Passive aggression how to identify and understand

Passive aggression manifests itself in various ways, there is no definite attitude. For example, a person may resort to constant excuses to avoid meeting certain people and show his irritation or disappointment towards these people.

When irritated by a passive-aggressive person, he can constantly assert that everything is fine with him, even when he is furious or offended. Denying what they feel and refusing to reveal their experiences, they stop further communication and refuse to discuss the problem.

Passive-aggressive illustration

Deliberate procrastination is another characteristic of passive aggression. Faced with things that he does not want to do, a passive-aggressive person will stall for time. For example, if he is asked to complete a task at work, he will postpone it until the very last second or even start improvising to show dislike for the one who gave this very task.


Passive aggression leads to serious consequences in interactions between family members, work colleagues, and even partners. So why do you have to deal with passive aggression so often? Several options may affect the occurrence of passive aggression.

  • Education. Some people suggest that passive aggression may be related to an upbringing in a family where direct expression of emotions is discouraged or not allowed. People may feel the need to shut themselves off from the world and suppress emotions, so instead of expressing their feelings, they may look for ways to passively express their anger or resentment.
  • Isolated cases. Unforeseen circumstances can also affect the formation of passive aggression. When a person is in a situation in which aggression is unacceptable from a social point of view, for example, when performing work or family duties, he may be more inclined to react covertly when someone annoys him.
  • Choosing the easy way. When it is difficult or even scary to stand up for yourself, passive aggression can be presented as the most obvious way to cope with raging emotions.

How to cope with passive aggression

So, what can you do when confronted with a friend, colleague, or even a partner who regularly shows passive aggression?

The first step is to recognize the signs of such behavior. Resentment, procrastination, avoiding the topic, and refusing to communicate are all signs of passive aggression.

Passive aggression

When another person begins to act in this way, it is important to restrain their dissatisfaction. Condemnation is unacceptable. Instead, it is better to say directly, but unobtrusively, that there is something wrong with a person’s behavior. If passive aggression is shown by a child who is upset by the need to do housework. You can say: “you seem to be angry with me for asking you to clean your room.”

The reality is that a person is likely to deny his anger anyway. It is necessary to give a person time to realize their emotions.

Recognition of one’s passive-aggressive behavior

It is often easier to see passive aggression in others, but what if suddenly a person himself is inclined to such behavior?

passive-aggressive behavior
  • Consciousness. Passive aggression sometimes manifests itself because a person does not understand why he is upset or what he feels. You need to try to pay attention to what is happening inside while communicating with other people or under the influence of various situations.
  • Time for changes. Recognition of passive aggression is the first small step towards change. But it can take an indefinite amount of time. It is important to learn patience.
  • The main thing is not to give up. Awareness of one’s emotions and the ability to express feelings correctly is an important condition that should be observed to stop passive aggression. Conflict is an unavoidable part of life, but knowing how to solve an issue without undue irritation can be the best way to resolve it.

Passive-aggressive behavior can be destructive, but all people react in the “wrong” way from time to time. By understanding what causes such actions and how to deal with them. A person can minimize the potential damage to relationships with loved ones and important people.

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