We have all known or do know someone in our lives who is passive aggressive.
Passive aggression is defined as a “deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger”. It is also one of the most highly annoying traits a person can display. Aside from being slightly infuriating, passive aggression can also lead to bigger issues.
Recognition of these behaviors is the easiest way to neutralize them, thus neutralizing whatever the underlying issue really is.
“I’m Not Mad”
One of the all-time most common passive aggressive responses out there is the classic “I’m not mad”. When you’re trying to determine why someone is acting a certain way, this response should be your first indicator of a problem. The best way to handle this response is to approach the question from another angle. Instead of saying “why are you mad?”, try asking “what’s wrong?”, or “why are you upset?”. The word “mad” itself can be trigger word, so switch it up when you really want to know what’s going on.
Everyone has heard this one. When someone says “fine”, I assure you that is usually the furthest thing from what they feel. When you’re hit with a “fine” or a “whatever” use it as a cue to move forward with the conversation, not to end it. With passive aggressive people you’ve got to do a little more work to figure out what’s under the surface.
”I Thought You Knew”
One characteristic of passive aggressive people that comes out in their statements is the need to shift blame. Ina situation where something isn’t communicated or communicated poorly, someone might say something like “well, I thought you knew.”
This is an attempt to shift blame from them not communicating something to you for not being able to read minds. Don’t fall for it.
”Why are You So Mad?”
This statement is another attempt to shift blame or deflect. By you pointing out the shortcomings in someone who is passive aggressive’s communication, they might try to make it seem like you’re blowing things out of proportion.
You’re not. You are communicating effectively while they are avoiding the issue. Again, you might have to work a little harder to get your point across but in the end you’ll find that resolving issues before they blow up is totally worth the extra effort.