Dealing With Passive Aggressive People. My Experience.

Dealing with someone who is passive aggresive can be very tiring. When it finally dawns on you, you realise that you do not even know the person whom you are dealing with. Malice veiled in faux companionship. What veiled malice you ask? To deceive one into believing that one is actually secure when one is not. To lull someone into a false sense of security. The funny thing is, they seem to do everything else BUT the very thing which you asked them to do. They'll be nice in ways that can be appreciated, and you appreciate their "niceness", but that is not what you really want. What you ask for you will have to fight for, and what you need they will with-hold.

Why? What are the reasons behind their actions? Who knows? They behave the way they do for reasons that are only known to themselves. Their behaviour is totally acceptable in their eyes, regardless of what logic you have to present, they are right and you are wrong. So we play the guessing game. Why have you not done what I asked? It's a conundrum that you will die trying to figure out. Forget it. Just accept that for whatever reason, they hold no regard for you or what you want. It is always about them and how YOU can meet THEIR needs.

PLEASE NOTE: Anyone can display this type of behaviour. You and I can become passively aggressive, forced into a mode that we don't usually function in. The reasons for this are incalculable. But whatever reason we have to justify our bad behaviour should not be used as an excuse for it. Stop abusing people's trust, it just ain't cool.


Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on some of the signs and symptoms of passive aggressive behaviour;

The book Living with the Passive–Aggressive Man lists 11 responses that may help identify passive–aggressive behavior:[2]
  • Ambiguity or speaking cryptically: a means of creating a feeling of insecurity in others or of disguising one's own insecurities.
  • Intentional Inefficiency: Intentionally being late and forgetting things, another way to exert control or to punish.
  • Convenient forgetfulness: To win any argument with a dishonest denial of actual events.
  • Fear of competition
  • Fear of dependency
  • Fear of intimacy as a means to act out anger: the passive–aggressive often cannot trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone.
  • Making chaotic situations
  • Making excuses for non-performance in work teams
  • Obstructionism
  • Procrastination
  • Sulking
  • Victimization response: instead of recognizing one's own weaknesses, tendency to blame others for own failures.


- A relationship with a passive aggressive person usually becomes very parasitic. You giving and giving while they sit back and receive. It is not that they do not give at all. No. They do give. But they give very small amounts, little bites just to sustain you. To keep your hope in them alive. It is always what they are willing to give, nothing more.

What? More porridge???

You're just an Oliver Twist to them.
Scorpio1987 Scorpio1987
22-25, M
5 Responses May 17, 2012

OMG, that last bit, that is spot on. I feel like the dog, he just gives me a pat once in a while. wtf

Scorpio, a couple of things you wrote just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up because of the pin-point accuracy of your description. For one, "Malice veiled in faux companionship". Beautiful description. Beautiful. Which begs the question, why would someone go to so much trouble to start and keep a realtionship with someone else, only to actually be feeding their malice? Why go through the whole song & dance, when deep down, all they feel for you is malice?
Then there's the whole issue of them not giving what you ask for, no matter how insignificant. I cannot tell you how many times, for how many years, my husband has down right refused to put his coffee cup in the dishwasher, and will instead put it in the sink, knowing how damned angry it makes. I have asked nicely, begged, pleaded, intellectualized, emotionalized, made agreements, demanded, had break downs, ignored, etc. you name it...only to ALWAYS find dirty coffee cups in the sink the very next day. This is only one, small way he refuses what I ask for. There are the bigger issues like, sex, communication, etc. But you can bet your bottom dollar, the surest way fro me to not get what I want is to ask him for it.
The whole miserable relationship makes you question yourself relentlessly. What am I doing wrong? Why is he/she saying one thing, yet doing another? It is a very crazy place to live!

It is indeed a very crazy place to live revellr. You will literally become depressed trying to figure our what's going on, what you're doing wrong. Is it me? Well they'd like to make you believe so. I've had to accept that this is some sort of means of communication for my brother. He is saying something by not saying something. Its very childish. These people are usually very immature when it comes to interpersonal skills. They just don't know how to relate information to others. So they throw these mini tantrums, play the victim, threaten you indirectly etc. Its very frustrating. Your husband may not even be aware that he is doing these things. That behaviour is "normal" and "acceptable" in his eyes. Either that or he is just being passively aggressive and knows exactly what he is doing but just doesn't want to speak up. Its very annoying to say the least. I'm sorry you have to live with that.

Oh, he is 100% passive aggressive. He is the poster child of PA. It's all a hidden agenda. That being, he has some imagined score to even. If I want to do something he doesn't, sabbotage. Now the score is that he gets his way. If something goes my way that he didn't want to happen, new score to settle. This is a sad, frustrating place to be. There is no direct answer to ANYTHING. 1st this prevents you from pinning the PA person down. You can never say, "You said you liked...You said you wanted..." because they never say. 2nd, they gives them time to figure out what your preference is so that they can bury the land mines. There is such a pathological fear of dependence, intimacy (all kinds) and being overtaken by someone else, that you become the sacrifical slaughter to their insecurities. It has a twist of masochism in it, huh? That light just went off in my head. I can't even tell you how many times what I have wanted has been destroyed by what he wants, in the name of his fears. He will lie, conive, hum-haw, reject, obstruct and sugarcoat any and every thing he has access to. He has no idea how this behavior over 25yrs has caused me to despise him. It used to be so charming how he "hated conflict". Not so much anymore. Now I see it as someone who wants to have duel with you, but somehow talks you out of your gun. That's how living with a PA person is. Nothing is fair.

I'm really sorry to hear that revellr. I hope your situation changes. If it doesn't I hope you find the strength and means to change it. All the best.

I can So relate to ur brothers, smoke and mirrors to job hunting.... <br />
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my unemployed spouse uses the unemployment numbers, oh look, the numbers are sooooo high for unemployment... suggesting that there are no jobs since the unemplyment # are high....<br />
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oh look, so and so is closing its doors... ( one company that he pointed to, I told him they closed up shop a year ago, that is old news daaaaaa)<br />
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does he really believe I cant see through his manipulation? .....<br />
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when his family calls they don't really speak to much about him not having a job..he just says to them, long and winded reply nooooooooo I'm tryiiinnnngg.......<br />
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god I just want to grab that dam phone and tell his family the truth ... he anit trying nothing!!! <br />
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my p/a likes to say to me... yea, i have to do so and so cause you will "yell" at me if I don't ......... im like...<br />
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WTF! you anit seen any yelling yet!!<br />
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its all poor poor lil o me game!!<br />
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did these guys grow up with a mom that catered to them? <br />
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My crystal ball is saying that one day soon, ill be saying,<br />
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grow some balls....... or do you want to borrow mine? idiot!

I really don't know how people become like that. I really want to learn a bit more about this so that I can better understand it and maybe be better equipped to help my bro. I don't know if he'll ever change to be honest. I've heard that there is very little hope for these people changing their ways. I think they get by so much in life using their tricks, by the time someone finally catches on, the behaviour is so ingrained in them that it is difficult if not impossible to reverse. What are we going to do gypsyblu? What on earth are we going to do? *HUGS &amp; CRIES* Haha... :-)

I have found what I think is a *source* of lots of behaviors. If you want to get an idea, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYy5WP-ckBk and http://www.lefkoeinstitute.com/
There's a LOT to be said about beliefs. Once you believe something about yourself, you spend the rest of your life looking for validation of that belief and trying to convince others of that belief (unconsciously). In my H's case, he is from a fundamental christian home and "spare the rod.." was used liberally. He learned a couple of ideas that ingrained so deeply in him and became his beliefs. It's *bad* to have conflict. It's *bad* when someone doesn't like you. It's *bad* to go against the grain in any way. These beliefs have caused him to build a life of deception and fakery. He is not who he shows the world he is. I think he believes he is not good enough. He lies to cover up what he does, feels, likes, etc because he will either A)get into trouble or B)make someone not like him. Underneath this way of thinking is his subconscious, which is angry as hell! He, deep down, hates having to be someone else, which is why it's all passive aggressive.
This theory has been confirmed 100% in the past 9 months. We have decided to divorce as soon as youngest finishes h.s. He is a jr this year. H lives downstairs, I live upstairs. We eat dinner together. We spend maybe 5-10 min a day talking to each other, not necessarily about anything important. We do our own thing. I never ask him to go anywhere or do anything and vice versa. We no longer fight at all. We have COMPLETELY let the marriage die and are just friendly with each other and co-parent. Since we have done this, and worked out all the kinks, the PA behavior has decreased incrementally. As long as I maintain a zero expectation of him doing anything he doesn't want to do or isn't interested in, there is peace. As long as I don't voice my opinion about his job, his hobbies, his money habits, etc, etc, there's peace. I think (and I &amp; our kids have actually asked him this many times) he is not made to be married. His preference to do his own thing doesn't lend to a happy marriage. **I** can see his misery at trying to be something he's not and the pattern in his life. I doubt he can see it though. He just say we're incompatible, when in reality, it's a universal thing with him. He is dishonest with everyone about who he is, from parents to boss. Bottom line, he feels so uncomfortable with conflict, that he alters his real self and then feels angry about it and acts out in subversive ways. We are 180 degrees opposite. I am a straight shooter, HATE to bs'ed, HATE cryptic speak, HATE fluff, etc, etc. So you can see, although I can sympathize with his issues, I can't live with them.

I deal with my brother on these very same issues every couple of months. The conversation goes like this;<br />
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Me - How's the job hunting going? <br />
Him - Not much luck mate. <br />
Me - What are you doing to change that? <br />
Him- Speaking to some people. <br />
Me - Who? <br />
Him - A friend of a friend. <br />
Me - When? <br />
Him - Oh that was about 6 months ago. <br />
Me - WHAT??? <br />
Me - Are you kiding me? <br />
<br />
It really can get depressing if you don't know what or who you're dealing with. And yes, you do have to worry about your own sanity because these people are the best users and they get you to feel sorry for them as if they have no power or strength to change their situation. <br />
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Everybody feel sorry for me. look at what they are doing to me. Nobody loves me. Notice something here? Feel sorry for ME, look at what they are doing to ME, nobody loves ME. It's all ME ME ME... Sadly for me, I cannot run from this PA person. I have to deal with him and his issues constantly and perhaps eternally. But I don't resent him for it. Human beings get damaged for so many reasons. I am not him, I do not react to situations as he does. So maybe he is weaker than most. Anyway, we need to find a way to deal with that. We probably wont get 100% efficiency, but we have to try to make the best out of a bad situation.

I stop giving long time ago when it comes to my my p/a.... good article thank you for posting this. <br />
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my spouse is the king of sulking.... I let him sulk! all I got to say about that is .... have a nice sulk!! <br />
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yea my p/a thinks that cooking is taking care of me ... as if that's all I need from my spouse is food.... so stupid! <br />
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he thinks I don't see through his p/s bull shi.... but iv seen it since day one.... <br />
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he lost his job 3 and half years ago, he never acted like it was a big deal ..... I noticed early on when I told him about a job or tried to give him ideas on his resume, he would put up excuses for why my ideas would not work .... <br />
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soon the voice inside my head began to speak loud .. hello gypsy he no more wants a job then the moon does! its an act ! that's why he sits in front of the computer all day, <br />
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its easier to make believe as ur sitting there typing away, then getting dressed and going out the door to find a job .... <br />
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he exhausted 2 years of unemployment, 90.000 dollars in retirement is gone... now he has cracked open his 401 and that will soon disappear, <br />
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he did apply for s/s since he turned 62...... but, how in the hell does he think that will pay the bills ??? .... after the 401 is depilated, i guess the house is next to go ... <br />
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he will have to sell it, as is, he bought it 30 years ago and never did any up keep on it ... looks like he only had a enough money to buy the house and the up keep was ignored... <br />
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he is delusional !!!! <br />
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he has made it into a situation, of where i have no choice but to worry about me and only me!

Thank you for your comment gypsyblu. It is sad when you have to come to the point of just accepting that the situation probably won't change. And I agree with you, these people ARE delusional. The whole thing about saying one thing and doing the other? Boy, have they got that down to a tee. I know exactly how you feel about the getting a job part. Saying one thing but actually doing another. And this is something they never seem to tire of doing. Procrastination? They invented it. I deal with my brother on these very same issues every couple of months. The conversation goes like this. How's the job hunting going? Not much luck mate. What are you doing to change that? Speaking to some people. Who? A friend of a friend. When? Oh that was about 6 months ago. WHAT??? Are you kiding me? It really can get depressing if you don't know what or who you're dealing with. And yes, you do have to worry about your own sanity because these people are the best users and they get you to feel sorry for them as if they have no power or strength to change their situation. Everybody feel sorry for me. look at what they are doing to me. Nobody loves me. Notice something here? Feel sorry for ME, look at what they are doing to ME, nobody loves ME. It's all ME ME ME... But yeah, you could write a book about these people. Oh wait, books HAVE been written about these people. I intend to buy that book mentioned in the story. Because sadly for me, I cannot run from this PA person. I have to deal with him and his issues constantly and eternally. But I don't resent him for it. Human beings get damaged for so many reasons. I am not him, I do not react to situations as he does. So maybe he is weaker than most. Anyway, we need to find a way to deal with that. We probably wont get 100% efficiency, but we have to try to make the best out of a bad situation.

Gypsy, don't feel bad about worrying about yourself. Live by these words, "Save Yourself".