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How do you deal with passive aggressive individuals?

We all have different personality types.
Some of us are passive, some are assertive, some aggressive, some are passive aggressive.

And at any given time, we may display one or more of these personality traits based on the situation at hand.

I am interested in experiences you might have had or are having with individuals who specifically display a passive aggressive personality.

How do you deal with them at work?
How do you handle them within the family circle?

If you yourself are a passive aggressive person, could you shed light into why you choose to act this way? And also, what kind of people are you the most comfortable around?

Any and all comments are welcomed. I am hoping to learn more about this type of personality so I can better communicate with these individuals.

Thank you.

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Closing Statement from W T

Thank you to all who participated in this most wonderful conversation on passive aggressive personalities.

Hopefully all who participated walked away knowing a little bit more about themselves and others.

We cannot change others, but we can certainly change ourselves.

It is in this light, that I started this conversation. My goal was to understand why passive aggressive individuals acted the way they do, so that I can better understand how to treat them and get along with them........your answers shed alot of light into my dilemna.....I am still reading and learning.

Thank you!!!

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  • Jan 31 2013: Hi Mary,
    1. my mother is passive aggressive and personally I think, Manic Depressive. ( her parents too PA)
    and so I think my siblings also
    2. I also show smaller signs of Passive behaviour and have worked very hard to get that under my umbrella of responsibilities..
    3. I live now in a community that is full of PA types. and some of my friends are at the brink of being ruined by PA types.


    Regarding my family. I was labelled and very good at diffusing arguments. Hate arguments. Hate all the violent outbursts and anger. The result of peace making and praise for my peacemaking abilities is that I never accepted the other side. Which has become a dark side. All the bad things I did, I kept undercover. Which probably aren't so bad. I essentially didn't allow myself to be myself. As an adult it has come out. I have had very strong opinions about things I don't like and I do what I always do "Tolerate the behaviour" Tolerate the discomfort.
    passive... let it slide..
    aggressive...... how dare you get the upperhand while I am denied the chance.

    Where strict rules are present there is PA behaviour. "hey wait a minute! you are not obeying the rules! that's not allowed." I am going to tell on you. Report you. but I don't want to be the whistle blower, cause secretly I want to be free from these rules too. I want the freedom you so blatantly feel belongs to you and you alone.!!! %$&^%$ So I will disguise my anger as "concern" and make you feel bad that you are so thoughtless. I will not come right out and tell you because that would mean a confrontation and then you will start yelling at me! no no. I will even initiate a curiosity 'would like to understand you' conversation. just so I can prick you with the message, "Listen you are not aware that others are very inconvenienced by your unconscious behaviour".
    Mother's personal favorite. get you vulnerable and then kill
    A PA disguises a judgment as an opinion and then say, "but whatever, that's just me" ..
    • W T 100+

      • 0
      Jan 31 2013: Hi Suz,

      Your contribution is so enlightning. You have validated alot of frustrations I have felt in dealing with my siblings. I have always been made to feel like my opinions on a matter are over the wall...out there....and that I, to quote one of my siblings: "overanalyze things"....in other words, I should just let things slide, don't waste time thinking about it.

      I cannot tell you the times we have been confronted with injustices, and I step up to defend our rights as citizens, or consumers, or patients, and I am met with criticism from siblings.

      I remember one time being charged almost $200 by a hotel because of their mistake. I disputed the charge and it was credited to me but my sibling thought it wasn't worth the hazzle and paid it on their card. They made me feel that I was too nitpicky, and that I should do like them and let things go....I was so dumbfounded by their attitude. At the time I did not have the knowledge I have today.

      My various thoughts in the past...."they're so selfish......how can they not see what I see.......how inconsiderate.....oblivious to what is around them.....laid back......incompetent.......procrastinator....why don't they speak up...etc...."

      It has been a roller coaster ride all these years.......and still our relationships are so fragile.
      Sadly, their children also display pa behavior.
      One child in particular has been a bully at school since kindergarten....always with pa behavior (it's a girl).
      When I saw how abusive the speech was towards my own children, I immediately cut the time we spent together as a family.
      I love my siblings, but I dislike how they wear us down emotionally.

      Thank you so very much for sharing your priceless thoughts, not only with me, but with the entire TED community.

      May I ask how you have handled pa behavior in someone that is close to you?
      For example, do you always call them on it, or do you ignore, or is there a tactic you use to ease over the pa's attitude and keep the peace?

      Thanks, Mary

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