Passive-Aggressive Behavior Part 1
In the last curriculum post we talked about the difference between passive, assertive, and aggressive communication styles.
There’s another combination communication style called passive-aggressive that we are going to cover in the next few posts.
Passive Aggressive behavior involves indirectly expressing negative emotions and suppressing angry emotions to avoid conflict, but subtly expressing those negative feelings in passive ways.
Passive-aggressive communicators exhibit resistance and aggression, but in a passive way resulting in sullenness, stubbornness, procrastination, opposition, emotional dishonesty, and denial of feelings.
It is incredibly difficult to communicate with someone who is passive-aggressive because they shut down communication by insisting that everything is fine on the surface when it clearly isn’t.
It’s a form of emotional manipulation that may leave you questioning yourself and the situation.
Examples of Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Someone insisting they are not mad when they are clearly angry.
In this case, instead of assertively expressing their needs, wants, or feelings, they are instead directly denying their emotions and shutting down communication, yet indirectly allowing the negative emotions to come through in non verbal ways so that the other person still feels the anger and tension.
Stonewalling - the silent treatment.
Doing something to upset someone, but acting like you didn’t know it would upset them or acting like it was an accident.
Manipulating and angling to get what you want instead of just assertively communicating your wants, needs, and feelings.
Agreeing to complete a task, but acting hostile, sullen, or spiteful. Other examples may include procrastination or partial and inadequate completion of the agreed upon task.
Compliments that have an underlying tone of criticism.
- Consistently acting in passive-aggressive ways in order to manipulate and drive someone else to the point of explosive anger so that person is seen as the problem.
This is toxic behaviour caused by resentment, denial, and avoidance of conflict.