Friday, September 2, 2011

Passive Aggressive

A sweet bloggy friend, Amanda, Simple Girl, Simple Pleasures asked me to do a piece on passive aggressive behavior. I’ll admit I’m always honored when bloggers pose topics for me to cover – thanks Amanda!

The term passive aggressive gets thrown around a lot so for the record: passive aggressive behavior stems from an inability to express anger or disappointment in a healthy way.

I used to be passive aggressive and occasionally have tendencies but as I age it’s easy to see how silly misdirecting my anger is.  I’ve learned to either talk directly to the person with whom I’m angry or end the relationship.  The second option may sound a little harsh and there are always exceptions to everything but if a relationship is not feeding the soul in a positive manner than why keep it. 

Amanda mentioned how thoughtful all of my commentors are (your comments are indeed incredibly thoughtful, thank you) so I have two questions for you all:

1)      If you have been passive aggressive, how did you ‘cure’ yourself?

2)      If someone in your life is passive aggressive, how have you handled it? 


  1. I posted about this a few months ago...I don't think I've really ever been passive aggressive b/c when something is bothering me I really want it resolved. However I feel like so many people are this way...maybe b/c they are afraid to express how they really feel and of confrontation?

  2. I think I am surrounded by passive aggressive people. I have tried really hard to be direct with those who hurt me, or disappoint me.. and I expect the same in return. Unfortunately, it is easier for people to go into "PA" mode. I am so glad you touched on this subject! Hope you are well!

  3. I'm usually passive aggressive, partly because I just don't really want to talk because I'm pissed if it's with my bf or if it's in public you don't really want to make a scene. Eventually it comes out in some way though! in a private manner that is :D

  4. I think I've been PA, and it is largely b/c of what Natalie said - fearful of confrontation. As a child, I had an adult male alcoholic in the family that I was afraid of. It was easier to function passive aggressively than to be open and confrontational in a healthy way. I've learned to speak up more, and it has marvelous results. People who come on aggressively often back up - they haven't expected someone to stand up to them. Of course, in this process I've also overstated my case a few times - we have to continue to learn and grow.

    Handling PA - when someone makes a PA-type snide remark or comment that can be taken more than one way, or is under-handedly critical, I stay calm and ask them, "What did you mean by that?" If they hem and haw, or try to change the subject, I just politely say, "Ok, but what did you mean by that? Why would you say that?" Done kindly it doesn't sprak a confrontation; done consistently it teaches people manners.

    Good question, Amanda, and good post, TV.


  5. I'm strange.

    I am passive aggressive with my husband, but not with others.
    With others, I'll just tell them like it is. Stranger, friend, family member. Doesn't matter.
    I can be very blunt and have a strong personality, but I think with my husband there is just that fear that I never want to disappoint him.
    Not because he treats me differently or loves me less if I do... it's just with a person that special to you--you always want them to be pleased. So I become passive aggressive.
    Funny things is, he hates it.
    He would rather me say how I really feel.
    Is this making any sense?
    Anyways, I need to snap out of it, because it's not healthy and it bugs him & it certainly doesn't do me any good! :)

  6. It is so hard to deal with passive agrressiveness. I think people are more and more like this because of stress. It is almost as if the stress cases anger and it is then passed on. With friends that did not change this I ended the relationship.It is hard when it is family because you can't just cut them off. Often times we take a break from one another. I have learned as I get older that they often do not even know that they might have been this way, because they are either comfortable with dealing with one another this way or they just do not even see it. I try hard to watch myself and how I deal with things. This is a great post! Have a good night!

    mama Hen

  7. Passive aggressiveness is really hard for me to deal with. I'd rather someone be aggressive up front!

    Belly B

  8. If I was being passive-aggressive, I probably didn't realize it. When people are being taht way with me, I just call them out on it, but not in an ugly way. That is not my intention, anyway. I just ask them pointedly what they are trying to say, trying to get at, etc. Thanks for making me more thoughtful on this topic!

  9. I don't believe I'm passive aggressive, and I don't think I get along with passive aggressive people very well. I'm lucky to have a sincere group of friends that don't hold grudges or have unrealistic expectations. My former boss was not passive aggressive; instead he told me like he saw things, which meant that sometimes he was mean and less than diplomatic. I would listen to his frustrations and try to do better next time, which eventually won him over... It's been interesting reading everyone's comments...Very interesting post TV!

  10. Yes, I have of course been passive aggressive in my own actions and witness it in others. I see it happen most between spouses and at work.

  11. Thank you for posting this, TV! It's been amazing reading your post and all of these comments (and I hope that there are more to come). Maybe it's comforting knowing that so many people have been passive aggressive, or experienced others who have been passive aggressive. It makes me feel better, in a weird way, that this seems to be a very normal thing and action. I know that I can be guilty of it, but, especially after this most recent experience, I am going to even more actively try not to be. Thanks again for posting!!!

  12. Passive aggressive tendencies are super common in Asian culture. So yes, I have been PA most of my life- keeping things that bothered me bottled up inside until volcanic eruption. My most important proactive cure right now is to identify my own boundaries and what I need from someone. Then tell them directly using the, "I felt ____ when you said/did _____. I love you and I need you to know ____ about me. I need you to do _____." This is not always easy as I was so used to beating around the bush out of fear of confrontation. Such a great topic and excellent questions!!

  13. Gah. This is me. I have a problem with confrontration, or upsetting people. I THINK before I speak...always because I don't want to say something that can never be un-said. So, when I'm angry...I clam up and I stew on it, I get tongue tied, and am more likely to walk away. I will talk about it eventually but not before I've sat on it for a few hours/days. Snide retorts aren't really my style maybe I am not really passive/aggressive...just anti-agressive.


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