The American Psychological Association defines a passive-aggressive personality disorder as “a personality disorder of long-standing in which ambivalence toward the self and others is expressed by such means as procrastination, dawdling, stubbornness, intentional inefficiency, ‘forgetting’ appointments, or misplacing important materials.”
Backhanded compliments, avoiding conflict, guilt-tripping, and feigning ignorance are all signs of passive-aggressive behavior that serve to convey hostility or signal resentment in a veiled and/or roundabout way.
Here are ways to successfully deal with passive-aggressive people.
1. Call Out The Specific Behavior
Let’s say that if a passive-aggressive friend is constantly late (possibly signaling their resentment towards the location, the time, or having to meet with you), tell them you’d appreciate their being on time so that they don’t waste your time. Best case scenario, they may apologize and be open to changing their behavior once the implications of their actions are made clear to them.
2. Stay Present
Although the behavior might be part of a larger pattern, don’t bring up past incidents.
3. Be Open & Inclusive To Communication
Passive-aggressive people are already so averse to communication that you need to make sure you are never shutting it down.
4. Recognize Your Own Passive-Aggression
Take the time to step back and examine your own behavior to make sure you aren’t just as guilty of some of these behaviors.
5. Remove Yourself From The Situation The Best You Can
For your own mental health, it may be time to put this relationship to rest. If someone in your life is purposely creating difficult obstacles for you or actively trying to make you feel bad about yourself, the relationship is toxic.
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