Passive aggressive refers to a person who exhibits the passive aggressive behavior. Non-verbal aggression manifested by negative behavior is called a passive aggressive behavior. A passive aggressive expresses negative feelings in an indirect way instead of openly confronting it.
Following examples will help with a better understanding of the passive aggressive behavior.
- Often "forgets" to do things and uses forgetfulness as an excuse for not doing things. In reality, they don't forget, but instead deliberately don't do the work.
- Non communication: They won't talk or discuss what is bothering them. Or they may talk in an unclear and confusing way (ambiguity).
- Procrastination: They will focus on low priority tasks and ignore higher priority tasks.
- Fear of intimacy: They have problem with trusting anyone and thus prevent themselves from being intimately attached to anyone.
- Making excuses: They will often make excuses for their sub sub-standard performance at work or home.
- Victimization: They will not accept their own shortcomings, but instead blame others for their inefficiencies and failures.
- Sulking: They will remain silent or withdrawn to get attention and sympathy.
- Obstructionism: They will deliberately delay or prevent completion of a work without openly opposing it.
- Fear of competition: They are afraid of any competition and will try to avoid any such situation where they will have to compete with others.
The above mentioned features are some of the most common manifestations of the passive aggressive behavior. However, this list is far from complete and there can be myriad other examples of passive aggressive behavior.
Earlier, passive aggressive behavior was considered a personality disorder as was termed as passive aggressive personality disorder. However, because of the controversies surrounding the diagnostic criteria and need for more study on the topic, it is no longer a separate personality disorder. Currently it is placed in a wastebasket category called personality disorder not otherwise specified.
Four subtypes of passive-aggressive have been proposed (Millons' subtypes). These are circuitous negativist (dependent personality features), abrasive negativist (sadistic feature), discontented negativist (depressive features), vacillating negativist (borderline personality features).
Treatment of Passive Aggressive Behavior
If you are a passive aggressive, you need to first develop an insight. It means accepting that you suffer from this problem and that you need to do something about it. You can then take steps to modify your behavior depending upon which features are dominant in your passive aggressive behavior. For e.g. if you often complain of your personal misfortune, then you should try to stop complaining. Similarly if you use forgetfulness as an excuse to not do the tasks that you don't approve of, you should openly discuss it with the concerned person instead of not doing it. You should try to take responsibility for your actions instead of blaming others.
If you think that your problem is pretty severe and you need professional help, you can opt for psychotherapy. Good results are usually observed after psychotherapy for passive aggressive behavior.