Passive Aggressive Behavior: Signs You Are Using It To Cope

Last Update on March 28, 2022 : Published on December 3, 2020
Signs you are using passive aggresive behavior

What Is Passive Aggressive Behavior?

A kind of behavior where the person expresses their negative emotions or feelings in an indirect manner rather than being straightforward and open about it. There are signs of anger, disappointment and frustration but the words are quite opposite and include things like ‘Ya, that’s just fine’ or ‘Whatever, you do it’. 

If we talk about passive-aggressive examples or passive aggressive signs, let’s look at some. A woman is angry at her partner. However, instead of addressing the problem openly, she creates a fuss about playing loud television or loud music or complaining about others. Similarly, if the boss is asking you to do something unnecessarily but instead of clearing the same thing to him, you start sending taunts as passive aggressive compliments or starting showing passive aggressive behavior.

What is passive aggressive behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior means expressing yourself in an indirect aggression rather than being upfront and direct. People dealing with passive aggression or passive aggressive personalities often find it painful to confront their anger, emotions or disappointments. It is because they try resisting their negative emotions and sideline the source of their discomfort.

Although one may find passive-aggressive behavior right to control the situation, it somewhere depletes the relationship as well as devoid the chance of improving on core issues.

If we understand the examples of passive aggressive personality to elaborate passive aggression meaning:

  • An individual avoiding someone constantly to express their dislike towards them rather than explaining the causes and feelings.
  • Telling everyone that you are fine and refusing to open up the problems and solve them out.

What Are The Causes Of Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder?

There are different reasons why people act differently under aggression and avoid confronting the following emotions including:

1. Fear of loss and authority:

Fear of losing an opportunity in the workplace, getting punished or losing someone you love may become the cause of hiding emotions.

2. Poor communication:

Not everyone can manage direct communication because of shame or prevention of conflict and they use passive aggression as expression.

3. Environment:

Those who grew in an environment where the parents have used similar expressions tend to follow the same path may have aggressive disorder.

4. Shameful of own emotions:

Some people are ashamed to show their passive aggressive communication or express their feelings as they are not able to admit them.

After understanding the reasons for being passive aggressive, let us find out signs of the behavior and if you are using it to cope up with it.

7 Signs You Are Using Passive Aggressive Behavior

1. Giving Silent Treatment:

One could say ‘I am upset because you did this. Can you explain’ but under aggression, it is more likely that they don’t reply or just roll over the eyes.

2. ‘Less’ Good Compliments:

Your compliments would look good if you say ‘Beautiful dress’. But their value could vary when you say ‘Beautiful dress. I saw it in a nearby mall at a very cheap price.’ It shows your competitiveness and unhappiness at a certain point and a major sign of passive aggression.

3. Negative Talks:

Speaking negatively about someone on their back without addressing the problem.

4. Incomplete work:

Not completing the work or leaving it an ‘almost’ state is one sign that passive aggressive behavior is about. They will wash and dry their clothes but avoid folding, and decide to clean the utensils but leave them filled with water alone.

5. Invalidity of actions:

They add invalidating comments within a productive conversation. For example, ‘You must have not cleaned your room because you were playing games all day long.’ shows aggressive disorder.

6. Annoying deliberately:

Running late deliberately and making other people wait in order to annoy them.

7. Not being responsible:

Passive aggressive signs include shifting responsibilities on someone else for their own circumstances. For example, ‘I couldn’t finish my work because you took me out shopping.’ 

The above are some examples of passive aggressive behaviour and if you or your loved ones are showing some of them then it’s time to understand how to deal with situation of being passive aggressive.

How To Deal With Passive-Aggressive Behaviour?

Passive Aggressive Behavior

 ‘Am I passive aggressive?’ Well, if you find signs of such behavior within you and wish to resolve it then answer yourself a few questions. Mind you, you need to be mindful of your actions, empathetic and may need to take a step back for recognition.

  • Are you avoiding people with whom you are upset?
  • Do you undertake activities which can make others feel punished?
  • Do you use sarcasm and avoid indulging in meaningful conversations?

If yes, then these steps may help you to cope with passive aggressive behavior in a subsequent manner.

1. Give yourself time to change your behavior after realizing it. Altering the pattern is time consuming, all you have to do is become a little more empathetic and take your actions cautiously.

2. Self awareness and mindfulness are those tools which keep you attentive not only of your own actions but also others’ views. Once you learn their perspective of your actions, you make decisions in a better way.

3. Try to express yourself appropriately. If it is needed, write down your thoughts and emotions on a paper and share it with the person.

Why Passive Aggressive Behavior Is Bad For Your Health?

Passive aggressive personalities hold a feeling of resentment towards others and it acts as a blockage in expression. Their actions are also communicated in passive aggressive communication. Such behavior of passive aggressive personality builds a wall between two parties and the issue remains unresolved until expressed. Moreover, if it sustains in a long term relationship then only either of the two survive. It also acts as a mental blockage and all the productive thoughts are guided towards unnecessary arguments.


Life rules are very simple. Express yourself, release all the emotions and live your life like a free bird. Once you start grabbing the concept, it becomes easier for you to cut down passive aggressiveness as well as negativities associated with it. We are hopeful that you would keep your calm maintained and work on the behavior positively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Are Some Signs of Aggressive Behavior?

Some common signs of passive aggression are anxiety, frequent mood changes, depression, memory issues, trouble in organizing thoughts, and poor communication skills.

Q2.What Are Physical and Verbal Signs of Aggressive Behavior?

Aggressive disorder depicts signs like raised voice, clenched fists, hitting things away, throwing off items in the room, expressing your thoughts and swearing in again and again. 

Q3. What Triggers Aggressive Behavior?

Some triggering reasons behind passive aggressive behavior is embarrassment, humiliation, insult in front of others, afraid of emergency situations and rejection by others.

About The Author

Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.

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