There are people who get angry easily, but know how to disguise it well. Some may become sarcastic or opt for the silent treatment rather than openly communicating what they feel. If you notice these warning signs, you may be in a relationship with a passive-aggressive person. This behavior may seem harmless at first, but it often leads to tension in relationships. Read on to discover the signs that you are in a relationship with a passive-aggressive person.
Who is a passive-aggressive person?
A passive-aggressive person is one who expresses his anger, frustration or resentment indirectly, rather than openly voicing his concerns, says Dr Pankaj B Borade, consultant psychiatrist, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune. They may use subtle comments, backhanded compliments, silent treatment, or confusing language to communicate their displeasure or dissatisfaction without being direct about it.
People exhibit passive-aggressive behavior for several reasons:
• Fear of confrontation
• Lack of communication skills
• A desire to avoid guilt
• Inner anger or frustration that they don’t want to admit
• A desire to subtly control situations or low self-esteem.
The expert says that some people have learned or witnessed this behavior from their relatives as a culture or way of dealing with conflict or expressing dissatisfaction.
Also read: How to deal with an aggressive partner: tips for a healthy relationship
Signs you’re dating a passive-aggressive person
There are some signs that you may be dealing with a passive-aggressive person in a relationship. Here are some:
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1. Sneaky comments and compliments
Compliments from your partner can make your day. But a passive-aggressive person will make subtle, sarcastic, or undermining comments disguised as compliments or casual statements, indirectly conveying their true feelings.
2. Avoiding open communication
A passive-aggressive person consistently avoids open conversations about their feelings or concerns. They prefer indirect ways to express their grievances.
3. Intentional delays and procrastination
They purposely postpone tasks or take time to provide answers to express their frustration or annoyance without openly addressing the problem they have.
4. Silent treatment
When they are upset, they withdraw and stop communicating or interacting with you. It is their way of showing their dissatisfaction or anger. So even if you ask a question, they won’t answer.
5. Playing the victim
They may act as if they have been wronged or abused, even though they were the reason the problem arose in the first place. They do this to avoid any form of responsibility.
6. Confusing communication
They use ambiguous language or behavior to communicate. This can make it difficult for you to understand their true thoughts or intentions, says Dr. Borade.
7. Blaming others
They tend to shift blame to others or to external circumstances or situations, rather than accepting responsibility for their own actions or emotions.
8. Non-verbal aggressiveness
They convey their displeasure through non-verbal signals such as rolling their eyes, sighing or other expressions of annoyance, but indirectly.
9. Passive resistance
They may subtly resist complying with requests or instructions without overtly rejecting them. This can be quite frustrating.
10. Indirect control
They try to influence or control situations or people indirectly, avoiding direct confrontation or even appearing bossy, the expert says.
How to deal with a passive-aggressive partner?
People behave passive-aggressively for various reasons, mainly because they do not want to say directly what is bothering them. Dealing with a passive-aggressive person can be difficult, but there are ways to deal with it.
Here are some ways:
• Start by promoting direct and honest communication in a relationship. Kindly ask them to express their feelings directly instead of using indirect behavior.
• Stay calm and patient while talking to them, even if they frustrate you.
• It is essential to set clear boundaries and let them know what behavior you will not tolerate.
• If conflicts arise, discuss them directly but respectfully, and avoid the blame game.
• Consider suggesting relationship therapy or counseling to work on communication issues together.
In the midst of all this, don’t forget to take care of yourself, because dealing with passive aggression can be emotionally draining.