Do you have a passive-aggressive partner? Here’s what you should do
Here’s all you need to know — from how to spot the traits to how you can deal with the situation.sex and relationships Updated: Apr 14, 2018 17:01 IST
Anger can destroy the strongest of relationships, especially when one of the partners is a passive-aggressive person.
According to the Internet, passive-aggressiveness is a ‘type of behaviour characterised by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation’. In short, when your partner expresses their anger or disappointment towards you, in a subtle manner, they are being passive-aggressive towards you. And to top it off, it’s hard to detect.
Read on, as psychologists Priyanka Varma and Harsheen K. Arora list out the characteristics of a passive-aggressive partner and how to deal with them.
Signs of a passive-aggressive partner
Indirect insults: A passive- aggressive partner is scared of conflict. Therefore, if there is an issue in the relationship, they will never address the elephant in the room. Rather, they’ll resort to subtle insults to indicate that there is a problem. They will do this by giving you a compliment and following it up with a criticism.
Being ambiguous: In an argument, a passive-aggressive partner will never take a stand. They will never say what they mean. Negotiating for a common ground is an exasperating process with them.
Playing the victim: For every fight, it’s never their fault. They have mastered the art of playing the victim. Such people never take responsibility for their actions.
Incompetent behaviour: For any relationship to function, it has to be a two-way street, but this is not the case with a passive-aggressive partner. To show their unhappiness, they often act incompetent. For example, not washing the dishes properly or not cleaning the house properly. And by doing this, they force you to take over the task.
How to deal with such a person
The first step is to become aware of your partner’s passive-aggressive behavioural pattern. The next step is to understand that it’s better not to react. If you become emotional and react, then your partner will only lash out and rebel against it.
Be assertive and address the problem directly. However, don’t blame or judge them by saying that ‘you have a problem’, as that would mean that the problem lies solely with the passive-aggressive partner. And this can backfire! Remember, a partner only resorts to passive-aggressiveness when they feel they can’t open up in the relationship or want to avoid direct confrontation. Therefore, use phrases such as ‘we have a problem’. By doing this, you make solving this problem, a collective responsibility.
First Published: Apr 14, 2018 17:01 IST