How to deal with passive aggressive people: Expert shares insights

Published on Sep 10, 2022 04:59 PM IST

From addressing the issue to asking them about their expectations from us, here are a few ways to deal with a passive aggressive person.

How to deal with passive aggressive people: Expert shares insights(Unsplash)
How to deal with passive aggressive people: Expert shares insights(Unsplash)
ByTapatrisha Das, Delhi

In relationships, often people tend to behave in a passive aggressive way. This comes from the long history of not being taught to accept and express our emotional needs in the right way. This creates a suppressive behavior in people to grow resentment for the ones who are not able to fit into the set standards of knowing their needs and wants without having them talk about it. That’s why, when things do not go the way they want, they start to be passive aggressive in their behavior. Speaking of the same, Psychologist Nicole LePera wrote, “Passive aggressive behavior is extremely common because many of us weren’t taught to express our emotional needs. Or, if we did, we were shamed. Or invalidated. Because we learn our communication style from parent figures, many of us aren’t even aware that we are being passive aggressive. We just believe this is a way to engage with another person.”

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She further noted down the ways by which people show passive aggressive behavior; they are:

Annoyance: Annoyance shown by such people can take various forms. The most common of them is taking deep sighs to show that they are upset, without speaking about it.

Sarcasm: If sarcasm is not controlled, it can really hurt someone. Making snide or sarcastic comments with the intention of hurting someone, can be a passive aggressive behavior.

Compliment but with a twist: A compliment clubbed with an insult can be a passive aggressive behavior as well.

Being snippy: Often passive aggressive people are angry or snippy in their behavior, but when they are asked what is wrong, they tend to deny it. Not being able to freely express the emotions and showing it in suppressed actions is also a form of passive aggressive behavior.

There are two ways of dealing with passive aggressive behavior. It depends on the relationship we share with the person. In case the relationship is not too deep, we can react by simply not getting affected by it. But in case of a deep relationship, there are a few tips to deal with it:

Awareness: Asking them if they are aware of the fact that their behavior is hurting us.

Address: The best way forward is to communicate the same. Addressing what is bothering them is the first step to getting to know about it.

What’s on the mind: Asking the person what is bothering them and what do they have in mind is a way of dealing with it.

Expectations: Expectations, needs and wants are to be communicated in clear words. As Nicole LePera mentioned, “Remember, human beings aren’t meant to be mind readers. If you have a need or expectation and you’d like it to be met, you need to communicate it.”

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