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Identifying Passive-Aggressive Communication and Behavior


Are you frustrated of being confused by the way your friends or your family members or your co-workers communicate to you? This is probably because the person that gives you confusion is a passive-aggressive type of person. There are few advantages to this communication style or type of behavior but there are more disadvantages that are really damaging to your relationship or even to your projects or business. Though, there are so many reasons why a person has this type of personality or behavior and sometimes, it is not really intentional. Reasons may vary; from the person’s childhood history to his or her cultural conditioning or simply just because of inability to communicate openly. Though sometimes, passive-aggressive behavior may also be rooted from a person’s psychopathy or mental disorder.   


According to one psychiatrist named Daniel Hall-Flavin, this kind of behavior manifest as an “indirect expression of negative feelings” and often shows disconnect or contradiction between the communicator’s message and his or her action. This type of behavioral disorder needs to be addressed because not only it leads to problems and misunderstanding but also to outburst, disempowerment, unnecessary stress, and even chronic mental and physical discomforts. Oftentimes, passive-aggressive communication results to more anger, resentment, and frustration in a subtle way as it would never really allow you to get your needs met from other person or people. To counter this kind of unhealthy behavior, one needs to learn to communicate assertively and honestly, of course, in a respectful equal manner.   

Sometimes, passive-aggressive behavior is also used to manipulate the other person. Manipulative passive-aggressive person tends to show agreement even though it is not really what he or she feels about the issue but he just agreed just to secretly sabotage it. Behind the façade and the smiles, he or she covertly experience discomfort about what is happening or what has been agreed upon. This might come as mixed messages, murmurings, silent treatment, neglect, exclusion, and indirect emotional or verbal attack. This can happen in different settings, be it in a workplace or in a romantic relationship or in a family. In addition, passive-aggressive behavior also comes in sarcasm, gossip, backstabbing, teasing, and destructive criticisms. In worst cases, this kind of behavior also manifests as self-punishment such as addiction, victim mentality, self-harm, and dependency.

As much as possible, passive-aggressive behavior really needs to be addressed or stopped. This can only be changed if the person is aware and self-critical, though. If not given appropriate solution, this will result to many kinds of problematic impediments and even chronic disorders that could lead to different sorts of destructive consequences. Passive-aggressive people are dangerous especially those who are in power as they can take actions that have negative impacts without you knowing what is really happening or why these things are happening. For us to have healthy relationship and positive social environment, we must replace passive-aggressive behavior with respectful honesty and assertiveness.    

For you to understand more why people tend to behave in a passive-aggressive manner, I suggest that you check out this article:

7 Reasons Why People Use Passive Aggressive Behavior

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