Passive Aggressive: Understanding The Behavior Explained

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If you have imagined a hypothetical character in your head which is never satisfied with the status quo and wants to push your buttons purposely, congratulations: you’ve effectively described a personality type most of us go to great lengths to avoid.

This person’s lack of responsibility or consideration for others, combined with deliberate evasiveness, manipulation, and negativity towards others, can cause severe problems at home or work. Read on to learn how to live and interact with a Passive Aggressive person.


What is Passive Aggressive?

When it comes to human behavior, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around. ‘Passive aggressive’ is one of them. But what does it mean?

Here’s a quick definition: Passive-aggressive behavior is a covert (not openly expressed) way of being angry. It’s characterized by indirect resistance to another person or an unresolved conflict.

In other words, when you’re passive-aggressive, you may not explicitly say that you’re angry or upset with someone. But your actions will show it. You might make snide comments, ignore someone, or agree to do something but not follow through.

Passive-aggressive behavior can be frustrating and even harmful to relationships. That’s because it’s a way of avoiding direct conflict and honest communication. It can also lead to misunderstandings and resentment.

If you think you might be behaving in a passive-aggressive way, there are some things you can do to change your behavior. Work on communicating more openly and directly with the people in your life. Be assertive instead of passive-aggressive. And if you find yourself getting angry, take some time to calm down before responding. With a little effort, you can start behaving healthier and more constructively.


Understanding Passive Aggressive Behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior can be challenging to understand. Most people think of passive-aggressive behavior as simply being angry or resentful without expressing it directly. However, there is more to passive aggressiveness than meets the eye.

Passive aggressiveness is often a way for people to express anger or frustration indirectly. It can be a way of putting someone down without being directly confrontational. Sedentary aggressive behavior can also be a way of manipulating or controlling others indirectly.

 Passive aggressive behavior often stems from feelings of insecurity or low self-esteem. People who are passive and aggressive may feel like they are not worthy of confrontation or that their anger is invalid. As a result, they may lash out in indirect ways.

Suppose you are dealing with someone who is passive-aggressive. In that case, it is essential to try to understand where their behavior is coming from. Once you know the root cause of passive aggression, you can address it head-on.


Symptoms of Passive Aggressive Behavior

Passive aggressive behavior can manifest in several ways. The most common symptoms include:

Withholding information resources:  A passive-aggressive individual may withhold important information from others to exert control over them. For example, they may refuse to give their coworker the contact information for a client they need to speak with.

Sulking:  Sulking is another common symptom of passive-aggressive behavior. When someone is sulking, they withdraw from social interactions and appear angry or sullen. This behavior is often a way for the individual to express their displeasure with someone or something without directly confronting the issue.

Procrastination:  Passive aggressive individuals often procrastinate to frustrate others. For example, they may agree to do a task but then continually put it off until it becomes a problem for those who are counting on them. This behavior can be highly frustrating for those who are affected by it.

Gossiping:  Gossiping is another form of passive-aggressive behavior. When someone engages in gossip, they usually try to spread rumors or negativity about someone else to make themselves feel better. This type of behavior can be hurtful and damaging to relationships.


Passive Aggressive Examples

It can be confusing and frustrating when you’re on the receiving end of passive-aggressive behavior. You may need help figuring out what’s happening. To help you identify sedentary aggressive behavior, here are some common examples:

  1. The silent treatment: This is when someone refuses to speak to you or engage with you in any way to punish or control you.
  2. Stonewalling : is when someone refuses to listen to you or discuss an issue. They might give you the silent treatment, or they might walk away from you in the middle of a conversation.
  3. Withholding information: This is when someone withholds essential information from you that they know you need. For example, your coworker knows that the project deadline has been moved up but only tells you after the fact.
  4. Not doing what they said they would do: This is when someone agrees to do something for you but doesn’t follow through. For example, your spouse says they will take care of the dishes tonight but then doesn’t do them.

Procrastination is when someone deliberately puts off doing something they know needs to be done. For example, your teenager knows their homework is due tomorrow. Still, instead of starting it tonight, they watch TV and play video games.

  1. Sabotage: This is when someone tries to sabotage your efforts or make you look bad. For example, your coworker deliberately gives you the wrong information to complete your presentation to the boss, a disaster.
  2. Gaslighting: This is when someone makes you doubt your memories or perceptions. For example, your spouse denies saying something hurtful to you, even though you know they did.

Passive-aggressive behavior can be hurtful and destructive. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re on the receiving end.


How To Annoy A Passive-Aggressive Person

If you want to know how to annoy a passive-aggressive person, you can do a few things.

First, make sure that you are always on their radar. This means you should always be in their face, asking them questions and making demands.

Second, never let them get away with anything. If they do something wrong, call them out on it.

Third, always be ready to criticize them. Find things that they do that bother you and point them out.

Fourth, never give them any credit. If they do something right, find a way to downplay it or make it seem like it was not a big deal.

Fifth, take everything they say or do personally. This will ensure that they always feel like they are under attack and that you are never happy with anything they do.

Doing these things will guarantee that the passive-aggressive person in your life always annoys you.


6 Types of Aggressive in Relationships

There are six types of aggression that can occur in relationships:

  1. Physical aggression is when one partner physically harms the other. This can include hitting, kicking, shoving, or using any weapon.
  2. Verbal aggression is when one partner uses words to hurt another. This can include name-calling, put-downs, or threats.
  3. Emotional aggression is when one partner seeks to control the other through fear or manipulation. This can include belittling others, making them feel guilty, or playing mind games.
  4. Financial aggression is when one partner controls the finances to keep the other under their thumb. This can include withholding money, making all the financial decisions, or preventing access to joint accounts.
  5. Social aggression is when one partner uses social status or networks to control or undermine another. This can include isolating the other person from friends and family, sabotaging their relationships, or exposing their secrets.
  6. Sexual aggression is when one partner coerces or forces the other into sexual activity against their will. This can include rape, sexual assault, or pressuring someone into unwanted sexual activity through manipulation or threats.


Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder

A passive-aggressive personality disorder is a condition in which people display indirect, negative, and potentially hostile behavior. This may include procrastinating, withholding information, making excuses, or sowing seeds of doubt. People with a passive-aggressive personality disorder may appear to comply with requests or demands. Still, they actually sabotage the efforts of others. Their behaviors can be frustrating and challenging to deal with. 


The symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder can vary in intensity. Some people with the condition may only exhibit mild symptoms, while others may experience more severe symptoms.

Common symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include:

  1. Indirectly expressing feelings of anger or hostility.
  2. Sulking or pouting
  3. Procrastinating or being late on purpose
  4. Giving backhanded compliments or making sarcastic remarks
  5. Avoiding eye contact or using a “fake” smile
  6. Withholding necessary information or sabotaging someone’s work or efforts

Being passive-resistant to requests or demands from others

People with a passive-aggressive personality disorder often have difficulty communicating their needs and wants directly. They may be afraid of conflict or rejection. As a result, they may express their feelings indirectly through their behaviors. This can cause problems in personal relationships and at work.

For example, a person with a passive-aggressive personality disorder may agree to do a task at work but then do it poorly on purpose. Or they may make excuses for not doing something instead of saying they don’t want to do it.


How To Destroy A Passive-Aggressive Person

When dealing with passive-aggressive people, the best thing you can do is try and understand their behavior. Passive aggressive behavior is often rooted in a person’s insecurity or fear of confrontation. You can diffuse the situation if you can identify the trigger for their behavior.

However, there are times when passive-aggressive behavior is simply unacceptable. Suppose you’ve tried reasoning with the person, and they continue to behave in a passive-aggressive manner. In that case, it may be time to take more drastic measures. Here’s how to destroy a passive-aggressive person:

Ignore them

This may seem counterintuitive, but paying attention to a passive-aggressive person only encourages their behavior. By ignoring them, you deprive them of the satisfaction they get from getting a reaction from you.

Call them out on their bullshit

If the person is incredibly manipulative or hurtful, don’t be afraid to call them out. This will usually throw them off balance and force them to confront their behavior.

Set boundaries

Make it clear what you will and will not tolerate from the passive-aggressive person. Once they realize that they can’t walk all over you, they may back down and behave more respectfully.

How To Deal With Passive Aggression

Passive aggression is a frustrating behavior that can be difficult to deal with. Suppose you’re dealing with a passive-aggressive person. In that case, it’s essential to understand the behavior and how to deal with it effectively.



Hopefully, this article has provided some insight into passive-aggressive behavior and why it exists. If you behave in a passive-aggressive manner or are on the receiving end of such behavior, remember that it is a defense mechanism used to avoid conflict. While it may be frustrating, try to see the other person’s point of view and avoid taking things too personally. With patience and understanding, you can diffuse any tension and come to a resolution.