Have you got an adolescent at home who gives one-word answers for everything and always takes a long time to do anything? Does your colleague at work drive you crazy with not doing anything properly? Do you keep these thoughts to yourself and merely drop sarcastic remarks, while positively seething inside? These may be the signs of passive-aggressive behavior.
Passive aggression is described as an intentional but concealed way of expressing negative emotions, such as anger, defiance or hostility. It is usually expressed in an environment where we are forced to obey an authority and we are afraid of a conflict. It can be related to work, home or relationships. Examples of passive aggression can be found in boss-employee relationships, parent-child relationships and the relationships between spouses, partners, colleagues, etc. How do we know if passive aggression is an issue we or someone close to us should be concerned with? The following statements are examples of passive aggressive behaviour; however, the context and the tone in which they are uttered are also important:
“I’m not angry”
The trademark sign of passive aggression is the denial of anger.
“OK, as you like.”
I don’t care. Passive-aggressors think that it would make their life even worse, should they openly express their emotions, so they make the impression that they agree with things they are internally opposed to.
A person gives verbal consent to something but delays in doing it. They are the masters of procrastination.
“I thought you knew.”
They hold back important information in order to prevent a problem.
“You always need to have everything perfect.”
If they cannot delay a task, they use a more intricate method: they would perform the task on time, but poorly.
They would agree to help someone, but afterwards they would do everything in their power to prevent any kind of help.
“I was just kidding.”
Passive-aggressive people use sarcasm. It is an expression of hostility through a socially acceptable form.
“Why are you angry?”
Their biggest weapon is not to show their emotions. They always point out when someone else loses control.