“Living With a Passive-Aggressive Personality” Comments, Page 1

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5 Comments (One Discussion Thread) on “Living With a Passive-Aggressive Personality”

  1. In my experience, a lot of people have passive-agressive behaviors because they lack the skills to communicate effectively and ask for the things they need directly. They are under the misunderstanding that passive-agressive behavior is the only way that they can get what they want or need.

  2. Dr. Simon, is there a way for a sibling, friend, or spouse to help a passive aggressive person “get off the fence”, if that person is resistant to go to a professional for help?

  3. I’ve been trying to figure out the people around me (I’m working on myself too) that seem to be covert-aggressive but have some traits that seem to be passive-aggressive. The one I’m curious about is their having to be in control of a project (either at work or at home) even tho they don’t appear to have a clue what they’re doing. They want to be boss and in control, but then they just mess the whole thing up by their lack of appropriate decisions and create such a huge uproar and clamor which upsets everyone. They blame everyone else but when you call them on the illogical excuses and justifications they get mad. Then the dust clears, everything is okay for a week or so (maybe two) and the whole thing happens again. I’ve notice that they often have a certain person (or persons) that will cover up for their behaviour, taking the blame for whatever it was they messed up on or side with them (because they always lie about your part in it and blame you).

    I know Dr. Simon that you say in your books and web pages here that they know what they are doing. It seems like they are creating a “hoorah” as a way to control other people. It also seems that negative attention is better than none.

    The “passive” part I guess is that they agree to do the job as prescribed and the rules have been told to them numerous times, but they go ahead and do it their way anyway. And sometimes their way is just not accomplishable in any logical manner. Like you’ve said, dealing with them can be super frustrating. Is this type of behavior what psychologists call “Obstruction?” I’m not sure.

    1. Obstruction is a frequent feature of passive-aggression. I’m not surprised about the confusion over this term’s meaning inasmuch as professionals are among the more notorious misusers of it. In short, passive aggression is fighting by not doing, where as “active” aggression involves actively fighting which can be overt or carefully concealed (covert) for practical purposes. That’s why I say covert aggressors know what they’re doing. Confusion comes when folks don’t categorize active vs. passive, direct vs. indirect, overt vs. covert and lump all forms no-overt, aggression as “passive-aggression.”

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