Lesson five– Understanding passive aggressive behaviour part 1

Passive aggressive behaviour is the most destructive behaviour in the workplace and is often the death nail for any relationship. Its tempting to fall into this behaviour as it often feels safer, kinder and easier than being honest and assertive, but it just creates a ticking time bomb.

Passive aggressive behaviour takes many forms but can generally be described as a non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behaviour. It is where you are angry with someone but do not or cannot tell him or her. Instead of communicating honestly when you feel upset, annoyed, irritated or disappointed you may instead bottle the feelings up, shut off verbally, give angry looks, make obvious changes in behaviour, be obstructive, sulky or put up a stonewall. It may also involve indirectly resisting requests from others by evading or creating confusion around the issue. Not going along with things. It can either be covert (concealed and hidden) or overt (blatant and obvious).
A passive aggressive might not always show that they are angry or resentful. They might appear in agreement, polite, friendly, down-to-earth, kind and well meaning. However, underneath there may be manipulation going on – hence the term “Passive-Aggressive”.
Passive aggression is a destructive pattern of behaviour that can be seen as a form of emotional abuse in relationships that bites away at trust between people. It is a creation of negative energy in the ether, which is clear to those involved and can create immense hurt and pain to all parties.
It happens when negative emotions and feelings build up and are then held in on a self-imposed need for either acceptance by another, dependence on others or to avoid even further arguments or conflict.

Some examples of passive aggression might be:

Non-Communication when there is clearly something problematic to discuss but its avoided or sweet coated
Veiled threats
Evading problems and issues, burying an angry head in the sand
Ambiguity Being cryptic, unclear, not fully engaging in conversations
Sulking Being silent, morose, sullen and resentful in order to get attention or sympathy.
Making Excuses Always coming up with reasons for not doing things
Victimisation unable to look at their own part in a situation will turn the tables to become the victim and will behave like one
Self-Pity the poor me scenario
Blaming others for situations rather than being able to take responsibility for your own actions or being able to take an objective view of the situation as a whole.
Giving praise before giving more critical feedback just to soften the blow nut it’s not sincere
Not being authentic or honest
Using the word BUT after saying some nice
False empathy such as “I really understand your point but” “with all due respect” ‘I hear what your saying” all of these cant work if you have your own agenda

In part two we will look at how to be more assertive and avoid passive aggressive behaviour