You have been hurt or angered by someone? You are not able to face the person and speak openly about your frustration, so you default to what you know best… show them how you feel by leaving subtle stabs at them, their relationships or their events… Your subtle stabs are screaming INSECURITYTY, JEALOUSY, IMMATURITY….
This article will discuss the passive-aggressive person in social settings and not at work, as that is an entirely different conversation.
- What is passive-aggressive behaviour?
Simply said, it involves actions or non-actions that are indirectly aggressive rather than the normal aggressive behaviour we know as screaming and shouting.
- What does a passive-aggressive person do?
Typically, they claim that they are not mad or that they are fine, but they are the exact opposite. Shutting down their emotions lead to further frustration and escalate their anger without any provocation.
- What does it look like?
The silent treatment – completely ignoring another person, refusing to answer any questions from the person, and perhaps even refusing to acknowledge their presence. An example may be something like: you attend your annual Christmas get-together with family. This is so that all the grandchildren can get their presents, and everyone sees the family before going on holiday. As you arrive, you are greeted by your sister in-law with a very stiff face. She ignores you the entire day and even walks away when you tell a story to the group. At lunch, she rolled her eyes when you gave her a compliment.
Subtle insults – giving a compliment with an insult such as: “Wow, you look wonderful, you are not that skinny anymore”
Sullen behaviour – A big word, I know. What it means is that the person feels that they don’t need to answer you at all when asking a question, they answer you negatively or smirk. The sullen person might so tell people that you are “not as nice as everyone thinks”.
- What causes it?
Passive-aggressive behaviour causes great damage to relationships. Numerous aspects contribute to the creator of a passive-aggressive individual. Those include:
- Upbringing… yes, you have been taught that this is acceptable behaviour. It could be that you have been brought up in a household or relationship where expressing your emotions were not encourage or even frowned upon. Angry parents or angry spouses taught you that you should not speak about the things that bother you and therefore you give outlet to those emotions in a very destructive passive-aggressive manner.
- Situation… in some social settings it is seen as inappropriate to show aggression. When you are faced with your brother’s girlfriend or your best friend’s other friend… you feel the need to hide your aggressive, jealous feelings.
- Confidence… showing your emotions are not easy so you opt for a “better” way. This “way” will cost you dearly.
- What should you do if you are at the receiving end?
It typically doesn’t help to tell them. On some level, they already know what they are doing, and may escalate their bad behaviour to get back at you if you bring it up.
The most effective approach is to ignore the behaviour and pretend you don’t notice it. If it doesn’t appear to affect you, there is not much in it for them, and they may stop the behaviour because of your lack of a reaction.
- Passive-aggressive behaviour on social media is very bad.
Amongst the most notable elements of passive aggressive material on social media are cryptic messages designed to take a stab at a person or situation.
Everybody sees it so you look like a fool….
Your passive-aggressive post or like on Facebook has been called out by the very person you are looking to show your anger to. Do not deny it, you are seen for what you have demonstrated you are. If you can’t call something out to a person it is either not true, it is your opinion or you lack confidence in your position on the matter. So, fess up.
Last note… look inward when you exhibit passive-aggressive behaviour. Self-awareness is what you lack.