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How to spot a Passive/Aggressive type.

Updated on September 10, 2014

Passive aggressive behavior

is maligned and dysfunctional by means of trying to control one’s environment at the expense of someone else's. Simply, it is a person who is incapable of having a healthy proactive relationship, where both sides equally share in a straightforward, open, and honest relationship. A healthy relationship promotes genuine conversation that is forthcoming, and allows each person to collectively feel heard while getting their basic needs met without any arguing, manipulation, angry outbursts, or the silent treatment.

How does someone become this way?

Typically, this modeled behavior begins in childhood through dysfunctional parents/caregivers. Manipulation, guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy are standard practices in getting others to comply with the passive aggressor. Children who grow up in this type of environment never really develop a complete sense of self; lacking in self-awareness and maturity.

Every one finds a way to get their basic needs met and these persons do it at the expense of someone or something else. Some enter adulthood not really feeling in touch with themselves or knowing true feelings about self or others. They do not really understand selfless love because not only are disconnected from loving themselves, they also sabotage the love given to them.

You may even see this person as SELFISH and LAZY. They are typically socially immature and resort to acts of sullenness, sabotage, stubbornness, withdrawal, and sarcasm as a means of getting their way or refusing to comply. One of the biggest telltale signs is their unwillingness and inability to take personal responsibility for anything. They will always find a way to remain a victim while passing responsibility for their actions onto someone or something else, even if the excuse is ridiculous.

These types of persons are argumentative and unreasonable at best. They are like lawyers fighting to win a case in court, even though their argument is flawed and invalid. They will bring up nonsense to deviate from the topic at hand, and are good at answering a question with a question. These types of people never get their own needs met because they can’t get to the point nor believe they are listened too, and therefore, will not be able to meet your needs either. And around and around you go!

Signs you are dealing with a passive aggressive persons are:

  1. They cannot be honest and straightforward in communication
  2. Their hostility is never expressed directly
  3. You feel exhausted in their presence
  4. You get tired of fighting over semantics and find it easier to either ignore or comply than power through the long drawn out conversations that can take hours to get through
  5. You can’t figure out how they read the same books you did, but didn’t get anything out of it, not really, nothing changes either.
  6. They have a hard time expressing feelings about themselves or others
  7. They tend to speak in generals-babbling along without really coming to any conclusion except to confuse and exhaust you.
  8. They will not take responsibility for basic household chores and will become seemingly forgetful, procrastinate, withdrawal completely or remove affection, if you push them to follow through on something they previously agreed too
  9. They will try to make you take the blame for their behavior.
  10. They will internally demean or exact revenge on you
  11. You will be misunderstood and falsely accused
  12. They will come up with half-truths and typically blame the way something was "said" as to why they didn’t understand or follow through.
  13. They seem confused a lot especially when you aren't. You think: "I know I explained in away a 4 year old could understand?!?!"

What can I do if I am married to or involved with this type of person?

  1. Get a boundaries book asap! You need solid boundaries and you need to know how to let others suffer their own consequences without feeling guilty or an enabler!
  2. It is not your fault, so do not try to help them because you can’t. They must be willing to take personal responsibility for getting professional help on their own.
  3. End the relationship if they refuse professional help. Otherwise, you will become crazy.
  4. Keep a emotional distance from them. Do not allow your vulnerabilities to be used against you.
  5. Recognize that they will try to confuse you so do not take anything they say, personal.
  6. Remain objective and strong in your stance. Be matter of fact with your words and don’t fall into the word game.
  7. Always teach them how to communicate effectively through example. Don’t lose your temper, it will only make you look defeated and give them an another excuse to use against you.


Spectrum of Dysfunction

From a personal and professional perspective these types Passive Aggressive are on one end of the spectrum while Narcissist are on the other end.

You will find varying levels of dysfunction in-between.

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© 2014 Amy Casale Choisser

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