Are you passive aggressive? Everyone exhibits passive-aggressive behavior from time to time, especially at times when we are uncomfortable with speaking openly. Passive aggressive behavior is complex, but essentially it means being discreet about one’s hostility and indirect about expressing their negative feelings. They often avoid conflict but have
Passive aggressive behavior becomes an issue when it is used in order to routinely avoid conflict or if it is affecting your close relationships, leading to resentment, or inhibiting your work life.
Says Yes to Plans But Doesn’t Fall Through
People that are passive aggressive tend to agree to attend an event they don’t want to go to and have no intention of actually attending. Likewise, they will also say they will complete a task but don’t intend on completing it or will not do their best. Oftentimes the reason for saying one thing but doing another is because they resent being asked or do not want to attend an event, but they do not want to be upfront about their feelings as this could lead to a conflict.
A classic example of passive-aggressive behavior is the silent treatment. Many of us have used the silent treatment in the past when a partner or friend has upset us, but this behavior is not at all healthy and is actually considered emotionally abusive. Silent treatment is a breakdown in communication and is when the contempt and anger one feels is expressed only by nonverbal gestures.
Making Indirect, Wishful Statements
Passive aggressive behavior is all about being indirect about what you want to say and making indirect statements often confuses the other person. Let’s say your friend is taking a weekend trip to the beach and tells you about it. If you’re passive aggressive and want to go, you might say something like, “I wish I could go.” This kind of indirect, wishful statement will either guilt the friend into asking you to go or make them feel guilty that you can’t go. A more direct approach would be just asking if it would be okay if you go along. This doesn’t confuse the other person, shouldn’t lead to guilt and can be answered with a quick response.
If you show these characteristics of passive aggressive behavior, the best thing to do is be cognizant of it. In order to change any behavior, you have to be aware of it. If you find yourself starting to do the silent treatment to a loved one or being indirect with your statements, take a step back and analyze your feelings and figure out what you want.