Here’s all you need to know — from how to spot the traits to how you can deal with the sit­u­a­tion

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Ab­hi­nav Verma ab­hi­

Anger can de­stroy the strong­est of re­la­tion­ships, es­pe­cially when one of the part­ners is a passiveaggressive per­son.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­net, pas­sive-ag­gres­sive­ness is a ‘type of be­hav­iour char­ac­terised by in­di­rect re­sis­tance to the de­mands of oth­ers and an avoid­ance of di­rect con­fronta­tion’. In short, when your part­ner ex­presses their anger or dis­ap­point­ment to­wards you, in a sub­tle man­ner, they are be­ing pas­sive-ag­gres­sive to­wards you. And to top it off, it’s hard to de­tect.

Read on, as psy­chol­o­gists Priyanka Varma and Harsheen K. Arora list out the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a passiveaggressive part­ner and how to deal with them.


In­di­rect in­sults: A passiveaggressive part­ner is scared of con­flict. There­fore, if there is an is­sue in the re­la­tion­ship, they will never ad­dress the ele­phant in the room. Rather, they’ll re­sort to sub­tle in­sults to in­di­cate that there is a prob­lem. They will do this by giv­ing you a com­pli­ment and fol­low­ing it up with a crit­i­cism.

Be­ing am­bigu­ous: In an ar­gu­ment, a passiveaggressive part­ner will never take a stand. They will never say what they mean. Ne­go­ti­at­ing for a com­mon ground is an ex­as­per­at­ing process with them.

Play­ing the vic­tim: For ev­ery fight, it’s never their fault. They have mas­tered the art of play­ing the vic­tim. Such peo­ple never take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ac­tions.

In­com­pe­tent be­hav­iour:

For any re­la­tion­ship to func­tion, it has to be a twoway street, but this is not the case with a passiveaggressive part­ner. To show their un­hap­pi­ness, they of­ten act in­com­pe­tent. For ex­am­ple, not wash­ing the dishes prop­erly or not clean­ing the house prop­erly. And by do­ing this, they force you to take over the task.


The first step is to be­come aware of your part­ner’s pas­sive-ag­gres­sive be­havioural pat­tern. The next step is to un­der­stand that it’s bet­ter not to re­act. If you be­come emo­tional and re­act, then your part­ner will only lash out and rebel against it.

Be as­sertive and ad­dress the prob­lem di­rectly. How­ever, don’t blame or judge them by say­ing that ‘you have a prob­lem’, as that would mean that the prob­lem lies solely with the passiveaggressive part­ner. And this can back­fire! Re­mem­ber, a part­ner only re­sorts to pas­sive-ag­gres­sive­ness when they feel they can’t open up in the re­la­tion­ship or want to avoid di­rect con­fronta­tion. There­fore, use phrases such as ‘we have a prob­lem’. By do­ing this, you make solv­ing this prob­lem, a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity.

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