- Gender and Relationships»
- Relationship Problems & Advice
Passive Aggressive People
Passive Aggressive People Hide Their Feelings
How a Person Becomes Passive Aggressive
Passive aggressive people are all around us, in our relationships with friends, family, at work, with neighbors, etc. Learning what passive aggression is, can help you see this behavior in the people you are dealing with. Understanding the reasons for their behavior will not change them, but it can change the way you approach them.
Passive aggressive behavior comes in two forms. One is an occasional reaction where a person chooses to avoid conflict and does not show how they really feel. They may agree in words, but not comply with their actions. They may do something spiteful. They may hide their true feelings instead speaking honestly. We all do this on occasion. The other form of passive aggressive behavior is a pervasive way of being. This person behaves and reacts in a passive aggressive manner in most everything they do. This type of passive aggression is known as passive aggressive personality disorder.
Although anger is a natural and normal human emotion, in some families the expression of anger is unacceptable. In order to conform and not upset their parents, the child learns to squash their self expression. But the anger doesn’t go away, they just hide it. Feelings are powerful and any feeling will come out in one way or another. So the hidden anger, gets let out in disguised ways. Indirect anger breeds hostility and dishonesty in every relationship.
The emotions that cannot be directly expressed are let out in covert and alternative ways that seem more socially acceptable. This is the basis of passive aggressive behaviors. We are not born knowing how to communicate. The best communicators are assertive people.
Difference Between an Assertive Person and a Passive Aggressive Person
Assertive people state what they feel and get what they need by communicating in direct and effective ways that do not insult anyone they are dealing with. Assertiveness takes confidence and is a skill that can be acquired. Passive aggressive people are not taught and were not allowed to be assertive, to state their needs. What they required was ignored, what they wanted was put down, and what they needed was neglected. This causes a child to sulk, to withdraw emotionally, to communicate indirectly, and to handle things immaturely.
Passive Aggression and Anger
The Behavior of Passive Aggressive People
Passive aggressive people find ways to procrastinate. They are often obstinate, are late with their tasks, and do what is asked of them poorly. The person or people they target, they view as an authority figure. This creates angry feelings towards this person because the authority figure represents the parent who shut them down as a child.
Revenge and the Passive Aggressive Person
The passive aggressive person plots to get back at the authority figures without them knowing how angry they feel at them. They will look to sabotage their targets to frustrate them, get them angry, and have themselves look like the victim. The passive aggressive person looks to cause indirect problems so nothing can be pinned on them. If they are caught, they deny, or say they are sorry, but in reality they don’t mean it.
Being in a relationship with a passive aggressive person can cause a roller coaster of confusing emotions. For the passive aggressive person, they feel powerful by causing difficulties to the other person. The passive aggressive person gets the other person to show their anger, and this lets the passive aggressive person to feel their anger vicariously.
Passive aggressive people are trying to avoid confrontation. This is the passive part of their behavior. They let their aggressive part out in indirect ways, so that no one knows how angry they really feel. Passive aggressive behavior is very destructive to relationships. Over time nearly all relationships with people who are passive aggressive become dysfunctional, destructive, and frustrating.
At its heart, passive aggressive people are poor communicators. They have an inner frustration that they are unable to express their emotions in a clear, direct, and honest way. They have learned to deal with their feelings with maladaptive behaviors.
Their behavior and way of thinking is so ingrained once they become adults, it becomes ingrained in their personality. It is an emotional coping mechanism that causes negative thinking, discouragement, and an inner frustration that get gets repressed to a point that they are not aware of their own behavior. Yet the anger still needs to come out. They blame, talk behind the other person’s back, get moody, give the other person the silent treatment, and express their angry feelings through sarcastic backhanded comments.
Passive Aggressive People Look to Take Revenge
Passive Aggressive People are Abusive People
Many passive aggressive people have a dependent personality and tend to look at things in an all or nothing way.
Passive aggressive people are not necessarily bad people, it makes them difficult people. Most passive aggressive people have low self esteem and poor communication skills.
Passive aggressive people are abusive people. But it is hard to recognize that you have been abused because you have no physical scars. Passive aggressive people disguise their abusive actions. They are usually emotionally abusive, but to the outside world they appear loving and caring.
They do not express their anger in healthy ways. They do not even know they are feeling resentful. They are in denial of their behavior. They have no insight into their own feelings and often feel misunderstood. A passive aggressive person believes they are being held to unreasonable standards when they are confronted about their behavior.
Passive aggressive people tend to be ambiguous. The often say one thing, but will do another. You are best to judge a passive aggressive person by their actions more than their words. They will agree to do something, but purposely forget. They will not take responsibility for their actions. If they can’t be blamed, then they must be the victim. They believe they are faultless and everyone else around them is flawed. They will never express their anger. On the outside they appear agreeable. This is the way they were taught to behave as children.
Passive Aggressive People feel Misunderstood
They stuff their anger while looking like they are accommodating. At the same time they plot their revenge at their targets. They fear being dependent on their mates. They want to be autonomous, they don’t want to be alone. They battle inwardly between their needs of dependency and their need to have no one make requirements of them. They fight this need by controlling the other person. They want you to think they depend on you, and they will make sure you can’t depend on them. The passive aggressive person has trust issues. They are afraid of becoming intimately attached to someone else.They punish the other person in some way to give themselves distance. They will withhold, they will do things to create distance. If you ask a passive aggressive person to do something for you, they will create ways to not do it. They will make sure you don’t get things your way. They will act as if it is important to give it to you, but they rarely follow through with giving it to you. They want to make you feel like it is too much to ask them for things. The passive aggressive person makes themselves the victim. They feel like people don’t understand them and are treating them unfairly. They also feel a sense of entitlement. They will take offense at your requests or statements as though they are unreasonable expectations. They will procrastinate and cause other people to feel frustrated.
In the long term, passive aggressive people cause relationships to become destructive, dysfunctional, and difficult. They are hard people to deal with and because they have no insight into their behavior, it is hard to get them help or to get the relationship to be better than it is.