and try to determine what is really going on with the client. However, it is also appropriate to stand your ground and not give in to irrational demands, such as making exceptions regarding appointment times and fees. Ask for spiritual guidance in how to deal with these situations and send love and light to these clients.
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Deborah Lloyd is a Usui and Karuna® Reiki Master and certified holistic therapy practitioner, providing Reiki sessions and training in Asheville, NC. Deborah is the author of two books, 22 Messages from the Archangels; and, Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons. She is also one of the co-authors of Reiki 101: 101 Answers for Your Reiki Questions. Reach Deborah at http://www.deblloydhealing.com/, firstname.lastname@example.org and at Deb Lloyd Healing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/deblloydhealing)