Passive Aggressive Personality: How to Recognize and Deal with Passive Aggressive People

/, Personality, Psychology & Mental Health/Passive Aggressive Personality: How to Recognize and Deal with Passive Aggressive People

passive aggressive personality

Passive aggressive personality is undoubtedly the most frustrating personality type to come across.

By the time you’ve worked out that someone is being passive aggressive, you have already thought that you were the one going mad.

Passive aggressive behaviour is defined as ‘indirect expression of hostility through passive methods.’

As for how do people become passive aggressive? Like most behavioural problems, we have to look back to our childhoods. Experts believe that children who were brought up in homes where it was not safe to express their natural frustration or anger may grow up with a passive aggressive disorder. As these children would have learned very early on to use other channels in which to let their anger out.

So how can you spot a passive aggressive person and take control before they suck you into their toxic behaviour?

Learning to spot the signs of a passive aggressive personality is key.

Here are eight of them:

1. Sullen behaviour or sulking

Not talking through a problem is a very passive aggressive way of dealing with an issue. It gives the person sulking the upper hand through their silence, but they are not actually being aggressive in their nature. They are simply remaining quiet, however, by not communicating they are holding the power in the relationship.

2. Failure to complete a task

Colleagues that continually fail to complete a task or keep making mistakes could be doing so on purpose so that they will not be asked again. The right way to go about this would be to approach the boss and state that they feel the work is above their capability.

3. They say they are okay, but they are not

Ever had a friend that is constantly in a mood and whenever you ask if they are okay they say in a sad voice ‘Yes, I’m fine’, then go on being sad? Mature people open up about their feelings and don’t bring the rest of the group down.

People with passive aggressive personality don’t want you to help them, they want to be the focus of the attention.

4. They are always late but blame others

If you have witnessed that one employee that is always late but always rushes in, stressed out, blaming everyone and everything for them being late but themselves? That is passive aggressive behaviour.

Why? Because as a manager, you cannot take to task the late bus, the crying baby that kept them up all night, and all the other very good reasons they give. A good employee takes responsibility for being late.

5. Forgetting to ‘do something’

Purposely forgetting to do something that puts you at a disadvantage is second nature to the passive aggressive personality. This could something as simple as leaving your name off an email list so that you do not get an important document and look unprofessional in a meeting.

Or it could be forgetting to invite you to a work’s’ social event. Of course, the beauty is that you can never prove that they have forgotten.

6. They procrastinate

It is typical for a passive aggressive person to procrastinate if they do not want to do a particular thing. For most of us, the act of procrastination is a subconscious decision. We do not realise we are procrastinating when we have a task to fulfil that we don’t want to do, and we find ourselves on social media sites instead.

For the passive aggressive personality, however, it is a very deliberate act to procrastinate. They will not complete a task until the very last minute, making the person who requested the task pay.

7. They give back-handed compliments

You will never get a genuine compliment from a passive aggressive person. They might say: “That dress looks gorgeous on you! I don’t think I could get away with it, I’m much too thin.” Or “Wow, this is really quite big for a starter home!” Or “Well done on your promotion, it’s a shame our son didn’t qualify under the diversity programme.

A passive aggressive person will always use your achievements as a way to bring theirs to your attention.

8. They make wistful statements

Finally, the last passive-aggressive behaviour is when a person wants something but does not ask for it in a direct manner, instead, makes wistful statements and hope the other person picks up on the clues.

For example, you are going on holiday and your friend says “I’ve always wanted to visit Venice, but could never afford to go.” This makes you feel guilty for having a holiday and for not inviting your friend.

A far better way for your friend to state her request would be “I love Venice, let me know when you plan to go again and maybe I can save up and come with you?

Do these sound like someone you know? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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Janey D.

Janey Davies has been published online for over 8 years. She is the head writer for, she also writes for, and has contributed to She has an Honours Degree in Psychology and her passions include learning about the mind, popular science and politics. When she is relaxing she likes to walk her dog, read science fiction and listen to Muse.

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By | 2017-09-10T18:51:02+00:00 February 25th, 2017|Categories: Dark Personalities, Personality, Psychology & Mental Health|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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