No doubt you have heard about passive/aggressive behavior, but do you know what it is? You need to know, because many narcissists behave in this way.
Passive/aggressive behavior is very sneaky. It makes you wonder if the person acting that way is mad at you or not. The worst part may be that when you confront the passive/aggressive person, they have a plausible sounding explanation for their behavior. This makes you doubt your perception of the situation. Plausible deniability is always a part of passive/aggression, as is the desire to punish another person.
Passive/aggressive behavior is deliberately inefficient, quiet in that the person refuses to discuss their needs & avoids responsibility. Some examples of it are….
Not doing things well. A passive/aggressive spouse may put the laundry in the washer but fail to put them in the dryer for hours claiming he thought you would do that. Or, she may leave your car with virtually no gas in it after using it after you argue. Usually whatever is done poorly is something that has happened countless times before, & rather than argue about it, you just fix the problem quietly.
Running late. Some people are always running behind due to poor time management skills, being forgetful or another reasonable excuse. Passive/aggressive people, however, are not that way. If they have a punctual partner, you can guarantee that they will run late periodically solely for the purpose of irritating that partner. They may say they forgot that special event was in an hour, so they will take their time getting ready & you end up leaving two minutes before the event is due to start.
The silent treatment. Passive/aggressive people love the silent treatment. Rather than saying,, “I was upset when you did something.. can we work it out?” they simply stop talking to you. If you try to ask what is wrong, they refuse to admit anything is wrong or get angry at you for not knowing what is wrong. The silent treatment is designed to make you come crawling to the person & work hard to gain their forgiveness. Don’t fall for it!
Backhanded complements. We’ve all heard these at some point. Passive/aggressive people use them often. Comments like, “Nice hair cut. It really helps hide all that gray hair.” or, “I used to have an outfit just like that! I stopped wearing it after high school though.” are just two examples of backhanded complements. If a passive/aggressive person says such a comment to you, chances are he or she feels threatened by you in some way. Maybe that person thinks you look more attractive than they do, you’re smarter or more talented. Sometimes backhanded complements can be hard to spot, so just notice how you feel when someone gives you a complement. Genuine complements leave you wanting to thank the person & feeling good. Backhanded complements leave you feeling offended & even confused wondering what the person who said it meant by their words.
Fake concern. Closely related to the backhanded complements are the fake concern comments. When a passive/aggressive persons says, “I don’t mean to sound judgmental/insensitive, but…” you can guarantee the next words out of that person’s mouth will be judgmental &/or insensitive. This is their way of saying nasty things to you while appearing to be helpful. If you say anything about how judgmental or insensitive the person is at this point, you are going to look like a jerk to anyone who doesn’t realize what is happening. That is a bonus for a passive/aggressive person- making you look bad on top of insulting you.
Destruction & sabotage. Sometimes passive/aggressive people will “accidentally” destroy something important to you when they’re upset with you. That could be something like “accidentally” spilling red wine on your favorite white shirt or a coworker “forgetting” to tell you that the project you’ve been working hard on is no longer due next week, but in two days.
So, how can a person deal with the obnoxious passive/aggressive behavior? First, be aware of it. Learn what you can about recognizing the signs.
Second, set & enforce good boundaries. If your friend is always late, stop waiting on her. Meet her at the restaurant & order without her. Or, stop hanging out with her at all.
Third, never forget to stay calm at all times. Pretend not to be flustered by their actions. If you show that you are upset, they will do it again & again.
Forth, never forget to pray. God will help you to identify & deal with this awful behavior in the most effective ways possible. All you have to do is ask Him to.