Passive aggressive behaviour can be difficult to recognise at first. It is recognisable by the disconnect between what the person says and what they do. Passive aggressive people tend to express their negative feelings in an indirect manner, rather than state their disapproval directly to the person concerned. There tends to be a great deal of hostility associated with passive aggressive behaviour and a great deal of this tends to be derived from miscommunication, failure to communicate or the assumption that the other person knows what they are thinking or feeling. From a relationship perspective, passive aggressive behaviour can be the most difficult communication style to deal with as you are not quite sure what you are dealing with.What is passive aggressive behaviour?
Passive aggressive behaviour is intended to control the other person e.g. control their emotions. It is then hoped that they can manipulate the other person into doing as they wish. If you have been on the receiving end of passive aggressive behaviour, you will know how easy it is to overreact. And, when you overreact, that is a clear sign that the other person is starting to control you.
Whatever type of passive aggressive behaviour you are experiencing, you need to stay calm and composed, so you can formulate the appropriate response. While it is often hurtful to be on the receiving end of this behaviour, remembering the following points can help you to stay calm:
- Many instances of this behaviour are not actually intended to be hurtful
- They want to control your emotions and behaviour
- You can’t control their behaviour, but you can control your own which stops them from achieving their goal
It is worth noting the 2 types of passive aggressive person:
This person is trying to control and manipulate your, but they usually are not trying to be hurtful. Because they don’t want to hurt you, they avoid expressing any message which may be interpreted as being negative. They may pretend that everything is ok but eventually, their true feelings will seep out through their body language and tone of voice. It then becomes frustrating as you try to get them to open up and tell you the truth.
The big difference here is that this person is not just trying to control you, they are trying to make you feel bad. They are happy to hurt you. So much so, that it becomes a game whereby every interaction is a contest.
These people are usually angry about something but, rather than express their feelings with the person whom they are angry with; they deal with things by manipulating their victim. They try to get rid of their anger by making the victim angry, through manipulation. This allows them to act like the ‘good guy’ while the victim now appears to be the unreasonable one.
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