tips for dealing with passive aggressive people

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly smaller all of the time. In order to successfully coexist with our fellow humans, we must strive to understand them and the various personality types they posses. One such personality is called passive aggressive, or PA.

The main characteristic of a passive aggressive person is that they retaliate by “attacking” indirectly. The psycology is that a passive aggressive person does not want to deal with the repercussions of their anger. Dealing with passive aggressive people requires patience and understanding of this type of personality.

1. PA Traits

No two people are alike. And each PA person relies on their strengths when manipulating others. For example, If they are instinctively good at understanding emotion, they will focus on creating an emotional roller coaster to achieve their control.

PA personalities are common at workplace and in family lives. They use non-confrontational techniques to control others. Here are some of the ways they may manipulate:

  • Withholding information from others.
  • Purposely hiding objects such as keys, documents, manuals, etc…
  • Sabotaging schedules and work deadlines.
  • Making subtle assaults.

2. Determine if Someone is PA

PA people often feel that others, or life itself has caused them harm. This may be a result of their lack of assertiveness, and the non confrontational approach.

They use tactics that confuse their partners or co-workers by keeping them off balance and less productive. The simplest way to determine if someone is passive aggressive, is to ask them a direct question such as: “Are you upset with me?”

If they reply with something like, “you should now” or “why are you so paranoid”, chances are they are passive aggressive and may be trying to manipulate you. Otherwise, they will respond with a “yes I am upset” or alike.

If the answer is a “no”, you should follow up by telling them how you would like to be treated. If they respond sarcastically or with worsening behaviour toward you, this confirms that they indeed have passive aggressive tendencies.

3. Strategy In Dealing With PA

Business or personal relationships with PA can be improved. The key for them is to learn to become more self aware and assertive. I suggest that you practice compassion and non attachment with them. As their partner, you can begin by reducing their anxieties and by being gently firm. Also be sure to keep the lines of communication open at all times.

Show PA that you’re not accusing them and that they are safe. Rely on mutual understanding and goodwill. When dealing with passive aggressive behavior, encourage PA to learn to understand their feelings and become more comfortable with expressing themselves despite their insecurities. Continue to offer them your support.

In Conclusion

First and foremost, PA are people. They wish to be loved, understood and appreciated like everyone else. They want to feel safe. When fear and insecurity strikes, we all react in ways that make us feel most protected. Understanding ourselves and learning from our past, will go far toward finding our inner peace and harmony with one another.

Live well. Vlad

2 Responses to tips for dealing with passive aggressive people

  1. Noch Noch | be me. be natural. January 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    lots of PA people esp when I worked in Japan – had to in the end, ignore it and not let it affect my mood. i had to learn to protect myself. it was too overwhelming for me to address everyone of them… grrr… but to some others closer at heart, esp family members, good advice for that. relationships can be mended i suppose..
    Noch Noch

    • Vlad January 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      I can only imagine what it’s like dealing with PA in other cultures. Must have been very frustrating! Especially if there is a language barrier involved…