Believe it or not, passive aggressive behavior is among the most common toxic behavior anyone can have in their life. To make it more complicated, anyone can also be the victim or culprit of the behavior. And while many tend to lean to one side than both, it’s still a dangerous behavior that can strain your social life. Therefore, you need to know how to deal with it, either as the one on the receiving or the giving end.
But first, let’s find out what a passive aggressive behavior is
Well, as the name suggested, this particular behavior involves acting aggressive toward something or someone, albeit more passively. This means if someone’s mad at something, they don’t show the emotion right on their face. But rather, they show disapproval through actions such as being stubborn, sulking, or even procrastinating. And more often than not, they will always say that they’re not mad, even if they are.
If the progress of this passive aggressive behavior has evolved that way, that particular someone has denied their own emotion. Not only that, but they even keep quiet when discussing the problem, which doesn’t solve anything and strains the communication itself. This will lead to a damaged relationship between friends, spouse, colleagues, or basically anyone in their life.
That sounds dangerous, right? To add salt to the wound, passive aggressive behavior can happen anytime and out of nowhere, even when you’re already dating or married. A passive aggressive relationship will exhaust your energy, as the communication is shut down, and you’re forced to be alone. You’d have to think for yourself, initiate the communication, and still get lashed out for bringing up the subject regardless.
But why is passive aggressive such a common behavior?
Anyone can have this behavior at any place or circumstance, be it with your spouse or even at the office. Not even your best friend can be safe from it. This is because passive aggressive behavior begins to develop as your response to your interaction with the environment. A more hardcore passive aggressive person may even exhibit it since childhood. But how could they be?
This is because there are times and places when showing your emotion right away isn’t easy, or even impossible. To cope with that, people find ways to show everyone else their emotion through more passive behaviors. If they’re being put at this environment for a long time, the behavior will slowly grow into them and become a habit. As a result, this kind of people will most likely become the one spreading the negativity.
However dangerous it may be, you still have to live your life and face this passive aggressive behavior. But even so, how can you handle the pressure against people with this kind of personality?
Well, this is how to deal with a passive aggressive person as the victim
The first thing to do is to quickly analyze any signs of passive aggressive symptoms on the culprit. They may come from procrastinating, sulking, withdrawal, or complimenting half-heartedly. Once you’ve figured out the patterns, you can communicate about the issues in an indirect way. If someone’s mad for being told to clean up their dinner mess, for example, you can ask them “Why are you mad just because I ask you to clean up your own mess?”
There’s a chance that the passive aggressive person will acknowledge their anger and apologize, but most of the time they’ll deny it. They will hit you back with harsh words, or even rub salt to your wound by pointing out your past mistakes. If that’s the case, then it might be best to lay low, keep a distance, and leave them alone. Usually, the anger will perish once time passes, and they can communicate the issue with you.
But what if you have to deal with passive aggressive behavior as the culprit?
Here’s the thing with humanity: They tend to figure out the faults in someone else easily, but not in themselves. Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge that you too have passive aggressive behavior that’s very toxic to other people. For that reason, try to ask yourself whether you realize you exhibit this behavior or not with these questions:
- Am I avoiding the people whom I hate?
- Am I doing things that irritate the one I’m angry at?
- Am I sulking a lot?
- Do I hate talking to the person that made me angry?
- Do I use sarcasm to avoid conversations too often?
If you answer yes to at least 3 out of 5 questions above, chances are you do have passive aggressive behavior. Therefore, you’ll have to know how to deal with passive aggressive of your own by improving your self-awareness. Understand why you’re angry, and learn how to express your anger or disapproval in a non-toxic way. It takes time to mend your behavior and fix the strained relationship, but things will be better.
The key to solving a passive aggressive behavior is to recognize that someone has that behavior, whether it is you or someone else. By understanding the passive aggressive symptoms, you can deal with the issue and hopefully be able to be a better person.