Passive-aggressiveness is a behavior where people tend to avoid direct conflict and express their anger indirectly through sulking, procrastination, withdrawal, stubbornness, controlling, and sabotaging tasks (1).
In fact, fake politeness is rated as the worst example of passive-aggressive behavior, according to 24% of respondents. Other behaviors ranking among the worst include fake or feigned innocence (17%) and weaponized kindness (14%). People use weaponized kindness by being overly kind as a manipulation tactic.
Resentment and opposition to the demands of others, especially the demands of people in positions of authority. Resistance to cooperation, procrastination and intentional mistakes in response to others' demands. Cynical, sullen or hostile attitude. Frequent complaints about feeling underappreciated or cheated.
Acts out aggression physically
A passive-aggressive person may slam doors, move things around loudly, or use other physical means of getting their point across without words.
Specific signs of passive-aggressive behavior include: Resentment and opposition to the demands of others, especially the demands of people in positions of authority. Resistance to cooperation, procrastination and intentional mistakes in response to others' demands. Cynical, sullen or hostile attitude.
If a friends buys a new house, the passive aggressive may say “It's a nice starter home.” You buy a new car and the passive aggressive says “That's a great car, it's almost as nice as John's.” “I love your new dress, I wish I had one like that but I think I'm too skinny for that style.”
Passive-aggressive actions can erode the health of your relationships and friendships. Your passive-aggression points to an unmet need, and if you don't communicate openly, you likely will never get this need met, and the relationship may crumble around it. Passive aggression can hurt your career.
Assertive, not aggressive, confrontation is the best way to frustrate the goals of a passive-aggressive person. You see, passive-aggressive people hate confrontation. It's not their style. When you catch them in the moment and stand up for yourself assertively, you catch them off guard.
What is passive-aggressive personality disorder? Passive-aggressive personality disorder (PAPD) causes people to express negative feelings and emotions subtly or passively rather than directly. This often creates a contradiction between what they say and do.
Loneliness as passive-aggressive behavior
A passive-aggressive person will avoid face-to-face confrontation. They can't show their feelings; therefore, being lonely will improve peace of mind. Most passive aggressors will isolate themselves to clear harsh feedback.
“People who are passive-aggressive often [have] low self-esteem; they tend to be anxious and feel that they must control others,” explains Colleen Wenner, a licensed mental health counselor in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
They ask questions that make you feel defensive.
Instead of asking, "What does that involve?" or saying, "I've heard about keto diets, but don't know much about them," or even just, "How is that going for you?" a passive-aggressive person might say, "Why did you ever decide to do that?"
People who behave passive-aggressively do not want others to notice or respond to their aggression, but they still want to communicate their emotions. There is no single method that works for all types of passive-aggressive behavior.
You act passive-aggressively toward them.
It occurs when you don't want to directly act out to express a negative emotion. For example, you become sullen or sulk when you're around your romantic partner's friends but perk up once they leave.
Silence and non-responsiveness are not only passive aggressive forms of manipulation and attention seeking; they can also be used as tools to promote changes in behavior.
Passive-Aggressive Behavior Management. Many people don't realize that they're being passive-aggressive. The behavior may feel "normal" to them.
The silent treatment can often be used when the person doesn't have the tools to respond differently. When faced with the triggering of strong feelings, they may not know what else to do — so they go quiet. It can also be a passive-aggressive response to avoid directly communicating how (hurt) they feel.
It is a form of manipulation. It's indirect and dishonest. Anyone can be passive-aggressive at times. Exaggerated interest or sweetness (but you feel like you'll be stabbed in the back the moment you leave the person.
Passive aggression is using subtle signs in regular action. This can mean that you are constantly mocking the person you do not like. You could be making fun of the way they walk, talk, or certain quirks of theirs.
Passive-aggressive personality disorder, also called negativistic personality disorder, is characterized by procrastination, covert obstructionism, inefficiency and stubbornness. The DSM-5 no longer uses this phrase or label, and it is not one of the ten listed specific personality disorders.
In some cases, stress caused by life events or a mental health issue can cause people to act in passive-aggressive ways. Anxiety, depression, bipolar, and ADHD are a few common mental health issues that may cause passive aggression.
Covert narcissists can be passive-aggressive, introverted, and hold a grudge. They often perpetuate a fantasy that is very different from reality, and their behaviors are geared towards getting the attention they crave.