What is Passive Aggressive and how to Identify it
How to Identify Passive Aggressive Behaviour
Passive aggressive refers to a person who does not show outward anger or does not seem to be malicious. The passive aggressive individual often comes across as nice, gracious and unassuming at first glance. However, interacting with a passive aggressive individual can leave you feeling as if you did something wrong. Here are a few tips to identify a passive aggressive personality in yourself or others:
Traits of a Passive Aggressive Person
1) Frequently make sarcastic comments.
2) Opinions are often condescending
3) Blame others for their errors or poor performance
4) Resists requests to improve performance and finds excuses for unacceptable outcomes(payback)
5) Needs to be validated by others but also fears this validation.
6) Low self-esteem. They feel that everyone else is in a position of authority over them.
7) Have difficulty saying no to requests
8) Critical of the person or persons they depend on
9) Manipulate others to get what they want since they don't believe they will get it if they simply ask.
10) Respects authority while at he same time feeling resentment, frustration and anger at persons in a position of authority.
Passive Aggressive - A Case Study
Do you recognize any of these characteristics in your own behaviour or in the behaviour of family members and friends? I am sure any number of us can identify with a few of these characteristics, however, that does not necessarily mean that you are passive aggressive. I actually do know a few people with all of these characteristics. Here is one example of a passive aggressive co-worker.
Bonnie is an overweight, blond hair employee worked with me at the same office for a few years. In conversations with her she never appeared to like anyone and was always critical of someone in a sort of indirect, sarcastic way. At the same time, she always spoke in a very low pitch and was always outwardly pleasant to the same people she critized. She even confided in me once that she had the ability to dislike someone yet greet them as if she loved them. I asked her if that applied to me also.
She was not an attractive woman but could have been if she paid any attention to herself. Her hair was short cut and never styled. She wore clothing to work that made her look like she was working in the garden or cleaning her house. She also rotated among 4 outfits and never wore anything new during the time I knew her. She expressed selfbout her body and her looks.
Bonnie was at the same time a smart woman with degrees coming out of her ears, even thoughto hear her speak or explain anything you wouldn't know. She couldn’t understand why she never got a promotion. I certainly thought she was capable even though I thought her outward appearance worked against her. She always seemed willing to help and I never heard her say no to anyone. She appeared to always befriend her superiors who all seemed to like her very much. At the same time she always expressed resentment by saying they weren’t doing their jobs and that they were expecting too much of her.
You got the impression that she always felt that she could do her supervisors and her co-workers jobs better. This resentment was often expressed when she recounted in detail the disagreements she had with her supervisors decisions, in a very emotional state. Yet she kept a very low profile at staff meetings, avoiding any kind of confrontation. She avoided questions and comments and even though she would have opinions, they were mot espressed in the boardroom.
Bonnie’s main skill however, was in the manipulation of people. She would decide to take a day off without advising anyone even her supervisors. They would have to call her and she would related to them some sob story. They would then become so entangled in her web of pity that they spoke constantly about what Bonnie was going through. At one time when she didn’t come in and couldn’t be reached, the supervisor was thinking of visiting her at home to see if she was OK and looked visibly out of sorts at not being able to reach her. The same concern was never shown to other employees and they always wondered what they were doing wrong and what Bonnie was doing right.
Another way of manipulation was through making her supervisors believe that she was the best and everyone else was incompetent. She would do so with carefully placed remarks about a person’s performance on a project and before you knew what hit you, she was assuming control of the project even though she didn't have a clue.This type of manipulation worked well with one supervisor but it didn’t work with the other.
I can probably write a few more pages recounting Bonnie’s passive aggressive behaviour however, this is just an example of what passive aggressive behaviour is. A passive aggressive person avoids confrontation but harbours resentment. The passive aggressive person often has low self esteem and needs to be validated constantly. To this end they use manipulation to gain sympathy, attention and to influence outcomes. Do you know a passive aggressive person at work, school or in your home?
More by this Author
As a plus sized woman, you need to highlight your assets rather than hide them
Donald trump would like to be President of the United States but a look at his epic business fails raises questions about his ability to deliver on his promise to make America great
Drinking rum is not only a wonderful treat but it is also good for you. The benefits of rum include lowering blood pressure and relieving stress.