Dealing with Passive-Aggression

It's that sweet-yet-scolding note your roommate leaves about the one cup you left unwashed, or the report your colleague keeps "forgetting" to finish for you. Passive-aggression is frustrating to its targets, since it's not as easily identifiable—or unacceptable—as, say, socking someone in the jaw. For their part, passive-aggressive types can learn to express their anger in healthier ways, and stop sneaking around.

Recent posts on Passive-Aggression

5 Ways to Respond to a Backhanded Compliment

Do you find yourself at a loss for words when someone offers a backhanded compliment? Try these responses.

Cluttering is a Relationship Issue

There's no doubt that cluttering can be a form of passive aggressive behavior. When a person has difficulty expressing anger directly, they act out their anger by cluttering.
Paul Schlemmer/Shutterstock

3 Steps to Avoiding Passive-Aggressive Behavior

By Peter Bregman on June 13, 2016 in How We Work
Are you being passive aggressive without even knowing it?

Do You Deal with Passive-Aggressive People? Take the Quiz

Psychiatrist Daniel Flavin describes passive-aggressive behavior as “a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them." Here are the signs...

Why You Should Never Vote Angry

Think about the last time you got very angry. Was what you said or did after you felt angry helpful? Or, did it make things worse?

Blurred Lines

Where, exactly, is the line between affirming shared values and cruelly excluding others? When do stances that ratify one’s own positions become rejection and bullying?

6 Steps to Confront Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Do you know someone who is overtly cooperative but covertly defiant? Do you live or work with a person who carries out tasks with intentional inefficiency?

15 Red Flags of Passive-Aggressive Behavior at Work

Compliant defiance and hostile cooperation wreak havoc in the workplace. How to recognize passive aggressive behavior before your office is sabotaged.

The "Grinch in Elf's Clothing" & Other Covert Villains

By Traci Stein Ph.D., MPH on December 21, 2015 in The Integrationist
Is the Grinch in your life creating holiday chaos? When it's not all "merry and bright," how to spot covert villains, set healthy limits, and enjoy the season.

Who Would Jesus Stone?

By Rebecca Coffey on November 20, 2015 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
Classic nonviolence is far from passive. It is smartly aggressive. To get under their oppressors’ skin, civil rights and social reform leaders have had to be psychologically astute. (“What will get their goats them this time?”). And, apparently, thinking that way works. A growing body of research suggests that nonviolence is more effective than violence.

10 Signs You're in a Relationship With a Passive-Aggressive

The NYU Medical Center defines a passive-aggressive individual as someone who "may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists."

5 Ways That Passive-Aggressive People Thrive Online

Today’s technology affords anyone who wants to mask their anger or aggression a perfect front.

14 Signs of Psychological and Emotional Manipulation

Psychological manipulation can be defined as the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, to seize power at the victim’s expense...

The 5 Fighting Words You Need to Drop From Your Relationship

By Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T. on October 02, 2015 in Mindful Anger
Do you fight dirty? These five words are hurting your relationship.
K. Ramsland

Lost Girls

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
Reading one of Joyce Carol Oates's story collections brings a jarring sense of what people are capable of, in the form of adolescent girls.

Machiavellians at Work: The Case of the Conniving Counselor

Machiavellians are cunning and can exert their influence gradually and subtly. At work they can cause significant harm before their schemes are outed. I responded to one such employee by calling her bluff and blocking her attempts at continued manipulation. Wrath ensued.

9 Things Passive-Aggressive People Do

While most people take the passive-aggressive approach once in a while, for some people manipulation and indirect communication become a way of life.

Inside the Mind of the Twitter Troll

The latest scientific study on internet trolls finds them to suffer from a unique constellation of manipulativeness (cunning, scheming, unscrupulous), sadism (pleasure from inflicting pain on others) and psychopathy (lacking empathy and remorse), which may only be properly illuminated by psychological testing.

The Huntress Hunts You

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on August 04, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
The latest celebrity trophy hunter is a femme fatale who sees killing as therapy. Her motives help us understand the dilemma of everyone who’s ever felt like a Nobody in a Dead End job, in need of some life-saving heroic purpose.

10 Signs of a Passive-Aggressive Relationship

The NYU Medical Center defines a passive-aggressive individual as someone who "may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists.”

7 Reasons You May Not Get What You Need

If you have trouble expressing your needs it's not necessarily because you're an introvert, but some introverted behaviors might contribute to the problem.

Hunting Bwana the Dentist

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
What would motivate a dentist to spend $55,000 to kill an elderly tourist lion? The answer takes us on a psychological safari looking at recent themes in American life that incite and reward fantasies of the mighty hunter.
StockImages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Complain So People Will Listen

Friends and family are supposed to love you, so why is it they don't always seem to care when you complain about their behavior? It might be something about the way you're saying it. Start seeing results with these practical tips for communicating complaints.

How to Deal With "Stop, I Don’t Want to Talk About It"

Is there an elephant in your room? Hidden agendas and passive-aggressive behavior can wreak havoc in any relationship.

The Deafening Silence of Passive Aggressive Behavior

Has a relative, colleague, or friend ever gifted you with a passive aggressive present or backhanded compliment as their way of trying to prove a point or express their hostility wordlessly?

5 Ways NOT to Deal with Anger

By Steven Laurent on June 05, 2015 in Chill Pill
Even I use the third strategy, on occasion, against my own advice...

Love and the Passive-Aggressive Personality

While you can help your partner verbalize their feelings and you can tell them what is and isn't ok with you—and hold them accountable, you are the only person whose behavior you can control.

What Mentally Strong People Do When Things Go Wrong

Explanations help you learn from your mistakes. Excuses will damage your relationships and sabotage your chances of success.
flickr.com

Relationship Roadblock? Define Your Values

It's easy for couples to hit roadblocks that turn into power struggles and reactions to control. Side-step it by talking about your values and what's really important to you

Low Self-Esteem? You're Likely to Stay In a Bad Relationship

Research finds that people with low self-esteem avoid dealing with conflicts in their relationships, fearing rejection. This can lead to a worsening relationship, in which they remain frozen.