Passive aggression includes indirect aggression. It lets you show anger and other emotions without having to say them out loud. People who use passive aggression often have the ability to deny that their actions are meant to be mean.
People sometimes use passive aggression as a way to deal with problems, especially when they want to avoid direct conflict. High levels of passive aggression are also linked to mental health problems like anorexia nervosa, borderline personality disorder, self-harm, and adjustment disorder, among others.
Passive Aggressive Meaning
Someone who is aggressive is more confrontational or overly assertive, while someone who is passive frequently allows others to take the lead. Therefore, a person who is passive-aggressive exercises influence over situations in a less obvious or direct manner.
Even though they are visibly upset and not okay, a person who uses passive aggression may continually assert that they are not angry or feeling fine. They prevent further contact and refuse to talk about the problem by rejecting what they are feeling and refusing to be emotionally vulnerable.
Passive Aggressive Examples
Examples of passive-aggressive behavior include:
#1. Being Late
The majority of people occasionally arrive late, and this is frequently not an indication of passive aggression. In fact, the late individual has plausible deniability that they truly were stopped in traffic or lost track of time, which is what makes it an effective type of passive aggression.
Regularly being late can be interpreted as contempt. It could also be a means of avoiding awkward situations or devaluing someone. It is a form of passive aggression in this sense.
People exhibit their aggressiveness covertly by employing a variety of avoidance tactics. Several instances include:
- Failing to answer a loved one’s call.
- Refraining from talking about particular subjects, even when they are aware that the other person wants to do so.
- Using omission as a means of violence, such as by avoiding someone during a party;
#3. Using Kindness as a Weapon
Sometimes people express their feelings through outwardly kind or helpful actions. A person who is enraged that a family member neglected their birthday, for instance, would then “go the extra mile” to celebrate that person’s birthday and then remark that they would never overlook such a significant occasion.
When someone says something they don’t mean, they are using sarcasm. When someone uses sarcasm as a means of punishing others, this might be construed as passive-aggressive behavior. For instance, they might mimic sarcastically the feelings or character quirks of a loved one.
The silent treatment enables one to punish another without taking any direct action. They could refuse to talk about specific topics, entirely ignore your calls or emails, or even retreat on purpose.
#6. Clever Digs
Negative remarks or subtle digs are frequent examples of passive aggression. For instance, a person might make a remark about something that they are aware makes another person uneasy, like their dating life or weight.
They might also inadvertently harm someone by using their understanding of their past. For instance, a parent whose child had trouble falling asleep in their own room as a child might, as an adult, criticize other parents whose kids have trouble falling asleep on their own. In this way, even years after the aforementioned occurrences, parents continue to “dig” at their children, never letting them forget and quietly putting them down.
#7. Competence Used as a Weapon
Incompetence used as a weapon is when someone uses it to either get out of doing something unpleasant or to hurt someone else. To avoid having to continue doing anything, a spouse might, for instance, claim they have no idea how to clean the bathroom or perform an objectively poor job of styling a child’s hair.
Passive Aggressive Symptoms
#1. Refuses to Express Anger While Doing so Covertly
To avoid a direct confrontation and uncomfortable sentiments, a passive-aggressive person may pretend they are not furious.
#2. Use Hints Rather than Explicitly Expressing a Desire or Criticism
A passive-aggressive person is an expert at implying their feelings without expressing them outright. They might allude to a prior occurrence without
In place of expressing their sentiments, they speak about a comparable circumstance and how they feel about that incident.
#3. Pouts, Sighs, and Complains
A passive-aggressive individual will occasionally verbally and physically demonstrate their unhappiness, such as by sighing, pouting, or sulking, but fail to take meaningful action to resolve it.
#4. Exudes a Glum Demeanor
Instead of confronting you directly, a passive-aggressive person may act sulky. This strategy frequently appears in conjunction with a denial of any problems.
#5. Does not Complete Tasks or Deliberately is Ineffective
When asked to do something, a passive-aggressive person may put it off and fail to complete it as a kind of silent resistance against something they feel unsatisfied about. Once more, this is frequently accompanied by a denial that the activity is occurring.
#6. Complaints About Being Mistreated and Undervalued
When unable to address a situation immediately, a passive-aggressive person may admit that they frequently feel aggrieved, unappreciated, and undervalued. When pressed for instances, they will probably use another strategy to avoid having to discuss a specific occurrence directly.
#7. Quiet Scorekeepers
While a passive-aggressive person may never address their problems, they are likely to retain a running list of instances in which they feel they have been wronged by others. The delicate, passive behavior they exhibit is justified by this quiet scorekeeping.
#8. Makes Unintentional Compliments
In order to upset the other person while pretending to be friendly, a passive-aggressive individual may make backhanded compliments.
#9. Demonstrates Physical Aggression
Without using words, a passive-aggressive individual may slam doors, move objects loudly, or engage in other physical acts.
#10. Employs the Silent Approach
Instead of dealing with the problem head-on, a passive-aggressive individual may choose to punish another person by cutting off all communication.
#11. Demands a Resolution to the Dispute Without Letting it go
A passive-aggressive individual finds it difficult to resolve conflicts maturely because the issue is never brought up. Even so, they could act as though nothing is wrong while secretly grumbling and getting frustrated.
#12. Considers Themselves doing Everyone a Favor
Some passive-aggressive people consider their actions to be a mature method of handling conflicts. They believe that disagreement should always be avoided at all costs and that by doing so they are doing the team a favor, even if their displeasure manifests itself in other ways.
#13. Dislikes People Who Wish to Speak to Them Directly
When they are willing to “let things go,” a passive-aggressive person may dislike people who prefer a straight discussion. They may have been taught as children that confrontation is frightening, unpredictable, or immature, and that feelings should be suppressed.
#14. Disrupts Others
A passive-aggressive person may sabotage a loved one by, for example, asking a frugal friend for an expensive meal or scheduling an occasion during a time that will be intentionally challenging for the other person.
#15. Claims that Others are Just Misunderstood
By asserting that the other person is only misinterpreting their words and that it is their duty, a passive-aggressive person can avoid any potential direct dispute.
#16. Distancing Oneself Without Explaining Why
Without ever addressing the underlying factors that caused their discontent, a passive-aggressive person may choose to emotionally distance themselves from another person. Their friend can be confused or wounded by their silence. Direct attempts to mend the connection may be met with denial or refusal to acknowledge the distance at all.
#17. Discusses the Issue With Parties who are not Involved
Without ever having to address the issue directly, a passive-aggressive person may find solace in talking about their issues with a third party to whom they can vent.
#18. Construct a Tense Situation
People who are passive-aggressive frequently make others feel as though they should be avoided at all costs. The inability to break the pattern and animosity against the passive-aggressive individual who won’t speak up directly may make this anxiety even worse.
Passive Aggressive Statement
Understanding whether words might be interpreted as passively hostile conduct is a crucial first step in preventing it. Check whether you have used these phrases in your interactions with your significant other. If so, it might be time to get rid of them.
#1. I Don’t Mean to Be Impolite
It’s impolite to introduce a comment with this qualifier. It’s a defensive move meant to counter the offensive comment and put the initiative in the other person’s hands. In this manner, you’ve given yourself a way out if they take offense to what you said. It indicates that you are consciously being impolite, yet want to deny the other person their right to
#2. That Choice was Unexpectedly Wise
Using words like “surprise,” “shockingly,” or something like that instantly turns a good statement into an unintentional compliment. Any good intentions you may have had will only be undermined by the confusion and turmoil this causes in the person to whom you are speaking.
Backhanded compliments are a tactic used to mislead people and insult them in a way that is more difficult to respond to. “The healthy indignation that would typically be elicited in response to an insult contradicts the natural good feelings and increased openness we experience when appreciated.” Don’t qualify your compliments; just provide sincere ones.
#3. You’re Incredibly Fortunate to have Received that Promotion
Attributing a promotion or any accomplishment to luck diminishes and trivializes it. When you tell your significant other they’re lucky to have achieved anything, you’re effectively saying you don’t think they had to work hard for it. Additionally, it refocuses the occasion on you rather than on them.
If you judge someone else’s success based on how it makes you feel, you should think about whether you desire more for yourself and what you can do to get it. And always keep in mind the effort that is unavoidably put into an accomplishment when congratulating someone on it.
#4. If Only You Were More Proficient at That
You may believe that all you’re doing is stating the obvious or making a statement about something you both already know to be true. For instance, if your partner can’t fix something around the house, you could say, “If you were handier, we wouldn’t need to call a contractor.” Even if such a statement is accurate, it is still hurtful because it criticizes your partner’s shortcomings. Sometimes, pointing out their flaws might be a way to boost your own self-esteem, which is just as harmful. If you catch yourself doing this, attempt to address these emotions from within and accept accountability for your degree of accomplishment. Since it has nothing to do with the other person, you’ll probably discover that you don’t need to say anything.
#5. You’re Overly Emotional
This is a big no-no since it discredits the other person’s feelings right away. This comment may be your attempt to shift responsibility from yourself and onto your spouse after you crossed a line and wounded them. If you are tempted to say this to someone, first analyze what you are saying that leads to these reactions and how you would feel if someone said the same thing to you.
#6. If You’re Set on Doing That
This is a risky one because it leaves the person you’re chatting with vulnerable to capture. They may believe that you are granting them consent to act however they like, but this could not be further from the truth.
The first word in the statement actually indicates a connotation of disagreement.” Say, “I don’t agree with your decision, but I will go along with it,” as opposed to, “Instead. I truly don’t want to do that as an alternative. Can we substitute X?
#7. If You Enjoy it, Then
This expression is frequently used when one person is unhappy with a decision the other person has made but doesn’t want to express their discontent directly. The tone of voice is important here. Instead, the goal is to shift the responsibility and decision-making process back to the other person. “We’ll carry out your request if that’s what you want to do.” What you should do in cases like this is to be intentional about expressing your dissatisfaction with a decision if you are unhappy with it. Say something along the lines of “That’s an interesting option” or “That’s not something I would do, but it’s your choice.”
#8. I’m not the Talkative Type
This line frequently sets up an insult, just like some of the previous comments. “I know I’m not one to comment, but you’re really packing on the pounds,” you might add. Even if you set it up by blaming yourself beforehand, nothing good can come out of this. Maybe you should hold back on your comments and apply them to your own life if you are flawed in the same way.
Passive Aggressive FAQs
What is an example of passive aggressive?
Negative remarks or subtle digs are frequent examples of passive aggression. For instance, a person might make a remark about something that they are aware makes another person uneasy, like their dating life or weight. They might also inadvertently harm someone by using their understanding of their past.
What is the behavior of a passive aggressive person?
The following are examples of specific passive-aggressive behaviors: Resentment and antagonism to other people’s demands, particularly those of those in power positions. Procrastination, refusal to cooperate, and making mistakes on purpose in response to requests from others. unfriendly, sulky, or cynical attitude.
What is an example of passive behavior?
By remaining motionless or neglecting to express your views, feelings, or desires, passive behavior might constitute a violation of your own rights. Example: “You can ask us to do anything. Your suggestions are likely superior to mine.