Passive-Aggressive People (part 4)




“You wouldn’t want to watch my kids, would you?”


Message left on your voice mail: “I’m home sick now.  Well, I guess I better go. I’ll be listening for the phone in case you want to call.”


“No, I’m not upset. Why?”


Don’t feel like you need to come to the party, but everyone will be here. You would be the only family member missing.”


As you read these sentences, notice how you feel inside? How is your body reacting? If you’re like me, you feel tense, irritated, pushed, and confused. That’s because each of the sentences above contain mixed messages.  These are very common things that Passive-Aggressive people say.


Basically, the P/A has not grown up emotionally and has learned to avoid. She avoids discussing her true emotions and she avoids blame and conflict, but by doing so she avoids true connection and intimacy with people. She also avoids responsibility by being perpetually late or by “forgetting” her commitments. She avoids telling you what she wants, because she lacks the confidence. Later, she will take what she wants by sabotaging others.


When you react to the crazy-making situation, the P/A stays calm and you seem like the aggressor. Here are some final tips for dealing with P/As:

  • Get rid of guilt. It’s not you who is making the P/A act this way. They do it with everyone.
  • Don’t come across as blaming or shaming. This only makes the P/As internal shield come out. Instead, let them know how you feel. “I felt very frustrated when you said I could help. Later you asked someone else and it made me feel crazy.”
  • Confront the P/A on her dishonesty, but don’t get into a conflict. Say, “It makes me feel like you are controlling me by not stating simply what you want.”
  • Let the P/A know you are comfortable with honesty. Say, “It seems like you are angry, please tell me about it.” 

For more tips, refer back to the previous articles.  


What tips have you learned for dealing with the P/As in your life?

2 thoughts on “Passive-Aggressive People (part 4)

  1. Sounds like plain old manipulation. – why must we label *everything*?

  2. Great article. I was feeling all tensed up inside reading the beginning! I appreciate these tips, I’m getting ready to deal with some P/A’s in my life and this has given me new confidence. I love the tip about not getting in conflict, yet saying what needs to be said.

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