An Overview of Passive Aggressive Behavior


Are you having difficulty coping with someone else’s passive aggressive behavior? People with passive aggressive personality disorder seem very pleasant and helpful on the surface, but they aren’t. Passive aggressive people have difficulty expressing anger and hostility directly. Hence they find cunning ways in which to express their aggression. For instance, a passive aggressive person may deliberately shirk a responsibility with the intention of upsetting someone else. What are the symptoms of passive aggressive personality disorder? What causes passive aggressive behavior? If someone is being passive aggressive towards you, how should you handle it?

The Symptoms

Passive aggressive individuals can be difficult to spot because their hostility is never obvious. However, there are certain patterns to passive aggressive behavior. For instance, a passive aggressive person might be consistently late for appointments you make with her, deliberately forget to do certain tasks, or ‘accidently’ misplace important things. A passive aggressive individual could say things that can be interpreted in more than one way. This obscure way of speaking is used to make other people doubt themselves. Passive aggressive people often avoid any kind of intimacy or dependency. That’s because they usually find it difficult to trust other people. A passive aggressive person may well cause chaotic or dramatic situations to occur on purpose. They also tend to sulk, blame other people for their own failures, gossip maliciously, procrastinate, harbor resentments, and make excuses for not performing as expected.

The Causes

Why do some people have passive aggressive personality disorder, while others do not? Passive aggressive personality disorder is thought to begin in childhood. Children who live in a household where direct and honest expression of anger is prohibited often learn to use passive aggressive behaviors in order to express themselves. Unfortunately, children who learn to use passive aggressive methods of communicating hostility don’t usually develop adequate self-expression skills. Hence they often become rather spiteful adults.

How to Respond

What should you do if you think someone’s behavior towards you is passive aggressive? Passive aggressive behavior can be rather difficult to cope with. That’s because passive aggressive people seem agreeable and charming on the surface. Hence when someone is passive aggressive towards you, it’s easy to doubt your own suspicions concerning them.

When dealing with a passive aggressive individual, it’s very important to keep your patience and remain composed. Any show of anger or frustration on your part will only reinforce the passive aggressive behavior. Don’t let the passive aggressive person’s words or behavior make you feel miserable.