Passive aggressive behaviour is sugar coated hostility that can be summed up perfectly by a Chinese proverb, “Behind the Smile, A Hidden Knife”. Passive aggressive people are usually those who may appear to act appropriately but are actually negative and passive. The behaviour of such individuals can range from the mild to very serious, such as planning and sabotaging your success.

The chronically passive aggressive individuals have some common traits and characteristics.

  • Sarcasm.
  • Unreasonable to deal with.
  • They withhold intimacy and praise.
  • They don’t express their hostility directly.
  • Sabotage.
  • Being critical.

Are you dealing with someone who is passive aggressive in your professional or personal life? Dealing with such an individual can be a difficult experience and can often lead to anger and frustration. How do you handle such people and the situations that arise due to their behaviour?

  • Identity the Behaviour and Set Limits 

The most challenging aspect of dealing with passive aggressive behaviour is to recognize it. Such behaviour is usually subtle and difficult to identify. It is important to deal with it right away so that it does not escalate. Don’t overreact and avoid jumping to a negative conclusion.

When you start recognizing the signs of hostility, you can come up with multiple ways of dealing with it. Set limits and follow through. Make it clear that you will not give in to passive aggressive behaviour.

  • Refuse to Accept Unacceptable Behaviour 

Hostility is one of the common traits and it can be subtle or overt. Either way it should not be acceptable, as it is not conducive to a good living or working environment. Unacceptable behaviour needs to be addressed by identifying the issue and its importance, so that you can move forward and find an amicable solution.

  • Keep Your Distance and Don’t Try to Change Them

Passive aggressiveness is often more difficult to deal with than open hostility. An aggressive person is usually open in words and action and this makes them predictable, whereas a passive aggressive individual operates from behind a smoke screen and this makes them difficult to spot.

When confronted these people usually deny any responsibility. Whenever possible keep a healthy distance from these people and avoid trying to change them. They are usually beyond reason and all your best efforts may end in disappointment and frustration. Even though you may be upset, avoid getting into a situation where you deal with the situation by becoming passive aggressive yourself.

  • Deal with The Problem Proactively 

If you are dealing with chronic passive aggressive individuals, you need to be proactive so that you can put a stop to it. When you start tolerating passive aggression, you only encourage it and this can easily intensify to a serious situation.

You need to set the tone of the relationship that you have with the passive aggressor. Talk specifically about the issue at hand and don’t generalize. Document aggressive behaviour so that you can substantiate your position.

Even though passive aggressive people are not easy to deal with, you can make use of these strategies to minimize the damage and gain the cooperation of these individuals.

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