The significant other in your life doesn’t want to go to an event you’ve been invited to. Still, he agrees to go. But he wastes so much time getting ready that the party is almost over. This is characteristic behavior for people with a passive-aggressive personality.
The passive-aggressive personality is much more common than you might think. However, it is very difficult to determine. Because people with this personality are often evasive and cunning.
How do people with a passive-aggressive personality act?
This behavior is determined by external questions. For these people take a passive attitude towards essential and reasonable obligations that everyone has to accept in their daily life.
It is very difficult to get along with them. Because they try to avoid responsibility at all costs. They simply “forget” them or put them at the bottom of their priority list.
We give an example. Suppose they promise to bring a specific dish to a party. Then they go and buy it when everyone is already sitting down to eat. It’s an extreme form of apathy.
These people are often demanding, dependent, afraid of being alone and low in self-confidence. They have two faces and alternate between two extremes. Thus, they create confusion around them. They are manipulative, pessimistic and hateful.
Moreover, they refuse to look at themselves in a critical way. They also take no responsibility for their actions. All they do is make statements. They use every excuse to talk themselves nicely and to absolve themselves of any wrong behavior, no matter how ridiculous it is.
Ambiguity and Anger
People with passive-aggressive personalities often show a large gap between what they say and what they do. It’s almost impossible to know how they feel. That’s because they either don’t show any feeling or at the same time show feelings that are completely opposite.
Imagine your husband saying to you, ‘I don’t love you anymore. I don’t love you anymore’ and then yells ‘Never leave me alone! I can not live without you!’. In this example you can see how their way of communicating is always ambiguous and not direct.
When people are disturbed by something, they speak it out and try to solve it. But these people don’t do this. They hold back their annoyance and pretend nothing happened. But their inner self is furious.
So they are always accommodating but full of anger. And they never express this anger. Because they think this emotion is totally unacceptable. They suppress this feeling because they are unable to express it in a healthy way.
They actually hide it so well that even no one around them realizes that they are offended or annoyed. And yet they are full of anger. They seem warm, open, docile and pleasant. But deep down they are envious, resentful and evil.
Gritty and irritable
The passive-aggressive personality makes people reluctant, suspicious and lonely. They have no control over their feelings and are easily petulant and irritable.
They feel that they are constantly being mistreated. Therefore, they often react hostile, cynical and stubborn. Their projection can take extreme forms. Because the more reasonable explanations you give them, the more they feel like a victim.
They also show no respect. But they will often reject other people’s proposals. That is one way of defending their independence.
Opposition and control
It is very important to them that the people around them do not get what they want. Everything revolves around appearances for them. They make you believe that they support you and are always there for you. But their actions betray the opposite. Because they never give you what you ask.
Because they don’t like to answer to anyone, they don’t believe in time limits. If you give them a deadline or a time when you want them to finish something, they usually won’t make it. Because they prefer to do things their way without feeling pressured or obligated.
This seriously affects their performance at work. If their boss asks them to finish a report by the next morning, not only will it not be ready, they will even try to explain why they didn’t do it. They just let time pass until they feel like doing it.
In some cases, they even make up a story. Sometimes they start to manipulate certain information to get themselves out of the situation.
Causes of a Passive-Aggressive Personality
Experts are not completely sure about this. But many believe that the origin of a passive-aggressive personality is a combination of biological and environmental factors. Self-esteem, childhood attachment styles, family dynamics, and learned behaviors all play a role.
Childhood abuse, excessive punishment and psychoactive substance use during adolescence can also increase the risk of this disorder. In addition, there are other conditions that exhibit similar symptoms: ADHD, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, several other personality disorders, and all sorts of addictions.
How do you behave towards someone with a passive-aggressive personality?
As you can see, it is not easy to react to their behavior or to confront them. Because they make other people feel powerless.
If you are in close contact with a passive-aggressive person, the best thing you can do is not to get carried away by his bad mood.
On the contrary, it is better that you respond kindly. Because being positive and optimistic, using humor and talking about small things are good ways to resist his negative influence.
If you have enough influence, you can try to convince him to seek psychological help. The psychotherapist will help him reduce anger and frustration by teaching effective coping strategies. They will work on his objectivity, assertiveness and how to solve problems in an effective and healthy way.