How To Deal With Passive-Aggressive People

  • Hold the person accountable for their actions, with utmost kindness.
  • Stand your ground and not let the other person get under your skin and win by default. Their nonsense, manipulative behaviour cannot be ignored or justified.
  • Confront their behaviour and actions head on, do not get angry and let them know how their behaviour is making you feel, trying to move towards healing.

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How to Deal with Passive-Aggressive People

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  • Recognize your own passive-aggressive tendencies which can arise when you are overworked or stressed out.
  • Try not to use sarcasm as a defence mechanism to anyone who is not according to how you feel.
  • Be curious about others and give out real, sincere compliments.
  • Don’t avoid people with whom you are upset or angry.
  • Don’t procrastinate on stuff you avoid, like a difficult conversation.
  • Instead of moving into your shell, be in the open and talk about how you feel.

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  1. Sarcasm: When instead of directly talking about the problem, the person comments sarcastically.
  2. Backhanded Compliment: A subtle form of passive-aggressive behaviour, where the individual gives a backhanded compliment, which is an insult in disguise.
  3. Avoidance: When the child or spouse is refusing to speak for a long time.
  4. Inaction: When the task or appointment is purposely missed, and no intimation is provided, with the clear intention to hurt the other person.
  5. Withdrawal and Sulking: When there is no real, sincere communication but the person acts as if everything is fine. It is a more lethal form of silence.

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Passive-Aggressive Behaviour

Passive-Aggressive behaviour is a hidden, manipulative form of anger, generally used to avoid direct communication. The passive-aggressive person tries to leverage their behaviour using tactics like inaction, avoidance, withdrawal, or silence, to manipulate the other person.

This behaviour arises mostly due to the way an individual has been brought up. Many families do not have core values and discourage emotional expression or communication.

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Manipulation by passive and covert aggression
  • Passive-aggression is an indirect way to go on the offensive. An example is when someone tries to "get you back" by resisting cooperation and giving you the "silent treatment."
  • Covert-aggression is calculated and underhanded to get what they want while keeping their aggressive intentions hidden. Covert aggressive people want to do bad while looking perfectly good.

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Anger and Aggression
  • Anger: An emotion felt when we believe we have been wronged.
  • Aggression: is an act of expression of the anger, by our words our actions. Aggression can be insults, sarcasm, shouting or physical forms like breaking things. It can also manifest itself in stress, loneliness, anxiety, guilt, or awkwardness.

When we criticize the anger, we are providing fuel to the fire, leading to further aggression on the angry person's part. If we ignore and give in, we are setting a wrong example and the person learns that it is ok and effective to be angry.

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Passive Communicators

Passive communicators go along with the other person’s ideas, narratives and suggestions. They avoid conflicts and confrontations. They appear anxious, afraid of disapproval and are often having poor eye contact or posture.

In a relationship, these people bottle up their emotions and do what their partner plans or does. It is a ‘doom scenario’ if both partners are passive.

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Navigating Different Communication Styles in Relationships

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