How to deal with passive aggressive people: Expert shares insights

In relationships, people often tend to be passive-aggressive. This comes from the long history of not being taught to accept and express our emotional needs in the right way. This creates oppressive behavior in people to develop resentment for those who are unable to conform to set standards, knowing their needs and wants without speaking about them. Therefore, when things don’t go the way they want, they start to behave passive-aggressively. Speaking of which, psychologist Nicole LePera wrote, “Passive-aggressive behavior is extremely common because many of us have not been taught to express our emotional needs. Or, if we did, we were shamed. Or invalid. Because we learn our communication style from parent figures, many of us are not even aware that we are being passive aggressive. We just think this is a way to connect with another person.”

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She went on to note how people display passive-aggressive behavior; they are:

aggravation: The irritation shown by such people can take many forms. The most common of these is a deep sigh to show they are upset without talking about it.

sarcasm: If sarcasm is not controlled, it can really hurt someone. Derogatory or sarcastic comments intended to hurt someone can be passive aggressive behavior.

Compliment but with a twist: A compliment combined with an insult can also be passive aggressive behavior.

be snappy: Passive-aggressive people are often angry or snarky in their behavior, but when asked what is wrong they tend to deny it. Not being able to freely express one’s feelings and showing oneself in suppressed actions is also a form of passive-aggressive behavior.

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There are two ways to deal with passive-aggressive behavior. It depends on the relationship we share with the person. If the relationship is not too deep, we can respond by simply not letting it affect us. But in the case of a deep relationship, there are a few tips to deal with it:

awareness: Asking them if they are aware of the fact that their behavior hurts us.

address: The best way forward is to communicate the same. Addressing what is bothering her is the first step to experiencing it.

What’s on your mind: Asking the person what is bothering them and what is on their mind is one way to deal with it.

expectations: Expectations, needs and wishes must be communicated in clear words. As Nicole LePera mentioned, “Remember, humans aren’t designed to read minds. If you have a need or an expectation and want it met, you need to communicate it.”

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