Passive-aggressive behaviour can be damaging to relationships, both personal and professional. It is a type of behaviour that involves expressing negative feelings indirectly, and it can be difficult to recognise when you or someone you know is displaying it. Understanding the signs of passive-aggressive behaviour can help you identify it and know how to address it before it causes any harm.
So, how do you know if you are being passive-aggressive? We look at ten signs you are being passive-aggressive – they may reveal the answer:
Sarcasm is a common form of passive-aggressive behaviour. Instead of expressing how you truly feel, you make a snarky comment that is disguised as a joke. For example, if your friend continually cancels your plans, you might say, “Oh, it’s nice that you have time for everyone but me.” The sarcasm allows you to express your frustration passively, without actually confronting your friend.
2. Silent treatment
Not responding to messages or phone calls is another form of passive-aggressive behaviour. It’s a way of showing someone that you’re upset with them without actually telling them what’s wrong. It can be especially damaging in romantic relationships, as it can lead to feelings of abandonment and resentment.
Procrastination is a common form of passive-aggressive behaviour in the workplace. Instead of completing tasks on time, you delay them, knowing that it will cause frustration for your colleagues. It’s a way of expressing your disapproval without actually saying anything negative.
4. Backhanded compliments
A backhanded compliment is a statement that appears to be a compliment but is actually an insult. For example, if someone says, “You look great today, it’s amazing what makeup can do,” they’re actually implying that you don’t look good without makeup. Backhanded compliments are a way of expressing criticism without actually confronting the person.
Guilt-tripping is a form of passive-aggressive behaviour that involves making someone feel bad for something they’ve done or haven’t done. For example, if your roommate hasn’t cleaned the kitchen, you might say, “I guess I’ll just have to do it myself, even though I have so much else to do.” This puts the responsibility on your roommate and makes them feel guilty for not doing it.
6. Playing the victim
Playing the victim is a common form of passive-aggressive behavior in relationships. It involves portraying yourself as the victim in a situation, even if you’re the one who caused the problem. For example, if you forget to pay a bill and your partner gets upset, you might say, “Why are you always so mean to me? I’m doing the best I can.” This puts the focus on your partner’s anger rather than addressing the actual issue. Taking responsibility for our own actions is the first step to combating this.
Ghosting is a term used to describe the act of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone, without any explanation. This is a form of passive-aggressive behavior that avoids any confrontation or discussion of the issue at hand. It is commonly seen in dating situations, but can also happen in friendships or professional relationships.
8. Blaming others
Blaming others is a common form of passive-aggressive behaviour that involves shifting the blame for a problem onto someone else. For example, if you forget to complete a task at work, you might say that your colleague didn’t give you the information you needed. This avoids taking responsibility for your mistake and puts the focus on someone else.
9. Withholding information
Withholding information is a form of passive-aggressive behaviour that involves intentionally not sharing information that could be helpful or important. For example, if you know that your friend’s ex is seeing someone new, but you don’t tell them, that’s withholding information. It can also happen in the workplace, when someone doesn’t share important information with their colleagues, causing delays or mistakes.
Sabotaging is a form of passive-aggressive behaviour that involves intentionally making mistakes or causing problems that will negatively impact someone else. For example, if your colleague is up for a promotion and you want the promotion for yourself, you might intentionally make mistakes on their project to make them look bad. This is a manipulative form of behaviour that can damage relationships and careers.
In conclusion, passive-aggressive behaviour is a way of expressing negative feelings indirectly, and it can be damaging to relationships. Recognising the signs of passive-aggressive behaviour is the first step in addressing it and preventing it from causing harm. If you suspect that you or someone you know is displaying passive-aggressive behaviour, try to confront the issue directly and communicate your feelings in a constructive way. This can help to resolve any conflicts and create healthier relationships in the future.