How to Identify Passive Aggressive Traits

Written by sam grover
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How to Identify Passive Aggressive Traits
Passive aggression is often visible in someone's body language. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Passive-aggressive behaviour is a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings rather than dealing directly with issues and problems. The passive-aggressive person does not directly and openly express their negative thoughts and feelings. According the Mayo Clinic, there's a disconnect between what a passive-aggressive person says and what he or she does. They will often agree with someone when they are actually in disagreement, then act out negatively to the situation. The passive-aggressive person doesn't share their negative emotions verbally; they act them out through their behaviour. There are specific signs of passive-aggressive behaviour to watch for.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Listen for consistent complaining about being under appreciated. Since passive-aggressive people don't speak out when they are unhappy, they tend to develop a general attitude of victimisation, which will manifest itself in complaining.

  2. 2

    Keep an eye out for irrational irritability. Passive-aggressive people will often become upset for no apparent reason. The real reason the passive-aggressive person is upset could be something that happened weeks, months or years ago.

  3. 3

    Look for impatience and sullenness. Passive-aggressive people will be impatient and sullen because they internalise all perceived slights and offences.

  4. 4

    Look for sabotaging behaviours. A passive-aggressive person will often take a project or responsibility on, even if he doesn't really want to, then sabotage it by being late, missing deadlines and generally doing a poor job.

  5. 5

    Watch for signs of procrastination. Passive-aggressive people will often procrastinate as a way of silently protesting tasks they don't want to do.

  6. 6

    Notice if the person seems inefficient. Another method of acting out passive-aggressively is inefficiency.

  7. 7

    Look for signs of memory lapses. Passive-aggressive people will conveniently forget.

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